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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 04-20-2014, 05:17 PM
grnman grnman is offline
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Mein Auto: e39 540i
97 540i will not start

Hi,

I love the forum, it has helped me no end in the past but.... I have not found anything similar to this...

190k miles, new battery in December 2013.

About a month ago, the car would not re start after a short journey, turned the key and everything went dark, no lights, no power to anything. Jump started fine, I charged the battery and all went well for about a month.

I went to start the car at home and again all went dark, no turn of the starter motor, just all dark, no lights panel or otherwise, just dead. I applied power to the terminals under the hood to "reset" the system and allow me access to the battery compartment.

The battery showed 12.4 volt on the multimeter across the battery terminals, but, no joy again. It would seem that if I fully charge the battery I can get a random number of normal starts, then nothing.

Any ideas?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2014, 12:13 AM
soupiemelody soupiemelody is offline
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Location: New York
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 1990 325I 1998 540i/6
alternator not charging
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  #3  
Old 04-21-2014, 10:25 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
You should get 14V+ with the engine running at 1500 RPM. Sounds like the alt is not working.
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  #4  
Old 04-21-2014, 08:23 PM
grnman grnman is offline
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
 
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Mein Auto: e39 540i
Thanks, I shall see if I can get it started tomorrow and check the voltage again.
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2014, 09:25 PM
Beemergirlie Beemergirlie is offline
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Location: Northern California
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 540i 6sp manual
When this happened to me? It was far more ominous! I had everything checked.. Alternator, battery, etc... Turns out my ignition was failing... Eventually my key started to spin freely in its housing to my horror. When I drove it to the shop? It wouldn't even turn the engine off, and I had to step on the brake and stall it to kill the engine.. Something heartbreaking to do to my baby.. I had to wait for over a week while my mechanic LITERALLY SENT MY PROOF OF OWNERSHIP TO BMW and wait for BMW to send me back a factory ignition matching my keys! $1,000.00 later? I was back on the road!
Good luck! Hope it isn't as bad as mine was.. What a freak thing to fail!
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2014, 09:27 PM
Beemergirlie Beemergirlie is offline
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Location: Northern California
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 540i 6sp manual
I think there was a sensor they had to replace too, in the steering column somewhere... If I'm not mistaken? That alone may cause it not to start.. But I could I be wrong, I paid to have it fixed, so I am relying on memory only
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2014, 12:41 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Didn't the invoice give details? I would expect that for $1000!
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2014, 03:49 PM
grnman grnman is offline
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
 
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Mein Auto: e39 540i
More info...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemergirlie View Post
When this happened to me? It was far more ominous! I had everything checked.. Alternator, battery, etc... Turns out my ignition was failing... Eventually my key started to spin freely in its housing to my horror. When I drove it to the shop? It wouldn't even turn the engine off, and I had to step on the brake and stall it to kill the engine.. Something heartbreaking to do to my baby.. I had to wait for over a week while my mechanic LITERALLY SENT MY PROOF OF OWNERSHIP TO BMW and wait for BMW to send me back a factory ignition matching my keys! $1,000.00 later? I was back on the road!
Good luck! Hope it isn't as bad as mine was.. What a freak thing to fail!

Sorry to hear of your woes Beemergirlie; it has been a while but, here is my update: the alternator is putting out 14+ volts. This seems to happen when the car has been standing for a few days. The battery seems to settle around 12.2v, is this enough??? The shop that I got the battery from says the battery is good.... The randomness of the the fault is most annoying.

I hope I do not have the same issues as Beemergirlie, I think it would move it into the uneconomical repair bracket if that is the case.... Any other ideas/suggestions would be most welcome.
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2014, 05:51 PM
SSJRICH 540i's Avatar
SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
00 E39 540i/6 M Sport
Location: Vancouver, BC
 
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Posts: 706
Mein Auto: '00 540i M sport
Check the ground connection to the battery and to the frame. I once had a similar problem with the old e39 and I had a loose ground connection to the battery.

If you have checked out all the suggested things, I would have a shop check it out. You may have a similar problem with either your ignition switch or your ignition cylinder.
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2014, 08:39 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
12.2 V means that the battery is only 50% charged. Get it load-tested.
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