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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 10-24-2012, 07:51 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Engine fail safe message and now won't start

This just happened to me. Was driving to work and went to pass someone on the road and got the 'engine fail safe prog' message. Soon after the ASC light came on. I tested acceleration and from what I could tell all was well. I pulled into this parking lot to turn the car off for a bit. Now it won't start. No ignition sounds at all. Radio and lights work, key turns, nothing. I'm searching the forums now (I know bluebee got something on this) but all I'm finding ate reports that the car was at least still working in some capacity. For now I have a 3800 pound brick, any suggestions? Could it simply be the battery even though radio works?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2012, 08:23 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Could be anything. Pull the codes as a starting point. Then report back.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2012, 08:33 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Cont...
So after about 15 mins sitting in a parking lot it finally started.
Idles fine, not rough.
Drove for about 2 miles slowly, no issues.
Pressed accelerator 3/4 way down, car accelerated as normal but when I let off I got the 'Engine Failsafe Prog' message followed by ASC 'no traction' light.
Drove the remaining 10-12 miles to work on interstate, accelerated fine, ride was smooth as normal.
Got to parking garage at work, slow driving and idle was normal.
Parked.
The temp gauge remained at its normal setting in the middle.
Looked under the hood, where I have very little exp., and could see nothing wrong. All connections is see, god knows I don't know what they are, look good.

I have had intermittent issue with the ASC/ABS/Brake 'trifecta', could this all be related to a bad ASC module?

Last edited by Ktaylor757; 10-24-2012 at 08:59 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2012, 10:38 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Anytime you get a warning light, PULL THE CODES. Otherwise you can keep typing and we can keep guessing and we will likely never solve your issues. The holy grail to all engine troubleshooting is PULL THE CODES. Otherwise you may as well put on a blindfold, pick up a wrench (any size will do), open the hood and fix your problem. Fix what, you say? It doesn't matter. Without the codes, you are just guessing where to start. And your odds of fixing it are about the same. Totally random.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2012, 11:20 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 10-24-2012 at 11:21 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2012, 12:39 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
So after it sitting for four hours in the parking garage I have returned to the car during my lunch break. Tried to turn it on, nothing. Took about 4 times and it finally started but got the engine fail safe message and ASC light immediately. Also had a rough idle but only for the first few seconds. I drove it around the parking garage at slow speeds, I noticed it shaking a little when stopped. I hit the right button on the display and it no longer said Engine Failsafe prog. I parked it again and shut it off. Tested ignition, turned on without issue or message.

At no time does the temp gauge move to the right, goes to the middle and stays

I will get it 'coded' at Autozone on my way home (if the car starts) but it sounds like maybe a battery issue because I'm guessing that driving around a little charged the battery from the alternator and that's why it turned on the second time so fast.

I could be wrong though since I've had no other battery related symptoms and it started this morning with no issue.

I appreciate any help, I know with out codes were guessing but a lot of those with same or similar issue found no codes.

I'm also posting this as a person reference as to what has and hasn't happened.

Last edited by Ktaylor757; 10-24-2012 at 02:00 PM. Reason: added info
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2012, 01:13 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
***This is for my reference to test later when Im off, not easy going from post to post on iphone**

Test charging system via dash:
Hold down the right button (about 10 seconds) until test 01 shows
Press the left button to get the results of test 1 (your VIN)
Add up the last five VIN digits, e.g., GZ12345 = 1+2+3+4+5=15
Press the right button to go to any LOCK=ON display
Note: This is different than the instructions which say to go to test #19, IIRC
Press the left button until it displays that number (15 in this example)
With that number displayed (e.g., 15), now press the right button (this should unlock the display)
To see alternator output, press the right button to get to test #09
Press the left button to view the results (e.g., 13.7 volts at idle)
Normal battery vlotage at 1000 RPM is 13.5+.

**With car off to test battery do above ^
test - 12.6 V - charged; 12.4 V - 75% charged; 12.2 V 50% charge; 12 V - 25% charged; 11.7 or less fully discharged.

