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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 10-23-2014, 10:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Why exactly are the E39 airbags NOT involved in the massive Takata SRS airbag recall?

This thread is opened simply to answer the specific question of why exactly are our E39 airbags NOT involved in the BMW recall (actually it's not a recall; it's a "field action") of shrapnel-producing Takata airbags (especially the E39s manufactured in late 2001, like mine, and early 2002)?


For background, the canonical E46 thread on the Takata airbag recall is:
- BMW to Replace Passenger-side Front Airbags in 2000-06 3 Series, As a Precaution (06-28-2014)

Here's a revealing post from that canonical thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
It's explained in the NYT article I posted above. The propellant is highly sensitive to contamination by moisture, which makes it unstable and prone to "overly energetic combustion." Some of the propellant was suspected to have been improperly stored at Takata's Mexican factory.

Humidity was just one of the suspects Takata investigated while they, Honda, and regulators dragged their feet in warning the public about the defect. Other theories included flaws in the propellant packaging process at a U.S. factory, as well as U.S. workers' circumvention of a QA/QC procedure that would have rejected substandard parts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
NY Times article on what happened.

Quote:
Between late 2001 and late 2002, workers at a Takata factory in Monclova, Mexico, had left out moisture-sensitive explosives on the plant floor, making them prone to "overly energetic combustion,"
Quote:
Takata engineers next linked the defect to its factory in Moses Lake, Wash. Between 2000 and 2002, a flaw in a machine that presses air bag explosives into wafers had made the explosives unstable
Quote:
In the following months, Takata engineers came up with yet another explanation for the ruptures: Beginning in September 2001, machine operators at the Moses Lake plant could have inadvertently switched off an "auto reject" function that weeded out poorly made explosives that can become unstable
Given the information above, it seems confusing (to me) which things are involved, but some of the culprits are apparently: (1) the brand of the airbags (Takata) and (2) the origination and date of the explosive mix (Mexico/Washington, 2001/2002) and (3) the registered location of the car (high humidity states).

Which of those factors above don't we have on the E39?
a. Takata?
b. Mexico/Washington?
c. Time frame?
d. Humidity?
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-26-2014 at 08:31 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2014, 05:33 AM
stickbuilder stickbuilder is offline
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Why exactly are the E39 airbags NOT involved in the massive Takata SRS airbag...

Probably because they were not produced by the company who manufactured the defective bags. My E46 Touring was recalled for the passenger side.

Last edited by stickbuilder; 10-24-2014 at 05:34 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2014, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by stickbuilder View Post
Probably because they were not produced by the company who manufactured the defective bags.
What company produced the E39 airbag explosives?
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2014, 08:13 AM
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If we don't even know the brand of our E39 airbag explosive, I can't see how we can say that our airbags aren't involved.

Anyway, another woman was killed this month when the Takata airbag sliced her neck so severely she bled to death, like the others.

Takata says all six relevant instances occurred in Florida or Puerto Rico, which is why the high-humidity states are on the recall list.
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  #5  
Old 10-26-2014, 08:31 AM
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Also note, this is apparently NOT a recall; it's apparently a "field action".
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  #6  
Old 10-26-2014, 02:37 PM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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E46 airbag is only recalled on the passenger side, which is at least a different part number than what other bmws got. I'm assuming the driver side bag in the E46s (which are shared with many BMWs) were either not made by Takata or at least not in the problem factories

Edit: I confirmed at least the round airbags can be made by Takata. Hopefully BMW isn't just cheaping out. Maybe we should collectively send some letters to the NHTSA

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Last edited by TerraPhantm; 10-26-2014 at 02:49 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2014, 07:45 PM
fire730 fire730 is offline
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Definitely keeping an eye on this since I own a 2001 325iT and a 2001 525iT.
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2014, 02:15 PM
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Why exactly are the E39 airbags NOT involved in the massive Takata SRS airbag recall?

It's obvious that these weren't the droids they were looking for.
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2014, 10:37 AM
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Looks like Takata reported ANOTHER (different) problem with their airbags, which were manufactured with a wrong part installed.
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-02-2014 at 10:42 AM.
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2014, 03:06 PM
computiNATEor computiNATEor is offline
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I just wrecked my e39 (about a month ago), which deployed my driver's airbag. I am still alive (LOL), and I received no injuries whatsoever. The airbag deployed was an 03 round wheel 'bag, but there were no signs of inflator problems. However, I do live in dry Southern California...
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2014, 05:16 PM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
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This seems like fear mongering, is Bimmerfest owned by Fox news now? The E39 is not involved because simply it is not involved, air bags were either made by a different company, or made in a different factory than the suspect ones in Mex. Or WA. BMW says the E39 is uneffected then its uneffected and we should move on with our lives. This is like asking why you were the sole survivor in a train derailment.
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2014, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by computiNATEor View Post
I just wrecked my e39
Sorry about your loss. It's good that you were unharmed.

So we constantly strive to learn, from every endeavor, if you get a chance, can you find out, if possible, who the manufacturer is for your Takata airbag, if you get a chance to look at the wrecked car.

That would add value to this thread:
- What brand is the OEM original equipment manufacturer for your BMW parts (1)

We want to always keep on learning about our bimmers, as those who simply say there is no problem so they don't learn are the ones who never will learn anyway.

