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Everything posted by rdl

  1. Another headlight question....

    These are good points. I'd thought that bimme39 had had the car re-coded for the Xenons by his local garage, but scanning the thread just now I see no mention of that explicitly. Should also check the DRL setting in the LCM coding. I'm not familiar with UK conventions but my LCM has various DRL options, including one for DRL by low beam. Regards RDL
  2. Another headlight question....

    Failure to start but eventually ignite after repeated attempts is one symptom of a failing bulb. The LCM's bulb checking routine will not affect this symptom. It's a good plan to replace bulbs first and suspect the ballasts only if symptoms persist. I trust that the new bulbs are a confirmed good brand and not counterfeit or el cheapo no- names. I neglected to mention earlier that you might also have a look at the contact lugs in the plug that attaches to the bulb. It's possible that there are burns from arcing if they've not been fully rotated into the locked position by the previous owner. If you do find this, it's a matter of judgement whether to carefully clean up the contacts or replace the plugs (which are available as replacement kits, ebay for instance) Regards RDL
  3. Another headlight question....

    I'd guess it's more likely a weak bulb. Intermittent failure to light &/or drop outs are classic symptoms of an HID bulb on its last legs. And IIRC from prior posts these are not brand new. HID bulbs do lose lumens with age, but even old HIDs are brighter than standard H7s. So these being better than the original halogens is not proof of good HIDs. You might try changing one of the HIDs with a new (good brand) and checking if that is brighter than the other side as a sort of "proof of age." When I did this check with aged bulbs the difference was obvious. Regaards RDL
  4. wheel alignment camber toe with weights?

    Perhaps not intentionally. There is a lot of BS floating around that the unwary or naive pick up and adopt as an article of faith. But certainly possible - there is a fair amount of sharp practice in the auto repair business. At least here in North America. My recommendation is to figure out the loading needed to bring the car to "normal position" yourself. I use 20kg bag of water softener salt (which I then use up over the coming months.) Other folks have used gas (petrol to you?) cans filled with water, but anything heavy will do. Best to do this on a flat surface such as a garage floor to avoid the effect equivalent to one tire/wheel "jacked up" as though resting on a curb. It needn't be level, only flat is necessary. FWIW, given the sagging in my 15 year old springs I needed only 60 or 80 kg vs the ~220 odd kg described in TIS. Then take the car to the alignment shop with those weights in place and ask them to align it "as is" ... without any correction or adjustment for weighting, or lack of, in the alignment rack. The "after" results should be within published BMW specs. Regards RDL
  5. wheel alignment camber toe with weights?

    I'd like to offer a couple of comments on this topic According to TIS, the point of weighting the car is to bring it to what BMW terms "normal position". TIS goes on to say that once weights are in place one should then measure ride height. If not within spec make any repairs necessary. Only then perform the alignment. The crucial issue is that every suspension angle changes as the car is loaded. The alignment angles BMW provides are based on the car's suspension being in a particular position, i.e. normal position. I recall reading a post by a reliable person on B-fest and B-forums in North America that he found rear camber changed by ~1 degree from weighted to unweighted. Another post, purportedly by an ex-BMW R&D tech, recommended weighting the car on the shock towers and trunk until car was a spec ride height. The idea being that getting angles right is more important than the actual weight needed to achieve a particular ride height. The chassis designers had ensured the car would handle well at all loadings, i.e. through the range of ride heights expected in normal use. Assuming it was aligned at specified angles and ride height. And note that in most cases one would be driving the car with less than the weight specified in TIS for "normal." So, if a shop says it "compensates" for not weighting the car, is that done after measuring ride height and therefore applying just the correct amount of correction? Regards RDL
  6. TIS says a 530d would have the 220K differential and the data for that is: BMW OSP synthetic differential oil. Two alternatives I am familiar with: CASTROL SAF-XO 75W-90 or Land Rover part # LRN 7591 TIS lists too many others to list. fill quantity 1.4 litres torque for drain & fill plugs: with seal ring 65 Nm, with O-ring 60 Nm. Other E39 I6 engines use the 188K differential. Data all the same except fill volume of 1.0 litres. Regards RDL
  7. EBay key fob

