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BMW 530i (N53 E61 LCI 2007+) odd engine noises, bought one anyway :)

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Did you put your registration number into the TFL online checker to see if your old E46 would have been subject to the charge ? My 2004 M54 engine car is not, and I also put in a  reg number for a car on sale here, a 2000 model E39 M52TU I think, and it was not either. BMW's petrol engines (and others too) were meeting standards years ahead that didn't exist yet.

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Agree or not with everything... but here's some interesting inside info/opinion on BMW I6 petrol engines N53/N54(EU) ref N52(EU+USA).

 

Electric Water pump, Injectors, High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP), Vanos, Waste Gate Rattle (N54), Valvetronic (N52)
Recalls and free replacement parts, Oil consumption...

 

EDIT: Supplemental info: BMW petrol engines running higher temperature cooling systems.

 

 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
typo's

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:cry: LOL, just for some Diesel ballance (though this is a predominantly petrol thread), here's some reference info on a very sad looking E60 535D M57N 2004:

 

When he gets on a roll, there's no stopping :twisted:.

 

 

Edited by DarkHorse

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I lost interest at n50-free and n53 and n54 being "zactly" same apart from "dat turbo init".

 

Valvtronic troublesome?

 

Sorry, lots of utter horlix in that video. :D

 

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LOL yes I know what you mean but there's some info in there, plus the dealer observations etc.

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I’ve watched a few of his videos lately and take everything with a very large pinch of salt. Statements like them killing the n52 due to oil consumption and even suggesting in one video that the engines run on 3 cylinders at idle to save fuel says a lot.

The video where bmw are threatening legal action was very interesting.

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N53 Stratified lean burn mode(s) restored?

 

The background story: A couple of weeks ago I took my motor to a local back street garage (with N53 knowledge) for a speculative investigation into a few maintenance issues. He had the car all day, I caught a few minutes at the end where he had hooked up a flavor of ISTA-D, in the process he cleared various errors and some oxygen sensor settings and a few other things, I'm not exactly sure. Then gave it a bit of a static Italian tune up... The result has been that the engine sounds different at idle, feels slightly less lumpy but has slightly more small higher frequency vibes, bit deeper exhaust and the injectors are making slightly more/different noises (all at idle only and picky to notice). Plus I notice that the revs hang a little higher and longer when coming off the power and back to idle (manual box), drops initially to ~800rpm then taking a couple of seconds to settle at 650rpm (rpm needle is then solid), which makes for easier low speed low rpm driving. Goes alright though B), responsive and still very smooth when spun up.


Something else I do notice is that the fuel consumption indicator dial goes to around 50mpg (which has always been over optimistic on mine as the mpg reset on the IDrive fuel computer will reveal a reading closer to 40mpg), now after a few seconds with a light cruising power loading in the 2k rpm range (mostly in 5th or 6th gear), the fuel consumption indicator dial will jump up a few percent to 55 (with over reading acknowledged). To me this appears to be when the engine management is likely switching to Stratified lean burn mode, which only occurs under a limited range of load conditions, mostly when cruising on a motorway etc.
See the interesting Injection strategy for N53 graph hereSuch power loading conditions might be a bit easier to achieve in a lighter better air/drag friendly shaped saloon version rather than this E61 Touring.
Also noted, that I am not yet able to detect any desulfurisation regeneration phases occurring. See the NOx catalytic converter regeneration and desulfation info here.

 

I wish I have more info on the how and why, I haven't hooked up my own ISTA-D yet. If/when I run into the guy again I'll see if he can remember what else he specifically did in this case.

 

 

The result: Anyway, now on the motorway, on the flat I can carefully achieve and sustain in the IDrive 47mpg @65mph and 42mpg @75mph. Not very scientific but certainly an improvement :). Note this was before and after the recent front tyre changes.

