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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-13-2011, 03:49 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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blinking "check engine soon" light

I know, I know, there are a dozen or so threads related to this. believe me, i've checked.
from what i read, many members suggested replacing the spark plugs and connectors. my car does have 145,000 miles and even though I changed them at around 90,000 i figured that a change was due.

I changed the plugs and connectors today and i'm still having the same blinking check engine soon light. i plugged my scantool up and all i'm receiving in errors is "P0171" "too lean in bank 1"

is this my O2 sensor that is out. I even sprayed cleaner on areas of the manifold and MAF to see if there was any leaks..none. My car is idling rough and I'm clueless at this point as what it is. i'm sorry if this sounds dumb but, could the O2 sensor really cause this?


any advice would be most appreciated..
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2011, 05:37 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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MAF possibly.
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2011, 05:41 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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I was wondering that myself, i've seen where they cost 200+, but someone said that a range rover MAF would work?
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2011, 06:22 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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MAF or vacuum leak. There are other parts that work. Check the OEM part number (i.e. Bosch or Siemens, whoever made it, not the BMW part number) against other parts. A search of the forums will turn up a few useful threads.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:21 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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If it is the MAF, these from the VERY best of E39 Links, may help:
- MAF CLOGS: the mass air flow sensor (MAF) and idle control valve (ICV) require periodic cleaning (1) (2)


As for replacements, look in the same place:
- Buying a replacement MAF cheaper than the BMW MAF (RangeRover MAF) (VW MAF) (Hyundai MAF)

Note: Somehow we "lost" the VW link so I ask the OP to search for the equivalent VW MAF and post it back here so everyone benefits.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2011, 07:40 PM
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lild lild is offline
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i'm not sure on the 540's but i know that on the i6's the o2's are interchangeable, if yours are, switch them, clear the code and see if the code moves with supposed bad o2, if it does then you fixed your problem. if you get the same codes then kept searching out the problem. a intake leak could also set off the code.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2011, 08:44 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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I bought a MAF for a VW and just used the sensor itself. Cost only $80. Been using it for 4 years now.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2011, 08:54 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TemporarySanity View Post
I bought a MAF for a VW and just used the sensor itself. Cost only $80. Been using it for 4 years now.
What VW? Cuz all the vws I know have mafs that cost like 300-500$
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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I believe it was a Jetta or Golf. If I can find the box, which I believe I still have, I'll post a pic of the part number from it for reference. Prices may have jumped a bit since I bought it 4 years ago but not by THAT much. I got mine from a dealer too!.
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2011, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TemporarySanity View Post
I'll post a pic of the part number from it for reference.
That would be useful to us for now, and in the future ... since you can rest assured this question will come up again (and again).
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2011, 04:28 AM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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guys thanks for all the info...i went ahead and bought a new MAF (range rover) which is also the same spec for 2000 540i from ebay, and pre and post cat o2 sensors from rock auto

MAF-90.00
13 477 pre-cat: 60.00 each x2
13-477 post-cat ;roughly 90.00 x2

i got hit for about : close to 400 which doesn't seem bad considering what i've read from previous post and what was spent.

when checking to see if the intake manifold is leaking or for vacuum leaks, is there any good tutorials out there? i ran a check, but i may not have gone through the right methods.,.,,
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2011, 05:37 AM
qwksilver97 qwksilver97 is offline
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I have the same code po171. Engine light doesnt blink, but it comes on and off whenever it feels like it. I replaced valve cover gaskets, intake gaskets, throttle body gaskets, all the gaskets in the intake tube. Still throwing codes. Finally I found my leak, it was the 2 upper timing covers in front of the engine. Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2011, 05:54 AM
HanSolofliesBMW HanSolofliesBMW is offline
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1). P0171 = Lean = cheapest and most importantly smartest thing to do first = check for vacuum leak.

You just spent $400.00 on "stuff"

Lean = either too much air or not enough fuel

Lean codes = see #1 above.

Happy Valentines Day to Chivas.
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  #14  
Old 02-14-2011, 05:58 AM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwksilver97 View Post
I have the same code po171. Engine light doesnt blink, but it comes on and off whenever it feels like it. I replaced valve cover gaskets, intake gaskets, throttle body gaskets, all the gaskets in the intake tube. Still throwing codes. Finally I found my leak, it was the 2 upper timing covers in front of the engine. Good luck.
Qwiksilver, what do these look like, it seems when i get a handle on one problem, i'm asking questions for a new one and i'm sure it's probably pretty obvious, but i'm not quite certain. i have crc cleaner, is this what you used to determine the leaks?
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  #15  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:04 AM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HanSolofliesBMW View Post
1). P0171 = Lean = cheapest and most importantly smartest thing to do first = check for vacuum leak.

