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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 02-16-2013, 11:23 AM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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E39 530i Service Engine Soon light

The "Service Engine Soon" light came on a few days ago in our 2003 530i. The car runs great, has 90,000 miles and no apparent problems. Using the BavAuto code reader that I've had for awhile, I had some strange results:
- Read 'E10' then '--' first time which seems to mean no fault codes.
- Repeating the same check, it reads '--' which I take to still mean no fault codes
- Followed the reset SES sequence and it appeared to work.

The 'SES' light comes back on each time. The code reader appears to work correctly and I've gone through the sequence several times, still no fault codes and still get the SES light.

I read somewhere where a small battery on the service indicator card can fail and cause problems. Has anyone seen this before?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Brent Smith
Atlanta, GA
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2013, 12:23 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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SI is a different system than the SES light.

You're not the first to have a problem with E10 and the E39:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=373281
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=564360

Try the procedure in the second post.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2013, 08:32 AM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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Thanks for the input. The E10 code apparently was bad communications. This was removed when I reversed the "power on" sequence. However, like the original note in the second post, I still get "--" or no fault codes, reset the SES light and then the SES light still comes back on. This was addressed partially in the newer on-line instructions for this BavAuto code reader. The only remaining answer I see from the instructions is a comment about a possible auto transmission fault triggering the SES light but not having an engine fault code that I can see.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:26 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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That's pretty weird that you don't get a code with the SES and it keeps coming beck after being cleared. If you have an auto tranny fault, you would get a different fault message (TRANS PROG FAILSAFE) on the dash display. When you reset the SES with the car off, does it come back immediately after you restart the car? Have you tried to reset the SES with the car running? Other than that, disconnect the battery for 10 minutes and then reconnect to see if that clears it up.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:30 AM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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No transmission fault on the display. Still no fault codes listed. Tried to reset the SES light while car was running. SES light immediately comes back on and stays on each time the car is started. I have not tried to disconnect the battery yet, but I will this weekend.
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2013, 02:41 PM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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I disconnected the battery for about 15 minutes. Reconnected, started the car. The SES light is still on. Still no fault codes. Still can't reset the SES light. The car runs great. Surely I am not the first person on this board to have this problem. Any ideas?

Thanks.

Brent Smith
Atlanta, GA
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2013, 02:53 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Get the codes pulled at BMW indy or test a different code reader. When SES is on there is a code. Can that code reader pull codes from all modules on the car? SES will be triggered for any fault that effects emissions. So it can be something else than just an engine fault code.
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  #8  
Old 02-24-2013, 03:51 PM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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The code reader/reset tool is Bavarian Auto's SR300. It is supposed to read all of the BMW codes as well as the standard OBDII codes. I think that something else is going on here. Possibly a malfunction in the DME to instrument panel connection or a software hangup. Has anyone followed the instrument panel software reset steps in the Bentley manual?
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2013, 11:08 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I'm confused.

I can understand reading the internal BMW codes for things that are not OBD related, such as the transmission or the airbag ... but why NOT use a standard OBDII reader for the SES light?
- Cheapest CAN OBDII scanner on the net that reads DTCs, pending codes, & clears codes

What more is an internal BMW code going to tell you when it comes to codes that trigger an SES?
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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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  #10  
Old 02-25-2013, 12:06 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brent1946 View Post
The code reader/reset tool is Bavarian Auto's SR300. It is supposed to read all of the BMW codes as well as the standard OBDII codes. I think that something else is going on here. Possibly a malfunction in the DME to instrument panel connection or a software hangup. Has anyone followed the instrument panel software reset steps in the Bentley manual?
I still would get the codes pulled with another code reader. That is by far the easiest way to start diagnosing. The manual on that reader talks about th battery in the cluster, but no E39 has a battery in the cluster only some older BMW's have it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm confused.

I can understand reading the internal BMW codes for things that are not OBD related, such as the transmission or the airbag ... but why NOT use a standard OBDII reader for the SES light?
- Cheapest CAN OBDII scanner on the net that reads DTCs, pending codes, & clears codes

What more is an internal BMW code going to tell you when it comes to codes that trigger an SES?
Well a good code reader gives you freeze frame data, that can include revs, battery voltage, how many times it has happened etc.
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2013, 07:11 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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That SR300 looks similar to my Peake.

The Peake has never failed me yet.

