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Everything posted by Droverunner

  1. I've had a problem with my airbag light (diagnostics say a passenger airbag circuit short to earth fault) which having substituted a known good airbag and checked the wiring/plugs etc seems to me to be a likely ECU problem... and that's the final step on the diagnostic fault guidance too. Today it is at the local BMW dealers for the drivers airbag recall work and I've asked them to spend a max 1hr extra labour to double check my findings... then advise and quote. Unless they find something daft I've missed no doubt they will be quoting some massive price to change the ECU which I will decline and do myself. Reading around this and other forums it seems if you get the exact same airbag ECU then you can fit it, clear the fault codes and it will not need coding which I guess I might be able to do but would rather not. Image shows my ECU so could someone tell me which of the 7 number sequences I need to match up to get one that is operationally the same?
  2. Droverunner

    Airbag ECU swap - trying not to need coding.

    Disconnect battery for a while before starting this work. ECU is under the rear of the centre console just behind the rear heater vents. You prise out the storage cubby, pull out the vents (cable to unplug), move front seats forward for access and remove rear screws for console which are under trim plugs. This will allow the rear of the console to be lifted/flexed just enough (you will need something like a chisel, large screwdriver or wedge each side left in to hold it up) for smaller hands to get in and flip the ECU plug catch and withdraw the plug plus slide in a small spanner each side in turn to undo the three nuts that hold the ECU. Note there is an earth cable to one nut that you must remember to replace. It's fiddly but far preferable to the advised route of removing the whole console.
  3. As I posted upthread a month ago the greatest cause of brake judder or shimmy that comes back a while after new discs/pads have been fitted is due to... ***...folks don't properly clean back the hub flange prior to fitting the disc, don't take enough care not to trap any rust flakes that might be knocked off adj components while lifting the disc into position... and finally don't check that runout at the disc edge is within limits with a dial gauge or other accurate method. If there is runout then from about 500mls onwards the effects of a shimmy or judder will often be seen. Some cheap discs will have unacceptable runout new from the box but if you don't measure it you won't know until a few hundred plus miles are covered and the judder starts.*** You should never need to take discs off and have them skimmed not too long after fitting... but if so it's likely to the above.
  4. Droverunner

    Titan Silver Paint

    Titan Silver is a standard stock Halfords colour in the normal size tins. For my car it's an excellent match.
  5. Hope this story of a used E39 purchase and the repairs needed might be of interest. About 3mths ago wanting a large diesel estate I bought a 2002 525D Tourer unseen from 200mls away. Only 2 owners, 112k recorded with history and short MOT/VED. Here is what it's needed to bring the condition up to how like my cars... The interior was the easy bit as it was already good. A basic valet and several leather treatments over a few weeks with Gliptone brought it up far better than many 12yr old cars. New cupholders, door mirror glass, replacement driver's door seal and a resprayed drivers seat base dealt with all other items. Body wise it was pretty straight but there were 3 panels that needed smart repairs. In the end I bought the spray silver and other materials from Halfords and to date have completed 2 of the panels and the repairs are not visible. I did have to use a restoration kit to bring back one cloudy headlamp to sparkling again. Everything electrical worked fine apart from an airbag lamp on which turned out to be a high resistance joint on the feed to the drivers airbag... now sorted. Also one dip headlamp beam pattern was weird but this was just due to a badly made budget H7 bulb... replaced the pair with uprated ones. The car only came with one key/plip and soon I will have to grit my teeth and get a second from BMW. Service wise it was up to date on oil but behind on all the other filters so I did the lot in a major service inc finding and washing out the crankcase breather filter. Brake fluid had already been changed last year. The day I collected it I had found a diesel leak from under the car and this was one of the corrosion prone pipes under the passenger side just behind the secondary pump. I temp replaced this with copper which I had in stock but in time will fit a new pair of OE BMW pipes. I stripped and copaslipped all the brakes inc the handbrake drums which took a bit of work to get a decent figure on the MOT rollers. Otherwise the discs and pads were quite recent and will last ages. Wheels and suspension produced a few challenges. A vibrating run home turned out to be 2 buckled rims on the car (not the need to have them balanced as the seller said!) and the spare turned out to be buckled as well so I bought a set of 5 in mint condition from a breakers. On these I had a set of 4 new Dunlop Blue Response tyres. The previous MOT advisorys hinted the anti-roll droplinks were poor so I changed them all front and rear. On the drivetrain side a clunk turned out to be the propshaft rubber front coupling so I replaced this with genuine BMW and at the same time replaced the centre bearing plus regreased the rear UJ. While I was under there I Waxoyled the floorpan. I also changed the gearbox and differential oils using OE spec long-life fluids. While the exhaust was off to do this I made up a replacement for the long time missing gearbox to exhaust bracket. This missing bracket was an advisory at the last MOT a year before and sadly not doing it has allowed vibration to accelerate a small blow on one flexy. After an initial fail due to the airbag lamp and several advisorys which I sorted I now have an MOT pass with just the slight blow on the exhaust flexy and the very earliest sign of oil mist on one front damper as the only advisory items. I was really pleased a strong and thorough tester with a long bar and understanding of E39 suspension didn't find any play or faults in any of the many joints and arms. Emissions were very low too and it went straight through on fastpass. A recent DIS scan while sorting the airbag lamp showed up loads of historical error codes but two rescans since clearing them all down only show I have a glowplug to replace sometime. So at the end of this first few months settling in time the car runs superbly, hasn't thrown up any disasters and the "in my own time" to-do list is minimal. Very pleased... despite the £1,083 spent on items to get to this point. It has to be said £711 of that was on wheels and tyres so the service/repair bits have actually been quite reasonable. A few random images attached.
  6. Droverunner

