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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 03-15-2011, 01:14 PM
ben753 ben753 is offline
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Thumbs up Awesome MID Pixel Repair Experience with VDO

I bought VDO's repair service for my absolutely lousy looking MID display via an eBay auction for $195, which included USPS Priority shipping back to me. Shipped the unit from Seattle to SoCal on Tuesday, 3/8 using FedEx ground, VDO received mid-day on Friday, 3/11, repaired it either that afternoon or Saturday morning, shipped it back to me Saturday, 3/12 , and the good old USPS man passed it off to me Monday, 3/14 afternoon.

Result? It looks brand new. I'm not kidding. Absolutely perfect and now I feel foolish for not doing this years earlier. Seriously.

Don't waste your time with trying to repair the unit yourself, don't buy a replacement from some other source that will need to be reprogrammed, just send your existing MID to VDO, sit back and relax knowing you'll have a perfect and permanent fix.

You can find the item on eBay by searching under "BMW MID repair".
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2011, 01:30 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Well,

You could have done the whole thing on your kitchen table at no cost.
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2011, 01:34 PM
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G-Moussa G-Moussa is offline
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I just bought one off of ebay for a little bit more than that, looks almost brand new, unplugged my old one, plugged the new one in... all the settings stayed the same, didn't even have to adjust a thing other than the install, but glad this worked out for you :P
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2011, 01:38 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Thanks for sharing your experience. It's good to know that there's a company out there that can do this and do it well. Not everyone is comfortable with DIY work...or has the time. I'm sure those that fall into that camp really appreciate your testimonial.
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2011, 02:23 PM
ben753 ben753 is offline
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I'm curious about your method as the vast majority of DIY instructions I've seen are full of warnings and disclaimers about ruining the MID, using acetone and razor blades, etc.

If you've found a fool-proof solution that's free, I'd love to hear about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Well,

You could have done the whole thing on your kitchen table at no cost.
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2011, 05:06 PM
xraye39 xraye39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben753 View Post
don't buy a replacement from some other source that will need to be reprogrammed
Congrats on getting your MID repaired, for the record though the MID does not need to be reprogrammed.
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2011, 05:59 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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From the VERY best of E39 Links, you have MANY options for repair ...

- CLUSTER PIXELS FAIL LINE BY LINE: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on the instrument cluster causing dead pixels (1) [cluster removal instructions (1) (2)]
- MID PIXELS SLOWLY DIE: press-fit pink connection tape lifts up over time on MID causing dead pixels (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) [MID removal instructions (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)] [MID pixel test sequence (1) ]

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
What options are available for E39 instrument cluster repair?
1. BMW NA (about $400 for parts, with free goodwill labor)
2. BMW Parts Source (about $250)
3. VDO Repair (about $350)
4. ATE (about $?)
5. DIY ribbon replacement ($30 here) (tools here)
6. Salvage-yard or refurbished (about $250?)
7. bimmer.netne.net (repairs clusters for $190 + $24 shipping)
8. anything else?

DETAILS:
From this thread (where the PO illegally removed the SES, BRAKE, DSC, and ABS discrete LEDs), I found out that ATE (http://www.autoecu.com) fixes instrument clusters.

From this post, I find out that VDORepair (http://www.vdorepair.com) will repair your instrument cluster for about $350 (includes shipping & lifetime warranty).

From this thread
, I find out that Patrick, at BMWPartsSource (a sponsor) will repair the cluster for about $300 (depending on warranty). Money back if the cluster can not be repaired.

From this thread, (and this thread) I found out that some BMW dealers claim BMW has "discontinued goodwill cluster replacements"; however, others disagree and say it will cost you about $400 at the dealer to repair your cluster (2-year warranty). They also do gauges and plastic parts.

From this thread, we find the more risky DIY method costs about $40, including shipping.

And, of course, you can always get a refurbished cluster.

What other options exist for repairing dead pixels in the instrument cluster?

Note:
- How to remove the instrument cluster (1) (2)
Note: That quote covers the cluster - but it's essentially the same for the MID with the exception of the first option.
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  #8  
Old 03-15-2011, 06:24 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben753 View Post
VDO's repair service for my absolutely lousy looking MID display via an eBay auction for $195
Looks like VDO's price went down a whopping amount (from $350 to ~$200) since I last researched this topic (yes, I realize it was an auction but they'd never accept business if it wasn't in their best interest).

So, that changes the price comparison a bit (which means all the prices have to be checked again - which I'm not going to do ... but I would ask the NEXT person contemplating a pixel fix do for us and report back).

The "challengers" in the pixel-repair business seem to be:
  1. BMW NA [cluster only](about $400 for parts, with free goodwill labor)
  2. BMW Parts Source (about $250, contact Patrick)
  3. VDO Repair (was about $350; appears to be around $200 now)
  4. ATE, aka autoecu, (about $?)
  5. Salvage-yard or refurbished (about $250?)
  6. bimmer.netne.net (repairs clusters for $190 + $24 shipping)
  7. DNA Speedometers BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (?$)
  8. PixelFix.net BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (€27 for the cable)
  9. ?anything else?
To freshen up the best links, I created this keyword-rich sentence just now:

What are all the 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) & how to remove the E39 instrument cluster (1) (2) & a summary of the BMW NA cluster-repair goodwill policy (1) & how to fix the MID pixels yourself (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to remove the MID (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) and how to test the MID (1)
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:24 PM
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540iman 540iman is online now
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Glad you had a great experience, but there are others out there, in same area, are just as fast, same price or less w/o auction, offer lifetime guarantee-just telling you there are more options than ever before.

