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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 03-05-2013, 12:30 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Psychologically, what are the personalities when it comes to approaching E39 repair

This new thread today got me thinking of how DIFFERENT our personalities are when it comes to diagnosing a problem:
Quote:
Originally Posted by REDACTED View Post
my brake lights dont work on my 1998 528i bmw what should i do?
We already have a thread on the Myers-Briggs personality of all of us:
- What is your Myers-Briggs personality profile (1)
But, that's a general personality test, and not what I'm asking about here (although elements may play a role).

To our credit, we've long ago come to the conclusion that people recommend fluids for their BMW based on three different personalities:
- Fundamental BMW fluids decision-making religious camps (1) and algorithms specific to motor oil selection (1), coolant choice (1), & gasoline dogma (1)
This was good information because knowing the personality of the poster enables us to recommend the right fluid for THAT PERSONALITY!

However, we haven't, to my knowledge, fleshed out the various personalities when it comes to HOW people approach a DIAGNOSTIC problem in the E39.

For example, we all know that some people, when confronted with a misfire, replace all the coils; or, when faced with the brake/abs/asc trifecta, more than a few replace all four wheel speed sensors.
To be sure, throwing parts at a problem works. Since most problems probably have 4 or 5 possible culprits, anyone has a 20% to 25% chance of fixing the problem on the first pass - and they'll be convinced they are a genius if they get it right the first time.
Yet, others diagnose until there is no tomorrow, and don't stop the diagnosis until the part is taken apart and autopsied to locate the failure point (and some, like cn90 and Gary@germanautosolutions actually re-design the failed part).
I'm sure there are people whose personality is in between.

Having said all that by way of introduction, I ask:
Q: What are the various personalities when it comes to approaching a diagnostic repair in the E39?

As usual, I'll take a stab, but, feel free to take this in a direction that is fruitful.
(the goal is to understand the poster - so that we can better help them.)

DIAGNOSTIC PERSONALITY TYPES: (first pass, may not withstand the test of other opinions)
  1. The "intuitive" (Clue: Parts are replaced en masse without the system being understood and tested to isolate defects.)
    • I have a misfire; it must be the coils because my friend replaced his and that solved his problem; so I will replace all the coils.
    • I have an SES/CEL; the DTC points to the O2 sensor; so I will replace both O2 sensors.
    • I have the trifecta so I will replace all four wheel speed sensors because that's cheaper than replacing the ABS control module.
    • I have brake "warp"; so I will replace all four rotors and my thrust arm bushings.
  2. The "troubleshooter" (Clue: Probably doesn't post all that much other than to ask for documentation, TIS, wiring diagrams, & to ask specific operational questions.)
    • I have a misfire; so I will test gas, air, spark, compression and timing to hone the culprits.
    • I have an SES/CEL; the DTC points to the O2 sensor; so I will check the power & input & output to and from the O2 sensor & I'll search for common problems.
    • I have the trifecta; so I will test my sensors with a DMM and test my ABS control module and 20-odd sensors with INPA.
    • I have brake "warp"; so I will run a diagnostic rebedding to see if that alleviates the problem and I will check my thrust bushings for tears or leaks.
  3. The "helpless" (Clue: Lots of use of "help" and (mostly-made up) complaints about the dealer or Indy being stupid, saying they told them they need a "new engine".)
    • I have a misfire; HELP!!!!!! Seafoam made it worse; I can't afford a new engine; what should I pour into the tank next?
    • I have a yellow light on my cluster; The dealer says I need a new cluster. But they cost too much. Help! How do I fix it?
    • I have yellow lights all over my cluster; HELP ME! I just got new tires; I'm sure that tire shop broke my bimmer! How much can I sue them for?
    • I have brake 'warp"; HELP! I'm a kid/student/girl/orphan/dog/whatever; my indy says I need new brakes but I don't have any tools. Help!
  4. The "gullible" (Clue: Prolific use of magic solutions and adherence to BMW marketing or just urban science.)
    • I have a misfire; I saw a seafoam advertisement so I put some in; but it didn't work so I put some more in. Why isn't it working now?
    • I have an SES/CEL; my friend said to replace the oxygen sensor; I did, but it didn't fix the problem. Why not?
    • I have the trifecta; the dealer said it's a safety issue and to stop driving the bimmer and have it towed in. How much will it cost?
    • I have brake "warp"; I'm never getting Chinese rotors ever again; Zimmerman knows BMWs but Zeckhausen knows racing; which drilled and slotted rotors should I buy?
  5. ?
    1. I have a misfire; ?
    2. I have an SES/CEL; ?
    3. I have the trifecta; ?
    4. I have brake "warp"; ?
__________________
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; 03-06-2013 at 08:57 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2013, 04:20 AM
uncmozo uncmozo is offline
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I work in the mechanical field, and experience is the most valuable asset you can have imho.
The idea, at least to me, that approaches can be psychological doesn't cut it. Desire is everything.
Do you WANT to be good at what you're doing?