**Check this BEFORE you start or charge the battery because you want to check it BEFORE it receives a "surface charge"...which can give you an untrue reading of the battery's health.
If you run TEST 9 with the engine running...you will get an idea of the car's charging system voltage. With the engine running, you should have voltage numbers between 12.8 - 14+ volts....this is required since you have a 12 volt battery...in order to "replenish" the battery, it needs to receive more than it gives

Reference:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=2091433

Random info:
- Here's quick test............. When you turn on the ignition does the temperature gauge go all the way to red?
If this is the case I've saved you a lot of diagnostic time. You can find and replace the coolant temp sensor (It should be burned up) but you will need schematics to find the fuse that it gets a signal from. I believe the fuse was located in the fuse box under the cabin filter on the passenger side of the engine bay.

- looked under the filter in the engine on the passenger side and found a whole new world of electronics. There is a light brown box with about 7 fuses. All of them are 30's, the little box is hard to open but u will get it. pull out all the fuses and change the burnt one. disconnect the battery for 10 min and then start the car.

Last edited by Ktaylor757; 10-24-2012 at 02:01 PM. Reason: added for personal reference
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2012, 01:25 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 2002 540i6
Good luck, report back once you have the codes.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2012, 05:09 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Battery reads 12.1 wen powered off (radio only thing on). Is this a battery issue, seems like its almost depleted.
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2012, 05:12 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Idling at 13.3 V
Turned on first try after sitting for another 4 hours
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  #11  
Old 10-25-2012, 05:09 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Those readings suggest your alternator is working properly but your battery is failing. The symptoms of a failing battery vary and can often trigger seemingly unrelated warning messages. Search to see if others have had similar symptoms. Depending on the age of your battery, you may want to just replace it. That may or may not cure your symptoms.
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2012, 07:28 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Just went out to start it this morning and it did not.
Same issues as before.
I checked the battery and it looks like it was manufactured on 1/12, crazy that it would be depleted in less than a year.
I have heard these cars using up batteries really fast once the factory one is replaced.
Trying to determine if I should try charging it or just replace it.
The battery reading shows 12 V, thats low right?
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  #13  
Old 10-25-2012, 07:53 AM
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rrtec rrtec is offline
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Location: TN 37174
 
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Mein Auto: 540i/6 4/99
Another thing to look at is your oil level sensor.. I had a similar experience once that the oil sensor in the pan was bad and it stopped the car from starting.. I unplugged the sensor and the car started fine..
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  #14  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:32 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Ill have to check that out.
Is the sensor under the car or in engine bay?
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:56 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Have you had unusual or unexplained fan behavior? A bad FSU will drain your battery when sitting. Charge your battery and monitor it's condition.
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  #16  
Old 10-25-2012, 09:19 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Fan behavior - its a little loud when powering down or driving really slow. No 'issues' with it that I know off.

After about 15 minutes of trying it finally started, I drove about 4 miles and monitored the charging system, it showed 13.7 - 13.9 volts.
Turned the car off when I got to Advanced Auto Parts. Apparently they wont charge the battery without it being removed, I had no tools and the A-hole there didnt provide much help.
Went back out after 5 minutes and car turned on without issue, most likely because the alternator charged it a little.
Drove the 3 miles back and turned car off
Checked the battery charge, 12.5 right now (most likely due to charging from alt)
Going to wait about 1 hour and go back out and check the battery charge voltage, something has to be draining it, battery isnt even a year old.
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  #17  
Old 10-25-2012, 09:30 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Mein Auto: 530i 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ktaylor757 View Post
Just went out to start it this morning and it did not.
Same issues as before.
I checked the battery and it looks like it was manufactured on 1/12, crazy that it would be depleted in less than a year.
I have heard these cars using up batteries really fast once the factory one is replaced.
Trying to determine if I should try charging it or just replace it.
The battery reading shows 12 V, thats low right?
12V on a good battery at 60-70F indicates between 25% and 0% of full charge. On a battery charged to as much as it will take, it indicates failed battery.

Regards the date. Did you find the date the battery was installed or date manufactured? Depending on retail channel, batteries have been known to sit on a shelf for years and then fail "prematurely." Also are you certain "1/12" is January 2012 or could it be December 2001?
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  #18  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:04 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Regards the date. Did you find the date the battery was installed or date manufactured? Depending on retail channel, batteries have been known to sit on a shelf for years and then fail "prematurely." Also are you certain "1/12" is January 2012 or could it be December 2001?[/QUOTE]

Spoke to PO to confirm, battery was replaced this Spring. The manufacturer date seems to be correcct
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  #19  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:14 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
sorry, couldnt quote correctly.

