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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 01-07-2010, 05:13 PM
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Failed smog due to P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction

I failed the California smog check today due to P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction.

Do you think driving for a week or two w/o the ABS control module "confused" a computer mileage reading somewhere?

HISTORY:
- ABS/Brake/DSC lights, yet all four wheel sensors tested good long ago
- I don't like to replace anything w/o proving it's bad so it took me 9 months to give up on trying to prove an ABS module is bad
- I installed a rebuilt ABS module after a few weeks of driving w/o it (which added the SES light to the trio)
- The Service Engine Soon light went out within a day of re-installing the rebuilt ABS control module
- However, a day later I failed the California smog check due to a speed sensor malfunction
- The shop cleared the codes but it still will fail (they told me) because the data banks are empty (huh?)
- Anyway, could it be a transmission sensor is confused by the miles driven w/o the ABS on the car?




Last edited by bluebee; 01-07-2010 at 05:35 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2010, 06:06 PM
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your going to need to drive it for anywhere from 40-100 miles. the car has to rerun all the 8 test it performs after clearing the ses light. normally it takes at least 40 miles, i did have to drive 100 the last time i needed to get mine inspected but i was trying something it'ed worked. also as for the speed sensor, that normally is the sensor gone bad, but i belive you may be able to clean it for a better contact. but you could just drive the thing and wait to see if the light comes on. after 40 take it back and have it retested, as long as the light stays out you should be good. and also check your local laws for inspections. like here, after clearing the check light, you can have 3 test not in the ready state,performed by the car ecu, and as long as the light stays out, your car passes.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
the car has to rerun 8 tests it performs after clearing the ses light ... normally it takes at least 40 miles ... but you could just drive the thing and wait to see if the light comes on.
Hi Lild,
Thanks for taking the time to help me.

I'm pretty sure the light will never come on because the ABS is brand newly rebuilt and all four speed sensors tested good.

I'm trying to figure out what the BMW computer is "thinking" when it tells the garage that a sensor failed so it's good to know what those 8 tests are. What's the keyword I should search for to find what those 8 tests are so I can figure out what the computer is doing when the ABS module is rebuilt.

BTW, the garage thinks it's the transmission sensor (which also I don't yet know how to test) ... so I still have a long way to go even though I've gone a long way ...

Moving forward, I'm borrowing a friend's OBDII tester which should tell me if the last 50 miles or so have thrown that code that they cleared at the shop when they failed it for smog - but I'm pretty sure nothing will show up - so that's why it's important that I figure out the details of the 8 tests that the computer runs.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:58 PM
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the test are the o2's, and heated 02's, smog, misfire, catylist, these are just 4 of the test, i can't remember what the others are. but when you use your buddies scanner, you hit the scan button and wati. the next thing you should see, is no codes, then no inc. (incomplete test) and then 8 ready, and then you'll see the 8 ready test listed one by one. and these test are just the emissions test. any other will show up as a code. but if all your lights are out and stay out and if the scanner show all the test ready, and no codes you should be good to go. remember you may be able to have 3 incomplete test and still pass. and a pd=pending code, they can't hold that against you and won't fail a car for inspection, it only means you may have or not have a problem.
please again check your local laws for inspections, i hate to say this but some shops won't pass a car over something that isn't really required, just to make an extra buck.
here's a trick a buddy of mine at a inspection station told me, "if you scan it, and the test show up ready, and the light stays off, come back, leave the car running and tell us that it's running, and not to cut if off, becuase you need to pass the inspection."
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:09 PM
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[quote=lild;4827987]the test are the o2's, and heated 02's, smog, misfire, catylist, these are just 4 of the test, i can't remember what the others are. [quote]

Hmmm... well, it's not those. There must be a test for "speed sensor" somewhere ...

Quote:
scanner show all the test ready, and no codes you should be good to go ... they can't hold that against you
I'm pretty sure the problem is just an "old" code was in there for the ABS being out ... and that clearing the code "solved" the problem .... but that by clearing the code, they can't pass me 'cuz now the codes are all zeroed out ... and that's a failure in and of itself. Sigh.

The problem is that I don't want to walz in 100 miles later if there really is something they'll fail me for (even though I'm pretty sure there is nothing) ... sigh.