OP, have you checked to see if your gas cap is sealing properly? One of the common SES triggers and probably the easiest to fix.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2013, 07:50 AM
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I believe Georgia is a state that allows any ol' regular auto parts store (like Autozone/PepBoys/O''Reillys/Advanced Auto/etc) to read OBD II codes...and they usually do it for free. I would drive to the nearest one and have them read your codes (possibly reset them) so that you can see what OBD diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is being registered. The DTC codes ("P" codes) are easier for the "masses" to diagnose since they are universal & based on the federal mandate that's been in place since 1996 (in the USA). The "P" codes can also be found doing just a simple google search.

It may also reveal if there's something wrong with your code reader, too. If another reader can't pull up any codes...then you know that you have a deeper problem, but if another reader can, then the problem is with your code reader.

Again, the DTC "P" codes can easily be found doing a google search...for example if you were getting a P0128 code...you could type "BMW P0128 OBD II" into a google search box and get lots of info.


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  #13  
Old 02-25-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
Well a good code reader gives you freeze frame data, that can include revs, battery voltage, how many times it has happened etc.
Does the code reader the OP is using give him that data?

(It would be nice to see freeze frame data, for once, just to see what it looks like.)
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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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  #14  
Old 02-25-2013, 11:43 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Does the code reader the OP is using give him that data?

(It would be nice to see freeze frame data, for once, just to see what it looks like.)
I doubt it. Scanners like INPA, DIS (aka GT1), Autologic etc. will give you freeze frame data, live data.. I do find those quite useful when diagnosing issues. Especially when I'm diagnosing someone else's car (I help out local bimmer enthusiast with error codes, coding modules etc.).
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2013, 11:50 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
I do find those quite useful when diagnosing issues
It would be useful to see a picture of live data giving useful information for diagnosing an E39 problem so, to see if we can find some of that, I opened a separate thread just now:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > How useful is "freeze frame data" for an E39 diagnostic over a typical OBDII scanner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I use the $25 el cheapo scanner depicted in this thread when I have an SES light:
- Cheapest CAN OBDII scanner on the net that reads DTCs, pending codes, & clears codes

But, I often see mention of 'Freeze Frame Data' being useful, as in this thread today:


I'm sure more data is good data (trust me on that!) ... but ... from a practical standpoint, from people who have used freeze frame data, how USEFUL is it?

The reason I ask is that I myself can always use a better tool; but even more importantly, I often recommend the el cheapo scanner - but I really don't know what I'm missing in the next-level up.

Plus, there are the BMW diagnostic tools to consider when moving up from el cheapo:
- INPA, EDIABAS, NCS Expert, DIS, EasyDIS, Progman, & other BMW factory & dealer programming, coding, and diagnostic software & cable interfaces (1)

So, I guess my question is threefold:
Q: How useful is "freeze frame data" for an E39 diagnostic over a typical OBDII scanner and over the classic BMW dealer diagnostic PC tools?

Note: Example screenshots on your E39 would be nice.
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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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  #16  
Old 03-03-2013, 08:25 AM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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I finally had my local BMW independent look at the situation. The transmission torque converter is slipping and needs to be replaced. Apparently the BavAuto (Peake) can't read transmission-related codes--and, in fact, the manual says that the SES light may be on and no codes found due to some "transmission-related problems." I'm a little disappointed in the 530i transmission for failing at 90,000 miles. The car has been well-taken care of (transmission fluid changed at 60k) and not driven hard. In comparison, I have a 1986 300E Benz that has 283k on the clock with no transmission problems at all (other than the front seal seeping). My independent wants $3,500 to rebuild the transmission--he won't just replace the torque converter--and will guarantee it for three years. I am pondering next steps.

Brent Smith
Atlanta, GA
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  #17  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:06 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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I'd be disappointed too. One of the reasons I stay away from automatics is that they can fail at any time for no apparent reason.

Heat is usually the biggest contributor to the premature demise of an automatic and as everyone knows, these cars make a lot of heat.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:49 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brent1946 View Post
I finally had my local BMW independent look at the situation. The transmission torque converter is slipping and needs to be replaced. Apparently the BavAuto (Peake) can't read transmission-related codes--and, in fact, the manual says that the SES light may be on and no codes found due to some "transmission-related problems." I'm a little disappointed in the 530i transmission for failing at 90,000 miles. The car has been well-taken care of (transmission fluid changed at 60k) and not driven hard. In comparison, I have a 1986 300E Benz that has 283k on the clock with no transmission problems at all (other than the front seal seeping). My independent wants $3,500 to rebuild the transmission--he won't just replace the torque converter--and will guarantee it for three years. I am pondering next steps.