You must also realize some people do not have mechanical or electrical abilities - never will. It can not be forced upon them.

Let the arguments begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2013, 04:23 AM
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Flybot Flybot is offline
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Dont forget "Preventive" and "Reactive"
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:33 AM
firehawk17 firehawk17 is offline
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well the psychological approach by some who may throw parts at any given problem would be likened to a defense mechanism, because they dont have the know how/experience to properly diagnose the problem. So to combat that they will compensate by throwing money and parts at the problem to hopefully solve it. As mentioned it also could be preventative maintenance while fixing the issue at hand to stave off impending problems.. but the approach should be experience. Cars are notoriously known to have certain common problems depending on model and brand. But its also good to approach from a logical point of view.. write your problem down.. then list possible causes...each possible cause more than likely has its own signature characteristic during failure.. experience with concise logic i believe one could almost never go wrong....
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2013, 08:00 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncmozo View Post

You must also realize some people do not have mechanical or electrical abilities - never will. It can not be forced upon them.

Let the arguments begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry
Gotta agree with you. And some of those people are here and on the other BMW forum giving out answers that make no sense.
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2013, 09:33 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybot View Post
Dont forget "Preventive" and "Reactive"
I think preventive maintenance is a totally different mindset, because one is voluntary, while the other is a brand-new dilemma inopportunely thrust upon the unsuspecting victim.

But, I'm not sure what "Reactive" is though ...

Would that be similar to the guy who just throws parts at the problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
... giving out answers that make no sense.
I agree we see answers that make no sense all the time.

I wonder about WHY.
  • For example, a guy asks about a misfire and someone tells him to replace all the coils ("worked for him", he says).
  • Or there's smoke in the exhaust and someone insists they seafoam the engine ("must be crud in the engine", right?)
  • Or there's the trifecta and someone suggest they "reset" the battery so the light will go off.
Do these answers make no sense because the person giving the answer has a certain personality? Or is it they're just misinformed (bearing in mind the difference between ignorance and styupidity).

Speaking of ignorance & intelligence with respect to repairs, what do you think is the minimum IQ and mainstream grade level necessary to diagnose & repair most bimmer problems?

For knowledge, I'm guessing somewhere around 6th to 8th grade is all you need to understand basic repair tenets; and for intelligence, I suspect it has to be far below average for it to prevent diagnostic repair (e.g., something like the low fifties or so?).

The reason it may matter is that intelligence and personality are two different things, one of which you have no control over.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncmozo View Post
Desire is everything ... You must also realize some people do not have mechanical or electrical abilities - never will. It can not be forced upon them.
Hi Jerry,
Those two statements are intriguing. I certainly agree that desire is a critical component.

And, I've said so, many times in the record that there are three things, that, if you have, you WILL LEARN about your bimmer!
  1. Lots of time
  2. No money
  3. A car that breaks
Desire and "necessity" may be the same thing, at times.


Hmmmm.... I just thought of something. What if ... someone had no desire ... but ... high necessity ... (along with no money & lots of time)?


The might be tempted to throw (cheap) parts at the problem, wouldn't they?

