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I recently acquired a 1999 528i wagon. It was owned in California since initial purchase and I brought it to Wyoming. I have had to make some minor repairs here and there but have enjoyed driving the vehicle. It even behaves well in the harsh winters here.

Last night when I started the car, several things occurred that were out of the ordinary:
1) Headlights and tail lights turned on with the key (light switch was off)
2) Fog lights did not come on at all (regardless of switch position).
3) Instrument cluster lights, Climate Control System lights, and amber/orange interior lights did not come on.
4) High beam head lights would not turn on.
5) Blinkers did not work.

The information center (Check Engine Light, computer, etc,) all worked, as did the interior lights when door was opened or light switched on. The tail lights and brake lights worked as well.

After doing some research online, I read that the LCM can catch fire. I recently had some oil burning and replaced the valve cover gasket and grommets to resolve that (I did see some minor leaking from a few of the grommets). Now, I am concerned the LCM may have been the issue with the burning smell and finding an LCM that is a) not super expensive, and b) won't require an expensive trip to the dealer for programming may be a difficult task. How worried should I be about an LCM fire occurring? How common are they? Any advice on how to find one that won't require dealer assistance?

I also found another site that indicated it could be a simple headlight switch. That part is still pricey but would not require any additional work other than the replacement.

There are no engine codes that relate to the LCM shown on my scan tool.

I am willing to put some money into the vehicle since it runs so well, but it was given to me by a family member for free so I don't want to put TOO much into it.

Thoughts?
 

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First things first, try opening the trunk for 16 minutes until the light go out, disconnect your battery for ten minutes and connect it again. Make sure your battery is fully charged, measure with a multimeter.
Lcm has its own codes, some dont mean much but others do. There are cluster codes also, did you look at these? They can be hard to interpreta but this might help.
Here is the list of some codes:
1 Fuel consuming signal from engine control unit faulty
2 Fuel consuming signal (ti-II) from engine control unit faulty
3 Road signal from ABS/ASC/DSC control unit faulty
4 RPM (tD) from engine control unit faulty
5 Coolant temperature sensor faulty
6 Temperature sensor
7 Outside temperature sensor
8 Fuel level sensor 1 (Fuel pump side)
9 Fuel level sensor 2 (without fuel pump)
10 Tension to high at the power supply
11 EGS signal disturbed
12 Power supply Pin 15
13 Power supply Pin R
14 Service Interval Display (SAI) Reset
15 Pressure Switch
16 Gong Sound (T1)
17 Gong Sound (T2)
18 Gong Sound (T3)
19 Current to high in the instrument cluster
20 Internal error in the LCM module
21 Internal error (IKE)
22 Vehicle speed signal (Tacho-A)
23 Instrument cluster -Bus (I-Bus)
24 Body-Bus (K-Bus)
25 Error during activation of the instrument in the instrument cluster
26 Undefined error
27 Internal Error
28 I-BUS error
29 Power Supply
30 Power Supply
31 Power Supply
32 Power Supply
33 K-BUS
34 Oil Pressure Control Light
35 Reverse gear recognition
3E Error by activation display
3F Instrument cluster current to high
44 Oil pressure switch
87 Body-Bus (K-Bus)
88 (I-Bus)
8B Gong Ton (T3)
8C Power supply Term. R
8D EGS Data lead disturbed
8F Power supply
90 Power supply Term. 15
91 Gong Ton (T2)
92 Gong Ton (T1)
BC Break fluid level
BD Electronic break power
BE LCM internal error
BF Instrument Cluster Internal Error
C1 ABS/ASC/DSC Signal(Tacho)
C3 RPM signal from DME control unit
C6 Output PIN 6 (Code EWS)
C7 Fuel tank sensor 1 (fuel pump side)
CD Fuel consumption signal DME 1
CE Outside temperature sensor
CF Service Interval Display (SIA) Reset
D3 Coolant temperature sensor
D5 Oil temperature sensor
D7 Fuel tank sensor 2 (without fuel pump)
DA Fuel consumption signal DME 2
F0 CAN-Bus off
F4 CAN Identification missing
F5 CAN Identification missing (ASC)
F6 CAN Identification missing (DME)
F7 CAN Identification missing (DME)
F8 CAN Identification missing (DME)
F9 CAN Identification missing (DME)
FA CAN Identification missing (EML)
FB CAN Identification missing (EGS)
FC CAN Identification missing
FD CAN Identification missing
I think your lcm is the newer kind, without the cooling fins, and this is not easy to repair. On the old lcm, if the transistor to control the long beams burn out the long beams would be on all the time.
Your lcm is located on the right side in the passenger side footwell but it seems unlikely it burned.
You can try another headlight switch if you want, buy one from ebay, its only a few bucks for a used one.
 

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You can upgrade to the newer style LCM, you can take your chances pulling one from a scrapyard and having someone program it to your car. It you can attempt to do it yourself if you have the right software to do so

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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What is the overnight battery voltage before turning the key? S/b 12.5+

What is the voltage with the engine running at 1500 RPM? S/b circa 14.

These cars do strange thing electrically when the battery voltage is low, like 11 or less.
 

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I don't know...When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not Zebras

While burning out an LCM is probably not unheard of, I think it is pretty rare.

I think your first step is reading codes with a BMW-specific code reader, not just an autozone code reader. A BMW-specific code reader would be a very good tool to have if you intend to keep this car for a while.

I happen to believe you have a bad ignition switch, a weak battery, and/or corrosion in the electrical junction box under the passenger front seat carpet (any wet carpets?). All of these have the symptoms you describe and are more common than burning up an LCM or other LCM failure.

And BTW, whether you got the car for free from a family member should have no bearing on what you decide to do going forward. This car of yours will cost $1500/ year (sometimes less) to keep it in good shape, reliable and road-worthy. Please budget accordingly.
 

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2001 BMW E39 540i Automatic Sedan, 192 K miles
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I second...This is a problem with the battery and/or electric connections, connectors, fuses and switches.
It is probably NOT the LCM.
And definitely, get yourself a BMW specific code reader (INPA recommended) if you intend to keep this car and not go broke.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for everyone's help. I think it was the head light switch. I was messing with it to get an idea of how difficult of a fix it was going to be to replace it and everything is working as normal. I'll keep my eye open for a replacement switch and go from there.
 

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Extremely easy to change, just pull it out, take of connector, put new in.
 
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