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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 10-04-2012, 07:44 PM
gm559 gm559 is offline
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Location: Woodlake, CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 528i
Can I get some help?

Winter is getting closer so I let my car warm up in the morning. It seems like it wants to turn off the rpms drop under 1000. It's turned off twice and I have no clue why.

Also its a 99 528i and when I put the key in and turn on the electrical on the radio doesn't turn on, the steering wheel doesn't adjust, and the horn don't honk. This only happens sometimes. I also noticed that when they do work the airbag light comes on. The only way I can fix it is take the key out and put it back it multiple times till it works.
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2012, 06:36 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 530i 2003
The first, best step is to have the codes/DTCs read with a BMW E39 aware diagnostic system able to read every module in the car. A generic OBD code reader will be inadequate. These read only the emissions and safety related DTCs mandated by law. Several of the symptoms you are experiencing are rooted in other modules.

The DTCs will identify the module(s) and fault(s) to start the root cause analysis, probably plural.
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  #3  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:47 AM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Location: Here, there, everywhere....
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 330Ci ZHP 3 pedals
Quote:
Originally Posted by gm559 View Post
Winter is getting closer so I let my car warm up in the morning. It seems like it wants to turn off the rpms drop under 1000. It's turned off twice and I have no clue why.

Also its a 99 528i and when I put the key in and turn on the electrical on the radio doesn't turn on, the steering wheel doesn't adjust, and the horn don't honk. This only happens sometimes. I also noticed that when they do work the airbag light comes on. The only way I can fix it is take the key out and put it back it multiple times till it works.
Recent BMWs are *extremely* battery-dependent, and a weak or failing battery can cause all sorts of seemingly unrelated problems. Anything beyond 4 years old is usually considered to "be on thin ice", so be advised. A failing battery can also destroy your alternator, leading to more expensive repairs.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:01 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,167
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
The first, best step is to have the codes/DTCs read with a BMW E39 aware diagnostic system able to read every module
What he said.

[ONLY] If you're computer saavy, you can (even) download the software here:
- The most often recommended BMW diagnostic tools & cable interfaces (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
the root cause analysis, probably plural.
What he said again. You have multiple problems.

Isolate them, one by one.

For example, does your driver seat NOT adjust electrically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
a weak or failing battery can cause all sorts of seemingly unrelated problems
What he said too. Ask me how I know.
- One user's experience debugging a half-dead instrument cluster (1) which, after testing the fuses (1) battery & alternator (1) thankfully turned into an alternative battery search (1) and a simple battery replacement DIY (1)

My advice?

1. Fix the title of this thread and you'll get more help from us, today, and in the future. Everyone needs help. Please edit your first post to make the title more descriptive.
- Suggestions for forum subject titles (1)

2. Isolate the problems, one by one. First and foremost, charge the battery and then bring it to Autozone or O'Reillys for a free charging & starting system test.

3. Search the VERY best of E39 Links for each of your problems, e.g., /airbag F3, /alternator F3, /steering wheel F3, /ignition key F3, etc.

The oracle at Delphi couldn't tell you more than what is in those bestlinks already explaining the solution to all your problems above.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #5  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:55 AM
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chiefwej chiefwej is offline
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Location: Tucson, AZ
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 540i/6 //m-tech
Your problems could be the ignition switch. Radio, seat and steering wheel power issues are often traced back to the ignition switch. Try moving the visor down and back, both with the visor light on and off to see if affects any of your problems. If so it's probably the ignition switch.
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  #6  
Old 10-05-2012, 12:18 PM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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Mein Auto: 00 528i 3 pedals
The first issue sounds like a vanos problem.
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  #7  
Old 10-05-2012, 12:52 PM
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Nline6 Nline6 is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
 
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Mein Auto: E36 M3
My 528i, when cold and idling to warm up proir to driving in the morning seems to let the idle "dip" almost killing the engine. It has only died once but once the engine is at operating temp the "dip" tends to go away.
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2012, 01:27 PM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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Location: VA
 
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Mein Auto: 00 528i 3 pedals
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nline6 View Post
My 528i, when cold and idling to warm up proir to driving in the morning seems to let the idle "dip" almost killing the engine. It has only died once but once the engine is at operating temp the "dip" tends to go away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
The first issue sounds like a vanos problem.
A good way to check is to unplug the vanos solenoid prior to a cold start in the morning and start the car. If the issue does not happen, then it's your vanos seals.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2012, 02:22 PM
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Nline6 Nline6 is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,339
Mein Auto: E36 M3
Thank you, I was considering replaceing my Vanos seals anyways. I think I feel a slight sluggishness in the low RPMs but she moves just fine after 4k rpm. I will try to unplug it next time and see what happends.
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:29 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Location: LA
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 120k
Your electrical issues are exactly described when the ignition switch fails.

DIY:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=356553
http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/244045

Last edited by EconoBox; 10-05-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2012, 05:23 PM
JasonSC540ia JasonSC540ia is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 740i
Tilt and horn not working....your ignition switch. No doubt.
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