    Typical (?) E39 diesel post purchase repairs.

    My last jobs to do in regard to keeping this car another year or two was an intensive DIY valet plus refurbing one cloudy headlamp and the inner tailgate lamps. Now these are done I've taken some pictures. The quality of materials used on the interior in particular are really demonstrated by the way it will clean up so well after hard use. Over my ownership it's done dozens of tip runs... loads of uni runs for daughter piled to the roof with her stuff... over a month as a plumbing & decorating "van" as I renovated a flat for my parents. I know the light leather and woody trim look is a bit "living room" for some but it's exactly what I like. Excuse the no. plate blocking... it's personal ha ha. Marks on loadspace carpet are just from vacuum.
  7. Droverunner

    Silent block rear, what instruments are needed?

    If you need to do 2 I'd do 4 as well given you have to remove it anyway. I've just done 2 & 4 both sides on mine. I bought s similar special tool for £30 and job went OKish but even with the tool item 2 was well seized in as it's an alloy to steel interface that was almost welded together with corrosion. This video gives an idea how to do it...
  8. Droverunner

    Just bought a 540i - Awesome!!

    That's a really nice looking car... well done. I've always been keen on a dark (but not black) exterior with light leather. My 525D has a grey leather interior but I prefer the beige of yours. Same woody finish as mine. Some folks say mine looks like a mobile living room... meant as a mick take but in truth with the interior size and comfort plus overall ride/refinement it's not far off.
  9. Droverunner

    Refurbing rear lights?

    I'm just refurbing my O/S headlamp which I did 4yrs ago but has gone a little cloudy again. Using 2000/3000/5000 wet & dry with a final drill mop and paint compound buffing. I wondered if the same would work on rear lights? My Tourer inner tailgate lights are faded... weirdly the outers are fine though. Is there any reason why the coloured lights wouldn't polish up with the same procedure as headlamps?
  10. Droverunner

    Refurbing rear lights?

    Ha ha nice thought but... Mrs Droverunner would kill me. There's the gutter downpipe I had to divert with a gaffer tape joint when the new boiler was fitted 18mths ago... permanent job still outstanding. Then the pergola down the side of the house planned 2yrs ago and still not started. Not forgetting the new patio outside the conservatory that's been on the cards for 3yrs.. need I go on!
  11. Droverunner

    Refurbing rear lights?