    Another thought. Around here, some folks have portable generators (gasoline or diesel) either for special events or to plug into the house during electricity outages. Could you beg, borrow or steal one? Regards RDL
  8. EBay key fob

    What about an inverter (12V DC to 240V AC). It would have to be a large watt inverter and smallest watt heat gun possible. Around here at least the inverter would be around the same price as a new window, to say nothing of saving the mess and grief of a smash job. You'd probably somewhat drain the battery of the helper vehicle, even with the alternator helping out. But that would be OK so long as you didn't turn off the engine until the alternator had recharged - after one hopes, freeing up . Second thought, Around here some of the larger tow trucks have 120V AC auxillary power for lights and tools. Even their fees would be less than the time, expense & trouble of a new window. If you could find one. Regards RDL
  9. EBay key fob

    A last gasp suggestion before you smash the window with all the grief to follow. Any chance of getting a hair drier or heat gun on the door around the lock. If it is frozen, as in iced, that might well free it up. Good luck Regards RDL
  10. EBay key fob

    Have you used the key in the door before the remote fob stopped working? If not, it may seized rather than frozen. These cars have a reputation for the lock mechanism seizing up if not kept free with periodic usage and lubrication. That was the case with my car when I bought it. Lots of thin lubricant and ~ 15 minutes of working the key back and forth in the lock finally freed mine up. In the 7 plus years since, I've made a habit of lubing the lock and exercising it once or twice a year & I've never have a recurrence. Also, I've never have either one of mine freeze; nor seen a single report of a frozen lock either. I use a product named "SuperLube" It's a bit of a hokey name but a good product recommended by GM for locks. I've used it for 20 years with excellent results. I wouldn't use WD-40, which is primarily a moisture displacer with limited lubrication. And any lubrication properties WD-40 does have dissipates in a day or two. Regards RDL
  11. Auto Transmission on a 1997 BMW E39 523i

    Based on the attached reference, GM THM-R1 (BMW designation A4S 270R) is likely. As you'll see a 523 isn't listed, but I'd guess that all I6 engines for a particular model in a date range would use the same transmission. SD92-113.pdf
  12. I had similar symptoms. I also found that the seat memory switch would not make the seats adjust. I eventually found the cause to be a break in the P-bus between the driver's door module and the GM. The P-bus is a 0.35 mm2 (~22 AWG) wire, blue with red stripe. In my case the wire break was inside the tubular boot/snorkel between the door and A-post. However, I found signs of old corrosion in the A-post plug and a kludge of a repair on the P-bus which probably stressed the wire causing it to flex and break as the door was opened and closed over time. I've never seen reports of failure in this joint in the 7 years I've been following with E39 forums; it's an unusual problem. Unlike wire breaks in the trunk (boot, to you) lid wiring in the boot/snorkel. As a first step, I'd check continuity on the P-bus between the door module and the GM since those two ends are the easiest to get access. Assuming a failure is found, have a look at the A-post connector. BTW, the standard practice recommendation would be to remove the door for access to the A-post connector. If you have patience and correct tools, you can separate this connector with the door wide open. By correct tools I mean L-shaped keys or short 1/4 drive bits to remove the two bolts holding the connector to the A-post. I vaguely recall Torx but sorry I'm not sure of that; it may be socket head hex (allen). Definitely not phillips or conventional hex head. Once the connector is free, you'll find a typical lever lock to separate the two halves on the back, car side, of the connector. Regards RDL
  13. I recall reading an article describing one or more post-E39 engines being prone to carbon buildup on the valves. BMW developed a process to clean the valves without removing the head - blast off the carbon with I think walnut shell, while vacuuming out the residue. It may be that E39 engines aren't suitable for some reason or other. But a query at the dealer might be worth a few minutes? Or someone else's memory is better than mine and can offer more details or even a reference to technical documents. Regards RDL
  14. E39 530i oil leaks

    The only reason to remove the timing cover would be to improve access to the seal for removal and replacement. TIS does not call for cover removal. It lists only my (abbreviated) points 1 - 3 for seal R&R. I've never had to do the job so can't comment on the need for BMW tool set vs common hand tools. Perhaps because there is a key on the crankshaft nose for the damper/pulley & there is concern at nicking something. Or perhaps not enough room to pry the old seal out without scratching something. With luck, someone who has done the job will chime in with advice. EDIT: I played the youtube video. Parts sure came apart easily, especially the 410 Nm bolt holding the damper to the crankshaft. But it does show the seal being replaced without the BMW tool kit. Regards RDL
  15. E39 530i oil leaks