Let's keep learning.
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  #13  
Old 11-02-2014, 08:08 PM
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It only takes the effort of removing the two Torx screws on the back of your steering wheel to lift the module from the wheel and inspect the makers mark on the back. Someone care to do it? Because the E39 was made over a long period of time, and there were actually several different wheels, and bags (single stage and dual stage), there could very well be more than one manufacturer of E39 air bags.
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2014, 02:55 PM
Nfs021 Nfs021 is offline
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Well I checked my airbags today and here's what to report.

I don't see any markings of Takata on the passenger airbag. So I think I'm in the clear.

Passenger
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BUT...The steering wheel airbag has Takata on it twice as pictured.
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So should I be somewhat concerned or not. The recall I belive is for only the passenger airbag so I don't know what to think. :what:

I'll probably contact BMW NA just to be sure. Better to be safe than regretful. I'll fill you guys out on info when I hear back.
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2014, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nfs021 View Post
Well I checked my airbags.
Thank you very much for checking your 2002 540i airbag manufacturer for the team!

Looking a bit closely at your photos, your passenger side airbag picture seem to show a "TRW Alfdorf" airbag.

- TRW Safety Systems, Airbags

However, your steering wheel airbag is clearly Takata.

Your steering wheel airbag appears to indicate the name "Sachsen":

Sachsen appears to be in Germany:

What worries me a little bit is the Herstellar Inflation Systems (Georgia, USA), also on that steering wheel airbag tag.

"Herstellar" doesn't appear to be a German city, nor a German word.
All my searches for "Herstellar" in "Georgia" boomerang right back as "Takata":

But, we know that "Inflation Systems" is (apparently) an affected facility (which touts that they were permitted in only 45 days!)

Is the "Herstellar Inflation Systems (Georgia, USA)" the same as the "Inflation Systems" in Moses Lake?
I certainly hope not, since Moses Lake, Washington is one of the implicated sites (along with a site in Monclova, Mexico).
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-04-2014 at 09:29 PM.
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  #16  
Old 11-04-2014, 11:17 PM
sealbeach740 sealbeach740 is offline
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I thought the recall was for Takata passenger airbags, which are quite different than the driver's side steering wheel airbags. I didn't think the recall was for alll Takata made airbags.....?
There also isn't any mention of the side curtain airbags (AFAIK).
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2014, 03:47 PM
retiredat44 retiredat44 is offline
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Interesting, as my car I believe, was originally from Florida, so high humidity is definite. I never looked at the labels. it is so hard to trust manufacturers and gov agencies. And, you don't know about these things until it is too late. I appreciate these posts... great info!
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:56 PM
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:58 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Thank you very much for checking your 2002 540i airbag manufacturer for the team!

...However, your steering wheel airbag is clearly Takata.

Your steering wheel airbag appears to indicate the name "Sachsen":

Sachsen appears to be in Germany:

What worries me a little bit is the Herstellar Inflation Systems (Georgia, USA), also on that steering wheel airbag tag...

"Herstellar" doesn't appear to be a German city, nor a German word.
All my searches for "Herstellar" in "Georgia" boomerang right back as "Takata":
Bluebee, "Hersteller" means "producer" or "manufacturer." "Einführer" means "importer." So the "Gas Generator" was made in Georgia by "Inflations Systems, Inc." and imported by Takata in the Land, or equivalent of "state" of "Sachsen," or "Saxony" in English, and the town of Elterlein. Thus, "Takata (Sachsen) GmbH". By the way GmbH is the equivalent of "incorporated." It means "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung."

For instance, Hannover is in the state of Niedersachsen, or "Lower Saxony."
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Last edited by bobdmac; 11-05-2014 at 06:02 PM.
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2014, 10:20 PM
sealbeach740 sealbeach740 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredat44 View Post
Interesting, as my car I believe, was originally from Florida, so high humidity is definite. I never looked at the labels. it is so hard to trust manufacturers and gov agencies. And, you don't know about these things until it is too late. I appreciate these posts... great info!
Input your VIN & see if your car's airbags are affected:
http://www.nhtsa.gov/
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  #21  
Old 11-05-2014, 10:28 PM
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shaftdrive shaftdrive is offline
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I wish I hadn't seen this thread, as now I'm so worried about my airbags cutting my throat that I'm starting to wear my helmet when I drive the bimmer.
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  #22  
Old 11-06-2014, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaftdrive View Post
I wish I hadn't seen this thread, as now I'm so worried about my airbags cutting my throat that I'm starting to wear my helmet when I drive the bimmer.
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  #23  
Old 11-19-2014, 08:42 AM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealbeach740 View Post
I thought the recall was for Takata passenger airbags, which are quite different than the driver's side steering wheel airbags. I didn't think the recall was for alll Takata made airbags.....?
There also isn't any mention of the side curtain airbags (AFAIK).
Some rumblings that it might be expanded to driver side airbags. If the sport/M airbag is recalled, there's going to be a ton of BMWs on that list
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:40 PM
Nfs021 Nfs021 is offline
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What's really weird is that, I have yet to hear back from BMW when i emailed them 2 weeks ago. I wonder if maybe something is up with the national recall?
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2014, 02:15 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nfs021 View Post
What's really weird is that, I have yet to hear back from BMW when i emailed them 2 weeks ago. I wonder if maybe something is up with the national recall?
I'd guess that any response from BMW would involve screening by multiple layers of lawyers, followed by PR department review, before you heard anything.
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