    Well I've finished one and the result's great. It took more work than the headlamp though. Wet & dry (used wet) 800, 1200, 2000, 3000, 5000... then Halfords rubbing compound on a rotary mop... lastly Meguiar's Plast-Rx polish finished by hand. Image below of finished right hand lamp under faded left hand one. Camera massively reduces the difference... in real life the dull one has a misty grey finish which lets down the rear of the car.
  12. Droverunner

    Diamond shape remote key overhaul.

    My diamond shaped remote on my 2002 E39 became unreliable in plip locking/unlocking the car and now it's stopped completely. I see there are some Ebay guys who offer to rebuild your key for about £20. Has anyone used these services?
  13. Droverunner

    Refurbing rear lights?

    Found this thread from 7yrs ago... gave me the confidence to give it a go so about halfway done now.
  14. Droverunner

    Refurbing rear lights?

    Ha ha yes... there will be no half measures given they look even worse on the initial sand. Going to ponder on it.
  15. Droverunner

    Diamond shape remote key overhaul.

    Thanks for your thoughts. It was the only one that came with the car but a couple of years back I bought a non-remote key from the dealers as a spare. I think that was £30-£40 and I was happy with that to get a proper key. But as far as I know the manual key just locks but doesn't set the alarm and this year on holiday we will have the car in public parking for two week so want to have the alarm set. To be honest this car has been so good to me for the past 4yrs if it was the best option I'd be OK with the dealer's £150.
  16. Easy to check exhaust. With it idling using a balled up rag gradually restrict the gas from tailpipe and see if it is easily able to exit elsewhere underneath with a tell tale hiss. Easier if someone else can do the tail end bit while you listen. If you feel a pressure building with no hissing forward then the exhaust is fine and don't push your luck completely blocking it or you might cause a blow. You might see just a few posts below where I changed my flexys.
  17. Droverunner


    Bit late to this but I sprayed the bit of the front wing behind the wheel and below the bump strip three years ago with Halfords Titan silver and it was a perfect match.
  18. Droverunner

    Typical (?) E39 diesel post purchase repairs.

    Can't believe it's virtually 4yrs since I bought this car and for something that cost under £2k back then it's given service of a car costing 10x more. We had decided to change it this month as the loadspace and interior size is no longer essential to us... but I test drove a non-premium car 10yrs newer and it was so unrefined we have decided to keep the E39 another year. I keep full records and thought the work needed to keep it in top condition might be of interest. You can take it as read it's had an oil/filter change each year with the other filters changed according to mileage. On top of that it needed no further work than above in 2015. During 2016 it needed a pair of rear tyres and I kept to matching Dunlops. I replaced a cracked foglamp with one from Ebay. Fitted new aux drivebelts and front brake pads. It failed its summer 2016 MOT on rear brake effort so I fitted new rear discs, pads and handbrake shoes to get it spot on... then passed with no advisories. On a whim I removed the EGR to clean and check it's operation then refitted. In 2017 I fitted new front tyres, Dunlops again. I had to re-polish one headlamp as it had gone cloudy again. One rear suspension upper front top link had play so I replaced both. Also replaced one front wheel bearing. At the summer MOT when they did the test that raises the rear on its suspension the nearside rear airbag split so that was a fail. I replaced it with a new Arnott type and received a pass with no advisories. The final thing that year was the dealer driver's airbag recall which I had completed locally. Not great service from the main dealer but perhaps I was regarded as well down the pecking order with a 15yr old car? One aspect that has kept me on my toes is the airbag lamp. Initially as mentioned above I had a problem passed on by the previous owner which turned out to be a high resistance on one of the driver airbag connections. Then carrying a load on the front seat temp shorted out the passenger sensor which reset OK. Then it threw up several passenger airbag codes which reset a couple of times but then stuck on. Eventually I sorted it late 2017. When the dealers replaced the driver's airbag under recall I asked them to diagnose the passenger code fault and they were useless. This prompted me to buy two £20-£25 Ebay airbag ECUs that closely matched the part numbers on my own (two as I thought the chance of getting one that worked first time was slim and I preferred to hit the job all in one). Both were U/S so returned for refund. I ordered and tested two more at similar prices... both perfect so fitted one and kept the other as a spare. The light hasn't come back in many months so I'm calling that a result. Now in 2018 and having decided to run it another year I will replace the rear suspension lower links and rose joints. Also I'm putting a new Arnott suspension airbag on the o/s rear to match the one that I fitted after the original n/s burst last year. It's not leaking but we carry a hell of a holiday load and I'd hate that to go halfway to Cornwall. Daft really that a 16yr old car worth peanuts can be totally rust free... have all gadgets working... and still be a refined load carrier.
  19. Droverunner

    2003 525D exhaust flexy replacement.

