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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 11-26-2011, 02:21 PM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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Fuse keeps blowing on replacing

Hi Guys ,Hope you can help
The electric steering column and the electric driver's seat adjustment stopped working yesterday, so the first thing I did was to replace the Fuse 13(as it says on the card under the fuse panel in the the glove box - 30A) from the spare,it worked for a few minutes,then stopped working when I restarted the car. Since then I have tried replacing the fuse with a brand new one (5 times) of the same rating 30A and every-time I try to insert the fuse in its slot- there is a ' spark ' and the fuse gets blown. This does not happen with any other fuses - taking them off and putting it back in. Is this a simple problem with a simple solution or will I have to take it to an auto-electrician. While replacing the fuses I did not disconnect the battery as I was a bit worried whether it would bugger up any hidden settings that might stall the car etc.
The other thing I noticed that when I first looked at the fuse panel, fuse 14(engine control) was empty,so after replacing fuse 13(the steering column and driver seat then worked) the engine wouldn't fire and the temp gauge travelled all the way to the right i.e hot, I then put a new fuse 14(5A as it states on the card) with a spare one I had, it fired as usual(remember it was empty to begin with and the car was working). Not sure if these two are related and would gladly welcome any thoughts/suggestions.

PS Should I be disconnecting the battery every-time I replace the fuses?

many thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2011, 03:56 PM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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For someone with some knowledge and ability to read wiring diagrams, this should be a simple fix.

Start by identifying the circuits fed by the fuse in the wiring diagram. Then identify the connectors within those circuits. Remove the fuse, and replace it with a test light connected between the terminals. Now, begin disconnecting connectors in the circuits starting at the fuse panel. When the light goes out, you have identified the circuit that is shorted. Continue down the circuit until you have isolated the shorted component.

Of course, there's always the crowbar / smoke test for the more adventurous technician
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2011, 06:49 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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In a left hand drive gas engine E39 built after 9/'99 fuse F13 goes to all of the motors in the drivers seat and the two steering column adjuster motors.
I'd start by unplugging the connectors under the seat, that is probably the problem.
You do not need to disconnect the battery when changing fuses.

Let us know what you find.

Last edited by JimLev; 12-01-2011 at 05:34 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2011, 10:27 PM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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thanks
have looked under the driver's seat- the wires' look as usual,no loose connections or frayed ends etc. Not really sure what I am looking for, though on a few odd occasions when I have had to look under the seat in the padt there does not seem to be anything different or unusual at present.I have tried to get some photos- it is a bit difficult to actually get some decent photos without actually getting the seat off which I do not know how to anyway. I could try and get some more photos if that would help.
I am not electrically knowledgeable so looking at wiring diagram's etc will probably not make much sensce ,though in the past I have managed to to change the final stage resistor etc with help from here.
Would it be dangerous if I were to use the car knowing there could be potentially a problem electrically somewhere in the background. Currently I have removed the fuse 13 from the fuse box, so the steering column and the driver seat are not adjustable (This creates a problem for my wife who is unable to reach the pedals in the present setting)
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2011, 06:31 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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You don't need to have much electrical knowledge to unplug the connectors under the seat and put the fuse back in to see if it pops again.
That is the only way you are going to find out if its the wiring in the seat or the steering column motors that are blowing F13....unless you take the car to some one and pay them to find it. They will be doing the same thing.
You can drive it without F13.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2011, 03:16 AM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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Smile

thanks JimLev

I unplugged the most accessible connectors, but could not access all of them. They appeared to be alright,so just replaced once again with a new F13. Heard a crackle and a slight spark but seems to be working for now. Will wait and see if blows again soon. Will keep you posted
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2011, 01:16 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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The connector for the seat motor and steering wheel is not under the seat, it's next to it. You need to remove the plastic trim panel (the one with the adjustment buttons) to access it (or wait till it breaks off, it will, trust me). My guess is there is a short there, most likely a frayed wire. Search for "seat switch" and you'll see what I'm referring to.

Also this "Heard a crackle and a slight spark but seems to be working for now. " is really not good.

Edit: I should have said the seat control module connector, which controls the motor function, is behind the side trim piece. The motor itself is under the seat.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 11-29-2011 at 02:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2011, 07:01 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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According to Rav08 he did not blow a fuse with some of the motors disconnected.
The spark when he put the new fuse in could be from the circuit being powered up.
He should now start plugging connectors back in until he finds the one that blows the fuse.

Each motor has it's own power connector and the seat heater has a connector under the seat.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2011, 03:35 AM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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Many Thanks

Seems to be working still, though I plan to take a look at the seat module connectors next to the seat at the weekend. Any advice on how I can get the buttons/trim off without breaking/damaging the buttons/trim to get to the connectors?
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2011, 03:59 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rav08 View Post
Any advice on how I can get the buttons/trim off without breaking/damaging the buttons/trim to get to the connectors?
This is in the bestlinks, among others:
- Tips and suggestions for replacing destroyed E39 driver seat adjustment control panel


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  #11  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:12 PM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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never got a chance to actually remove anything as the weather was quite poor over the past couple of weekends, but it is still working fine, so have decided to wait and monitor, will keep you updated
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  #12  
Old 12-26-2011, 01:09 AM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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update with pictures

As soon as I wrote yesterday, the damn thing stopped working. I have now removed the side panel of the front seat,though did not find anything frayed or amiss,not sure though what I should be looking for?
Do I need to look at the connectors under the seat - how do I access them especially the ones right under the centre portion(if there are any), not sure if I need to remove the seat (or even capable)
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2012, 12:42 AM
rav08 rav08 is offline
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Am Stuck!!! What do I do Next?