That's why I need to figure out what the BMW system is telling the California computer.
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2010, 07:28 PM
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this is what they are telling you.
check enging light comes wheater it's old or new. you fix problem, you erase the the code, turning off the light. but when you erase the one code, you erase the 8 test that the car does, basically, you restart the cars computer (emmission part) and it reboots, in the reboot process it reruns all the test too put it in the ready state for testing. like when it test the smog and o2's that is done when the car is strated up, then it runs test on the heated o2 part, and then the other test are performed. these test are done every 40 or so miles, or 3-4 start ups. the ecu does this to monitor and too make sure the emission parts are working.
so when they told you we erase the code but it won't pass, that just meant it won't pass today becasue the 8 ready emission test are incomplete and that is what the ecus is telling the cali. computer 8 inc., and you would have to drive 40 or so miles, and if the light stays off then it's good and will pass. the important thing is the light stays off. like you said it may have been an old code.
so plug your buddies scanner in, scan it, remember these words, no codes, 0 inc.,8 ready. and then all the 8 test will show up one by one as ready.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
when you erase the one code, you erase the 8 test that the car does
I think we need to add these steps to the ABS DIY:

After you replace the ABS control module
0. Drive at least 50 miles (+ 3 starts) until the SES light turns off;
1. Drive at least 50 more miles (making sure of at least 3 more restarts);
2. Check the codes with an OBDII scanner (making sure all data is there).

My main question (since I haven't done it), is how do I know all the "data" is there?
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:15 PM
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when you plug in the scanner,
1--you turn the key to the number 2 pos. but you don't need to start the car.
2--mil indicator on (just means the check engine light works, and this is important, even though you may have no codes, if the light doesn't work this will fail the car.)
3--hit the scan button. wait a min or so while it runs the test. then you should see this if all is good.
4--first no codes. hit down button
* side note---if you have a pending code, you will see exmaple, 0 codes, p0500pd this means a pending code, and may be a bad part or may not, you'll need to drive and wait for a light to come on. but a pd code won't fail a car for inspection.
5--o incompletes (this is what you want), or x# of incompletes, of course if you have 3 inc. then it still may pass (check laws), 4 inc. will not pass. hit down button
***side note, if you have any number of inc. no matter if its 1 or 3 or so, hit the down button and the scanner will tell you which emission part is not ready, you will need to hit the down button to see each.
6--*8 ready (this is what you want), hit down button, then it will begin to list the 8 ready state codes, you'll have to hit the down button see each, but it's not necessary, if you see the 8 ready then all is good.
now if you have any other mech. sensor problems the check engine light will come on a give a code, when you fix the problem, there are 2 ways of clearing it, 1 with the obd scanner erase it (which will erase the emission ready codes), or 2 just drive it x amount miles and it should reset by it's self(turns the light off but leaves the emission test in the ready state). neither is a quick route. i would suggest you to buy a obd scanner, if your not into reading actual live data, and just want codes, then a basic scanner is what you need, i have just a basic.
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Last edited by lild; 01-08-2010 at 08:48 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2010, 01:16 AM
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It seems to me that the code is unrelated to emissions. While it may be relevant to a safety inspection, it isn't relevant to how much CO comes out the tailpipe. The shop may very well not understand that there's a difference between OB2 codes related to emissions control and OB2 codes that relate to other functions. Provided it's working within the parameters of the California legislation regarding emissions, it's not a problem. There's a *lot* of codes that can be thrown, that show up on the OBD2 port, that are not relevant to the car's running condition. It could be inconvenient, but not problematic.

You do need to drive a certain number of miles to clear the code. With the CEL off, I don't understand how they can fail the car. If my gas cap is off, a code is thrown. I tighten it, the test is performed again, the CEL is turned off, and the code is STORED AS PENDING so that way if you read the codes, you can confirm your diagnostic of a loose gas cap. Find a mail-order test centre :P

Without a BMW or BMW compatible code reader it's difficult to know for sure that it's the transmission, but there are several speed sensors, one of which is connected somewhere with the transmission.
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
It seems to me that the code is unrelated to emissions. While it may be relevant to a safety inspection, it isn't relevant to how much CO comes out the tailpipe. The shop may very well not understand that there's a difference between OB2 codes related to emissions control and OB2 codes that relate to other functions. Provided it's working within the parameters of the California legislation regarding emissions, it's not a problem. There's a *lot* of codes that can be thrown, that show up on the OBD2 port, that are not relevant to the car's running condition. It could be inconvenient, but not problematic.