    Just looking back at some old threads of mine and thought I'd report at almost 3yrs on these flexys are still as the day I fitted them. Seems the supplier is still going and they are now £20 cheaper. Bargain at £39 really. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/131099013251?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
  20. At my last MOT in July 2014 the exhaust flexys were an advise as just a hint of blowing/soot stain. Now 7mths on they are more sooty and you can hear a light woofle from underneath when the drivers door is open. The rest of the system including the cats is all original and apart from the flexys in great condition. I do all my own work on the car but don't weld so wondered about fitting these clamp on flexys myself. Wondered if anyone had used them or had an opinion? http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-E39-525d-530d-BMW-E38-730d-Exhaust-Catalyst-Flexi-Pipe-Downpipe-Set-Flex-/131099013251 Edit: Just realised my car is a 2002 not 2003 as in title... but guess it doesn't affect anything. Also looked more at the Ebay seller of these replacement flexys. They have sold 180 of these BMW ones so far and they have a 99% satisfaction rate overall with exhaust parts. In the tiny amount of negatives where the buyer says the part didn't fit well they offer to resolve the problem so perhaps worth taking a chance??
  21. Droverunner

    525D Tourer rear suspension play/groan.

    Thanks. These parts aren't a fortune so I'll go for them and fingers crossed. I'm going to buy one of the £30 tools for the ball/rose joint from Ebay.
  22. Over the past few months my 525D has developed an odd feel at the rear. In normal driving there are no clonks from the rear suspension, it tracks straight and tyres wear perfectly evenly. But if you take off quickly from a standing start say on a roundabout there is a feeling of movement at the rear with the slightest sound. It's almost felt through the car rather than heard. Today I got it jacked right up and tested all the parts I could at the rear by levering with a 3ft bar. There is nothing obviously loose or clicky and the only slight sign is a rubbery play at the opp end of the lower bush to the ball/rose joint on the driver's side which is my perception where any play might be. See image with red arrow. It seems impossible to fully replicate the movement caused by torque in driving. Also if you reverse a few yards and stop sharply with the window down there is a dry rubbery groan from the o/s rear wheel area. Subframe bushes and anti-roll drop links have been done, shock absorber bushes are good, upper front arms have been replace and rear ones have no play. Lower main arm inner bushes are good. There is no play in the propshaft or rear driveshafts. So I'm guessing the problem has to be in the link and/or rose joint?? Has anyone had these symptoms and cured them?? Any thoughts appreciated.
  23. Droverunner

    525D Tourer rear suspension play/groan.

    I'm guessing the most logical thing might be to fit this kit??
  24. In my experience the biggest cause of judder after 1000mls or so is because folks don't properly clean back the hub flange prior to fitting the disc, don't take enough care not to trap any rust flakes that might be knocked off adj components while lifting the disc into position... and finally don't check that runout at the disc edge is within limits with a dial gauge or other accurate method. If there is runout from about 500mls onwards the effects of a shimmy or judder will often be seen. Some cheap discs will have unacceptable runout new from the box but if you don't measure it you won't know until a few hundred plus miles are covered and the judder starts.
  25. Droverunner

    What ball joint splitters are we using.

    I'd had the same generic ball joint splitter for over 20yrs until starting to work on the E39 and finding it didn't fit. Now I have these two which cover everything I've needed to do on my 525D. Both have variable jaw width and the Laser is super slim on the fork. BTW the reason I don't use the hammer in fork type is often I want to split a balljoint to work on an adj component rather than to replace the balljoint... then the hammer type risks damaging the dust rubber.