    I notice Mashmanu's post describes Haynes as specifying special tools for the 2 piece damper. I rechecked TIS & no mention of those. I can't explain the difference. I've never done this job, but TIS (BMW's shop manual) makes the following points. 1 there are two styles of vibration damper & TIS isn't explicit as to which is found on an M54. The 2 part style with 6 bolt attachment requires no special tools, but seems to be used on M52 engines, not your M54. The other, one part style, has 3 slots in an inner circumference & requires a special holding tool for the 410 Nm torque for the center bolt. BMW tool pt#s 11 8 190 & 11 8 200 2 If the 3 slot vibration damper doesn't then come off the crankshaft by hand, a special puller that engages the 3 slots is required to remove it. BMW tool pt#s 11 8 190 & 11 8 210. 3 A special tool set is specified to remove the old seal with the timing cover in place. Another special tool is specified to install the new seal. BMW tool #s 11 2 283, 11 2 385, 11 2 380 & 11 3 280. If the timing cover is removed, which would probably make possible seal replacement with common hand tools, the following issues arise. 4 sump to be removed, a miserable job further requiring an engine support bar 5 the VANOS must be removed 6 there is a warning to check for damage to the cylinder head gasket, presumably where the front timing cover contacts the head. If so, TIS says to remove head & replace gasket Although one has to wonder if RTV wouldn't suffice?? Regards RDL
  16. BMW e39 530i - Power Loss

    65 => intake cam position sensor fault 83 => crank shaft position sensor fault Either or both will radically degrade engine performance. It would be worthwhile checking wiring and plug connections for dirt or corrosion interfering with their signals, but most likely both sensor need to be replaced. Many, many folks have reported either DOA or premature failure of generic sensors. The common wisdom is to bite the bullet and buy BMW logo or original equipment supplier only. I believe that VDO was the OES, but stand to be corrected. 123 => Map Cooling Thermostat Control Circuit Means that the DME's ability to manipulate coolant temperature is impaired or absent. Not so urgent as the two faults above. When the engine is under maximum load the coolant temperature is artificially reduced by the DME in order to prevent detonation which would require retarding spark to avoid engine damage, which in turn reduces maximum power. But the two faults above will have already taken care of that. Regards RDL
  17. Wiring help

