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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 04-22-2011, 09:47 PM
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List of all possible BMW E39 instrument cluster text warnings & text messages

EDIT: Clarified MID confusion as per JimLev.
EDIT: Added TRANS FAILSAFE PROG (& description) as per Fudman.
EDIT: Clarified this is the high cluster alphanumeric display as per QSilver7.
EDIT: Added all known descriptions mostly based on this post and this pdf.


This is an attempt at compiling a comprehensive list of all BMW E39 high instrument cluster 20-character alphanumeric display messages.

Why? Two good reasons:
1. It's nice to know and add (eventually) to the BMW E39 technical glossary (1)
2. People with pixelated messages often ask "what is this message"

What got me thinking about this was the question today about (what might or might not be) a pixelated cluster message:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > cluster read out

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr5446 View Post
my cluster lost some of its pixels,i am getting a "stop----------sec" does anyone what is missing
EDIT: As per JimLev, this message may be for the stopwatch; but the goal of a comprehensive list of CLUSTER messages is still valid no matter what this particular message turns out to be.

Looking up that message, I realized we might not have (yet) a definitive list of all possible BMW E39 instrument cluster messages to search from.

Googling, I found this similar attempt with a series of partial listings & descriptions:
- Cluster Messages

So, since that's in another forum and that thread is also apparently dead, we can improve upon that initial attempt by bringing over that information here and improving upon it.

Here's a first pass (potential updates can be to "explain" each, & to separate into high/low cluster messages & priority 1/2 messages):

BMW ASSIST INACTIVE = reputedly a message from the BMW Phone system wired to the SOS system (1)
BONNET OPEN
BOOTLID OPEN
- BRAKE LAMP CIRCUIT = P2 = (see QSilver7 reference #10)
CHECK BACK UP LIGHTS = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK BRAKE FLUID = P1 = fluid level has dropped nearly to the minimum. Refer to page 118 of the attached pdf
CHECK BRAKE LIGHTS = P2 = A lamp has failed or the electrical circuit has a fault. Refer to pages 126 and 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK BRAKE LININGS = P2 = Brake wear sensor open circuit; refer to page 108 of the attached pdf
CHECK CONTROL OK = message that appears upon pressing the right cluster button with no errors found (1)
CHECK COOLANT LEVEL = P2 = coolant level is too low; refer to page 118 of the attached pdf
CHECK ENGINE OIL = P2 = oil level is at a minimum (see QSilver7 reference #10)
CHECK ENGINE OIL LEVEL = P2 = oil level is at the absolute minimum; refer to page 115 of the attached pdf
CHECK FILLER CAP = P2 = Check to see whether the fuel filler cap has been properly closed. Refer to page 21 of the attached pdf
CHECK FRONT FOGLAMPS = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK HIGH BEAM BULB
CHECK HIGHBEAM LIGHT = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK LICPLATE LIGHT = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK LOW BEAM BULB
CHECK LOWBEAM LIGHTS = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
- CHECK LOWBEAMS = P2 = (see QSilver7 reference #10)
CHECK PARKING LIGHT
CHECK REAR LIGHTS = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK SIDE LIGHT
CHECK SIDE LIGHTS = P2 = Defective bulb or circuit. Refer to page 124 to page 132 of the attached pdf
CHECK TIRE PRESSURE = P2 = tire pressure is too low or high (see QSilver7 reference #10)
COOLANT TEMPERATURE = P1 = The coolant is overheated. Stop the vehicle and switch off the engine immediately. Refer to page 117 of the attached pdf
DOOR OPEN = P2 = a door is open; this message appears after a defined road speed has been exceeded (1) (see QSilver7 reference #10)
EEPROM-KI
ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG = P2 = a malfunction in the electronic engine-management system, which then reverts to an emergency default program allowing continued operation at reduced power and lower engine speeds (1)
EXTERNAL TEMPERATURE 3.5 C = external temperature warning at +3.0 C but if its lower, it'll tell you what the exact temp (1)
EXTERNAL TEMPERATURE 37 F = external temperature warning at +27.0 F but if its lower, it'll tell you what the exact temp (1)
FAILSAFE PROG ACTIVE = apparently when the engine enters Limp Mode (1)
FASTEN SEATBELTS = P2 = seat belts unbuckled, an indicator lamp with the safety belt icon also appears and an acoustic signal is sounded (1)
FASTEN SEAT BELTS = P2 = person detected sans seat belts buckled (see QSilver7 reference #10)
FLAT TIRE = P1 = tire pressure is too low (see QSilver7 reference #10)
HOOD OPEN
KEY IN IGNITION
KEY IN IGNITION LOCK
LEVEL CONTROL INACTIVE = P1 = ? (see QSilver7 reference #10)
LIGHTS ON = P2 = This display appears when you open the driver's door after removing the keys (1)
LIMIT = P1 = This is displayed if the programmed speed limit has been exceeded. Refer to page 73 of the attached pdf.
OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE 3.0 C = P2 = The current temperature is displayed at outside temperatures of 37.5 F (+3 C) and below (see QSilver7 reference #10)
OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE 37.5 F = P2 = The current temperature is displayed at outside temperatures of 37.5 F (+3 C) and below. Refer to page 63 of the attached pdf
RELEASE PARKINGBRAKE = P1 = if you begin to drive with the parking brake on (see QSilver7 reference #10)
SET TIRE PRESSURE = message that appears when initialising the TPC system (1)
SPEED LIMIT 95 = P1 = displayed when the programmed speed is exceeded (see QSilver7 reference #10)
STOP!ENGINE OILPRESS = P1 = The oil pressure is too low. Stop the vehicle and switch off the engine immediately. Refer to pages 16, 115 of the attached pdf
- TIRE CHECK INACTIVE = P2 = (see QSilver7 reference #10)
TIRE CONTROL INACTIVE
TIRECONTROL INACTIVE = P2 = Transient malfunctions and system errors in the Flat Tire Monitor. Refer to page 83 of the attached pdf
TIRE DEFECT = P1 = a tire defect has been sensed. Refer to page 83 of the attached pdf
TIRE PRESSURE SET = P2 = The Flat Tire Monitor has adopted the tires' current inflation pressures as its reference levels. Refer to page 82 of the attached pdf
TRANS PROG FAILSAFE = problem with the automatic transmission, transmission goes into limp mode, i.e., 3rd gear
TRUNK LID OPEN = P2 = trunk is open; appears only when initially starting off (see QSilver7 reference #10)
TRUNKLID OPEN = P2 = trunk is open; this message appears only when you initially begin a trip (1)
TYRE CONTROL INACTIVE
TYRE DEFECT
WASHER FLUID LOW = P2 = washer fluid is low; refer to page 115 of the attached pdf (see also QSilver7 reference #10)