 

If the fuel consumption remains at these initial observation levels at +10% mpg for mild driving, I reckon I'll update the numbers in my signature from
~25mpg urban, 40mpg@55mph to 35mpg@70mph+ on a run
to at least
~27mpg urban, 45mpg@55mph to 40mpg@70mph+ on a run

 

 

Edit: Update 2 weeks on, it's stopped going into Stratified lean burn mode, consumption is back to the previous numbers, consumption indicator dial no longer jumps up 15% on light power loading. Was interesting though. At some point I will get ISTA-D fired up and see what's changed...

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Edit: Update 2021 for this particular N53 manual estate (see signature for details):

Still living with the following NOX related error code (screen shot of the other persistent errors here):

0x2AEC Stickoxidsensor Eigendiagnose - translates to "Nitric oxide sensor self-diagnosis" (meaning that the Nitrogen Oxide Sensor is Contaminated).

 

Before a long motorway trip I can use INPA or ISTA-D to force a desulfurisation regeneration phase, then with over half a tank the engine will normally start to run Stratified lean burn mode under low load conditions (for a few weeks). The dash mpg dial will read 50+mpg at 70mph (on the flat, dry in low winds, tarmac type dependent) but reseting the mpg by holding in the stalk button reveals ~42mpg in reality (where the fuel computer better matches brim to brim fuel journey tests).

Without prompting/poking this system into a NOX regen I typically see ~33 to 36mpg (dash mpg dial 30 to 40mpg on flat constant engine loading), when 'eco fueling' is activated I can initially observe ~42mpg for 10 or so miles but more often that drops back to ~39mpg at speeds of 50 to 75mph up and down hills (M4/M5).

These are averaged out observations, instantaneous values can be wildly different depending on road gradient and the driver's foot management. I find that once you accelerate to the required speed, just back off the throttle a little to notice that the engine output power remains the same to maintain the same speed (switches the burn mode) but the mpg dial will step up 10% using a little less fuel.

 

Anyway, this has all been a bit of a trivial pursuit, for the mileage and usage I do I still don't think it's worth investment time and money to chase 10% better fuel economy on a run for this 13 year old motor. Optimistically estimate it maybe able to save £100/year of fuel, under normal non COVID conditions of 6k mixed urban miles a year. But you may think differently... just drive the bloody motor while you still can :D!

 

 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
updated

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N53 Oil consumption resolver? Significant difference using 5w-40

 

Short version: In this case, with these brands, the current estimate has the oil consumption rate cut to 1/3

by using Castrol Magnetec 5w-40 C3 (1L/6000+ miles est.) instead of Castrol Edge 5w-30 Titanium (1L/2200 miles).

 

As a result, I am now thinking for good reason that the 5w-40 grade fully synthetic oil is probably better suited to a hotter lean burn older petrol engine, which makes a significant difference in this particular case.

 

When suggesting a thicker oil, various independent mechanics have often said to me: "Your wasting your time, it'll make no difference, it's your stem seals mate, see it all the time...". Good to know different though, hey.

 

 

 

Long waffle version: I got the car with a new oil and filter at ~120,000 miles (April 2017). As I don't trust anybody when it comes to anything associated with a financial value, I took a photo of before and after the oil filter housing which indicated that the oil change work had actually been done.
I tried to find out what the traders 3rd party mechanic used and was told it was 'probably' 5w-30 fully synthetic, brand unknown. Consumption was 1L/~3000 miles of mostly mixed urban commuting whilst topping up with Castrol Edge 5w-30 (titanium). I logged the mileage with each i-Drive low oil add 1L warning (as there's no dipstick on the N53 engine).

 

Then after 7000 miles changed oil and filter again when I had front discs and pads done etc. That Indy only used Shell Helux 5w-30 (verbally), so was lumbered and went with that. Consumption noticably fell to 1L/2200 miles, again topping up with Castrol Edge 5w-30 (titanium).
After a time and adding another 4L the consumption rose steadily to 1L/1200 miles (6000 miles later, then at ~133,000 miles). I felt that oil consumption might have been greater on motorway trips sat at ~3k RPM but can not be sure of this.