    I've suffered from broken wires in this trunk harness too. The problem is caused by flexing as the lid is opened and closed - eventually the flexing causes fractures in the strands. By all appearances it wasn't vibration causing the failures. BMW uses very thin strand wiring for these leads: at least twice the # of strands compared to "standard" wiring of the same gauge. The thin strands tolerate flexing much better. But I found that in both open circuit wires the break point coincided with cracks in the insulation jacket which then seemed to have concentrated the the flex to a sharp radius and accelerated the strand fatigue. I also found several other insulation breaks where the wires strands hadn't yet all broken, but were close. So I strongly suspect the jacket cracked first which then concentrated the flex point to a sharp radius and concentrated flexing broke the strands. Probably a case of plastic aging and losing flexibility. I suspect that Ontario winter temperatures that makes the plastic insulation hard & more brittle played a part too. I first looked at specialized high flex wire which comes with crack resistant silicone rubber insulation. But everything I could find had quite a thick insulation jacket with too large an OD; I wouldn't have been able to get the 13 (IIRC) leads through the boot/snorkel. I rejected the idea of any repair joints (crimped or soldered) inside the boot since both ends of each would become flex concentration points and led to premature failure again. In the end I salvaged a complete harness from an auto wrecker. The repair has lasted 4 years to date ... & I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If I'd been aware of the repair kit listed above I'd have probably gone that way on the notion that new insulation would tolerate flex better than older, recycled wire. Regards RDL
  18. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    Running the alternator while it is disconnected from the battery risks damaging the alternator. Every source for auto electrics diagnosis and repairs that I've ever seen very specifically warns against this. With no amps flowing, the regulator may/will not be able to respond quickly enough to avoid voltage spikes that could damage windings, diodes or the regulator itself. The battery acts as an accumulator that smooths out voltage spikes and gives the regulator time to adjust before damage.
  19. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    It's got to be either another bad alternator or the car is drawing more amps than the alternator can supply (since the battery has been eliminated with your test of a known good battery.) What RPM is the engine running while you test? How many electrical loads in the car do you have turned on? Do you have a 100 DC amp meter available? In-line or clamp-on style? I can think of two ways to check between the alternatives. If you're lucky enough to have a DC ammeter, measure current in the cable labelled "B+ to car's electrics" in this image of the battery (ignore the white text, it's left over from the image I borrowed for this post) With the engine running, of course. With everything else in the car turned off, it shouldn't be drawing more than 20 or 30 amps. If no ammeter, there is a backyard mechanic alternative that isn't fully conclusive but almost so. Disconnect the "B+ to car's electrics" cable from the battery terminal. Take your spare battery and use jumper cables to connect -ve post to the car's -ve terminal. Leave the -ve terminal connected to the car battery -ve post. Again with jumper cable, connect the spare battery's +ve post to the "B+ to car's electrics" cable. Now the alternator is connected to the car's battery only, while the spare battery supplies the car's electrics, including the DME, fuel pump, etc. so the engine can run. Start the engine and check voltage. If voltage stays ~14V, something in the car is consuming more amps than the alternator can supply. If the voltage drops to 12.4V, the alternator is the likely problem. This test doesn't actually prove the alternator is good or bad. The alternator might simply be weak and able to maintain battery voltage but not supply the car's electrical load. But that means you've had 3 weak alternators in a row. It's much more reasonable to conclude the car is the problem, not the alternator. Regards RDL
  20. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    Checked with a voltmeter?
  21. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    Three consecutive bad alternators certainly would be bad luck. More plausible are: 1) bad battery sinking amp that overwhelm the alternator 2) a module or component that starts drawing excess amps after the engine is started, again overwhelming the alternator 3) a bad connection or frayed cable that increases resistance as it it heated by I2R losses and therefore increases resistance, which would result in the voltage drop you're measuring ... at the points you're measuring. One wonders what the voltage is at the alternator terminals when you see 12.4 V downstream in the circuit. 4) a variation on 2) & 3) above -> modules turn on after a few minutes of running & the increased amp draw increases the voltage drop across the excess resistance in either the ground strap or alternator to battery cable. Regards RDL
  22. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    This isn't enough to trace closer to root cause. At what RPM did you take the measurements? Did you have everything turned off? Or was the car drawing lots of amps? You need to follow the test program I described above. The several voltage readings will help to narrow down toward root cause. On the results posted the most suspect root causes are: 1) the alternator output has fallen to 12.4V due to internal faults, 2) the battery is damaged & absorbing so many amps that the alternator is unable to maintain voltage, 3) too low RPM and a faulty module/component drawing high current making it impossible for the alternator to maintain voltage. 4) resistance is causing a lower voltage at the measuring points. A bad battery is certainly a potential suspect. Can you feel any heat in the battery or detect any gassing when voltage falls to 12.4V? Either or both would be expected if 2) is the case. Or could you borrow and battery & set of jumper cables for a test? You needn't even remove your current battery from the car. Disconnect the +ve battery terminal. Use jumper cables to connect the test battery to the car's battery terminals: +ve to +ve and -ve to -ve. Wrap the +ve clamp at the car's terminal in rags or similar to prevent inadvertent shorts. Start the car and check voltages. If it's excess resistance it could be between the alternator and the under car connection point you measured or in the ground circuit. Resistance at the battery terminals is eliminated. A word of explanation regards 2) & 3). When the current draw exceeds the alternator's capacity laws of electro-magnetics require that output voltage falls. Further alternator amp capacity varies with RPM - it's quite possible to "overdraw" the alternator at idle or low RPM. Regards RDL
  23. 530d Touring Creaky Rear Suspension