Did not find anything wrong with the connectors or any frayed wires or broken bits, so I just replaced it back again and it worked(temporarily). Started to reassemble the side fascia and it went bust again.
Also managed to remove and reconnect 3 of the (most accessible) connectors under the seat - again none of the connectors were broken nor the wires frayed etc.
unfortunately now the seat is stuck in a position where I am unable to sit comfortably and drive, so would need a solution.
some photos attached

Quote:
Originally Posted by windsmith View Post

Start by identifying the circuits fed by the fuse in the wiring diagram. Then identify the connectors within those circuits. Remove the fuse, and replace it with a test light connected between the terminals. Now, begin disconnecting connectors in the circuits starting at the fuse panel. When the light goes out, you have identified the circuit that is shorted. Continue down the circuit until you have isolated the shorted component.

Windsmith-' by Test light ' what am I actually looking for- if i was to ask for this at and buy from a motor car accessory shop what should I be asking them to give me


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  #14  
Old 01-01-2012, 06:02 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Put an new fuse in and quickly adjust the seat where you want it.
You need to unplug one thing at a time until you find the part that is blowing the fuse.
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:42 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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rav08,
If you replace the 30A fuse with a 12 volt light bulb, or "test light", the light will be bright when the short circuit occurs otherwise light will be out or dim. This will let you exercise wiring, connect / disconnect items, etc., to troubleshoot. It "may" let you move the seat with the motors(s).

http://images.opentip.com/thumbs/TES...94_280_280.jpg

http://www.opentip.com/Tools-Auto-In...p-1131189.html

Paul S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rav08 View Post
............Windsmith-' by Test light ' what am I actually looking for- if i was to ask for this at and buy from a motor car accessory shop what should I be asking them to give me ........
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  #16  
Old 01-01-2012, 08:19 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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1+ to what JimLev said. Troubleshoot one circuit at a time.

As you mentioned, Fuse 13 is for the SW motor (adjusting the SW up and own) + the driver seat.

Since you have found nothing wrong with your seat, focus on the SW motor.

- Leave the seat connector disconnected.
- Install a new Fuse, adjust the SW column up and down, if the fuse blows, then you have a short in the motor that controls the SW column.

Personally, I found Fuse #13 to be "useless", so this is what I do:
- Adjust the seat the way I want
- Adjust the Steering Wheel the way I want


Then I pulled Fuse #13 and keep it in the Glovebox in case I need it. Never miss it.
PS: If you do that, make a note that Fuse #13 is removed b/c 1 yr later you may not remember that.
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2013, 01:19 PM
jc8333 jc8333 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rav08 View Post
Hi Guys ,Hope you can help
The electric steering column and the electric driver's seat adjustment stopped working yesterday, so the first thing I did was to replace the Fuse 13(as it says on the card under the fuse panel in the the glove box - 30A) from the spare,it worked for a few minutes,then stopped working when I restarted the car. Since then I have tried replacing the fuse with a brand new one (5 times) of the same rating 30A and every-time I try to insert the fuse in its slot- there is a ' spark ' and the fuse gets blown. This does not happen with any other fuses - taking them off and putting it back in. Is this a simple problem with a simple solution or will I have to take it to an auto-electrician. While replacing the fuses I did not disconnect the battery as I was a bit worried whether it would bugger up any hidden settings that might stall the car etc.
The other thing I noticed that when I first looked at the fuse panel, fuse 14(engine control) was empty,so after replacing fuse 13(the steering column and driver seat then worked) the engine wouldn't fire and the temp gauge travelled all the way to the right i.e hot, I then put a new fuse 14(5A as it states on the card) with a spare one I had, it fired as usual(remember it was empty to begin with and the car was working). Not sure if these two are related and would gladly welcome any thoughts/suggestions.

PS Should I be disconnecting the battery every-time I replace the fuses?

many thanks
Hi Rav08 -

Did you ever get to the bottom of what was causing the fuse to bust? I think I am having the same issue.
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2015, 11:37 AM
microsoft microsoft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc8333 View Post
Hi Rav08 -

Did you ever get to the bottom of what was causing the fuse to bust? I think I am having the same issue.

