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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 12-22-2012, 01:24 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Secondary Air Pump Valve Problem

I have been experiencing repeated Secondary Air Pump Valve failure on my supercharged 528iT (42200 miles).

About a year ago I got a CEL for insufficient flow for the SAS. I found that the SAS valve was stuck closed. Pump was very quiet while blowing a gale and the vacuum line was sucking about 18 inches of mercury but the valve would not open. At the time my wife's Touring (same year with amount 75K miles) was experiencing the same symptoms so I decided to replace both valves. My wife's valve has been working fine ever since but just short of 3 months later the valve on my car stuck closed again. I removed it and brought it back to Bavarian Autosport and they replaced it as defective.

This happened twice more and after getting a refund from Bav Auto, I bought another valve at the dealer. The dealer valve, a Pierburg like all the others, also failed in about the same amount of time so I thought it was the car and not the valve that was causing the problem. I removed the valve and found that if I applied vacuum and suddenly released that vacuum, the valve would get freed up and begin working again. I also found that if I blew hard into the valve output flange, it would seize shut and I'd have to do my quick vacuum release to free it up.

I then looked down the SAS port in the exhaust manifold and found it to be coated with a quite thick layer of carbon. I cleaned up the carbon with brake clean and several paper towels clipped or a flexible wand. Then the system worked for a few more months but eventually that valve froze shut and after inspecting the valve, I replaced it with another from Bav Auto. That happened on 12/05/12 and yesterday the CEL came back on-insufficient flow.

After I installed the supercharger I found that VF Engineering had made a mistake in their install instructions and removed the vacuum from the CCV and thus from the fuel pressure regulator. This made the car run very rich at idle (short term fuel trim as high as -27) like sitting in traffic, etc. It took me about 2+ months to figure this all out, attach the FPR vacuum hose to a vac port on the intake manifold, replace the FPR and the spark plugs. The car then ran great. My theory as to why the SAS valve keeps failing is that there is excessive carbon buildup in the exhaust manifold causing enough blow back to make the SAS valve seize after some time.

Do you think that my reasoning on the carbon buildup being my problem is accurate?

I would also like to know how do I remove the carbon from the exhaust manifold. I really don't want to remove the manifold if I don't have to. I thought that maybe I could squirt some Sea Foam into the hot exhaust manifold, leave it there for about 10 minutes and then run the engine to clear out the carbon. I would think I'd have to
do this 3 or 4 times to clean it well. What do you guys think. I also want to reinforce that my pump and solenoid vacuum valve have been working fine through all this and there are no vac hose leaks.

Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to paint an accurate picture of what's going on.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2012, 03:57 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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That is a reasonable hypothesis. My previous e39 spit out 4 SAPs on an annual basis before it was totaled. My current one has been SAP trouble free for four years. I replaced the valve with the pump each time. Something was causing the SAP system to fail prematurely. I saw a TIS a while back that referred to carbon buildup. So that's as good a reason as any.

BTW, I found that Bill Dodge BMW in Westbrook has the best prices on parts. 25 - 35 Percent off list.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
That is a reasonable hypothesis. My previous e39 spit out 4 SAPs on an annual basis before it was totaled. My current one has been SAP trouble free for four years. I replaced the valve with the pump each time. Something was causing the SAP system to fail prematurely. I saw a TIS a while back that referred to carbon buildup. So that's as good a reason as any.

BTW, I found that Bill Dodge BMW in Westbrook has the best prices on parts. 25 - 35 Percent off list.
Thanks for the feedback. It's much appreciated. What do you think of the Sea Foam cleaning idea. I've never used the stuff before and all the instructions apply to the intake, not the exhaust. I suppose if it dissolves carbon, which they say it does, it's worth a try before removing the exhaust manifold.

Thanks for the heads up about Bill Dodge BMW. They must have a new policy but that's great. I've been going to IRA in Stratham, NH. They give 20% off with a BMW CCA membership but it seems that they jack up the Real OEM prices a bit so you're really not getting the full 20%. IRA is about 25 minutes from my house while Bill Dodge is about 45. I guess I'll have to start evaluating which place to go to based on how much I'll be spending. Ha, Ha!
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:57 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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I posted my thoughts on the other board.
I've been using Bill Dodge for big $$ parts. You open up an account, they ship it to me next day UPS. Up to 40% discount. I've also purchased parts there when I was in Maine, just had to pay the ME sales tax.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2012, 05:09 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Only 42k on your car? Must feel almost new!