Either way I think Im having the 'battery drain' issue so many have had.
I verified that the car does go into 'sleep mode' after 16 mins (P light on shifter goes out and no fans running)
I didnt mention this before ... the A/C comes on each time I start the car after its been off for more than 15-20 minutes (if i run into a store real quick and come out and turn it on the A/C is off)
This may be due to the fact that the 'Auto' setting on A/C doesnt really work, the button is stuck down and I believe this may be a culprit ... maybe
Checking the old service records I see the PO told the Indy that he could not lower the A/C blower speed manually but Auto function works fine, they suggested replacing the A/C panel/control unit to fix, it was not done.
I then see that when he had this new radio installed the installers had to disable something that now makes the auto function no longer operable, the button feels stuck down.

Im still TS this but Im thinking that the workaround is going to get the battery recharged and try to find a way to make the AC not come on when powering on the car.
All these systems kinda make me want to just buy a less 'German' car lol
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  #20  
Old 10-25-2012, 11:03 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ktaylor757 View Post
Checking the old service records I see the PO told the Indy that he could not lower the A/C blower speed manually but Auto function works fine, they suggested replacing the A/C panel/control unit to fix, it was not done.
This sure sounds like a possible FSU problem to me. I suggest you search FSU and compare symptoms. This would totally explain why a new battery is dying overnite. For all you know, the AC fan kicks on when you are alseep!
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  #21  
Old 10-25-2012, 12:19 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Going through the FSU posts now.

I just went to autozone and had the battery load tested and its tested 100% so the battery is fine and just being depleted overnight or long periods of sitting I guess.

I do have one weird observation though ... While driving home from autozone I accelerated and it went into Engine Failsafe Prog again, like yesterday. Didn't notice any reduction in performance so I drove the 5 or so miles back home. When I put it in Park the tach went up to about 1250 RPMs and stayed steady. I put it in Drive, tach went down to normal, I put it in reverse and its at normal level but when I put it in neutral it goes back up to 1250 RPMs.

Turned it off and went back inside wondering what the hell could be causing this.

Any other words of wisdom before I call the Indy?

Thanks for the info so far guys, would be in a shear panic if it wasn't for the forum
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  #22  
Old 10-26-2012, 08:47 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
Day three update for reference:

Started fine this morning
Drove less than 25 feet and went into engine Failsafe, slight performance decrease. Drove about 1/2 mile, no other issue. Temp normal.

Parked for 2+ hours
Started without issue
Drove about 4 blocks and car went into engine Failsafe and started 'chugging', revs up and down, rarely any peddle response

Pulled over into shopping center and parked.
Towing to Indy now

Fingers crossed
And I've only owned this for 3 1/3 months, guess its the cost of ownership. Kinda missing my Honda right now
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  #23  
Old 10-26-2012, 01:34 PM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
so I took it to the Indy ... they say the throttle body assembly needs to be replaced.
He also mentioned that the thermostat was failing and scared me into getting it replaced as well.
Everything plus the tow (10.5 miles) and diagnostic cost 1150$
Im scrambling for the money now, this sucks
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  #24  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:10 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
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Mein Auto: e39 2002 540i6
Sorry to hear that.

Thermostat are fairly common failure, mine went. Followed by the water pump a week or so later. Have you any idea how old the cooling system is? Recommendation is to replace the lot roughly every 60k/5 years. If you don't you end up with it failing one item at a time and multiple tow truck trip to the shop/home. With these car you do need to factor in a reasonable amount of money for maintenance that you wouldn't need to on most other cars (e.g. cooling system). I think they were designed by German's for German's, so they expect to be maintained in a German style....
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:14 AM
Ktaylor757 Ktaylor757 is offline
E39 540i Sport
Location: Virginia Beach
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 42
Mein Auto: 2003 540i w/Sport Package
After getting this 'repaired' (Throttle assembly replaced by Indy) all was well .... until today. While driving to work I merged into traffic on the highway and pressed the accelerator about 3/4 down and heard the chime and saw Engine Failsafe Prog. I almost LOST IT i was so mad. No performance issue so I drove the remaining 10 miles to work. About 8 miles in the ASC light came on.
I parked and checked under the hood, all 'looks' good. Im at work now, hopefully this was a fluke but Im getting scared ... If this is another 1000$ fix then Im selling this car.
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