Audio system information listings (TRACK# CD#, PRESET#/RADIO STATION, ETC.)
Voice-activated nav commands (various)

Here, for example, is the elusive CHECK FILLER CAP message on my very own bimmer (it's hard to get)!


BTW, a single comprehensive list of all possible cluster message 'may' already exist (I did do a search with QSilver7 in the terms!), but the search terms are highly generic so I didn't find an existing comprehensive list. In the off chance a searchable complete list of cluster messages does NOT exist on the net, in the interest of adding value, we can start one here & add to it over time until it 'is' a complete list.

Note: Later on, we can sort by "priority 1" and "priority 2" messages.
P1: ?
P2: Priority 2 messages display for 20 seconds with the ignition key in position 2. The warning symbols remain after the message disappears. The messages can be recalled again with CHECK button 3.

Note: All of the malfunctions registered during the trip appear consecutively when the key is turned to position 0 (1)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2003Manual-M5.pdf (1.87 MB, 1273 views)

Last edited by bluebee; 04-23-2011 at 08:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2011, 09:54 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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That is the Stop Watch timer function, not sure if it's on the low cluster displays, hi display has it.
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2011, 10:03 AM
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Add TRANS PROG FAILSAFE to the list
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:03 AM
hapollo hapollo is offline
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Nice list!


Never seen the Check Filler cap one. I presume it's the gas filler cap and not the engine oil cap. However, doesn't the absence of a gas filler cap cause a CEL/SES light instead?
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:35 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hapollo View Post
Nice list!


Never seen the Check Filler cap one. I presume it's the gas filler cap and not the engine oil cap. However, doesn't the absence of a gas filler cap cause a CEL/SES light instead?
Hah! Funny you should mention that. You asked the right person, and there's a story behind it, which I'll let her tell.
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Old 04-23-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Add TRANS PROG FAILSAFE to the list
Perfect! I just added it to the original post.

There was already a "ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG" and "FAILSAFE PROG ACTIVE" in the original lists; but those lists I compiled this from didn't have the trans failsafe message (which I momentarily saw myself when my alternator died in the middle of the road but I lament I didn't have the opportunity to snap a picture while I was wrestling the steering-wheel-dead bimmer to the shoulder of the road in traffic).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
That is the Stop Watch timer function, not sure if it's on the low cluster displays, hi display has it.
Interesting. This is perfect information! Know why?

Because in that thread, people said it was not a cluster message (even though the OP in that case said it was); people said it was a MID message - but - even so - the point is that it behooves us to have a comprehensive list for all E39 instrument clusters (later on we can break it down into high and low and high priority and low priority & we can give explanations of each line).

Thanks for the update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
there's a story behind it, which I'll let her tell.
Yea, long sordid story!

