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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 05-23-2012, 06:51 AM
766jack 766jack is offline
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e39 DME replacement!! HELP!!

My check engine light went on simultaneously as my 2001 540i started shaking while I was driving at low speeds last Friday. I ended up driving it carefully to the nearest Indie shop who read the codes, and stated that I would possibly need a new fuel injector. They installed the fuel injector but the codes did not go away and the car still shakes when its on. They said I need to take it to the dealership because they think something is wrong with the computer. So I get the car towed this time, just to be careful i dont fuk up the catalytic converter, and they assess the car. It took them 2 hours to figure out that "the thermostat melted, coolant leaked onto the DME and short circuited it." The cost of the DME is $1600 and 8 hours of labor at $135. Dude was like, "I can drop the labor to $125/hr".

Total is 2865 plus tax = $3069.02

I almost wanted to cry.

What are my options to get this fixed?
Anyone ever do this job and know what the fair costs are for parts and labor?

Any help is appreciated.

thanks....
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2012, 09:57 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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There has been at least one incident like yours. Eight hours of labor sounds high, but coding a DME to your car, and replacing the t'stat harness may be quite involved.

I suspect a well-equipped indie could do the job, and may save some time/money.

BMW should have fused that line by itself. Instead, the 'stat is fed from a 30A fuse!
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  #3  
Old 05-23-2012, 10:56 AM
766jack 766jack is offline
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A technician at the BMW dealership offered up $1500 for my car should I decide to let it go...

I am thinking of purchasing a DME from ebay and having it installed at a indie.. but that would mean I have to use one key to open my car and another to start the car..
not a big deal right?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/280875922826...witem=&vxp=mtr

How do I find out what kind of engine I have?
I have a 2001 BMW 540i.
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  #4  
Old 05-23-2012, 12:00 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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I recenetly had my DME fail as well. This is what you need to do: Go on eBay and find a used DME that matches your existing DME exactly. I paid $89 for one shipped to my door. You shouldn't pay anymore than $100 bucks. Once you get your 'new' DME, ship it along with one working key and your EWS to this place http://www.rmsonlinestore.com/ , they will align all three parts. I believe I paid about $475 or so with shipping and tax. That is your cheapest option I believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 766jack View Post
A technician at the BMW dealership offered up $1500 for my car should I decide to let it go...

I am thinking of purchasing a DME from ebay and having it installed at a indie.. but that would mean I have to use one key to open my car and another to start the car..
not a big deal right?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/280875922826...witem=&vxp=mtr

How do I find out what kind of engine I have?
I have a 2001 BMW 540i.
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2012, 09:27 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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Wow thanks borahatch! After I buy a used DME, send it off to get aligned... Get it back and then have an indie shop install it ? And it will work with my key that I send them? How many hours did they charge you for this?
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  #6  
Old 05-24-2012, 01:25 AM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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It's much simpler than that, my friend. Once you get your DME, EWS and key back, all you have to do is plug your DME and EWS back in and start your car! No need for any additional work. If you need help locating and uninstalling your EWS or DME just let me know.

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Originally Posted by 766jack View Post
Wow thanks borahatch! After I buy a used DME, send it off to get aligned... Get it back and then have an indie shop install it ? And it will work with my key that I send them? How many hours did they charge you for this?
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2012, 02:33 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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So you're saying you replaced your DME on your own??
Yes please enlighten me on how to do this...

also, i did mention that the BMW dealership stated that the thermostat melted, so i would think that there is a little bit more labor to replacing the t'stat harness.. which im not too familiar on how to do that..

I'm going to pick up my car now from the dealership..

not sure If I should drive it home or get it towed..

But they are def charging me 2 hours for diagnosing the problem.. fml
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2012, 02:41 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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is this what i need? i know you said it shouldnt be more than $100, how come all the ebay auctions for the set cost $350-800?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E39-KEY-...210d5b&vxp=mtr
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:45 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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Yeah I replaced my DME on my own. It's as simple as unplugging 5 harnesses and pulling it out. If you're looking at your engine from the front, your DME is located in the ebox on left hand side underneath your passenger-side cabin air filter. All you have to do is take the cabin filter off and remove 5 allen head screws. Remove the ebox lid and you'll see relays, a bunch of wires and a few modules. The DME is the top (closest to the firewall) module I believe. Unplug the harnesses and presto, your DME is free. Your EWS is located underneath your steering wheel on the left hand side. You'll need to take off your lower dash piece to gain access if I remember correctly. It's held on with two screws.

