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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 10-20-2013, 09:17 PM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 540i M Sport
Few questions?

Howdy folks,

New to the e39 but have owned two e46 330i M sport's and currently also an f25.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/swvrrtkmwu...2-30_photo.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kqku2fe0bo...8-40_photo.jpg


There are a few things that I have had trouble diagnosing and the search feature has only helped me at a minimal so I was hoping some of the guru's might be able to chime in and help me figure out my car.

1) The rpm seems extremely low when then AC is off. it idles at around 500 and as the transmission warms up, the downshift from 2-1 when I am coming to a light stop gives me a harsh kick. I took it to the dealer to try and have my rpms raised like others on this site, and the dealer couldn't figure it out. I have cleaned the MAF and still nothing. This will lead me to my next question.

2) The A/C is always on when I turn the car on. I have had an indy shop remove all previously stored settings/key settings and it still turns on. The funny thing is, when the A/C is on, my idle rpm is at 700, and I never have the kick in my downshifts. Am I experiencing a coincidence or is this designed for a purpose?

3). The car drives like new. When at the Indy shop, the guy found no stored or active codes but did notice that cyl 3 was running high at around 6-7 hundred while all other cylinders were down at around 120-150. I recently changed my plugs and I did find some oil in the spark plug well. I presume this to be the valve cover gaskets so I will get around to that soon. Could the oil in the well and on my plugs cause the #3 to run so high or do I have another problem?

I appreciate the help and I look forward to a great ownership with a truly beautiful machine.

Last edited by fastsoup; 10-20-2013 at 09:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2013, 09:40 PM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Wow, nobody? 111 views and no one has any info for me? Can someone at least point me in the right direction?
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2013, 11:36 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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First tell us what model car you have, and the year and mileage. The E39 has evolved over the years, and all MYs are not the same. We can't help with scant data.

cyl 3 was running high at around 6-7 hundred while all other cylinders were down at around 120-150 I have no idea what this means.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2013, 03:14 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsoup View Post
Wow, nobody? 111 views and no one has any info for me? Can someone at least point me in the right direction?
500 RPM is the normal idle when the AC is off, 700 when it's on.
All cylinders are always running at the same RPM, impossible for one to be running at a different RPM than the rest....impossible.
You need to read the manual for the heating and cooling system.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2013, 06:14 AM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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My apologies...I should have been more clear.

2003 540i M sport. 130,000k.


I appreciate some of the responses. If the idle is normal when the a/c is off, does BMWNA know that this causes a heavy kick downshift when slowing down to a light or stop sign?

In regards to the cylinders, I didn't mean #3 was idling higher. The system that the indy shop used to look at my ODB, there was a screen that showed all 8 cylinders with a green bar indicting their "status" if you will. The #3 cylinder had the green bar way up by 700-800. Forgive me I should have gotten more information on what this read out was...he told me that #3 was on it's way out?
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2013, 06:44 AM
mrl761 mrl761 is offline
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Re: Few questions?

Mine idles the same way and my friends m3 does too

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  #7  
Old 10-22-2013, 09:12 AM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrl761 View Post
Mine idles the same way and my friends m3 does too

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That's so odd. My F25, my old 330i all idle at 700. This low idle causes that hard downshift. That's why I asked if the AC is on all the time for this reason...when it's running, my idle is raised which prevents the kick down. Two local BMW dealers said to me that the idle is too low with the AC off...I am so confused
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2013, 09:20 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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The idle speed can be set 100 RPM higher. Early on in the E39 model run, there were complaints like yours. The dealer then set the idle higher as a warranty fix. They'll no doubt charge you now.
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2013, 09:30 AM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
The idle speed can be set 100 RPM higher. Early on in the E39 model run, there were complaints like yours. The dealer then set the idle higher as a warranty fix. They'll no doubt charge you now.
Yeah the dealer told me they could but I wanted to see if the A/C always being on had something to do with the idle. If the AC is meant to be on ALL the time, then I can live with it being on and no need to throw the dealer any money to raise my idle.

I checked the manual, it shows me nothing regarding the AC being on all the time...can anyone chime in?
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2013, 02:22 PM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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The AC should only be on if the "Snowflake" button is pressed or if the defrost is engaged.
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2013, 02:32 PM
Dale Doeback Dale Doeback is offline
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My 2000 540 with sport (steptronic) trans is the same as yours. E39s don't rev match down shift so the force needed to spin up the engine to meet the wheel speed causes a jerk. And since first gear is the highest ratio it makes the engine spin back up faster than all other gears. I will never downshift into 1st. Just roll to a stop then back into first. If you want smoother shifts, give the car a little bit of gas while downshifting to kind of neutralize the torque converter and cause less jerk. You can get pretty good at "rev matching"

Edit: my rpm with no ac (snowflake button not pressed) is 500
With ac on (snowflake pressed) ~700rpm.
I do not notice a difference in downshifting with it on or off. For a better reference normal downshifting to first will feel engine braking in 2nd, then rolling like in neutral, then strong jerk like dabbling at the brakes.
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WTB: e39 m5/mtech front bumper. OEM only!!

