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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there,

I have recently purchased a 2002 BMW 540 (64k miles) from the Vine Group BMW and love this car. I've wanted one of these for ages, recently owned a 335i and got rid of it to buy this instead... 335i great car but the 540i is more honest IMHO.

Anyway although I have had a few minor things to get fixed initially (all under the 1 year used warranty) I have come across a very strange warning light on my dashboard (to the left of the DSC indicator in the centre). I can only describe it as it does not appear in the manual and my local BMW dealership have never seen it ore have any literature explaining what it is. So to describe it - it is an amber symbol simply showing two cars (one slightly overlapping the other to give the impression it is behind). I would really appreciate it if anyone is able to tell me what this indicator means - it is currently on the whole time I drive. Note that the manual shows a different symbol in the location related to suspension control (a profile view of a car with an arrow through the centre).
On a separate note, although I love this car I would highly recommend buying one from 'somewhere' or 'someone' where you receive a comprehensive warranty for at least the first 3 months. I have had to have the following items fixed in the first 3 weeks of ownership which I'm sure would have cost a pretty penny if not under warranty:

1. Front Park distance controls failed
2. Faulty heater fan caused battery to drain flat
3. Car overheated with 'coolant temp' message and needle in red: this has just been fixed and required the replacement of the fan clutch and fan (the one behind the RAD)
4. Tensioners needed replacing (due to strange intermittent rattle at start-up)
5. Rev counter stopped working
6. Driver door not shut properly without slamming (fixed now during last visit)
7. Head Gasket 'weeping' (probably due to previous overheating) - also being fixed this Monday
8. And now this strange constant warning indicator... (due to go in this Monday to fix)

So don't be put off because it's all worth it for a great car (with some stubborn personality) just make sure you have some money put aside as contingency or get a good warranty.

Thanks in advance for any help with my warning light query
 

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Freude am Fahren
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That's for the automatic cruise control, which was only offered in Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi BMW n00b13 - Thanks for replying - I had a suspicion based on the symbol that it was related to this. When you say automatic cruise are you referring to the active cruise which maintains a set distance between you and the car in front. If it is it's strange that my dashboard cluster has this symbol (and illuminated) as this is not an option which was purchased with my car when it was originally spec'd - and also does not appear in my handbook ....
 

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Freude am Fahren
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The most recent posts that talk about it randomly appearing on the dash seem to be caused by resetting the oil light or trip meter, and causing an error that way, somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks BMW n00b13, I will talk to the dealer about this on Monday - Just wanted to get as much info as I can before going in so not fobbed off. Thanks for your responses
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Good luck. I recommend checking back if their repair is much over £100, and there may be more posts tomorrow. It's Thanksgiving weekend in the USA; I'm not sure what the traditions are but many may be spending time with family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, I took my car into my local BMW dealer today and they fixed everything remaining:-

1. New instrument cluster installed - fixed strange light and rev counter
2. Head Gasket 'weeping'
3. Aux fan replaced

In addition I asked them, based on the number of annoyances I have had, to carry out a full health check which they did.

All in all very happy with the service and commitment from these guys (Vines BMW in Redhill)

Thanks for your help/advice - hope you have a great Thanksgiving
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Have you had a cooling overhaul performed? The head gasket leak isn't a good sign. Never allow the car to overheat, even a bit.

I believe that replacing the instrument cluster is a classic case of replacing the part instead of repairing the part, but it is probably less labour-intensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I think you're right about the instrument cluster however if the hammer/nut solution works then so be it. Re the head gasket - they didn't actually call it this however it seemed releated based on how they described it - they used the word 'head' and 'covers' but did not seem like a serious issue when they described it - I will ask them again tomorrow (as I am not an expert on car engines and correct terminology - although I'm learning fast with this car!) Do you know what the symptoms of a bad head gasket are?. They did say that they had carried out a pressure check on the cooling system however not sure how much this will tell them but again I will have to wait and see. I have some comfort in that no matter what happens they need to fix it under warranty for the next 11 months though (and I'll probably extend the warranty too). I have a couple of longish trips this week 300 miles on Wed and 600 on Fri so will be interesting to see what other gems crop up ;-) my warrantly also includes BMW emergency service for the next year so I can call on them 24/7 if something stops working and I am stranded and they'll come fix it at the road side (or at least get me to a dealer or home).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Humm, I've also noticed that if I turn the climate down to its lowest temp (16 degrees C) the Aux fan does not run. I thought the test was to turn on the AC and this should start up the Aux fan - or does this require the car to run at idle for a while?
 

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to turn the AC on you need to press the SNOWFLAKE button. Turning the temp button down to the lowest setting doesn't activate the AC (if the snowflake button isn't selected/illuminated).

And to answer the question you haven't asked yet...YES, you may have the AUTO climate control...but you also have several manual adjustments that allow you to cater to various conditions...and one of them is the AC (snowflake) button which allows you to activate the AC compressor which will dehumidify the air in the cabin.

This obviously works great when it's hot outside and sometimes when the temps are moderate but yet humid, you can still activate the AC button to dehumidy the air and clear it of condensation...but there are times you may not want the compressor running so you can also turn it off. :)
 

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Freude am Fahren
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The A/C may not kick in the auxiliary fan if it's not particularly warm outside. There's many gaskets on the car, and there's many places that can weep, and they may have fixed any one of them. If they didn't make a big deal out of it, it's almost certainly not your head gasket.

You can ask questions here whether or not you DIY, but expect a lot of responses like "Don't go to the stealer!" et cetera. The primary reason I have for not going to the dealer myself is that they overcharge, followed by my status as a "starving student" meaning I can't pay a regular mechanic.
If you have any questions, try to get down on paper what the problem is and the cost and parts involved in the repair. Dealers are generally considered to be quite good at overcharging. It's also helpful to know a bit about one's vehicles, and that's what we're here to help you with <smile> (colon button broken, so no emoticons.)
 
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