You'll need to get to your DME before you get a used one from eBay as you'll need to get one with matching part numbers to your old one. When I was going through this myself, I was seeing DMEs going from 150 down to 89 bucks on eBay. There were a few for under a 100. Which is why I said you shouldn't pay more than that for one. That price is for the DME alone. The auctions you keep showing are for a DME, EWS, ignition ring, key and door locks I believe. Hence the higher price.

I believe if you were to get one of those kits, you could install everything and be good to go. That may be something to consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 766jack View Post
is this what i need? i know you said it shouldnt be more than $100, how come all the ebay auctions for the set cost $350-800?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E39-KEY-...210d5b&vxp=mtr
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:47 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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As far as the t'stat harness, I'm no help there, sorry. My DME melted for other reasons not related to my t'stat.
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2012, 08:41 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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Dude you are the most awesome person in the world right now! lol

- what do you mean by matching part numbers? where do i look for these numbers on the DME?

thanks for clearing up the kits vs. just buying the DME! I dont need the ignition ring or EWS because they are not broken.. all i need to send is the EWS, DME and my key is that right?

I will be tackling this job for the entire weekend.. ive never had to take off the lower dash, are the screws visible from just looking up?

I really appreciate all the information and advice man.. you have no idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by borahatch View Post
Yeah I replaced my DME on my own. It's as simple as unplugging 5 harnesses and pulling it out. If you're looking at your engine from the front, your DME is located in the ebox on left hand side underneath your passenger-side cabin air filter. All you have to do is take the cabin filter off and remove 5 allen head screws. Remove the ebox lid and you'll see relays, a bunch of wires and a few modules. The DME is the top (closest to the firewall) module I believe. Unplug the harnesses and presto, your DME is free. Your EWS is located underneath your steering wheel on the left hand side. You'll need to take off your lower dash piece to gain access if I remember correctly. It's held on with two screws.

You'll need to get to your DME before you get a used one from eBay as you'll need to get one with matching part numbers to your old one. When I was going through this myself, I was seeing DMEs going from 150 down to 89 bucks on eBay. There were a few for under a 100. Which is why I said you shouldn't pay more than that for one. That price is for the DME alone. The auctions you keep showing are for a DME, EWS, ignition ring, key and door locks I believe. Hence the higher price.

I believe if you were to get one of those kits, you could install everything and be good to go. That may be something to consider.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2012, 08:50 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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hey borahatch, that website you recommended has ECU kits for $599 that includes 1 Bosch ECU (DME) 0261204620 or 0261207106 , 1 EWS (Anti Theft) , 2 Non Remote Keys and 1 Programmed Key Chip:

http://www.rmsonlinestore.com/BMW-E3...m?productId=46

whats the difference in doing what you said (buying a used DME for about $100, and shipping it out to get aligned with my EWS and DME and KEY for $475 totaling around $575) vs (buying this new ECU Kit for $599) ?
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2012, 09:20 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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You're welcome man! I understand how it feels to have your car down and possibly facing huge repair bills. Anyway I can give back to the forum I'm all for it.

Matching numbers: on your DME you're going to see a series of numbers. One series will be a Bosch part number, the next will be a BMW part number and the third will be an original program number that will be specific to your car. When sourcing a used DME all you need to do is find one with the Bosch and BMW part numbers matching. You will need your original program number when sending off your 'new' DME to be aligned to your EWS and key.

I just looked up my invoice and I paid a total of $402.50 for the reprogramming, and $89 for my eBay DME. So going this route still turns out to be the most economical. If for some reason you can't source a matching DME, that $599 option of a new EWS, DME and keys sounds pretty good.

As soon as I get back home, I'll take a look at my car again and see if I can explain a little better where the EWS is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 766jack View Post
hey borahatch, that website you recommended has ECU kits for $599 that includes 1 Bosch ECU (DME) 0261204620 or 0261207106 , 1 EWS (Anti Theft) , 2 Non Remote Keys and 1 Programmed Key Chip:

http://www.rmsonlinestore.com/BMW-E3...m?productId=46

whats the difference in doing what you said (buying a used DME for about $100, and shipping it out to get aligned with my EWS and DME and KEY for $475 totaling around $575) vs (buying this new ECU Kit for $599) ?
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  #14  
Old 05-24-2012, 11:00 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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I just looked at my old DME and it has numbers all over. Easy to get confused. There should be a smaller tan colored tag. That tag's bottom number will be your DME program number. Also, I think I remember seeing instructions on the rpm site about getting to the EWS. If not, however, it's simple enough. All you have to do is take off the wood trim to the left and right of your steering wheel. You'll see a couple of screws that hold the lower dash in place. Remove those. I believe there are screws/clips near the peddles that help hold on the lower dash piece. Once all those are removed, it easily slips out of the way. You'll see a little white box with a wire harness attached. That is your EWS. When you actually start to take it all apart, it'll be easy to see everything I'm talking about.
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Last edited by borahatch; 05-25-2012 at 09:56 AM.
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  #15  
Old 05-25-2012, 07:02 AM
rdc8118 rdc8118 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borahatch View Post
I just looked at my old DME and it has numbers all over. Easy to get confused. There should be a smaller tan colored tag. That tag's bottom number will be your DME program number. Also, I think I remember seeing instructions on the rms site about getting to the EWS.
The FAQ section of the website shows where the program number is on the sticker

https://www.rpmmotorsport.net/Where_...rogram_No.html


Thanks for the link borahatch. Never new this service existed
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  #16  
Old 05-25-2012, 09:49 AM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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Good find! Same here. I didn't know they existed until I needed their services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdc8118 View Post
The FAQ section of the website shows where the program number is on the sticker

https://www.rpmmotorsport.net/Where_...rogram_No.html


Thanks for the link borahatch. Never new this service existed
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  #17  
Old 05-25-2012, 10:46 AM
766jack 766jack is offline
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aw man, i really hope i can do this and save myself a trillion dollars lol

I will be working on this all wkd
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  #18  
Old 05-25-2012, 11:09 AM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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You'll be able to pull it off, I'm sure. Let us know how it goes.

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aw man, i really hope i can do this and save myself a trillion dollars lol

I will be working on this all wkd
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  #19  
Old 05-25-2012, 12:17 PM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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One more thing. Be sure to check the DME fuse pack when you take your DME out. You'll see a little pack of 5 fuses above the DME. I had a couple of those blown. I'm sure yours will be similar.
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  #20  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:24 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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What was EWS stand for?
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  #21  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:44 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Wait, how exactly did they know the DME is bad?
And how does coolant get all the way up into the DME back in the rear of the engine bay??
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  #22  
Old 05-26-2012, 01:06 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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Gotcha! i will check the fuses

Quote:
Originally Posted by borahatch View Post
One more thing. Be sure to check the DME fuse pack when you take your DME out. You'll see a little pack of 5 fuses above the DME. I had a couple of those blown. I'm sure yours will be similar.
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  #23  
Old 05-26-2012, 01:08 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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I dunno how they determined it.. its the BMW dealership, they SHOULD know how these cars work so they did a 2-hr diagnosis and determined that the thermostat melted causing coolant to leak onto the DME wiring... something like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
Wait, how exactly did they know the DME is bad?
And how does coolant get all the way up into the DME back in the rear of the engine bay??
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  #24  
Old 05-26-2012, 01:14 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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EWS stands for Electronische Wegfahrsperre... German for "Electronic Drive Away Protection"... a relay module for theft protection and safety

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What was EWS stand for?
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  #25  
Old 05-29-2012, 07:04 PM
766jack 766jack is offline
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dude i totally found the DME and pulled it out, checked it, and saw the coolant that leaked into it... the middle harness was the one that caused it!!!! (thermostat wiring)





Here's a pic of the DME that shows the middle harness leaked coolant onto the DME that short circuited it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by borahatch View Post
Yeah I replaced my DME on my own. It's as simple as unplugging 5 harnesses and pulling it out. If you're looking at your engine from the front, your DME is located in the ebox on left hand side underneath your passenger-side cabin air filter. All you have to do is take the cabin filter off and remove 5 allen head screws. Remove the ebox lid and you'll see relays, a bunch of wires and a few modules. The DME is the top (closest to the firewall) module I believe. Unplug the harnesses and presto, your DME is free. Your EWS is located underneath your steering wheel on the left hand side. You'll need to take off your lower dash piece to gain access if I remember correctly. It's held on with two screws.

You'll need to get to your DME before you get a used one from eBay as you'll need to get one with matching part numbers to your old one. When I was going through this myself, I was seeing DMEs going from 150 down to 89 bucks on eBay. There were a few for under a 100. Which is why I said you shouldn't pay more than that for one. That price is for the DME alone. The auctions you keep showing are for a DME, EWS, ignition ring, key and door locks I believe. Hence the higher price.

I believe if you were to get one of those kits, you could install everything and be good to go. That may be something to consider.
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Last edited by 766jack; 05-29-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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