You just spent $400.00 on "stuff"

Lean = either too much air or not enough fuel

Lean codes = see #1 above.

Happy Valentines Day to Chivas.
I did actually spray crc cleaner to check for vacuum leaks, but i didn't hear any significant changes in the engine when i did it....may have sprayed in the wrong places.....
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2011, 07:02 AM
HanSolofliesBMW HanSolofliesBMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rc67 View Post
I did actually spray crc cleaner to check for vacuum leaks, but i didn't hear any significant changes in the engine when i did it....may have sprayed in the wrong places.....
Smoke Test is the only 'real' way to find a vacuum leak.

FYI: A a leaking valve cover gasket will offer you oil and that oil shows you that if oil is getting out, you have a leak.

Stuff like that etc.

Again, you have a P0171 which is "Lean Bank One" and if you Googled tm it you'd see:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...+P0171&ct=clnk

So cleaning a MAF *might* make sense indeed.
So doing a smoke test *might* make sense indeed.
Then consider fuel pressure as well (though a bad fuel filter would impact more than one bank).

Purchasing a MAF is an odd approach.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:25 AM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Here are the pics of the part and numbers I used.
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  #18  
Old 02-14-2011, 10:48 AM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HanSolofliesBMW View Post
Smoke Test is the only 'real' way to find a vacuum leak.

FYI: A a leaking valve cover gasket will offer you oil and that oil shows you that if oil is getting out, you have a leak.

Stuff like that etc.

Again, you have a P0171 which is "Lean Bank One" and if you Googled tm it you'd see:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...+P0171&ct=clnk

So cleaning a MAF *might* make sense indeed.
So doing a smoke test *might* make sense indeed.
Then consider fuel pressure as well (though a bad fuel filter would impact more than one bank).

Purchasing a MAF is an odd approach.
I actually did google it, but sometimes when we are in a bit of panic as to issues that arise, we tend to overlook websites that give us the in depth information that we are needing. I appreciate the link, that explained it quite well....if it is a vacuum link, then i may have bought these parts prematurely.......
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:15 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rc67 View Post
i have crc cleaner, is this what you used to determine the leaks?
IIRC, how to test for leaks is described in links in this the VERY best of E39 Links thread:
- How to diagnose a BMW E39 engine misfire (1)

It even comes with a leak-testing video IIRC.
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  #20  
Old 02-14-2011, 05:43 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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thanks to everyone, i will check for the leaks and let you know what I find....
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  #21  
Old 02-14-2011, 07:55 PM
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lild lild is offline
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actuallly i think your on the right path. not ruleing out a air leak, but your car is approaching 150k, so you didn't waste money on the parts you bought. put in your new parts (maitiance time), clear the codes, and report back. if they return, then we can go from there. i mean a bad maf or one on the way out, will cause the car to run poorly, and will give a false code because as far as the ecu knows, the maf isn't bad yet, and won't give a light for it, but however will compensate for it, and give you what you have now. as for spraying fluid around the maf area, it is a better ideal to take the maf off, and visually inspect all the rubber boots for unseen cracks or tears.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:47 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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now my car won't start, it just clicks when i turn the key...i don't know what's going on now...i cleared the codes and then tried to start it up, no dice. could i have a bad starter as well?

Last edited by rc67; 02-15-2011 at 03:49 PM.
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  #23  
Old 02-15-2011, 04:37 PM
scott0357 scott0357 is offline
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Check the battery and (have someone to) measure the battery voltage while trying to start it, it should be ~10V while starting. Or try to jump start it. If you still hear the clicking sound, most likely the starter is dead.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:40 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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Originally Posted by scott0357 View Post
Check the battery and (have someone to) measure the battery voltage while trying to start it, it should be ~10V while starting. Or try to jump start it. If you still hear the clicking sound, most likely the starter is dead.
i actually acquired a voltmeter and tested the battery, it showed 11 volts, i'm thinking it's time for a new battery...
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:44 PM
rc67 rc67 is offline
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Originally Posted by lild View Post
actuallly i think your on the right path. not ruleing out a air leak, but your car is approaching 150k, so you didn't waste money on the parts you bought. put in your new parts (maitiance time), clear the codes, and report back. if they return, then we can go from there. i mean a bad maf or one on the way out, will cause the car to run poorly, and will give a false code because as far as the ecu knows, the maf isn't bad yet, and won't give a light for it, but however will compensate for it, and give you what you have now. as for spraying fluid around the maf area, it is a better ideal to take the maf off, and visually inspect all the rubber boots for unseen cracks or tears.
yeah i was thinking that it would be a good idea to make sure i have the parts handy simply due to the fact that my car has high mileage. I did look at the boot to see if there were any cracks, I didn't see anything noticeable, so i'm thinking at least that's good. when i get a new battery tomorrow I will rerun to see if any different codes pop up other then P0171....
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