Since it's OT other than to mention it's for the 'gasoline' filler cap, you can bask in the trials and tribulations over here:
- When will "CHECK FILLER CAP" EVAP fault codes go away on their own (1)

PS: I lost the thing somehow in the elapsed time of the experiments & I've been holding off for a month buying a new one 'cuz I'm hoping it fell off or behind the shelf somewhere near the round tuit (under the bed, perhaps)?

PS:
Dear QSilver7:
Might there be a way to force the cluster to reveal its secrets, one by one, of all the possible BMW E39 instrument cluster messages?
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:22 PM
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FYI: Here's what the TRANS PROG FAILSAFE message means (if you need to know). It supposed to occur when there is a problem with your automatic transmission. It causes the tranny to default to 3d gear (limp mode) only, which is supposed to prevent tranny damage and allow you to limp to the dealer for repair. In most cases, the dealer will tell you that a new tranny is required. What they don't tell you is that the TPF can be caused by non-tranny conditions, such as a failing alternator or a sensor (ABS or other). Mine was caused most probably by a sensor that was tripped on a very cold wet day. Since my car only had 50K on the clock and had never exhibited any tranny issues, I could not believe that I needed a new tranny. I had them clear the TPF message and the car drove fine for another 30K before it was totaled. To clear the TPF, you cannot use a handheld ODBII scanner or Peake. You need the GT-1 software (dealer) or equivalent. The lesson learned is to check for other possible causes before replacing the tranny.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
What they don't tell you is that the TPF can be caused by non-tranny conditions, such as a failing alternator or a sensor (ABS or other).
+1 Mine was caused by a bad ignition switch.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2011, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
FYI: Here's what the TRANS PROG FAILSAFE ... there is a problem with your automatic transmission.
Thanks. I'll start adding these definitions, one by one, to the original post.
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Dear QSilver7:
Might there be a way to force the cluster to reveal its secrets, one by one, of all the possible BMW E39 instrument cluster messages?
Hi Bluebee...sorry but I don' know if it's possible to do. If it is...you'd more than likely need diagnostic equipment like GT-1 or perhaps the aftermarket software.

The topic appears to be centered around what appear in the 20 digit alpha/numeric display on the HIGH instrument cluster. Since the low cluster only has the GRAPHIC DISPLAY...it doesn't have the ability to display messages in a "text" form.

The 20 digit alpha/numeric display is where the CHECK CONTROL SYSTEM communicates with the driver. So this means that all of the PRIORITY 1 & 2 messages appear in this display. If you can access the Check Control System with aftermarket or GT-1/MoDic...then you may be able to find a list.

The other issue brought up was the OBC features that can be programmed to appear in the 20 digit alpha/numeric display (like the STOPWATCH). The OBC features are an odd situation because one can program any number (all, 1, or a few)...their home display (from the OBC) is the MID or the NAV screen...the ability to appear in the instrument cluster is a secondary benefit...and the OBC features ONLY appear in the instrument cluster if someone programs them to be there.

To conclude...you can look for the PRIORITY 1 & 2 check control warnings...plus all of the OBC features...these are the messages that can appear in the 20 digit alpha/numeric display in the instrument cluster...and obviously there's a few more like the "CHECK FILLER CAP" message which is new to me.



Most of the OBC prompts seen in the images of the MID below can also be programmed to appear in the (the SET prompt doesn't appear in the instrument cluster display & neither does MEMO ON; MEMO OFF; 24H)




The Priority 1 & 2 lists above are from my "e38" stash...most of them apply...but the e39 has a few different ones since there is a Touring model (see the check control warning from the e39 in attachments below.
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 04-23-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-23-2011, 07:58 PM
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Auuurggghhh! You would have to provide all the message meanings exactly at the same time I was laboriously typing them up, one by one!

Oh well, my text type-up is probably searchable, so, maybe it wasn't a wasted effort.

We knew you'd come through for us though, once we put out the bat signal!

I noticed there are some on your list (e.g., FLAT TIRE) that are not on the original list, so, I'll type "them" up and add them in manually so that we have a sortable searchable text listing of the high cluster messages.

I also clarified in the original post, as per your observation, that these are the 20-space alphanumeric messages of the high cluster.

Thanks for coming through for us. You don't work for BMW do you?
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  #12  
Old 04-23-2011, 10:43 PM
528ie391997 528ie391997 is offline
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reset warnings

Hi i have have a e39 528i i have have a few warnings that display check rear fog lights,check brake light i have replaced all bulbs and the warnings are still their. how do i reset them?
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 528ie391997 View Post
Hi i have have a e39 528i i have have a few warnings that display check rear fog lights,check brake light i have replaced all bulbs and the warnings are still their. how do i reset them?
Check the bulbs to see if they have dual filaments...if one of the filaments is broken...then the bulbs resistance will be affected and cause the warning. Also verify that the bulbs work (by swapping to the other side etc)...and make sure that the BRAKE LIGHT warning isn't for the center high mount brake light (on the rear parcel shelf).

