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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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  #26  
Old 02-14-2013, 07:46 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawk17 View Post
well yes my ABS/ASC lights are on but those sensors arent throwing a code.. my radio cuts out every now and then as well.. maybe my battery or alternator could cause this if its not receiving proper voltage.. possibly?
How do you know they aren't throwing code, when you haven't scanned from the engine bay diagnostic port? The port inside the car won't show you ABS/ASC fault codes only the engine bay diagnostic port gives you those. Bad alternator/battery can cause all kinds of electrical issues. It's the first thing to check when wierd electrical issues start to appear on e39 (like radio cutting out).
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  #27  
Old 02-14-2013, 07:59 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
How do you know they aren't throwing code, when you haven't scanned from the engine bay diagnostic port? The port inside the car won't show you ABS/ASC fault codes only the engine bay diagnostic port gives you those. Bad alternator/battery can cause all kinds of electrical issues. It's the first thing to check when wierd electrical issues start to appear on e39 (like radio cutting out).
AHHH yes i totally forgot about scanning from under the hood.. thats on order.. but i also hear my alternator whine when i turn my lights on.. you can immediately tell its under load.. just trying to go about it logically till the scanner gets here.. but from my experience while car is in operation alternator is usually culprit or voltage regulator if im getting intermittent voltage outputs and i do know that would surely cause my radio to cut out as it does from time to time.. Im not suggesting its the only reason just deducing the possibilities.
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  #28  
Old 02-14-2013, 01:47 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Originally Posted by firehawk17 View Post
AHHH yes i totally forgot about scanning from under the hood.. thats on order.. but i also hear my alternator whine when i turn my lights on.. you can immediately tell its under load.. just trying to go about it logically till the scanner gets here.. but from my experience while car is in operation alternator is usually culprit or voltage regulator if im getting intermittent voltage outputs and i do know that would surely cause my radio to cut out as it does from time to time.. Im not suggesting its the only reason just deducing the possibilities.
You only mentioned radio cutting out in #25, so I didn't know you got other electrical issues. With that information in mind I would start by checking the battery & alternator. Either one could cause all these issues. Our cars will turn off radio and other electrical equipment when voltage gets too low due to failing battery or alternator. So drive to some car parts store that tests alternators and batteries, or you could test them by yourself it's up to you. One other thing that could cause all kinds of electrical issues is the ignition switch. You could do the sun visor test to check the ignition switch.


Last edited by HTK12; 02-14-2013 at 01:51 PM.
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  #29  
Old 02-14-2013, 02:37 PM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
You only mentioned radio cutting out in #25, so I didn't know you got other electrical issues. With that information in mind I would start by checking the battery & alternator. Either one could cause all these issues. Our cars will turn off radio and other electrical equipment when voltage gets too low due to failing battery or alternator. So drive to some car parts store that tests alternators and batteries, or you could test them by yourself it's up to you. One other thing that could cause all kinds of electrical issues is the ignition switch. You could do the sun visor test to check the ignition switch.