You do need to drive a certain number of miles to clear the code. With the CEL off, I don't understand how they can fail the car. If my gas cap is off, a code is thrown. I tighten it, the test is performed again, the CEL is turned off, and the code is STORED AS PENDING so that way if you read the codes, you can confirm your diagnostic of a loose gas cap. Find a mail-order test centre :P

Without a BMW or BMW compatible code reader it's difficult to know for sure that it's the transmission, but there are several speed sensors, one of which is connected somewhere with the transmission.
does'nt matter if it's emissions related or not, if the check engine light is on it fails. you'll see where he circled in red the the mil light was on and that failed the car and that's all the cali. computer needs to see their computers for emission may give a code, but it's not going to dicern weather or not it's a safety problem. they don't care what's wrong with the car just that the emissions are working right and the light stays off. any scanner can tell what's wrong with your car, basic gets just codes, and from there the more exspensive one's can get more detail for you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:21 PM
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Add to ABS DIY that you should drive the car for a week before emissions inspection!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
the mil light was on and that failed the car and that's all the cali. computer needs to see
You are correct in that the California emissions team only cares that "something' wasn't right in the BMW diagnostic memory. It doesn't care what that is, nor whether it has anything to do with emissions. In fact, there is no visible MIL or SES or Check Engine light (I know that because it was on all the time the ABS was off the car and it went out about a day or two after putting the rebuilt ABS on the E39).

I just want to reiterate ... there is no "light" on the dashboard that is lit. This, I think, is a bogus emissions test failure due to me not realizing that I have to wait a week or so after putting in the rebuilt ABS to take the E39 to inspection.

Nobody told me! (That's why I'm telling others ... so they can save their time, energy, and money.)
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:38 PM
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It seems to me that the code is unrelated to emissions.
I agree. You agree. But tell that to the California computer!

Even when the mechanic cleared the codes, he said it would then fail because the computer notices that the codes were cleared and it takes time for the "information" to be built back up.

He said that was to prevent people from clearing the codes just before going to the inspection station for their emissions inspection.

Quote:
Without a BMW or BMW compatible code reader it's difficult to know for sure that it's the transmission, but there are several speed sensors, one of which is connected somewhere with the transmission.
I borrowed an orange OBDII code reader which reported that there are no codes. I've probably driven 300 miles since the failed inspection. I wonder if that's enough information for the California computer or if the OBDII tester is missing the P0500 failed speed sensor code???

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Old 01-13-2010, 06:47 PM
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go get'er done.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:57 PM
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It should be fine. Otherwise, find somewhere intelligent to live. That's just ridiculous. The best part is that if you come in driving on the rims they can't fail you for that (unless there's a safety component). In Ontario, people just get mail-order certificates if their car fails.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:31 AM
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The best part is that if you come in driving on the rims they can't fail you for that (unless there's a safety component).
Yeah. Isn't it ridiculous that I'm failing for a bogus error (and then for having no data in my error codes after the bogus error was cleared) but if I had bald tires, I'd pass the bi-annual inspection with flying colors.

Anyway, researching further, it seems that Magnum on his 740iL also automatically triggered a bogus P05000 speed sensor SES malfunction code when he removed his ABS control module.

He observed the following triggered by removing the ABS control unit:
  • No Speedometer
  • SES with code P0500 <=== he got same bogus error that caused me to erroneously fail my California SMOG inspection!
  • No ABS
  • No DSC [Traction Control]
  • No GPS for the Navi
  • No Mileage was Calculated
  • No Trip Mileage Meter
  • No Fuel Consumption 1 or 2
  • No Auto Lock
  • No Speed Sensitive Radio
  • No Cruise Control
  • The Temp Gauge Read 31* - 33* [even though it was much warmer than that]
  • The Brakes Were Extremely Mushy
  • The Steering Was Really “Loose”
End result: In any DIY for rebuilding the ABS module, we should caution California users that they may need to clear the P0500 speed sensor malfunction SES code and even then, they must drive a few hundred miles or so before taking the BMW in for its bi-annual smog inspection.

I had my codes cleared ... Do we know if just driving alone would clear this P0500 speed sensor malfunction code?

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Old 02-02-2010, 03:27 PM
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This is interesting. It was always my understanding unless the check engine dash light is on, there is no code to be read.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:54 PM
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This is interesting. It was always my understanding unless the check engine dash light is on, there is no code to be read.
Definitely in my situation the SES light was no longer lit yet the P0500 code remained until cleared with an OBD unit.


