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I'm having some serious problems with my 2003 e46 VIN: KN80093. It's approaching three years old, and has 86500km on the odometer.

  • My DSC, handbrake and ABS lights keep coming on, causing all my lights (headlights, interior lights) to flicker and the radio to go haywire (it goes on and off and the display becomes unintelligible gibberish). I have no problem with the brakes though and this usually on very smooth roads.
  • Twice on a trip, when the above (DSC, ABS and brake lights flashing on) was happening, all the warning lights on the dashboard flashed on (very brightly) and the car just shut down electronically, including the power-steering. I had to pull off to the side, wait a minute and restart it.
  • The EML light comes on sometimes when I start the car but it always disappears after a short while. It has also appeared once or twice while I was driving the car.
  • Quite a few times now, I have tried to open the car with key remote and it did not respond. The second time this happened I came up close and looked into the window to check and I saw that the orange light by the gearbox (car is auto-transmission) was flickering on and off. I unlocked the car manually and entered and I discovered that none of the electronic systems i.e. windows, ignition, etc. would work until the light stabilized. And usually, the clock is reset i.e. --:-- afterwards.
  • This all happens intermittently. I have gone for a whole week without the lights coming up once and you would swear that the car has nothing wrong with it. And then there are bad days when the lights are on every few seconds. Of course, Mr. Murphy has apparently seen it fit to assign the good days to the days the car is with the mechanics.
  • Finally, just yesterday I noticed a pattern. It seems as if the lights (when they start coming up) only come on at a certain RPM and above (approx. 1000). When I put the car in neutral and hit the accelerator, the EML and battery lights came up as well as the usual trio (DSC, handbrake and ABS), along with the headlamps swiveling downward when the RPM went above 1000.

The thing is, I have taken the car to the dealership/repair shop three times for this same problem. This is in Nigeria and they are supposedly BMW's numero uno dealers and experts in the country: very expensive. Twice they told me that they test drove it around for a while and the problem never appeared. They have put it on a diagnostics machine and they said it showed them no problem. The second time they recoded the DSC unit only for the problem to show up again the next day.

They are now speculating that it could be the instrument cluster/CAN, ABS unit, etc. My alternator and battery were checked last Friday but they all tested good. In other words, it seems that they are at a loss although I just discovered the apparent relationship between the RPM and the light display yesterday night and I haven't told them yet as of this morning.

ADDITIONAL INFO
This problem only started after I had the wishbones and bearings replaced (by the same guys) in June so I'm wondering if that could have anything to do with it? Also the horn just flat-out stopped working a few weeks back and though it has been fixed, I'm now wondering whether it may have been related to this DSC-ABS-brake light problem.

What do you all think? Any suggestions I can pass on would be welcome. Thanks!
 

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Start with cleaning your MAF sensor. Pick up a can of MAF Sensor Cleaner at NAPA. Remove the MAF from the air intake duct and clean it very well. Are you using a K&N filter? Not a good idea....sensor maybe picking up oil from over-saturated air filter.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Seek to understand,^Value
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25,199 Posts

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I do'nt make mistakes.
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I realize this is old, so I merely refer the OP to this new E46 thread ....
Holy crossing linking bat man. At first thought, I thought DSC and ABS were going nuts today.
 
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