Last edited by Dale Doeback; 10-22-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2013, 03:45 PM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Doeback View Post
My 2000 540 with sport (steptronic) trans is the same as yours. E39s don't rev match down shift so the force needed to spin up the engine to meet the wheel speed causes a jerk. And since first gear is the highest ratio it makes the engine spin back up faster than all other gears. I will never downshift into 1st. Just roll to a stop then back into first. If you want smoother shifts, give the car a little bit of gas while downshifting to kind of neutralize the torque converter and cause less jerk. You can get pretty good at "rev matching"

Edit: my rpm with no ac (snowflake button not pressed) is 500
With ac on (snowflake pressed) ~700rpm.
I do not notice a difference in downshifting with it on or off. For a better reference normal downshifting to first will feel engine braking in 2nd, then rolling like in neutral, then strong jerk like dabbling at the brakes.
I appreciate the feedback. Quite frankly, I don't want to play Honda with a BMW. The rpm should be at the accurate setting for this type of vehicle. I know when the A/C is on (snowflake light on) it raises my rpms which in turn gets rid of the "clunk" If the RPM being raised on the 540i when the a/c is on is the result of getting rid of the clunk, then I feel that BMW should do something about this, and all our members who have this same concern that also resolves itself with the AC on should chime in
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  #13  
Old 10-22-2013, 06:44 PM
Dale Doeback Dale Doeback is offline
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Re: Few questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsoup View Post
I appreciate the feedback. Quite frankly, I don't want to play Honda with a BMW. The rpm should be at the accurate setting for this type of vehicle. I know when the A/C is on (snowflake light on) it raises my rpms which in turn gets rid of the "clunk" If the RPM being raised on the 540i when the a/c is on is the result of getting rid of the clunk, then I feel that BMW should do something about this, and all our members who have this same concern that also resolves itself with the AC on should chime in
Im positive the clunk has nothing to do with ac on or off. I'm sure bmw has the idle set that way for a reason I wouldnt mess with it. How are you playing Honda?
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02/2000 540ia Sport
Sport Trans // StopTech vented cross-drilled // StopTech pads // DJ Auto HELLA reps // LED AE // AE connected to dome light // Style 66 // 130,500 // Dinan Muffler/Y-Res delete

Garage:
2013 F10 550 msport (Father's). Alpine White, Auto, M-Performance Black Kidneys, M-Performance CF decklid spoiler, Ebay CF side markers, M-Performance CF mirror caps

1987 Porsche 944S (Father's). Original owner, 101,000


WTB: e39 m5/mtech front bumper. OEM only!!
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:09 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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The BMW sixes idle 700-750 RPM while the V8s typically are around 500. If the AC (snowflake on) is running, idle RPMs typically are higher in most cars.

When first starting the car (after it has been off more than about 15-16 minutes), it will turn on the cabin ventilation system but the actual AC will not be on.

If you make adjustments (pressing the snowflake button, adjusting temp settings, etc.), the car remembers all that until it has been turned off and entered "sleep" mode (after 15-16 minutes). If you make a quick stop somewhere and re-start the car before it has gone into sleep mode, it should run the AC system at the settings still in memory.

At least that's how mine seems to operate.

As to the auto trans downshifting, has it ever been serviced (fluid change)? Are you running it in a sport mode of some kind? (Sorry, manual here, not sure what the auto trannies have on these cars.....)
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:36 PM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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Few questions?

I've got the exact same issue as the OP on my 99 540iT (190k) and started a thread about it about 6 weeks ago. When A/C is on, the idle speed is 700 w/no abrupt downshift. When A/C is off, idle drops to 500 and coming to a stop is scary stuff. My indy says he can't raise the idle speed so I will likely take it to the dealership and see if they can do it. I'd still like to know the problem if 500 is normal idle speed for the 8s as some have suggested. Otherwise the car shifts beautifully.


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Last edited by MuscleWagon; 10-23-2013 at 06:03 AM.
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  #16  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:39 PM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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Few questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Doeback View Post
Im positive the clunk has nothing to do with ac on or off.
I'm positive my clunk has everything to do w/the AC being on or off.



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  #17  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:39 PM
Dale Doeback Dale Doeback is offline
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Re: Few questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
As to the auto trans downshifting, has it ever been serviced (fluid change)? Are you running it in a sport mode of some kind? (Sorry, manual here, not sure what the auto trannies have on these cars.....)
The auto I believe he is talking about is this one.
Click image for larger version

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Knock the shifter over to hit sport and go up or down to activate sequential mode. It's on the left side in us spec cars
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Sport Trans // StopTech vented cross-drilled // StopTech pads // DJ Auto HELLA reps // LED AE // AE connected to dome light // Style 66 // 130,500 // Dinan Muffler/Y-Res delete

Garage:
2013 F10 550 msport (Father's). Alpine White, Auto, M-Performance Black Kidneys, M-Performance CF decklid spoiler, Ebay CF side markers, M-Performance CF mirror caps

1987 Porsche 944S (Father's). Original owner, 101,000


WTB: e39 m5/mtech front bumper. OEM only!!
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  #18  
Old 10-22-2013, 10:01 PM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volnraleigh View Post
I've got the exact same issue as the OP on my 99 540iT (190k) and started a thread about it about 6 weeks ago. When A/C is on, the idle speed is 700 w/no abrupt downshift. When A/C is off it drops to 500 and coming to a stop is scary stuff. My indy says he can't raise the idle speed but I will likely take it to the dealership and see if they can do it. I'd still like to know the problem if 500 is normal idle speed for the 8s as some have suggested. Otherwise the car shifts beautifully.


