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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 05-18-2011, 10:05 AM
jlfield73 jlfield73 is offline
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Location: USA - Utah
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540I
1999 E39 starting problems then trans. failsafe Prog

I really need help. I have been reading a lot of the threads but really can't find my issue. My car would not start this morning. Doesn't seem to be battery related, all lights, radio everything comes on but no noise at all from the engine. Tried to jump start and tried to use extra key with no luck. Then after some reading I was able to start it by turning the key to the position right before it would turn the engine - I let all lights, radio and steering wheel go in position, wait a few seconds turn the key and starts perfect. BUT it has the trans failsafe prog light on. I turned it off and restarted fine and with no light but if I leave it a minute and try again I have to go thru the whole turn key slow bit and the trans failsafe prog light on again.

Anyone have any ideas where to start.

Oh, also I know my secondary air pump is going out (makes a jet engine noise for a minute right after starting engine when cold) could that have anything to do with this new problem?
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2011, 05:09 PM
jlfield73 jlfield73 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540I
Update

Tested alternator - good. Thought it was a old battery, so replaced battery but still coming up with trans failsafe prog. I was able to start it once without the error and even drove it around for 5 miles with no problems, then when pulling into garage when into trans failsafe prog as soon as shifted into park. Sometime it comes up right when I start it and sometimes it doesnt and I can drive it around with no problems.

ANY help would be appreciated.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2011, 09:27 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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ignition switch ?
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2011, 07:15 AM
jlfield73 jlfield73 is offline
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That is what I am replacing next. The other question I have is do you have to go to dealer to clear codes after trans failsafe prog comes up - or will everything just be good once the problem is fixed?
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2011, 09:00 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlfield73 View Post
do you have to go to dealer to clear codes after trans failsafe prog comes up
The only time I saw the trans failsafe prog on my cluster was when my alternator was failing on me.

When I replaced the alternator, there was no need to clear codes IIRC.

Details here:
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) (2)
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2013, 11:38 AM
dubya88 dubya88 is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i
e39 INTERMITTENT starting problem

I'm trying to diagnose an INTERMITTENT start problem. INTERMITTENT is emphasized because it eliminates the battery, ignition key, starter/solenoid, and alternator as problems. I'm left with the AT neutral safety switch or the "convenience" feature of the E39 ignition switch. I suspect that the neutral safety switch in the trans may be corroded but occasionally allows starting. I also suspect that the ignition interlock ("convenience" feature) may be bad. Before I jack up car to do some work, wonder if anyone has thoughts on this? Or does anyone have a electrical schematic on the ignition start system?

1997 540i AT
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  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:37 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 528i
Hi there.
My E39 528i Auto cranks but won't start.
Anyone have any solutions?
Please share.
Thank you.
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  #8  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:55 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
Hi there.
My E39 528i Auto cranks but won't start.
Anyone have any solutions?
Please share.
Thank you.
Pull the codes. Could be anything.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2013, 12:45 AM
fbad fbad is offline
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Hi.
I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me.
How does one pull the codes?
TIA.
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  #10  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:40 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
Hi.
I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me.
How does one pull the codes?
TIA.
Well it depends on do you want to DIY? What I do is I take my laptop, hook it up to car and read the codes. To do that you need a cable. One can buy a suitable cable online. Ebay sellers typically ship them worldwide. The best bang for the buck solution would be to buy INPA cable. It costs $20-50 shipped. In some countries car parts stores offer to pull the codes for free. Where I live no one offers to do it for free so it's big bucks at garage or DIY. I prefer DIY.
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2013, 11:23 AM
fbad fbad is offline
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Hi HTK12.
There is fuel coming through.
No spark though. Checked all the fuses and they're fine.
My guess is the crankshaft sensor.
Could it be anything else???
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2013, 11:45 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
Hi HTK12.
There is fuel coming through.
No spark though. Checked all the fuses and they're fine.
My guess is the crankshaft sensor.
Could it be anything else???
Crankshaft sensor will inhibit fuel and spark so if you smell gas it's not crankshaft sensor.
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  #13  
Old 02-13-2013, 01:05 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Hi there.
There is fuel coming through.
No spark though. Checked all the fuses and they're fine.
My guess is the crankshaft sensor.
Could it be anything else???
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  #14  
Old 02-13-2013, 01:05 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Hi there.
There is fuel coming through.
No spark though. Checked all the fuses and they're fine.
My guess is the crankshaft sensor.
Could it be anything else???
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2013, 01:10 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
Crankshaft sensor will inhibit fuel and spark so if you smell gas it's not crankshaft sensor.
What else could it be ?
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  #16  
Old 02-13-2013, 01:48 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
What else could it be ?
Could be alot of things. Low voltage, bad ground, fuel pump etc. So when you crank the engine you smell fuel or did you disconnect the fuel line to check for fuel? Pulling the codes would tell if there is a issue with EWS etc. So really hard to tell.
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  #17  
Old 02-13-2013, 02:06 PM
Mits530 Mits530 is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 530i Sport Individual
When I got my 530 i had poor start and from the forum advised to renew the fuel filter, problem solved!
Few months later would be driving and car would loose power into limp mode and trans fail safe mode would display on dash after alot of time we found the breather hose from behind the airmass had a hairline crack new pipe fitted problem solved, just a note to try to eliminate your faults!
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  #18  
Old 02-13-2013, 02:15 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
Could be alot of things. Low voltage, bad ground, fuel pump etc. So when you crank the engine you smell fuel or did you disconnect the fuel line to check for fuel? Pulling the codes would tell if there is a issue with EWS etc. So really hard to tell.
I disconnected the hose and fuel gushes out.
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  #19  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:04 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
I disconnected the hose and fuel gushes out.
So you disconnected the hose and tryed to start the car or just disconnected the hose and fuel gushed out? Do you smell gas when you try to start it (fuel hoses attached)? Can you hear the fuel pump running?

Last edited by HTK12; 02-13-2013 at 03:05 PM.
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  #20  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:50 PM
fbad fbad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
So you disconnected the hose and tryed to start the car or just disconnected the hose and fuel gushed out? Do you smell gas when you try to start it (fuel hoses attached)? Can you hear the fuel pump running?
I disconnected the hose and turned on the ignition
without cranking it and fuel gushed out.
No gas smell when hoses are attached and I'm trying to
start the car.
I can hear the fuel pump.
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  #21  
Old 02-13-2013, 04:30 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
I disconnected the hose and turned on the ignition
without cranking it and fuel gushed out.
No gas smell when hoses are attached and I'm trying to
start the car.
I can hear the fuel pump.
Since you got no gas smell when cranking it means fuel isin't being injected, if it was you should be able to smell it when you try to start the car. So no gas + no spark could be the crank position sensor. Impossible to be sure whitout codes.
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