Could it be that the carbon buildup is much more developed and deeper in? I thought that the SAP valve bolted directly to the cylinder head, not the manifold. I am clueless though about the internal channels of the head that BMW designed to work with the SAP system.

I've seen some pics of M5 heads that were clogged with carbon, and if the buildup is anything like that, I'd suspect mechanical measures are going to be the answer. I'd venture Seafoam probably can't cut into hard carbon buildup unless the engine part is soaking in it for some time.

Ah, found my link to that thread....

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...-pictures.html
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2012, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Only 42k on your car? Must feel almost new!
Yeah! I was really lucky to find this car being sold by a woman who had put 1000 miles per year on it for 6 years. She was asking too much money and wouldn't budge on the price but I finally figured that I'd never be able to afford a new BMW and this was almost one at a little less than half price.

Last edited by johnstern; 12-22-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2012, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Could it be that the carbon buildup is much more developed and deeper in? I thought that the SAP valve bolted directly to the cylinder head, not the manifold. I am clueless though about the internal channels of the head that BMW designed to work with the SAP system.

I've seen some pics of M5 heads that were clogged with carbon, and if the buildup is anything like that, I'd suspect mechanical measures are going to be the answer. I'd venture Seafoam probably can't cut into hard carbon buildup unless the engine part is soaking in it for some time.

Ah, found my link to that thread....

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...-pictures.html
WOW! Those pictures are really scary.

You may be right about the head vs. the exhaust manifold. I'll have to check it out.

I'm hoping that the carbon buildup isn't that bad as the rich running only happened for maybe 2K miles at the most and only when then engine was at idle. I think I'll start looking for a flexible brush to help clean once the Sea Foam has been applied.

Thanks for your input.
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  #8  
Old 12-22-2012, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstern View Post
What do you think of the Sea Foam cleaning idea
Details here:
- What is Seafoam motor treatment, what does it do, where do you put it, and how does it work (1)

For SAP, details here:
- How the secondary air system (SAS) and secondary air pump (SAP) and air valve, check valve, & electrical valve operate (1) & how to maintain (1) (2) (3) & replace (1) & troubleshoot the BMW E39 SAS SAP valve secondary air pump system (1) (2) (3) (4) & an SAP valve group buy (1)
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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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  #9  
Old 12-22-2012, 07:15 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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As much as I love trouble-shooting the SAS (I wrote some DIY before on SAS), I have come to realize that I need to kill the SAS.

So today I just did it on my 1998 Volvo S70 using instructions from here. All you have to do is install the diode at the correct place. Leave all components (Air Pump, Air Valve etc. alone).

SAS Delete:
http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/for...hp?f=1&t=31536

The bottom line for the Volvo: the Radio Shack diode ($0.99) bridged across pins A32-A37 fixed the SAS CEL.


We need a smart genius from this E39 forum to figure this out which pins to bridge on the E39 ECU!

PS: For more info, just google "Volvo SAS Delete".
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  #10  
Old 12-22-2012, 07:24 PM
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Thanks for the ifo Bluebee's. it's much appreciated.

Last edited by johnstern; 12-22-2012 at 07:30 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-22-2012, 07:29 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Details here:
- What is Seafoam motor treatment, what does it do, where do you put it, and how does it work (1)

For SAP, details here:
- How the secondary air system (SAS) and secondary air pump (SAP) and air valve, check valve, & electrical valve operate (1) & how to maintain (1) (2) (3) & replace (1) & troubleshoot the BMW E39 SAS SAP valve secondary air pump system (1) (2) (3) (4) & an SAP valve group buy (1)
Thanks for the info Bluebee.
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  #12  
Old 12-22-2012, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
As much as I love trouble-shooting the SAS (I wrote some DIY before on SAS), I have come to realize that I need to kill the SAS.

So today I just did it on my 1998 Volvo S70 using instructions from here. All you have to do is install the diode at the correct place. Leave all components (Air Pump, Air Valve etc. alone).

SAS Delete:
http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/for...hp?f=1&t=31536

The bottom line for the Volvo: the Radio Shack diode ($0.99) bridged across pins A32-A37 fixed the SAS CEL.


We need a smart genius from this E39 forum to figure this out which pins to bridge on the E39 ECU!

PS: For more info, just google "Volvo SAS Delete".
Thanks Cam.

