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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 online now
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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
BMW CCA 69606


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 offline
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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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