 

After seeing this video/post on 5w-30 oil stability and possible evaporation characteristics, I bought 8 Litres of Castrol Magnetec 5w-40 C3 (delivered for £45) and had another Indy garage replace with 6.6L of oil and a new filter (when I had the new clutch fitted). Observing 5 green square bars at max on the iDrive.

 

After 2000 miles of regular iDrive oil level checking, it has just dropped the first bar today from 5 square bars to 4. I will report back and update the consumption here for the next additional 4000 miles and when the first 1L top up request occurs.

 

My early conclusion is leaning strongly toward the drop in oil consumption being reduced significantly for a couple of reasons (my possible theories, not all fact).

- The '40' number effects the viscosity, stability and volitity at higher operating temperatures (https://www.zoniv.com/5w30-vs-5w40/). Likely leaving a little less oil left stuck on the bores and burnt in the cylinders.
"The number “40” implies that it differentiates from the most common motor oil (30) among the cars, as it is denser, and this ensures more profound engine lubrication during hot temperatures. This oil is most often used in case of higher mileage vehicles as it is thicker than the 30 oil, so will provide better lubrication for the working parts inside the motor that have been wear-off as a consequence of aging or strain."

 

- The other factor as mentioned in the video, is that the '40' number is more stable at higher temps and in an N53 petrol the engine runs quite hot, even the coolant gets up to 110C/230F (oil temps would be higher?). I think the 5w-30, whilst thinner, it could also be evaporating, being more readily able to vapourise into small droplets (maybe foaming) that far too easily gets sucked into the inlet manifold passing the CCV (or the CCV is slightly defective). Then getting burnt off in the cylinders, plus with the N53 being Direct Injection, with that quantity of missing oil, some will probably be nicely fried n stuck to the back of the inlet valves :(.

 


Now the engine is ever so slightly quieter with slightly thicker viscous 5w-40 oil. This may come at the cost of very slight increase in internal engine drag but the consumption trade off is totaly worth it (in my case). I don't expect the slight deviation away from the recommended grade oil with have any dramatic ill effects (unless anyone has other ideas?), the only disadvantage going forward is that most places tend to stock drums of 5w-30 oil, which is annoying to keep having to purchase my desired oil specially for each service. Oh well.

 

EDIT: The consuption fell but not as much as first indicated, more data when I have it. For example, due to the Oil level sensor warning from first fill of 6.6L, where the threshold is larger to the 1L top up warning, firing after +1.5L of oil may have been consumed. An obvious measurment behaviour to consider when you think about it :oops:.

 

Edited by DarkHorse
typo's again, dislexic Mo Fo!

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After my MOT emissions failure scare from possible N53 magic and mystery... (my reference INPA N53 at idle screen shots here)

 

B) Found this is useful operating information (with INPA data overlay) regarding the NOx catalytic converter regeneration burn cycle management and performance check (N43):

 

 

Checkout Jani Voutilainen's other info videos, he's all over and inside that N43! B)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
typo's and details

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For reference and interest, I found an example of N53 intake valve deposit buildup (due to direct fuel injection design characteristics, no valve wash from fuel blow by).

From 5min 30secs you can see what this N53 engines valves look like at 136k miles (220km). Not that bad really, I certainly wouldn't be worried enough to rush out and clean them in a hurry.

 

 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
typo's

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Looks like I have an ignition fault. Pulled off  today and the engine bogged down, no power, no action. Then started misfiring, lack of power. Orange Engine light came on for a minute or so. Pulled over and restarted, seemed fine again. Now I am occasionally noticing blips and misfiring under heavy loading at lower revs, below 3k RPM, sometimes hiccups and hesitates (misfiring) then goes. Cruises around just fine. Feels like typical coil pack breaking down symptoms, only a matter of time before a cylinder completely drops out.