I've read your DIY on the SAS system many times and it is more than excellent. This whole problem is due to carbon buildup that is causing the air produced by the pump to backup into the valve and jamming the valve closed.

I need to get rid of the carbon!!!
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  #13  
Old 12-22-2012, 08:49 PM
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Have you tried removing the Exhaust Manifold, and cleaning it...?
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1911252
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 12-22-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2012, 10:05 PM
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Have you tried removing the Exhaust Manifold, and cleaning it...?
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1911252
I'm trying to avoid taking off the exhaust manifold as it is cold outside and that will turn a PITA job into something worse. If the Sea Foam doesn't work, I'll ask a friend who is a great mechanic to do the job.

Edit: One of the pics in the EM thread you posted shows that SAS input tube. Looks like it would be a miracle for the Sea Foam to work. I'll give it a try anyway. Nothing to lose!

Edit 2: What I thought was the SAS tube (bright aluminum tube/duct running down the center of the pic) does not appear to be that at all when looked at in real life. It has a bunch of what looks like small freeze plugs in it so I would think it is a coolant duct. I'll have to remove the SAS valve and have a better look at things. Will let you know when I know more.

Last edited by johnstern; 12-23-2012 at 01:19 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-23-2012, 04:17 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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johnstern,

I have been fixing SAS for many years, air pump, air valve etc. etc. I have to say that although the SAS system is designed to reduce emission during cold start but the headache associated with the SAS repair (expensive part etc.) is beyond me.

As I mentioned above, I could not be happier the day I killed the SAS in my 98 Volvo S70 using a 99-cent diode from Radio Shack. It was a 30 min easy job. I no longer have to worry about the CEL, air valve, air pump etc.

If someone can study the E39 diagram and ECU and tells us what to do (how to kill an SAS in an E39), the group here will be forever eternally grateful!
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  #16  
Old 12-23-2012, 04:31 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Cam, this is much more difficult to eliminate on an E39 with just a few parts.
All of my SAS parts are original and still working fine, you just need to clean the carbon out of the valve every ~60K miles.
As you probably know there is a pricey software download that will eliminate the DME from checking the O2 sensors (think that's what it looks at) to see if it is functioning properly.

John, nice find on that low mileage iT.

Hope you all have a nice Christmas.
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  #17  
Old 12-23-2012, 04:38 AM
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This has been looked at many times before for both the e39 and the e46, to no avail. The question is what triggers the CEL? Is it the pump failing to activate (draw current)? Or is it the O2 sensor registering insufficient O2 at start? Does vacuum (or lack of vacuum) to the valve trigger it? Or any of the three. My CEL went off when I cracked the SAP valve vacuum tubing. Hence, that suggests either or both of the latter two. On my previous e39, it went off when my pump died. Hence, I suspect it is triggered by any or all of the three. This may require multiple jumpers to resolve this. Any EEs out there up for a challenge?
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:53 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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If mine ever dies I'll look into it. I believe the pump motor current is monitored as well as how long it takes the O2 sensors to start outputting a voltage.
The additional air from the pump burns up the rich fuel mixture required for cold start. This heat warms up the CAT's as well as the O2's.
The vacuum solenoid most likely isn't looked at, if it failed the O2's would still kick out an insufficient air flow code for not getting to temp in <2 min.
As nice as it would be to make a kit to sell, there is a big EPA fine for messing with the emission system.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:53 AM
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I read somewhere that during cold startup with the O2 sensors in open loop and not providing combustion mixture info to the DME, the O2 sensors detect a mixture leaner than the DME is actually providing-rich at cold startup. The leaner "than it should be" mixture tells the DME that the SAS is working; rich mixture=no flow; slightly leaner mixture=low flow. The piece I read inferred that the open loop O2s were the only monitors for the SAS. There may be other SAS functions monitored but the O2s would be enough.

I know that cold O2s don't produce much, or any, voltage but in open loop the DME must be knowingly looking for a reduced signal. My CEL for a SAS code comes on at exactly the same place about 3/4 of a mile from my house. That must be the time just before the system goes into closed loop.
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  #20  
Old 12-23-2012, 06:58 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
This has been looked at many times before for both the e39 and the e46, to no avail. The question is what triggers the CEL? Is it the pump failing to activate (draw current)? Or is it the O2 sensor registering insufficient O2 at start? Does vacuum (or lack of vacuum) to the valve trigger it? Or any of the three. My CEL went off when I cracked the SAP valve vacuum tubing. Hence, that suggests either or both of the latter two. On my previous e39, it went off when my pump died. Hence, I suspect it is triggered by any or all of the three. This may require multiple jumpers to resolve this. Any EEs out there up for a challenge?
Fudman,

Bosch makes ECU for BMW, Volvo, VW, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi etc. I have both E39 and Volvo and can tell you the setup is 95% similar w.r.t. the SAS system.
The difference is in the ECUs.