    EDIT: I just noticed "Touring" Do you have the air suspension deflated to allow the swing arm to to raised more easily? (more easily, not easily!) Do you have pt#5 bolt tightened up? http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=DP82-EUR-10-2003-E39-BMW-530d&diagId=33_0524 It's been a couple of years since I did a ball joint R&R, but I vaguely recall I either had it out or just started but not seated while fitting pt# 17 bolt through the swing arm, ball joint & integral link. I recall for sure that it did take some muscle moving things into alignment. I do recall fitting a rod with a rounded end from the front through the swing arm hole at pt#18 nut, through the integral link & partially into the ball joint. I then levered on the rod until I could start the bolt through the swing arm hole into the ball joint - it took some tapping with a hammer on the bolt, but not hard, I didn't want to damage the threads. Withdrew the rod a bit and levered again until I could force the bolt into the integral link, with hammer again. I can't recall if I had to use a jack for the last bit of getting the long bolt through the swing arm at pt#18, but it would certainly help. Be sure to tighten bolt #5 before torquing nut 18. And a reminder that according to TIS (BMW's dealer workshop manual) the suspension should be jacked up to normal ride height position while torquing nut 18. BTW, while checking TIS I notice it calls for the wheel carrier to be supported with a jack during an integral link R&R. I guess they found it challenging getting everything fitted back together as well. It also describes leaving bolt 5 loose until bolt 17 is loose fitted. Regards RDL
  24. Replaced alternator still not charging???

    +1 to PliSsK's suggestion. Checking voltages around the car would verify the alternator & confirm it isn't rogue resistance - or not for each. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. I'd recommend the following sequence to determine alternator output and whether resistance is causing a low battery charge rate and low car voltage. 1) Have a helper start the engine with everything possible switched off, and run it @ ~2,,000 RPM 2) In the trunk, immediately measure between +ve battery post and +ve battery terminal to check for resistance across the joint. Result should be less than 0.01V. You want to catch this while the alternator is trying to recharge the battery for the amps used while cranking; after a minute or so all the amps will be replaced and little current will be flowing into the battery. 3) Immediately, measure between -ve battery post and -ve battery terminal. Result should be less than 0.01V again. 4) Allow the engine to come to temperature, since you've mentioned voltage drops when warm. (It would help if you'd describe exactly where and how you did that measurement) 5) Turn on lots of high amp consumers:, e.g. cabin blower maximum, rear window defogger, headlights including high beam, A/C if warm enough for it to run, windshield wipers, etc. The idea is to maximize amps through the power and ground circuits to load test the alternator and to maximize voltage drops across any rogue resistance & make any problems easier to measure. 6) Have a helper run the engine at ~ 2.500 RPM. At this speed the alternator should be able to generate enough amps to feed all the consumers turned on in 5) above without drawing from the battery. 7) Measure voltage between the engine jump post and the alternator case/frame, i.e. the voltage the regulator/alternator is generating before any resistance losses toward the battery. BMW specs say it should be between 14.0 & 14.5V (this assumes the connections from the alternator +ve post and the jump post is tight, which should be a good assumption, but subject to checking if later results are confusing) 8 ) Measure between the jump post and the ground lug/nut on the shock tower, which checks for resistance in the ground strap from engine to chassis. It should be within 0.01V of results from 7) Alternatively measure between alternator case and the ground lug, which should equivalently return less than 0.01V 9) Go to the trunk and measure between the +ve and -ve battery terminals. The result should be no more than 0.5V difference (0.25 would be better) from 7) above. If the delta is more than 0.5V there is excess resistance in the cable or its connections from alternator to battery, or in the short ground strap from body to battery -ve terminal. Let us know what you find. Regards RDL
  25. BMW e39 530i - Power Loss

    The error codes identify faults in these sensors - MAF sensor - crankshaft position sensor - intake cam position sensor With faults in these sensors no wonder the engine seems down on power; it doesn't know piston or cam positions & doesn't know air flow rate. There are also rich/lean mixture faults on both banks, i.e. bank 1 cyl 1-3 and bank 2 cyl 4-6. Which could be from causes listed in posts above or the sensors reporting fault codes, especially the MAF. I also notice that cylinders 2, 3 & 6 are returning much higher roughness values. I'd suggest a compression or leak down test to see how cylinders compare. I'd clear all faults, go for a drive and see which return. I've seen people report using a multi-meter to check these sensors. I haven't tracked ultimate results rigorously, but it seems to me the accuracy is mixed. Anyway, report back when you have results to share. Regards RDL