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Old 02-07-2010, 09:49 AM
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Definitely in my situation the SES light was no longer lit yet the P0500 code remained until cleared with an OBD unit.
This post implies another way to clear the SES light without driving the BMW and without an OBDII scanner to reset the code.

It doesn't say whether the battery reboot procedure resets the errant P0500 bad speed sensor code though.

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Old 02-07-2010, 06:55 PM
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dissonecting the batt. can turn off a light, but if a code is set, it's there, and will adventually turn the light back on. it won't clear out codes. sorry, only either by driveing it or a code scanner can clear it.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:16 PM
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They probably want you to go through a full range of driving (run all tests) before it'll pass. The requirements are somewhere but I'm not sure what to search for. QSilver7 posted them if I recall correctly.

I strongly recommend finding someone who will give you the cert.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:09 PM
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They probably want you to go through a full range of driving (run all tests) before it'll pass. The requirements are somewhere but I'm not sure what to search for. QSilver7 posted them if I recall correctly. I strongly recommend finding someone who will give you the cert.
I'm pretty sure I'll have absolutely no problem passing the California emissions in my 2002 525i, even on 87 octane Costco fuel (which is what I used for the prior test results).

Looking back, what happened appears to be simply that:
- Removing the ABS module triggers a visible SES and an invisible P0500
- Reinstalling the rebuilt ABS did not immediately clear the SES or the P0500
- Driving for about 50 miles cleared the visible SES but not the P0500
- It was my mistake to have my car inspected at this point
- I failed merely because the bogus P0500 error wasn't cleared.

The real question is how to clear the bogus P0500 error.
a) Of course, one way is to manually clear it with an OBDII tester
b) But, the question is whether driving for a certain # of miles also clears the P0500

As for the failure when all the codes are cleared, apparently there are 8 items that are checked (I remember this from a thread, probably QSilvers as you noted, and from using a borrowed OBDII scanner, which went through the 8 items).

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Old 02-08-2010, 09:08 AM
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I meant the OBD tests, some are run at start, some at 80 mph, etc. Still can't find that freaking post.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:38 PM
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I meant the OBD tests, some are run at start, some at 80 mph, etc. Still can't find that freaking post.
This is the sequence the borrowed OBDII tester went through for me.

A. It started by reading "O Codes" (even though CA smog had read P0500)
B. Then it read "MIL OFF" (even though the CA smog inspection said MIL on)
C. Then MONITRS (I think that means it has 8 things to check)
D. Then 0-Inc (I'm not sure what this meant)
E. Then 8-Ready (I think that means the 8 data tests were coming next)
F1 Misfire
F2 Fuel
F3 Comp
F4 Catlyst
F5 Evap
F6 Sec Air
F7 02 Snsr
F8 02 Htr

I read no errors, so, it is time to go back to the California DMV even though I've done nothing since the original bogus failure other than reset the codes and drive the BMW for a tank of fuel.

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Last edited by bluebee; 02-16-2010 at 10:23 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-17-2010, 08:01 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,040
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
The P0500 vehicle speed sensor failure was bogus!

Update: The P0500 vehicle speed sensor failure was bogus!
Here are the original and latest California smog test results.
Notice I did NOTHING except clear the codes and drive the E39.

Well, one other thing, I put in 91 AKI (instead of 87 AKI) but all that did was make the smog results slightly worse but probably not statistically so.

Here's what seems to have happened:

- I removed my ABS control unit from my E39 ...
This throws a visible SES and a P05000 vehicle sensor malfunction
- I put the rebuilt ABS control unit back on my E39 ...
This doesn't initially change the visible SES and the P05000 malfunction
- I drove for 3 or more starts (about 50 miles) ...
This erases the visible SES but not the P0500 (and an invisible MIL)
- Mechanic erased the codes (You can't pass Ca smog with any erased codes!)
This erases the P0500 but not the invisible MIL
- Drive for 1 or 2 tanks to replenish the data banks for smog to pass
Now you can pass the California smog inspection (even with the invisible MIL which the smog test showed but didn't flunk because there was no corresponding code associated with it, I guess)



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Last edited by bluebee; 02-17-2010 at 08:23 AM.
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  #25  
Old 02-18-2010, 06:02 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,040
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
In case anyone is interested, we're gonna collect ASM emissions test data (whatever ASM means) in this post over here ...
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