I am having the exact same issue. Going to diagnose and disassemble the seat this weekend. Super annoying b/c mine is stuck in the reclined position. Ugh.
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  #19  
Old 10-06-2016, 05:32 PM
delta_sigma delta_sigma is offline
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Hate to dig up an old thread, but I'm glad I came across this. My wheel and seat were both non-responsive to their controls, and it turned out the connection was loose because of the trim seat trim piece. Gave it a wiggle and they're working again, next I have to find out why it sounds like there's gravel crunching in the steering wheel adjustment mechanism.
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  #20  
Old 10-06-2016, 06:26 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I have this exact same problem. Sometimes the 30A fuse would blow the same day I replaced it, and once it lasted 2 weeks before blowing. Now, it blows every time and as soon as I push new fuse in. I disconnected the main connector under driver seat front and the fuse no longer blows, but with that connector unplugged and a new fuse installed and holding, you can not adjust the steering column or the seat. I am wondering how the fuse can blow if you are not actuating any of the seat motors or steering column? I must have a dead short between fuse 13 and the connector. I wonder if it could have anything to do with the memory module inside the door? I even tried a 40A fuse and it blew that size instantly as well. I am showing 28 ohms between "output" side of fuse holder and ground. I am going to pull seat, driver door panel, and disconnect all motors and module hoping the fuse will hold and then I can re-connect one thing at a time. Would understand if fuse pops when trying to adjust seat or adjust steering wheel, but because it blows w/o activating anything it is a little more odd. I also would have expected to read zero ohms (as in a dead short) rather than 28 ohms. I am going to follow this post until someone else figures it out or I do.
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  #21  
Old 10-06-2016, 08:03 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
...
I am going to pull seat, driver door panel, and disconnect all motors and module hoping the fuse will hold and then I can re-connect one thing at a time.
...
I also would have expected to read zero ohms (as in a dead short) rather than 28 ohms. I am going to follow this post until someone else figures it out or I do.
The connections from the seat/column/mirror memory module to steering column motors and the door are signal wires only. Not like to have the current draw, even if failed, to blow the fuse. The steering column motors are fed from F30 in parallel with the seat - if they were sinking 40+ amps, disconnecting the seat wouldn't stop the fuse blowing. The more likely culprit is the seat switch/memory module or one of the seat motors.
EDIT: should be F13 30A, not F30

Before pulling everything else apart, I'd first try disconnecting all the seat motors, replace the fuse and then start re-connecting motors until the fuse blows. Depending on the step at which the fuse blows you'll know which component is faulting: switch/memory module, connector(s) or a particular motor.

This thread shows you how to easily get access to seat adjustment motors, except the headrest height motor in the seat back.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=919783

The 28 ohms is a puzzle all right; should be ~1/2 amp draw, not 40+. It will be interesting to find out how this fault is working.
EDIT2: couldn't be something as simple silly as 28 milli-ohm or micro-ohm could it?

It just occurred - any possibility that one of the seat switches is jammed in a position to move one of the adjustments? Even if, it shouldn't blow the fuse, but might be related.

If it is the seat module, as seems most likely, I recall seeing a DIY repair for the switches either here or B-forums. That is the switches, not the electronic smarts that hold memory. Very finicky job but these modules are pretty pricey unless you can find one at a wrecker.
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Last edited by rdl; 10-06-2016 at 08:14 PM.
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  #22  
Old 10-07-2016, 04:04 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Appreciate your input RDL. Very helpful. With fuse 13 good and the seat connector disconnected, the steering column won't adjust.
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  #23  
Old 10-07-2016, 06:03 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Appreciate your input RDL. Very helpful. With fuse 13 good and the seat connector disconnected, the steering column won't adjust.
It does seem peculiar that the steering column won't adjust although the motors have B+ via F13 independent of the seat module. The control stalk is connected to the seat/column/mirror memory module in the seat. That module then signals the steering column motors to move. I expect this configuration is used so that the module can keep track of positions and know how far & which direction to move the s/column for the 3 stored memory positions.
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  #24  
Old 10-18-2016, 04:14 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I have researched this problem high and low and have found it to be a "common" issue (fuse 13 blowing), but no real answers! One poster said it was seat forward/back motor burnt out. My seat is stuck most of the way back and as soon as a new fuse goes in and the large connector under the seat is connected again, the fuse blows w/o trying to activate anything. Also, with seat connector unplugged, steering wheel motors will not energize. They either get their power from seat connector as well as seat motors or they get the signal trigger only when this connector is plugged in. I have a real issue as I can't move seat forward or back and cant get power to that motor so seat can be removed! Talk about a rock and a hard place... Anyone know how to get seat out when you can't move it to access all 4 bolts?

I am no longer showing any resistance at all between hot lead powering seat motors and ground so can't explain why fuse blows with "infinity" to ground. Can anyone advise what they have uncovered ultimately with the fuse 13 blowing as soon as replaced with nothing activated?
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  #25  
Old 10-18-2016, 07:01 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
...
Anyone know how to get seat out when you can't move it to access all 4 bolts?
...
Perhaps a variation on the suggestion in post 21 above.

Pray the fore-aft motor is OK. i.e. one of the other motors is creating the short that blows F13. Disconnect front pivots & tilt the seat backward for access to the individual motors. Disconnect all motors except fore-aft and try to move it with the switch.

Partial schematics attached may help. It appears that the switch/memory module signals the motors which way to move rather than the switch reversing polarity. So let's hope the module isn't creating the short - it will need to be powered.
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