 

Fault Code 29DC: Misfires Cylinder 1

 

image.png.6b01e91338e68a3022a8b641c6ddc98e.png

 

I found a (hard to read) receipt note for spark plugs that were changed over 5 years ago (~32k miles, a hard life in an N53s direct injection modes), no history on coil packs but cash is tight for this 14 year old motor. So I've ordered 6x "NGK ZKBR7A-HTU spark plugs", angled plug tool and 2x "Bosch 0221504471 Ignition Coil Pack" to play with. Now £100 lighter, lets see what happens next...

 

 

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Fingers crossed that fixes it.  Autodoc had a good price for coil packs recently, was tempted to change all mine as I get a slight stumble when its running stratified but its always at the same place on a motorway and i'm convinced its more to do with the nox trap being cleaned (running lean perhaps) than an actual misfire. Never any codes or lights etc.  

 

Let us know how it goes.  What injectors have you, out of interest?

 

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Yes lets hope so ;). The coils came in at £20 each delivered and just £9.5 for each plug (Amazon.co.uk) but I am on the look out for any suspicious clones that seem to be about. Plan to swap in 2 coils and carry one good used spare in the boot, so that if another one fails, at least I will be able to get home easily (from a longer trip) and then change the rest later.
 

Never seen the injector indexes yet, hopefully I'll get a visual on them soon. Or maybe take a closer look if rendered in the software (INPA or ISTA-D), though I've not noticed. Would be nice to know.

 

Also occasionally experience a very minor stutter once in a while ~70mph, say after about 10 mins getting out of the city and a couple of miles later. Seems like either trying to get into Stratified mode too early (power drops slightly and bails out quickly) or like you suspect, just purging the NOx particles with a hot mixture burn off.

 

 

 

Quote

https://bimmerprofs.com/spark-plugs-n43n53-series-engines/

DON’T BUY the “NGK” spark plugs if the logotype is not painted on the spark plug itself! No, the cardboard box, which costs 0.1 cents or a “certificate” – a cheap sheet, which says, that this is NGK spark plug, DON’T confirms, that this is an original! These are top line spark plugs of NGK – they are not produced in different factories, in a “happy-go-lucky” way!

 

Edited by DarkHorse
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On 06/12/2021 at 11:26, bmwmike said:

...What injectors have you, out of interest?

 

Wow, I had some surprises today :shock:

Going to need some suggestions and theories based on the observations and evidence so far.

 

i6 Firing order is 1/5/3/6/2/4

 

Bank1 -> Cyl1: Injector index 07 - Misfires code 29CD (glad it's only the one cylinder logging) Dec 2021.
Bank1 -> Cyl2: Injector index 07
Bank1 -> Cyl3: Injector index 01 - Some oil contamination on coil boot.
             

Bank2 -> Cyl4: Injector index 08
Bank2 -> Cyl5: Injector index 01 - Black plug, carbon deposits due to over fueling, rich mixture burn.
Bank2 -> Cyl6: Injector index 09

 

What year are these injector indexes?

Coils are dated Sept 2012 (9yrs ago, mileage covered since then ~75k).

 

143k miles, car always starts fine, very occasionally get 5 seconds of mild rough cold start idle, normally after short start/stop the previous day (re-parking, move car on/off the drive etc.). Until the current misfire/EML brief episode whilst driving round town last week, there have be no noticeable engine problems for the past 23k miles /4.8 years.

 

Tip1: I took the images of the injectors in the engine with a mirror and a torch overhead, then flipped the images around to reveal the text.

Tip2: Tie some nylon string around the socket tool joint, makes it easier to pull out the socket tool from the spark plug, otherwise it is stuck quite firmly in the engine due to the rubber grip insert ;).

image.png.b77a15f19afaa80fef83232ba1b539e0.png

 

 

N53 diagnostic reference information:
https://bimmerprofs.com/misfire-counters/

https://bimmerprofs.com/problems-injectors-misfires/


4 Common Problems with the N53 Engine:

https://bmwtuning.co/n53-engine-problems/

 

Firstly, which 2 coil packs would you replace with the 2 new ones I have?
Secondly, will I likely have to replace the injector in Cylinder 5 based on the plug condition or is it black because other cylinders/sensors are malfunctioning?