If all of the above check out okay...then check your trunk loom to see if there are broken or chaffed wires. Check out the pics in one of Bluebees' past posts for an example of what can happen: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&postcount=136

(here's a teaser pic)
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:38 AM
tomjrau tomjrau is offline
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Anyone know what this "2 car" instrument cluster light means? I just got this today after I unlocked my high OBC. I ran the self test, battery voltage, and readjusted Test 20 (the fuel mpg adjuster). I'm guessing it's somehow related to what I did but not certain what it means. This is for my '02 540i 6spd, thx.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:56 AM
tomjrau tomjrau is offline
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I was able to find the answer on bimmerforums. Apparently, it's for the adaptive cruise control function which I'm certain the car does not have. I also did not activate cruise control. The light is an apparent glitch that I somehow activated by playing with the OBC functions. According to the thread, it can be reset by unplugging the battery.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1159900
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:41 PM
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  #17  
Old 07-02-2011, 12:41 AM
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:39 PM
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For the cross-linked record, a user reported "ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG" today:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Urgent help please!!!

And, this list above came in handy, because we weren't sure, especially with the dumb title, if the OP was reporting the error message correctly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolidWolf34 View Post
I was driving back home and the (Engine FailSafe Prof) came on
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:00 PM
MightyShilling MightyShilling is offline
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That's funny, when I get a check light it always appears as "Check .:| :.; ::|". my car must think I'm blind and can read braile...

My favorite to date is when I get the "FASTEN SEAT EEL' 'S"

Last edited by MightyShilling; 10-31-2011 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyShilling View Post
My favorite ... is when I get the "FASTEN SEAT BEL' 'S"
This can be fixed:
- What are 'all' options when your instrument cluster or MID pixels slowly die due to a press-fit pink electrical-connection tape lifting off its contacts over time (1)
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Old 10-31-2011, 09:13 PM
MightyShilling MightyShilling is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
This can be fixed:
- What are 'all' options when your instrument cluster or MID pixels slowly die due to a press-fit pink electrical-connection tape lifting off its contacts over time (1)
I know. I'll dive into it sooner or later. As aways, thanks blue! You're a fountain of info!

Sent from my DROID X2 using Bimmer
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  #22  
Old 03-04-2012, 12:48 AM
nickshotadze nickshotadze is offline
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No messages

Hello guys.
Does anyone know where a module that generates these messages is located? I get no messages and no gong sounds. Though OBC functions work normally - like Time/Date, Consumption and etc

Thanks.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshotadze View Post
Hello guys.
Does anyone know where a module that generates these messages is located? I get no messages and no gong sounds. Though OBC functions work normally - like Time/Date, Consumption and etc..

Thanks.
You didn't give us enough information about your car. There are changes during the production range from 1994-2001 that could give multiple answers...as well as not being clear as to "what" messages you're referring to.

Messages come from various components and appear in various locations. The instrument cluster receives messages from the Check Control module about various operating system components...and are broken down into PRIORITY 1, 2, & 3 warnings (see list in post #10 above). Then the OBC can be pulled up on the instrument cluster & MID or Nav monitor.

The gong is located under the dash on the right side...is yours plugged in? Or perhaps a previous owner had the gong disable using BMW proprietary software. Has the gong ever worked since you've owned the car?

So again, without your MODEL/MODEL YEAR/BUILD DATE...or...more details/info as to what messages and what component you're referring to...your questions can't really be answered specifically.

Help us help you better...give car details, and be specific as to where and what you're describing on/in your car. We can't see it and rely on you to paint the picture for us.
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

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  #24  
Old 03-04-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshotadze View Post
Hello guys.
Does anyone know where a module that generates these messages is located? I get no messages and no gong sounds. Though OBC functions work normally - like Time/Date, Consumption and etc

Thanks.
Great list, but to add to what he said, I have a 97 528i, and has never seen any off these messages, how do I find out what my car has and if its working?
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  #25  
Old 03-04-2012, 03:20 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbonly21 View Post
Great list, but to add to what he said, I have a 97 528i, and has never seen any off these messages, how do I find out what my car has and if its working?
Your e39 has the low instrument cluster...so it doesn't use any of the Priority "text" warning from the check control module....mainly because you have no place to display them. BMW designed your car with the GRAPHIC display to warn you of open doors & burnt out bulbs...along with the other instrument cluster warning lights.

This is your Check Control Graphic Display that gives you warnings:




Again, there's no where on your cluster to display any of the text Priority warnings used by the HIGH instrument cluster...which has a 20 digit alpha/numeric display:

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