Maybe THAT's why they throw parts at the problem. Lack of desire - but the necessity to perform the repair.
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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; 03-06-2013 at 09:47 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2013, 04:41 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For one type of personality, Fudman explained the DIY logic today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
While this has nothing to do with BMW engineers reading forums, this flowchart describes how most engineers approach DIY repairs.
__________________
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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  #8  
Old 03-28-2013, 06:06 PM
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Ltmax Ltmax is offline
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I tend to be the semi-experienced economically conscious troubleshooter looking at my time and money as both equally important and being able to brag about how much money I wasted replacing all six/eight coil packs when only one is bad, or overpaying hundreds of dollars at the Stealer parts counter for that "Genuine OEM part" when there may be a much cheaper suitable alternative gives me heartburn.

1. My first rule is 99% of the time it's not the ECM/Computer so don't waste your time starting from there, it's tucked away in a nice dry location (one exception is except for that coolant sensor wicking antifreeze up the wiring....still amazed that happens)

2. Second rule is figure out when the problem first presented itself, did it happen after you did some routine maintenance or some other work on the car? If so, start there first because you probably screwed something up in the process.

3. Third rule is common tune up items that wear out get checked first. Noisy brakes.. check the pads first, random misfire's... how many miles are on the plugs, engine low on power... dirty air filter, fuel filter, etc..

4. Fourth rule is problems with system that have both a mechanical and electrical parts, (DISA, VANOS, Power Seats, Throttle body etc.) always look at the mechanical side first especially if they are made out of plastic.

5. Fifth rule, before you start throwing parts at it, spend 15 minutes online doing a little research as odds are if you're having the problem many other are as well.

6. Sixth rule, don't believe everything you read on the internet, there are no magic pills, and pour in fixes for overheating, blown head gaskets, engine smoking, etc.. so if you start reading how one bottle of Seafoam or stop leak amazingly fixed the problem....don't believe it and keep searching.

7. Last rule, if you aren't absolutely sure the part you think you need will fix the problem do a little more research; and if it costs more than $50-$100 consider looking for a used one at the salvage yard, on E-bay or Craigslist

Using your descriptions, I'm closest to:

The "troubleshooter" (Clue: Probably doesn't post all that much other than to ask for documentation, TIS, wiring diagrams, & to ask specific operational questions.)
I have a misfire; so I will pull the DTC's, look at the plug/boot and then swap coil packs to see if the problem moves with the coil pack.
I have an SES/CEL; the DTC points to the O2 sensor; so I will check the wiring to the O2 and resistance of the sensor itself first, then swap the sensor to see if the problem follows, and if not move to diagnosing the rest of the ignition/fuel/air systems
I have the trifecta; so I will look for the most common problems with that system first, once I rule them out, then test the sensors with a DMM and test my ABS control module and 20-odd sensors with INPA.
I have brake "warp"; so I will see how old the rotors are; replace if worn out, if not use my dial indicator to see if they are warped, then I will check my tires, wheel bearings, thrust bushings for tears or leaks, and all other front steering components that tend to wear out.

Last edited by Ltmax; 03-28-2013 at 06:39 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2013, 09:06 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ltmax View Post
being able to brag about how much money I wasted replacing all six/eight coil packs when only one is bad,
Interestingly, I've seen that phenomenon so many times, I must wonder about the personality of the person who replaces all the coils at the first hint of a misfire.

Personally, I'm of the mantra that if there's no picture, then it's just a made-up lie for something like 80% of the people who say that - yet- for the other 20%, I think they actually DO replace all the coils! I once asked one of our suppliers if people buy 6 (or 8) coils and/or 4 wheel speed sensors, and, the answer came back "Sure, all the time!".

It amazes me this phenomenon.

I suspect the PERSONALITY of the person who does such an illogical thing is so different than mine that I'd be hard pressed to understand the logic. Me? I don't replace anything until I can prove it's bad. My personality is such that I have no confidence in my assumptions.

Yet, LOOK at this set of assumptions (which, I admit, made me laugh) that I just saw moments ago:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW01530i View Post
I have a pixel issue that just happened on the radio. Its the top line only. Is there a reset through the Odometer reset tool (test 1, test2 etc..) Can I fix this issue by unplugging the battery. Need your help. thanks in advance.
I have to wonder about the personality of someone who makes these wild guesses, without even typing /pixel in the best links to find out that it's so common that nary a single E39 has survived without the pixels popping out, one by one.

I think I'll call it the "wishful thinking" personality.
__________________
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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