Oh, please don't spread rumor that any re-program is necessary whether you repair your unit or buy another. There is NO RECODING to the MID.
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  #10  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:34 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
just telling you there are more options than ever before
I agree with everything Bill says.

When these guys pop up with these glowing testimonials, I always wonder if it's a set up or not. The reason I wonder is that they never present a balanced picture. It's always "this guy is so great" but it doesn't cover the plethora of choices we have.

Personally, I haven't even researched this myself (just cursorily) and I can find more than a half-dozen solutions. If I was planning on doing the job, I'd bet I'd find three times that many out there, and one would be workable for probably half or so of what most are paying.

Just look at the PBT headlight adjusters, for example. Once I did the research (because I needed it myself), I found over twenty solutions, which dropped the cost for Delrin & Nylon adjusters to $50 for both headlights and the aluminum down to $100 for both headlights and down to $5 for both headlights if you want to make your own (which, I must say, are trivially simple to make as explained in the threads) out of Delrin or HDPE plastics easily available anywhere.

And, look at the huge leap you gave us with gaining control on the DIAGNOSIS of the amber ABS + BRAKE + DSC trifecta! With your pinout information, and expected results, we've now turned that guessing game into a very logical easy-to-follow 10-minute ABS-troubleshooting DIY. That too has a plethora of options, as you have contributed to the $0 dollar option (i.e., fix it yourself) to sending them out for repairs (BBA/MM/ATE) to buying a new module (EACTuning or OemBimmerparts).

Point is, I agree: To the OP:
There 'are' a lot of solutions out there. VDO is one good one. So are others. Around the same price.

But, if anyone knows of any other MID pixel repair options, please append to this thread:
- What options are available for E39 instrument cluster repair?

BTW, Is there anything else, when new, that needs to be 'registered' (other than the cluster & ABS control module)?

Last edited by bluebee; 03-15-2011 at 07:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-16-2011, 12:49 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
BTW, Is there anything else, when new, that needs to be 'registered' (other than the cluster & ABS control module)?
Bluebee...I'm assuming by "registered" you mean "coded"? If you mean coded...off the top of my head:
  • DME/ECU
  • LCM
  • EWS control module
  • AMP (audio...if it came from an e38 or e53 {or e39 that doesn't have exactly the same audio set-up & options} )
  • IHKA (if upgrading from one w/REST button to one w/MAX button...your car may not have the software to run the latest MAX programming)
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #12  
Old 03-16-2011, 02:32 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
Bluebee...I'm assuming by "registered" you mean "coded"? If you mean coded...off the top of my head
I'm not sure 'what' I mean, but, what I intended to mean was things that, when replaced in the E39, force you to consider visiting the stealer just so that the rest of the components in the E39 play nicely with each other.

To get to the bottom of this, I'd add the instrument cluster (which, at the very least, needs a VIN change, right?).

And, would the keyfob be in this category?

Certainly the ABS control module is implicated, isn't it?

Anyway, all of this is OFF TOPIC for a MID pixel repair, so I opened a thread just for this just now:
- What is the definitive list of E39 modules which, when replaced, need to be 'coded'?
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2011, 09:17 PM
540MSport 540MSport is offline
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Just finished replacing the Flex cable in my MID

Great to have all the pixels back again.

Bought the flex cable and T-Iron from germanaudiotech.

Replacing the flex cable is not easy but is doable as a DIY.
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2012, 02:40 AM
touring89 touring89 is offline
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I wanna get mine done
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2012, 08:41 AM
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JoeBimmmer JoeBimmmer is offline
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German Audio Tech repairs MID's for around $145. VERY quick turnaround. Recommended.
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  #16  
Old 10-02-2012, 06:45 PM
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GSA1 GSA1 is offline
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VDO Experience

I can recommend VDO highly. I sent in 3 MIDs and marked the one I wanted back. Total $105. shipped. Lifetime warranty. Looks like new.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:17 PM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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Yup another +1 for VDO, they even fixed my servo motors (The things that move the needles) and at a great price too!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:32 PM
mikeson mikeson is offline
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I repaired mine from this place. it was $200 but you can wait outside while they repair it for you.

So those who are in SOCAL area, please check out this place. I highly recommend it.
this one is in LA

http://www.shop.modulerepairpro.com/
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2012, 11:05 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSA1 View Post
I can recommend VDO highly. I sent in 3 MIDs and marked the one I wanted back. Total $105. shipped. Lifetime warranty. Looks like new.
I can also vouch for VDO Repair doing a great job. Unfortunately I had to take advantage of their "lifetime warranty" but they came through with prompt and stellar service, could not be happier.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:07 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBimmmer View Post
German Audio Tech repairs MID's for around $145. VERY quick turnaround. Recommended.
Unfortunately, I had a very bad experience with them. It may have been the exception, but it took them three tries to fix mine, and on the fourth, they simply gave me an exchange unit...which the display failed a couple years later...and they refused to honor their "lifetime" warranty.

I went with VDO Repair subsequently, very honest and reputable folks.
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