The principle is the same, during cold start-up, the ECU expects extra air in the exhaust to help burn raw fuel, reducing emission.

The way the ECU monitors this is via the air pump. Again, this is for Volvo but the mod ---> diode bridging pins 32 and 37:

http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic...-up-with-pics/

The idea is: the diode fools the ECU into thinking that the SAS system works. That is all.

I wonder if anyone has the pinout for E39 ECU???

-----
Brief explanation of how the Volvo ECU monitors SAS and determines if it is working.
The ECU monitors the SAS function on three fronts:
1. Looks for 12V coming through the SAS pump relay coil before it grounds it. If disconnected the ECU will set CEL for open circuit.
2. Looks for 12V coming through the SAS solenoid coil. If disconnected the ECU will set CEL for open circuit.
3. Looks for low voltage coming from front O2 sensor signal when SAS is active.

Last edited by cn90; 12-23-2012 at 07:01 AM.
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  #21  
Old 12-23-2012, 07:33 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Cam,

The BMW system does not work like the Volvo. See my post above and this:

https://wiki.bentleypublishers.com/d...es+2004+-+2005

I know it's for an E60 but the E39 works the same way.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:18 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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I hop you realize that the 2 SAS systems (Volvo and BMW) are virtually identical.
They were designed by Bosch engineers for virtually all Euro cars: same Pierburg air pump, same Pierburg air valve and solenoid and circuitry.
When you critically look at both Volvo and BMW SAS systems, they look like identical twins!

The problem is: I don't have the pinout for E39 ECU, still looking.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:36 AM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstern View Post
I read somewhere that during cold startup with the O2 sensors in open loop and not providing combustion mixture info to the DME, the O2 sensors detect a mixture leaner than the DME is actually providing-rich at cold startup. The leaner "than it should be" mixture tells the DME that the SAS is working; rich mixture=no flow; slightly leaner mixture=low flow. The piece I read inferred that the open loop O2s were the only monitors for the SAS. There may be other SAS functions monitored but the O2s would be enough.

I know that cold O2s don't produce much, or any, voltage but in open loop the DME must be knowingly looking for a reduced signal. My CEL for a SAS code comes on at exactly the same place about 3/4 of a mile from my house. That must be the time just before the system goes into closed loop.

I've also read that the system is monitored by looking for excess air in the exhaust when the pump is running.
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  #24  
Old 12-23-2012, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I hop you realize that the 2 SAS systems (Volvo and BMW) are virtually identical.
They were designed by Bosch engineers for virtually all Euro cars: same Pierburg air pump, same Pierburg air valve and solenoid and circuitry.
When you critically look at both Volvo and BMW SAS systems, they look like identical twins!

The problem is: I don't have the pinout for E39 ECU, still looking.
There is a pinout in the Bentley manual under fuel injection for the MS 41.1, MS 42.0 & MS 43.0 (same), M5.2, M 5.2.1, ME 7.2. I would be happy to email them to you, if you PM me with your email address. I won't be able to send them to you until later today as I have to work in our Bakery today until at least 6PM.

Edit: I can't believe this but you can download the entire E39 Bentley Manual:

http://www.mediafire.com/?22jnmjinyom

Just did it on my iPad and it worked fine.

Last edited by johnstern; 12-23-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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  #25  
Old 12-23-2012, 02:18 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Go for it, but I don't think a sim is possible for the 540, at least. BMW system is much more involved. Major problem is O2 s. If the O2 does not act like the SAP has filled it with fresh air and O2 sensors not getting sent enough fresh air to go lean enough from the fresh air of the SAP and then rich exactly when the sap goes off, it will set a code. The euro software allows the ECU to be satisfied by less fresh air from the sap. The CBU is what stops sufficient fresh air from reaching the pre-cat O2 sensors. You will not fool a BMW with a diode, but happy trails trying. Get carbon out of your heads ~$8K or get Euro software. I went that route, but you still need all the correct parts working. Call PowerChip and ask them to explain the system to you.
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