 

My initial plan is to replace with new spark plugs. Then replace Cylinder 1 and Cylinder 5 with new coil packs. Drive around and see what codes re-appear or if there are still any misfires persisting under load (punching out in 2nd from low rev range 2k, manual box) . After a few trips, whip out the cylinder 5 spark plug and check it's condition.

 

Assuming the misfire goes away but the cylinder 5 plug goes black, what are the other options to consider?
Check flow rates in INPA (if I can decode the German text)?
Anything in ISTA-D that could help?

 

Edit: Alternative scenario based on bimmerProfs site info. The Cylinder 5 injector is over fueling in Bank 2 which causes Cylinder 4 and Cylinder 6 to lean out to compensate that bank, this leads to Cylinder 4 too lean misfire, which is preceding in firing order to Cylinder 1 ( 1/5/3/6/2/4 ), the DME then miss reports as a misfire in next to fire Cylinder 1 (instead of Cylinder 4). Follow me, possibly?

 

SparkPlugsAndCoils.thumb.jpg.203be8afa16a6cd401fb6e037bbbd6d2.jpgInjectors.thumb.jpg.4a34befb2d5e3029e14bdca2dfa17e4a.jpg

 

Edited by DarkHorse
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Was #5, or any of the plugs for that matter, wet?

 

If they are wet that injector is leaking and needs replacing.

 

index 09 are around 2009-11 i suspect but dont know for sure. My 03/2012 n53 car had index 09 or 10 because i had to put index 11 in it.

 

New plugs (unless recent) and new coilpacts (unless recent) and make sure its all absolutely clean using IPA and go from there. I'd agree with your point about an overfueling injector (leaky!) leaning out the other two for that bank. I've read about that before. Perhaps replace those index 01 with 11's.

 

Any nox codes?

 

Edited by bmwmike

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Looks like cylinder 5 injector is leaking badly which although isn't the root cause of cylinder 1 mis-fire I would replace that injector.

I'd experienced similar mis-fires many years ago causing similar mis-fire codes and EML light reduced power,  the coil packs on the effected cylinder were swapped around to another bank which made no difference so I'd changed all the spark plugs with original NGK's which resolved the issue (my plugs were around 15k miles old), N53 seems to be very sensitive to degraded plugs due to the direct injection design so I intend to replace them more regularly than I would normally do on conventional engine design.

I'd posted recently that I'd experienced the occasional cold start stumble and after many hours studying the INPA diagnostics (rough run, stratified injector adaptation parameters etc) to conclude leaky injectors on Cyl 1 and 6.  I'd managed to find a set of 4 used index 11 on ebay from a scrap dealer for a bargain £250 took the gamble which has paid off all issues resolved and still have 2 injectors to spare :)

One thing I must mention and also backed up from Bimmerprofs is that an all out replacement of index 11 on a bank is NOT necessary, the key is to accurately identify the leaky injectors, and your mention of a leaky injector leaning out a bank is what confuses a lot of people if not familiar with the understanding how to diagnose these engines.

It also goes without saying that the NOX sensor must be fully working without errors as this would mask a lot of problems.

I've also noticed that my fuel consumption has increased ever so slightly maybe 2-3 mpg on the same route \ driving style compared to before and my exhaust is a lot less sooty than before - I can drive 2-3 journeys before it would soot up to the same level with only 1 journey of the same route previously.

Hope you get your issue resolved and let us know the root cause, the more info for us fellow N53 owners the better, cheers.

 

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Good to know we're all roughly on the same page for this current N53 diagnosis B).

 

> Was #5, or any of the plugs for that matter, wet?
No, unfortunately I left it quite a few days cold before taking the plugs out, I could smell fuel slightly on a couple but none were wet, so inconclusive as yet.


> Perhaps replace those index 01 with 11's.
Yes, trying to locate a pair of 11s at a fair price, for now it looks like I might be able to get one used index 07 for ~£90. New index 11s at ~£350 each! (not helped by Brexit/pandemic either). Will keep looking, probably in the new year if I can make it last until then.