I will follow your advice on this...check my voltage on both battery and alternator.. i will update between this evening and tomorrow...
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  #30  
Old 02-20-2013, 02:02 PM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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so its not my ignition but this fail safe mode isnt going away... Im able to shift manually.. I've read that some people are stuck in a particular and cant shift out of it.. being that im able to manually shift what would be my most likely cause? ........Im not able to read the codes just yet.. waiting on scanner adapter to get here.
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  #31  
Old 02-20-2013, 02:23 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Did you check alternator & battery? If those are OK, it could be a wheel sensor. Could be many things. Without the codes it's impossible to say with any certainty.
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  #32  
Old 02-20-2013, 03:21 PM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
Did you check alternator & battery? If those are OK, it could be a wheel sensor. Could be many things. Without the codes it's impossible to say with any certainty.
my multimeter decided to quit on me.. it turns on but isnt reading, so i have to order another one..im gonna do the on board test on the cluster to see where my battery voltage is..
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  #33  
Old 02-22-2013, 09:55 AM
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so today the transmission became stuck in 3rd gear... and the instrument cluster stopped displaying what gear the car is in.. but then it will come back on and i could shift it again then it went off and pretty much stayed off... is it still hard to tell what the cause is?
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  #34  
Old 02-22-2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by firehawk17 View Post
so today the transmission became stuck in 3rd gear... and the instrument cluster stopped displaying what gear the car is in.. but then it will come back on and i could shift it again then it went off and pretty much stayed off... is it still hard to tell what the cause is?
Until you can check the battery and alternator it is pretty pointless to do anything else. Low voltage will do wierd things in e39. Systems will start to shutdown/go into failsafe mode when system voltage goes below a certain level. So easiest way to start diagnosing this issue is to check alternator & battery. After that read the error codes.
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  #35  
Old 02-22-2013, 10:45 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
Until you can check the battery and alternator it is pretty pointless to do anything else. Low voltage will do wierd things in e39. Systems will start to shutdown/go into failsafe mode when system voltage goes below a certain level. So easiest way to start diagnosing this issue is to check alternator & battery. After that read the error codes.
ok im still waiting on the multimeter to arrive but i did check voltage thru the on board diagnostic.. could that be misleading?.. while running it was about 14.1 with lights on and off it was 12.2
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  #36  
Old 02-22-2013, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by firehawk17 View Post
ok im still waiting on the multimeter to arrive but i did check voltage thru the on board diagnostic.. could that be misleading?.. while running it was about 14.1 with lights on and off it was 12.2
The OBC is known to give a bit lower voltages than the actual voltage. Some say 0.5V less than what they got with multimeter some say the difference is smaller. In any case the charging voltage seems to be ok. Has the battery been load tested? Have you checked the ground wires? There are 6 ground points in the engine bay, if I recall it right. Make sure the battery cables are tight.
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  #37  
Old 02-22-2013, 11:24 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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The OBC is known to give a bit lower voltages than the actual voltage. Some say 0.5V less than what they got with multimeter some say the difference is smaller. In any case the charging voltage seems to be ok. Has the battery been load tested? Have you checked the ground wires? There are 6 ground points in the engine bay, if I recall it right. Make sure the battery cables are tight.
ok i will check those in a bit... this trans issue is highly frustrating... i just spent over 600.00 in parts for suspension front and rear, brakes, and other goodies and it'll be for nothing if this is some serious issue.. but I have experienced transmissions going bad before but i see these cars are monitored electronically it could be something very minor.. To answer your question my battery hasnt been load tested.. are you referring to with lights on, heat on high, etc?
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  #38  
Old 02-22-2013, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by firehawk17 View Post
ok i will check those in a bit... this trans issue is highly frustrating... i just spent over 600.00 in parts for suspension front and rear, brakes, and other goodies and it'll be for nothing if this is some serious issue.. but I have experienced transmissions going bad before but i see these cars are monitored electronically it could be something very minor.. To answer your question my battery hasnt been load tested.. are you referring to with lights on, heat on high, etc?
I know that trans issues are frustrating, but without codes it pretty hard to tell what is causing it. You can load test battery with lights, blower on high etc. on, or you can take it to place like autozone to have it load tested for you. It is easy & fast to load test with proper equipment. I think bentley said to use 200A load for 10 seconds or something like that.
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  #39  
Old 02-22-2013, 11:40 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
I know that trans issues are frustrating, but without codes it pretty hard to tell what is causing it. You can load test battery with lights, blower on high etc. on, or you can take it to place like autozone to have it load tested for you. It is easy & fast to load test with proper equipment. I think bentley said to use 200A load for 10 seconds or something like that.
thanks a lot for your feedback.. i will be heading to the garage in a couple minutes.. waiting for the beer to chill a little more lol... i'll update later
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  #40  
Old 02-22-2013, 01:56 PM
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Firehawk. Prior to this issue can you think about any other event such as a repair,mod,car wash or anything else. I say car wash because believe it or not some car washes mess these freaking bimmers up. Depending where the water enters it could short out or cause bad grounds..
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  #41  
Old 02-22-2013, 06:21 PM
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Firehawk. Prior to this issue can you think about any other event such as a repair,mod,car wash or anything else. I say car wash because believe it or not some car washes mess these freaking bimmers up. Depending where the water enters it could short out or cause bad grounds..

well its been raining, then snow here in michigan so yes im sure something has had contact with water..
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  #42  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:25 AM
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this may sound silly but i'd rather hear a are you stupid than not ask at all.. but would high stop brake light and a tail light being out cause or contribute to trans fail safe mode?
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  #43  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:00 AM
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Highly doubtful
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  #44  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:10 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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Highly doubtful
didnt really think so but i was a bit hopeful...... if i unplug my abs module and say thats the cause, will the trans go back to normal?
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  #45  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:17 AM
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Have you tried to pull codes?
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  #46  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:26 AM
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Have you tried to pull codes?

waiting on my 20 pin adapter plug to come...so not yet
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  #47  
Old 02-27-2013, 10:12 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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this may sound silly but i'd rather hear a are you stupid than not ask at all.. but would high stop brake light and a tail light being out cause or contribute to trans fail safe mode?
No. Lights are controlled by the LCM.
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  #48  
Old 02-27-2013, 10:15 AM
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Have you tried to diagnose your rear wheel speed sensor?
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  #49  
Old 02-27-2013, 12:46 PM
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Have you tried to diagnose your rear wheel speed sensor?
no..how would i go about diagnosing that? I though the front speed sensor is the one that throws the trans into fail safe mode
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  #50  
Old 02-27-2013, 01:04 PM
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