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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 10-19-2013, 09:34 PM
cowboyjer cowboyjer is offline
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Low coolant temp and catalyst efficiency

Will low coolant temperature cause catalyst codes? 2003 525i SEL comes on and stores codes after about an hour driving on the highway.

P0128 coolant temperature below thermostat regulating temperature
P0420 bank 1 catalyst efficiency
P0430 bank 2 catalyst efficiency
P2004 Intake Manf Runner Control Stuck Open
P2030 Fuel Fired Heater Performance

I'm haveing trouble finding any info on the P2004 and P2030. Standard scan tools did not pick them up, but Torque Pro Android app did.

Bank 1 post cat O2 sensor was replaced, but not bank 2, and neither of the pre cat O2 sensors. I have been working with the dealer that I purchased the car from to get it fixed. There was no SEL on when I purchased the car, or I would not have bought it.

2003 525i, 100K miles
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2013, 10:31 AM
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johnstern johnstern is online now
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P0128 tells me you need to replace the thermostat. Does the coolant temp gauge in the car ever read straight up? Does the car produce any cabin heat? If the answer is 'no', you need a thermostat. I do not believe that low coolant temp would set the CAT efficiency codes but low coolant temp would make the car run rich and that would not help the CATs.

100K seems like a low mileage to have the CATs fail. We have 188K on a 99 528 and the CATs are fine. I might try running the car down the highway for 40 or 50 miles at 65mph in a gear that would keep the engine turning at 4000 to 4500 rpm-the higher rpm the better. That might heat up the CATs enough to burn off whatever is making them not work and the high exhaust gas velocity might blow some ash away. Good luck with that and/or with your discussions with the dealer.

Some non US cars came with an optional gas heater that I believe was located in the left front fender well. I wouldn't be worried about that code.

P2004 might be for the DISA valve. I'd remove and inspect it. There is a diaphragm inside the gizmo that opens and closes the valve. Maybe that is broken or maybe the valve itself is falling apart and is jammed. Take a look!

Last edited by johnstern; 10-20-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-20-2013, 10:36 AM
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johnstern johnstern is online now
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P0128 tells me you need to replace the thermostat. Does the coolant temp gauge in the car ever read straight up? Does the car produce any cabin heat? If the answer is 'no', you need a thermostat. I do not believe that low coolant temp would set the CAT efficiency codes but low coolant temp would make the car run rich and that would not help the CATs.

100K seems like a low mileage to have the CATs fail. We have 188K on a 99 528 and the CATs are fine. I might try running the car down the highway for 40 or 50 miles at 65mph in a gear that would keep the engine turning at 4000 to 4500 rpm-the higher rpm the better. That might heat up the CATs enough to burn off whatever is making them not work and the high exhaust gas velocity might blow some ash away. Good luck with that and/or with your discussions with the dealer.

Some non US cars came with an optional gas heater that I believe was located in the left front fender well. I wouldn't be worried about that code.

P2004 might be for the DISA valve. I'd remove and inspect it. There is a diaphragm inside the gizmo that opens and closes the valve. Maybe that is broken or maybe the valve itself is falling apart and is jammed. Take a look!

Last edited by johnstern; 10-20-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-20-2013, 12:45 PM
cowboyjer cowboyjer is offline
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What is the DISA valve, and where is it?
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  #5  
Old 10-20-2013, 12:53 PM
cowboyjer cowboyjer is offline
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Found it. Would that cause the cats to fail prematurely, or operate outside of allowed range?
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2013, 01:23 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyjer View Post
Found it. Would that cause the cats to fail prematurely, or operate outside of allowed range?
No, not really. How many miles does your car have?
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2013, 04:48 PM
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johnstern johnstern is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyjer View Post
Found it. Would that cause the cats to fail prematurely, or operate outside of allowed range?
A bad DISA would not cause premature CAT failure. I'd have to guess that the failure was caused by the previous owner making many, many short trips with the car never warming up to operating temp. Perhaps they also ignored CELs that caused the car to run extremely rich.

Another long shot in fixing the CATs would be to have them cut off the car and wash them with an extremely strong detergent solution and let them soak overnight in the solution and then hose them off. I'm talking about washing the inside of the CATs. Then have them welded back in place.



Watch the above video for a good laugh. I wouldn't be pouring lacquer thinner in a plastic E39 gas tank or running it through a BMW fuel pump with many plastic parts (lacquer thinner melts plastic) but I would try the washing thing before buying new CATs. But I'd try driving the car at high speed with high revs first. Remember, these engines were designed to run on the Autobahn at 130mph all day. Your engine probably turns nearly 3500 rpm at 80 mph so running it at 4500 for 50 miles will not hurt anything.
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2013, 08:19 PM
cowboyjer cowboyjer is offline
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I hooked up torque pro app on my phone to the obd2 and the temperature is running about 150. Also watched the post converter OBD2 sensors. Bank 1 read about 0.7 v most of the time, but the bank 2 varied from 0.1 to 0.9, and jumped around quite a bit. I ran 30 miles at 65 in 3rd gear, 4500 rpm or so, and 20 at 80 in D, then the SEL came on, and stored p0430. Also noticed the fuel trim on bank 2 was way higher than the fuel trim on bank 1.

Dealer replaced the bank 1 post 02 sensor. I wish he had done both, but his mechanic said that the bank 2 sensor was OK. I am thinking that the pre cat sensors might be lazy, and not giving the ecm good readings to control fuel mixture.

I wish I would have had more time today, and I would have hooked up INPA and looked at the history. I'm in the middle of replacing transmission solenoids on my wife's 05 545.
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  #9  
Old 10-21-2013, 04:02 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Id go striate for the coolent temp circuit
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"Burning 2nd is a lot like vitamin tonic. Overly harsh, tastes like crap, but somewhere in all that there's good intent......just have to learn to read between the lines, actually you have to squint really hard to see the good, but its there somewhere"
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2013, 08:54 AM
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johnstern johnstern is online now
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Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
Id go striate for the coolent temp circuit
+1. Additionally, you need to fix the DISA. Although the CATs seem to have your attention due to their high cost, you need to address the faults that are making the engine run badly. 150F is way low making the engine run rich and a malfunctioning DISA is also not good. Running the car at high speed with high revs might have cleaned the CATs a bit but with the car running rich, you may have also blown more carbon into the CATs. Fix the basics so the engine is running right. It is very difficult to hit a moving target!!!!

Edit-For you reading pleasure:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...atylytic-Trick

Last edited by johnstern; 10-21-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2013, 10:49 PM
cowboyjer cowboyjer is offline
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That's my thoughts on it, too. I'm not sure that the cats are necessarily bad, but I want to find the cause before they get worse. The car runs good, seems to have good power, but after about an hour on the highway, it throws the post cat codes and turns on the CEL. So far, the dealer I bought it from has tried to make it right, but his mechanic doesn't really have any experience with BMW's and keeps trying to treat the symptoms. It's my daughters car and she is away at college, so I haven't had a lot of time with it.

I got my Wife's 545 transmission done, and Injectors in my diesel pickup, so hopefully, I can get some time now to hook up INPA and see if I can track down the cause.
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