Brent Smith
Atlanta, GA
That is why I don't understand why people pay big bucks for readers like BavAuto/Peake when there are better option out there for fraction of their price. How did the indie diagnose the issue? I would take it to shop that specializes in transmission to make sure. If the torque converter is indeed faulty just get it replaced.. It costs $400 + labor to replace it. Here's a link to shop that sells it for $400
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:34 PM
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severe530i severe530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
That is why I don't understand why people pay big bucks for readers like BavAuto/Peake when there are better option out there for fraction of their price. How did the indie diagnose the issue? I would take it to shop that specializes in transmission to make sure. If the torque converter is indeed faulty just get it replaced.. It costs $400 + labor to replace it. Here's a link to shop that sells it for $400
Torque converter failure is common, just search this forum.
I had the same issue and had a transmission shop install the TC for me. They were happy to just charge labor on a part I provided. Of course, there was no guarantee on the part, but you can find a reputable supplier if you use the above advice or search elsewhere.
FWIW, I would gamble $1,000 bucks on a new TC rather than rebuild the whole transmission.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:59 PM
brent1946 brent1946 is offline
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Thanks for the advice. However, it's my wife's car and I don't want to take any chances. As a musician, she takes long trips and can be out late at night. If it were mine, there's no question that I would just replace the torque converter.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:03 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by severe530i View Post
Torque converter failure is common, just search this forum.
I had the same issue and had a transmission shop install the TC for me. They were happy to just charge labor on a part I provided. Of course, there was no guarantee on the part, but you can find a reputable supplier if you use the above advice or search elsewhere.
FWIW, I would gamble $1,000 bucks on a new TC rather than rebuild the whole transmission.
I'm not saying it isin't, but many times shops don't know how to diagnose transmission issues, hence I recommended to take it to a transmission shop to be sure.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:59 PM
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severe530i severe530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brent1946 View Post
Thanks for the advice. However, it's my wife's car and I don't want to take any chances. As a musician, she takes long trips and can be out late at night. If it were mine, there's no question that I would just replace the torque converter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTK12 View Post
I'm not saying it isin't, but many times shops don't know how to diagnose transmission issues, hence I recommended to take it to a transmission shop to be sure.
I looked back to see what exactly I did when my torque converter went bad. I went to the local BMW dealer and paid for a diagnostic test to read my fault code (P0741) and it indicated a torn seal in the torque converter. I then searched this forum and performed a highway RPM test to confirm this as well. I researched my options and found a solution that worked for me (and still works 3 years/+40,000 miles later) for ~$900.
I suggest finding out 100% what the problem is first. It's odd that the code reader doesn't provide a fault code, so that needs to be clarified before the OP should put in a transmission if it doesn't need one...unless he wants to.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:31 PM
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Double

Last edited by HTK12; 03-03-2013 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Double
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  #24  
Old 03-03-2013, 03:31 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by severe530i View Post
I looked back to see what exactly I did when my torque converter went bad. I went to the local BMW dealer and paid for a diagnostic test to read my fault code (P0741) and it indicated a torn seal in the torque converter. I then searched this forum and performed a highway RPM test to confirm this as well. I researched my options and found a solution that worked for me (and still works 3 years/+40,000 miles later) for ~$900. I suggest finding out 100% what the problem is first.
OP could do as you did or just take it to a tranmission shop that would do the required tests to be sure what is the issue. Someone who repairs these daily can diagnose these issues fast and accurately. Some indies diagnose things right and some don't. I know too many cases when indies have said that you need to replace X without properly diagnosing the issue first. When the TC fails soon after it starts to disintegrate and small pieces start to travel inside the transmission. These can destroy the transmission. So just replacing the TC is a bit of gamble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by severe530i View Post
It's odd that the code reader doesn't provide a fault code, so that needs to be clarified before the OP should put in a transmission if it doesn't need one...unless he wants to.
OP gave a perfectly good explanation why he couldn't get fault codes from transmission:

Quote:
Originally Posted by brent1946 View Post
Apparently the BavAuto (Peake) can't read transmission-related codes--and, in fact, the manual says that the SES light may be on and no codes found due to some "transmission-related problems."
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  #25  
Old 12-15-2013, 08:48 PM
patrick94115 patrick94115 is offline
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How can I turnoff check engine light? Code P0741 has been diagnosed on my 2003 BMW 530i e39. I would really appreciate any information, I'm over due for smog........

THANK YOU,
Patrick Mozingo
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