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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 05-11-2013, 01:34 AM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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Fault code readers

what is the best code reader to pull faults from my bmw 540i 1998 ? I need to buy one?
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2013, 03:18 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Peake is the best simple code reader but is about $150 and specific to BMW only. INPA, GT-1, etc. are much more extensive/detailed (and a bit more expensive) and require a laptop but are universal to all cars. Any ODBII reader will be serviceable and are universal to all cars. ODBII scanners start at about $25.
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2013, 03:44 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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If you want the best you can forget the handheld code readers like peake. The best would be INPA, DIS (aka GT-1), Autologic etc. If you also want the best bang for the buck solution get INPA and/or DIS. Both use the same cable, which costs ~$20-60.
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  #4  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:42 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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The only problem here is that INPA/DIS is that they do not return "P-codes," the universal language on some BMW forums. If you can use the codes displayed, without discussing them with others, you may be okay. You do get much more info than you may not be able to use, and these devices assume that you are fluent in BMW-speak.

If you simply wish to read codes when the Check Engine light is on, I would suggest Actron or AutoXray products.
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2013, 10:54 AM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Originally Posted by edjack View Post
The only problem here is that INPA/DIS is that they do not return "P-codes," the universal language on some BMW forums. If you can use the codes displayed, without discussing them with others, you may be okay. You do get much more info than you may not be able to use, and these devices assume that you are fluent in BMW-speak.

If you simply wish to read codes when the Check Engine light is on, I would suggest Actron or AutoXray products.
Well scanners like INPA/DIS give you additional information on the error code data like how many times the coded has been recorded, engine speed, voltage etc. If one insist on P-codes Bentley repair manual shows the corresponding P-codes for BMW codes. However just by googling with the BMW error codes you'll most likely find the relevant threads with solutions. INPA/DIS can do much more than just pull the codes.

I did google on AutoXray scanners and AutoXray 6000 costs over $300 . I see no point in paying that much for a simple scanner that can't code new modules, activate service functions like ABS pump etc.
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2013, 11:17 AM
borahatch borahatch is offline
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I have an $89 Actron scanner. It reads all the P-codes and also gives a plain English definition so you don't have to google the code. It offers other info as well (temp, engine load, speed, rpm, fuel trims, etc) for when the code was set in the DME. So far, all that has been fluff for me. I just need to read and clear check engine lights. I recommend it.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2013, 11:31 AM
AH673000 AH673000 is offline
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I have the $60 reader that harbor freight sells... Works on my BMW, Jeep and Mazda .... Love it for my needs .
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2013, 03:26 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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Do i need the one with the circle plug end? Can you guys please send me some links of ones you recommend. I want one that tels you the code but also says it in english ! Thanks heaps
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2013, 06:29 PM
AH673000 AH673000 is offline
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Ha.... My daughter lives in Auckland NZ and always says thanks heaps.... So I looked at your profile and find you do also.

Not sure what your OBD2 plug looks like, but in the US it is a male rectangular plug which plugs into a female plug directly above the hood (bonnet ) release .

Google Harbor Freight OBD2 code readers for examples.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2013, 07:25 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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mine is a circle one
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2013, 08:19 PM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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This is what I have:


Available at Pep Boys or online.
http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3100-OB.../dp/B000EVWDAK
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:35 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/car-...-591854104.htm

Is this alright?
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:45 PM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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Originally Posted by bad540i View Post
Says it's been sold?

Might be ok. I don't recognize it.
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  #14  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:51 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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thats because i just bought it. it looked good in this video on youtube


@6:15
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  #15  
Old 05-12-2013, 11:12 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For freeware:
- OBD II PC freeware & $15 J1962 cable for the BMW E39

Most used:
- Cheapest CAN OBDII scanner on the net that reads DTCs, pending codes, & clears codes

Best of all:
- Making sense of the most often recommended BMW diagnostic tools & cable interfaces (1) & BMW factory & dealer programming, coding, and diagnostic software such as INPA, EDIABAS, NCS Expert, DIS, EasyDIS, Progman (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) & related BMW diagnostic-tool forums (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
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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 05-12-2013, 02:48 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
The only problem here is that INPA/DIS is that they do not return "P-codes," the universal language on some BMW forums.
...
My INPA V4.4.7 omits P codes exactly as you say. It reports only the BMW fault code hex numbers. And these are sometimes ambiguous. For instance, some BMW hex codes are the same for both lean and rich conditions And I've run across one instance where "rich" in the INPA description block turned out to mean the DME had to adjust toward rich, because the O2 sensor was reporting lean - duh!!
It's a complete mystery to me why someone would design such a data structure. What do they know that I don't?

The versions of DIS that I have, EasyDIS V44 + V57, lists problems by BMW hex code. But the Pxxx is always noted in the description. The description + Pxxx has always removed any ambiguity & I've never seen the INPA "reversal" noted above.
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  #17  
Old 05-13-2013, 09:44 PM
GabesJH82 GabesJH82 is offline
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Fault code readers

Hey bad540 do u know if this scan tool can read srs air bag, abs, and all the codes store in the system from your experience. Can you explain what can and cannot do as I'm looking to buy the same tool you have


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  #18  
Old 05-14-2013, 01:58 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GabesJH82 View Post
Hey bad540 do u know if this scan tool can read srs air bag, abs, and all the codes store in the system from your experience. Can you explain what can and cannot do as I'm looking to buy the same tool you have


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hey mate should get it in the mail today and then ill tell you ! i know it can do abs
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  #19  
Old 05-14-2013, 02:00 PM
bad540i bad540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GabesJH82 View Post
Hey bad540 do u know if this scan tool can read srs air bag, abs, and all the codes store in the system from your experience. Can you explain what can and cannot do as I'm looking to buy the same tool you have


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It does do both srs airbag and abs !
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