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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 10-26-2018, 05:45 PM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Engine Failsafe

I have a 2002 540i, should I be concerned with an engine failsafe?? Never seen it before and it popped up today for few seconds and went off. No SES or oil lights. Has an oil leak by the driver side front tire, and the idle seems to dip when coming to a stop. MAF maybe? A While back i let the car run and pulled out the MAF and car kept running which to my knowledge means it's bad. the next day I performed the same test but this time the car did shut off. Any thoughts? The car is accelerating and shifting fine.

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  #2  
Old 10-26-2018, 07:32 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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Has an oil leak by the driver side front tire ? Check your oil filter housing and connecting oil hoses. They are leaking and probably causing a drop in oil pressure, thus lightening the Engine Fail Safe light....Fix it immediately. It is a pretty easy DIY job.
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:56 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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If it was a low oil pressure the cluster would have showed Low Oil Pressure Shut Engine Off, or something like that.

You shouldn't disconnect the MAF with the engine running, do it before you start the engine. If it runs better with the MAF disconnected the MAF could be bad.
When you got the Failsafe did the engine surge?
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:26 PM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Thx Chedley! I"ll check the oil filter housing tomorrow. and Jim, no the car didn't surge when the light came on, just illuminated for a few seconds and went off. As mentioned earlier, the car idle has been dipping when I'm rolling to a stop then suddenly going up causing a slight surge/thump. Seems to not do it when the ac is on, guessing because the car idles slightly higher when the air is on. I have no SES codes on dash or oil lights.

Thanks fellas
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Old 10-26-2018, 10:41 PM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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What about codes from the code reader?
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:07 PM
Santaclaus4 Santaclaus4 is offline
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You get the "Engine in Failsafe" when the engine computer isn't sure where the throttle is. It'll happen more often and it won't turn on the CEL. It is the early stages of throttle body failure.
Also, it could be a poor connection somewhere.
https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...ts-(2003-540i6)
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Last edited by Santaclaus4; 10-27-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:19 PM
u.nanimous u.nanimous is offline
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As mentioned the throttle body is a common cause of engine failsafe and another is low voltage. If your alternator is getting weak you may have sufficient voltage when your foot is on the gas but it will dip at idle.

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Old 11-02-2018, 11:07 AM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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Hey Chedley,
One of the oil filter housing hoses has a tear in it from rubbing on the frame. Any experience with changing them? Can't see exactly where the other end connects to.

Carls 540i
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:24 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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No, but which hose are you talking about : #5 or #6 in this diagram ? https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/sho...diagId=11_1591
And where is the tear? they usually leak at the O-ring connections to the oil filter housing.
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:36 PM
carls540i carls540i is offline
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The # 6, on the bottom side actually where the 6 is point to, it's rubbing up against the frame. I cleaned it last weekend with degreaser and the oil came back so it has to be from there. Just need to see where the other end attaches to underneath.

Carls540i
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  #11  
Old 09-09-2019, 06:46 AM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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Engine Fail-safe....Throttle

I was two days from home in North Carolina just before the Hurricane when I went into limp mode...actually it started sputtering overnight on my way up. I cured it with a FBW throttle reset (10 sec). Drive another 5 hours interstate just fine. Day latter, on a mountain it was really bad, same cure. parking lot...same cure. Made it home 2-days south and some days later, over a bump in a crowded parking lot....yep. So, I changed out, cleaned both rear O2 sensors (codes read they were going out on separate occasions, either side....soot..) Car was bad at start up surging. Throttle reset did no help. So, I looked at the TB flap and saw it was cracked v. slightly open. I carefully opened and closed the flap slowley , key out, feeling for resistance or engaged gears...did that many times. Then, turned the key tp pos. 2 and saw the flap slap shut. Did the on-off to pos. 2 several times. Flap shuts firm. Buttoned everything up. Then, did the FBW throttle reset / peddle down , key to pos. 2 10 seconds, key off. Engine started 1sy crank, smooth idle, revved fast/ strong and felt OK in between.
156K+mi. now. Maybe the TB is telling me something.....Last cleaned it with TB cleaner out of the car. I don't think that cleaner would hurt any thing inside of the flap bushings but some of the oil I see that spits back to the TB might be getting into the TB..
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:11 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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Yes, cleaning the TB -and the MAF- never hurts - I do it regularly twice a year.
But make sure you check and clean the electric connectors to the throttle : it is a drive-by-wire on the M62TU engine of the 540- so the connections are critical.
Otherwise, just keep on driving...
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Last edited by Chedley; 09-09-2019 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:36 PM
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250,000 miles never replaced or cleaned my throttle body
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carls540i View Post
which to my knowledge means it's bad.
not a valid test.. and a pretty bad idea..

you now have a pending code.. your going to have to clear that out,

you need to look at the live data if you want to determine what the engine is doing,

also voltage under full load,
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Last edited by Burning2nd; 09-10-2019 at 12:51 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09-09-2019, 05:03 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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Definitely yes, check the battery/alternator voltage under load, and off load.
"limp mode" is often an early symptom of weakening or failing of the battery or alternator.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:17 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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My throttle body was gummed up with gunk after about 120k miles or so. Was getting drivability issues, and Service Engine Soon light, basically codes for throttle body not responding or something...due to it sticking. Once removed, cleaned all was good.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:31 PM
4thBMW 4thBMW is offline
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Throttle body

Mine was clean when I checked it out, opened it manually and flap shut with key....I'm thinking something got on the interior surfaces when I cleaned it out of the car last. Car runs great now, however, if it codes that FBW throttle again, I'll have to get a better reset that what I did and/ or get a new TB.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:55 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4thBMW View Post
Mine was clean when I checked it out, opened it manually and flap shut with key....I'm thinking something got on the interior surfaces when I cleaned it out of the car last. Car runs great now, however, if it codes that FBW throttle again, I'll have to get a better reset that what I did and/ or get a new TB.
They can fail, I had one replaced once at around 170k miles or so. Then had the sticking issue from gumming up, around 290k miles.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:41 PM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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Most TB failures are caused by the gumming up of the plates or electric connectors.
Regular cleaning of the TB, say at each oil change service, guarantees TB life-time.
To clean it, simply spray CRC carb cleaner, wipe and let dry.
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