 

>Any nox codes?

Only the persistent NOX related error code on my N53 since taking ownership in 2017 (screen shot of the other persistent errors here):

0x2AEC Stickoxidsensor Eigendiagnose - translates to "Nitric oxide sensor self-diagnosis" (meaning that the Nitrogen Oxide Sensor is Contaminated).

I'm not bothering to chase 100% fuel economy functionality for a low mileage user of a 14yr old estate motor. The fuel computer when the mpg is reset can display 47mpg on the flat for a few miles but in reality on a run can achieve 39mpg, more often easily 35mpg M4/M5 (on V-Power).

 

 

It is often said that "Plugs and coil problems tend to show up under load and high RPM conditions. Fuel injectors tend to show up during cold starts and while idling".

 

Update: Good news, a short term win hopefully so far and bought some time. I installed the new NGK plugs, cleaned up Cyl3 coil boot, then changed my mind and decided to replace Cyl1 and Cyl4 with the new coil packs. The motor fired straight up as usual but for the first few seconds the first low rev throttle poke was very lack luster, then all was ok. Went for a 10 mile trip at all speeds and once warmed up, started nailing the throttle, looking for any sign of misfire or hick-up. Glad to say it seemed restored, fine and responsive.

 

At some convenient point I will check the codes and examine the condition of the Cyl5 spark plug again, expecting it to be either wet with fuel and/or carbon black coated (leaky injector). Then using INPA to try and check the flow rates and adaptation screens (../F5/F7 https://bimmerprofs.com/msd87-rough-run-menu/ ) now that I understand that the data is presented in firing order and not by cylinder number :rolleyes:. See what leads on from the information I have at that point... Thanks.

 

Update2: Still running fine, no misfires or codes after a few more trips a week later. The INPA software 'rough running' telemetry all looks ok (../F5/F7 https://bimmerprofs.com/msd87-rough-run-menu/ ). A second hand injector (index 11) turned up, which I need to swap with Cyl5 to verify that it works and check Cyl5 spark plug colour (maybe I'll find the time over the next couple of weeks).

 

Edited by DarkHorse
updated

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Went on a bit of a trivial journey but here it is:

 

Hmm... thought I'd note down the injector calibration values and then check with some old INPA screen shots. Injector values for 3 and 4 have been mixed up. I double checked my injector image data and confirmed. Maybe someone was diagnosing a problem and swapped the injectors but forgot to update the coding. Obviously the fuel trims have been able to compensate for all these years but it's an interesting discovery.

 

Bank1 -> Cyl1: Injector index 07 - 57.2 / 2.00
Bank1 -> Cyl2: Injector index 07 - 57.1 / 2.29
Bank1 -> Cyl3: Injector index 01 - 57.4 / 2.37
             

Bank2 -> Cyl4: Injector index 08 - 58.7 / 2.17
Bank2 -> Cyl5: Injector index 01 - 58.3 / 2.42
Bank2 -> Cyl6: Injector index 09 - 58.6 / 2.37

 

image.png.ad872fd57ba2eeb0b907c613851ae779.png

 

Then I found this info:

Quote

https://bimmerprofs.com/injectors-adaptations-coding/
 

...Taking into account all mentioned above, we come to conclusions:

  • uncoded or incorrectly (incorrectly: data from another injector, but with correct check-sum) coded injectors CANNOT BE the cause of the unevenness of the engine after creating new adaptations;
  • the importance of coding of the injectors is highly overrated, taking into account, that MSD performs the tests of cylinder mechanical efficiency in idle, and also flow-rate tests under different load and RPM circumstances, common Lambda adaptations of banks etc. – it means measures and accordingly corrects true parameters of the injectors.

... But in long term it has no meaning, are the injectors registered or not! The main requirement – the coding data has to be true, it means, the control-sum of the has to be appropriate.

 

So nothing much to worry about really.

 

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