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Exactly!! Thank god someone knows what I am talking about! It has everything to do with the AC being off...when the AC is off, the clunk is present. It's not the tranny fluid (up full) not the guibo (solid no play) not the MAF (all cleaned)

I cannot belive that a 2003 e39 with the M Sport package can have such a poor transmission issue with the AC off can go unnoticed without any TSB's

F
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  #19  
Old 10-23-2013, 11:41 AM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsoup View Post
Exactly!! Thank god someone knows what I am talking about! It has everything to do with the AC being off...when the AC is off, the clunk is present. It's not the tranny fluid (up full) not the guibo (solid no play) not the MAF (all cleaned)

I cannot belive that a 2003 e39 with the M Sport package can have such a poor transmission issue with the AC off can go unnoticed without any TSB's

F
There are a few of us out there suffering from this problem and lots of guessing going on. As far as I can tell no one has found the silver bullet...yet. Looks like it's up to us pal Have you changed your AT fluid recently?

I'm really surprised by the 50/50 split between those who claim the idle can be increased with the correct software and those that say it cannot be increased at all. I'll let you know what my dealer says.

Any other 540 owners care to comment regarding one poster's claim that the V8s are supposed to have the A/C running (snowflake button engaged) full time? Doesn't pass the smell test to me. A buddy has a 540, doesn't use the A/C outside of summer, and doesn't have this downshift problem that fastsoup and I have.

http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/71021-540i-idle-speed/
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  #20  
Old 10-23-2013, 11:55 AM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volnraleigh View Post
There are a few of us out there suffering from this problem and lots of guessing going on. As far as I can tell no one has found the silver bullet...yet. Looks like it's up to us pal Have you changed your AT fluid recently?

I'm really surprised by the 50/50 split between those who claim the idle can be increased with the correct software and those that say it cannot be increased at all. I'll let you know what my dealer says.

Any other 540 owners care to comment regarding one poster's claim that the V8s are supposed to have the A/C running (snowflake button engaged) full time? Doesn't pass the smell test to me. A buddy has a 540, doesn't use the A/C outside of summer, and doesn't have this downshift problem that fastsoup and I have.

http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/71021-540i-idle-speed/
I am certain that this is not an issue with anything except the idle. I just left Brian Jessel BMW her in Vancouver B.C and two shop formans said that the idle should not fluctuate regardless of the AC being on or off. They did not know exactly what the idle should be at, but they were certain that the idle should not flucuate at all. On the road test, I easily duplicated the "clunk" for them with the AC off...the minute I turned the "snowflake" on, I could not duplicate the clunk again. Even the tech pointed out the idle difference when coming to a stop; with the AC off it dropped just below the 500rpm. His face showed me that he had never seen that before. This is what makes me wonder that the AC/snowflake comes on automatically with my vehicle to keep the rpms up, and that noone locally has ever complained about this issue because they have always kept the AC on, which would prevent the clunk.

F
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  #21  
Old 10-23-2013, 01:08 PM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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I assume your dealer isn't able to raise your idle speed or you would have done it obviously. So what's your plan moving forward? Leave the A/C "on" full time? You may want to clean or replace your ICV??? I don't have one.
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  #22  
Old 10-23-2013, 02:38 PM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volnraleigh View Post
I assume your dealer isn't able to raise your idle speed or you would have done it obviously. So what's your plan moving forward? Leave the A/C "on" full time? You may want to clean or replace your ICV??? I don't have one.
I just left the dealer. They are able to access the idle and raise it but are not able to save it?? They told me that I would need to leave the vehicle with them so that they could open up a PUMA case and get techline involved.

This is now starting to make me wonder what the hell is really going on?
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  #23  
Old 10-23-2013, 07:16 PM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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Few questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastsoup View Post
They are able to access the idle and raise it but are not able to save it??
This is what my indy tells me also. Good luck.




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  #24  
Old 10-24-2013, 08:38 AM
fastsoup fastsoup is offline
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Originally Posted by volnraleigh View Post
This is what my indy tells me also. Good luck.




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So what do you do? Keep the A/C on all the time?
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  #25  
Old 10-24-2013, 11:57 AM
MuscleWagon MuscleWagon is offline
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Originally Posted by fastsoup View Post
So what do you do? Keep the A/C on all the time?
For now, yes...until I'm able to solve the mystery. Of course I adjust the temperature and fan settings as needed to minimize the annoyance. Still optimistic that the dealer can raise the idle speed through the DME and be done with this. Also need to delete the "beep beep" everytime I lock/unlock the doors and the side mirror tilt in reverse. Can't see a damn thing behind me on the passenger side On the bright side, it's a good thing to only be worrying about beeps and tilting mirrors.
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