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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone; first thread ever here; just signed up. I've read tons and tons of threads on this site, but never actually signed - now I have.

To the problem!

My E46 320i from 1999, has led me to an extreme headache. as the title says, my engine light does not illuminate when I turn the key to "ignition on" position, but it sure does illuminate when I do the cluster test. Very frustrating, since it does not illuminate with faults either. I've got no signal from my inlet CPS, and my fuel trim is exceeding data, wich both, according to a dealer diagnostic, would fire the ses/cel light.

Now, I need help troubleshooting the problem with the light, NOT the codes, as I'll be working on those myself. I have no idea, how it works, at all, but any suggestions/tips/knowledge, will be greatly appriciated. I myself have thought of it being disabled by the previous owner at the dealership, but I don't know, it's just an idea.

Anyways, thank you guys. Cheers from Denmark :D

Daniel
 

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beemlyfe
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So you're saying that when you turn the key to the first position, all of the lights turn on? Ok good.

Now, when you start the car, all the lights turn off? Ok good. So what's the problem here?

The "cluster test" is exactly what it sounds like, all the lights turn on to show they work and aren't blacked out. I don't see an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@Nachfolger
Sorry, my english/american is not that good. When i turn the key to the ignition on position, just before cranking it, all the lights that are supposed to light up, do light up, EXCEPT for the engine light. Tho when I do the cluster test, the whole cluster INCLUDING the engine light lights up like it's supposed to. So the problem is the engine light is still shut while everything else is not, when the key is in ignition on position.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So you're saying that when you turn the key to the first position, all of the lights turn on? Ok good.

Now, when you start the car, all the lights turn off? Ok good. So what's the problem here?

The "cluster test" is exactly what it sounds like, all the lights turn on to show they work and aren't blacked out. I don't see an issue.
@Nachfolger
Sorry, my english/american is not that good. When i turn the key to the ignition on position, just before cranking it, all the lights that are supposed to light up, do light up, EXCEPT for the engine light. Tho when I do the cluster test, the whole cluster INCLUDING the engine light lights up like it's supposed to. So the problem is the engine light is still shut while everything else is not, when the key is in ignition on position.
 

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@Nachfolger
Sorry, my english/american is not that good. When i turn the key to the ignition on position, just before cranking it, all the lights that are supposed to light up, do light up, EXCEPT for the engine light. Tho when I do the cluster test, the whole cluster INCLUDING the engine light lights up like it's supposed to. So the problem is the engine light is still shut while everything else is not, when the key is in ignition on position.
I wouldn't worry about it. Your English is better than some that were born here.
 

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beemlyfe
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@Nachfolger
Sorry, my english/american is not that good. When i turn the key to the ignition on position, just before cranking it, all the lights that are supposed to light up, do light up, EXCEPT for the engine light. Tho when I do the cluster test, the whole cluster INCLUDING the engine light lights up like it's supposed to. So the problem is the engine light is still shut while everything else is not, when the key is in ignition on position.
Position 1: All lights on
Position 2: Check Engine Light Turns off
Position 2 W/ Engine Running: No Lights on

Is this correct?

Listen, you're overthinking this completely. As long as the check engine light isn't on whilst the car is running, you don't need to worry about anything dude.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Position 1: All lights on
Position 2: Check Engine Light Turns off
Position 2 W/ Engine Running: No Lights on

Is this correct?

Listen, you're overthinking this completely. As long as the check engine light isn't on whilst the car is running, you don't need to worry about anything dude.
Mate mate mate.. Not correct.
Position 2 (ignition on): All lights on, EXCEPT engine light.
Position 2 (ignition on after a couple of seconds): Whatever lights that have to turn off, turns off.
Position 2 /W engine running: No lights on.

The only way I ever get to see the engine light, is if I do the cluster test. You got me now? :p
- I worry about having serious codes that should trigger the engine light, but doesn't. And it doesn't no matter what sensor I unplug. As written above, it doesn't with ignition on either.
 

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beemlyfe
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Mate mate mate.. Not correct.
Position 2 (ignition on): All lights on, EXCEPT engine light.
Position 2 (ignition on after a couple of seconds): Whatever lights that have to turn off, turns off.
Position 2 /W engine running: No lights on.

The only way I ever get to see the engine light, is if I do the cluster test. You got me now? :p
- I worry about having serious codes that should trigger the engine light, but doesn't. And it doesn't no matter what sensor I unplug. As written above, it doesn't with ignition on either.
Older cars aren't as sensitive to sensors being unplugged for short periods.

Unplug the MAF/MAS and drive it for a few days. If that doesn't trigger the CEL then you have a problem. Otherwise I see no reason for concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Older cars aren't as sensitive to sensors being unplugged for short periods.

Unplug the MAF/MAS and drive it for a few days. If that doesn't trigger the CEL then you have a problem. Otherwise I see no reason for concern.
I appriciate your inputs big time, definetly, but please, there's 100% a problem. I'm a mechanic (not selftaught, educated), so I'm certain. I'm taking this to the forums, cause I work at a Fiat/Hyundai/Seat dealership, and therefor have zero chance at diagnosing my car, using a diagnostic tool. We only have software for our brands, and I can't even print a wire diagram for the cluster, for the same reason, as I can't use a diagnostic tool on it myself. I wanted to know how it was setup, built, made, etc, cause I have no chance on earth to know how it's wired, what components are at play, or if it can be enabled/disabled through a diagnostic tool.

Anyways, a CEL light MUST come on, with all the other lights like ABS and so on, at ignition. As I said, I don't see my CEL unless I do a cluster test. I've been driving around with the maf sensor, the exhaust CPS, and both O2 sensors plugged off, and no CEL light, just tons and tons of stalling and no power. What I'm trying to say is, that I do not see my CEL, anyhow, anyway, anywhere, unless I perfom a cluster test. And that is the problem.

The golden nugget would be if anyone knows/could find out, what wires run from the ignition lock to the cluster. I've ruled out both relay and fuse, as those components would have impact on all the lights in the dash.

Cheers :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
What he is saying is that the SES light should be on when it isn't, almost as if the ECU was rewritten to keep it off. When I turn my key to P2, the SES is ON, but goes off when I start the car. His car does not do this.
+++
Thank you!

Edit: I wonder if it's possible to rewrite it, to disable it. Would seem odd for it still to be functional under the cluster test, wouldn't it? I wonder..........
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I really don't know but what we are certain of is that the SES light itself is functional. If the engineers at VW can trick your car, I imagine a BMW can be tricked too.
Right.. Only thing I can state for sure, is that the light itself is functional. I will get som previous co workers of mine to print wiring diagrams for the ignition lock and cluster, and call the dealership to hear if it's possible to disable it with their diagnostic tool.

I will update following in this thread, as I stumped upon loads of threads regarding this problem, but with everyone failing to write the soloution.

I'll still gladly hear suggestions, thoughts, etc, whilst I get to work on the problem the following week or two.
 

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I can't find any other instance of this happening. I've found many instances where the LED bulb for the SES has been removed but we know that isn't the case with you. The SES is supposed to be illuminated when the key is in P2. And of course, you have stored codes that should have triggered it.

It's not unlikely that someone found a way to disable it deep within the HEX code of the ECU.
 

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I wonder if your car was built, or flashed to an EU-2 emissions standard. That standard does not have the SES light at ignition on, and it will also not come on unless there is a serious problem. But I do not know what version ECU runs your engine.

Sent from my Pixel using Bimmerfest mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Amazing information, both of you! I value this very much. Thank you. I will definetly look into the EU-2 flash - it sounds weird to me, but if that flash doesn't illuminate SES at ignition, it sure is something I should look into. About triggering it, I find it weird that neither any of my O2 sensors, CPS, nor MAF sensor would trigger it. I find those components rather critical, so the question is what would then trigger my SES. If I got the Euro2 flash, I'd like to confirm it somehow. Wonder if the dealership can break down my software number, and see if it's a EU2. The only other way I can come to think of, in terms of confirming, would be to somehow trigger the SES - doing something I know for sure, will 100% guaranteed trigger it.

Basicly my to do list would now sound as following:

Find out wether my car got the Euro2 spec or not.

If yes, find a way to confirm it works, by forcing a trigger.

If not, begin troubleshooting with dealership BMW diagnostic tool and diagrams.

Anyways, amazing input both of you. This is the kind of stuff I seek, so I'm greatfull.

If any of you guys got access to seeing what kind of flash my ECU was born with, my VIN is: WBAAM11020JM36885
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I wonder if your car was built, or flashed to an EU-2 emissions standard. That standard does not have the SES light at ignition on, and it will also not come on unless there is a serious problem. But I do not know what version ECU runs your engine.

Sent from my Pixel using Bimmerfest mobile app
According to bmwfans.info, I got the MS42 software (from factory ofcourse, no clue if a past owner has overwritten it) - does this tell you anything? :)
 

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According to bmwfans.info, I got the MS42 software (from factory ofcourse, no clue if a past owner has overwritten it) - does this tell you anything? :)
Oh the MS42, those can be custom tuned rather easily. Unfortunately it doesn't tell me what software you are running. But since your car is a Germany variant, they never used the EU2 standard. So it is definitely not a stock file.

My concern is, if the previous owner modified the ecu, what did he cover up? I guess I would start by flashing the ecu back to a stock file and hope you didn't just open a can of worms.

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