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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • I have the same problem (2002 bmw 525i) as you have and have been totally stumped. Did you find the cause? Thannks for any assist!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    It just ain't so....the use of synthetic oil is irrelevant to your problem.

    MODERATOR

  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    I need to replace some stuff under the machine (2003 540i, six speed manual) - specifically slightly wonky driveshaft. I might also be replacing some of the exhaust system, around the center silencer. I don't need to replace the muffler, since I am now using a Dinan muffler/exhaust. I am curious as to the normal life of the catalytic converters since I would hate to spring for $2500 + (for the pair) if I don't have to - at the same time, if they are projected to go in 10K miles or so, then I'd replace them now and do the front section of the exhaust all at once. In addition (now that I am thinking of it) I've been lucky with the O2 sensors and am still running the originals. The car has 145,000 miles on the clock, and I plan keeping it for another 3 years (at least).

    Thoughts?
  • cats go after 90, 000 miles depending on inspection method, replaced my sensors at 50, 000 miles---525i, it is not fun to do at home. BMW/ Porsce owner since 1972. Love them till they break!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,453
    I am curious as to the normal life of the catalytic converters since I would hate to spring for $2500 + (for the pair) if I don't have to - at the same time, if they are projected to go in 10K miles or so, then I'd replace them now and do the front section of the exhaust all at once.

    I'd leave them alone for now; if/when they do die, there are some aftermarket cats which will do an excellent job for much less than the OEM units.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Thanks Road... just curious, since I've been looking on line... who makes those replacement units?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,453
    Thanks Road... just curious, since I've been looking on line... who makes those replacement units?

    On the E39 and M5 boards you hear a lot about Magnaflow, Random Technology, and a few other brands such as Supersprint. To be honest, there's no real consensus as to which is best. I know that more than a few E39 M5 owners have had problems with aftermarket cats throwing CELs- but there's also aftermarket software that "fixes" the problem... ;) If I were you I'd check with some local CCA members and see what independent shops they recommend- then see if those shops have had good luck with any particular brand.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • dansa2dansa2 Posts: 26
    2003 5 series passenger seat is rarely used. One side of seat will not raise nor recline. BMW service informed me that motor cable is stretched, they have repaired as many as 50. A 5hr job plus parts. reluctant to have repaired they came back with 3hr plus parts. Has anyone had this seat problem?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    It sems odd that the cable on a rarely used seat would be (over)stretched. In any case it might be cheaper to install a seat from a wreck.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,453
    One side of seat will not raise nor recline. BMW service informed me that motor cable is stretched, they have repaired as many as 50. A 5hr job plus parts. reluctant to have repaired they came back with 3hr plus parts. Has anyone had this seat problem?

    This is a very common problem dating back to the E28 5 Series. The outer cable sheath stretches and prevents the inner drive cable from engaging either the drive motor or the seat actuator. You can fix it yourself if you have the time and patience; I'd at least give it a shot. Here are two pages that discuss the various repair methods:
    Fix #1
    Fix #2
    Although these pages refer to the E32 7 Series and the E34 5 Series, the E39 seats are configured in a similar fashon. Whatever you do, DON'T turn on the ignition with the seats unplugged or out of the car; you will activate the SRS fault light which will need to be reset by either a dealer or an independent BMW tech.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • dukiedougdukiedoug Posts: 12
    I am looking at getting a used 530, but one thing i dont like is the drivers seat is too low, even with it elevated as far as power controls will take it. I have a short torso so i need something that gets me up there. Has anyone ever heard of someone modifying the driver seat, to provide more lift than it come from factory? Does anyone know of any auto shops that might do this? I have also looked at infiinitis and their power controls are great, I just dont like that they eat gas. BMW 530 seems to be much more fuel efficient.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    I think for liability reasons most shops would never alter a seat anchoring. However, you might think about an upholstery shop padding it up an inch or two. Also BWM seats have been known to collapse if they've had a heavy driver. Why don't you see if a 1" pillow (as an experiment, not a solution) gives you the height you need? 1" is within the realm of possibility for an upholsterer.

    MODERATOR

  • ferozferoz Posts: 14
    Hi; I own a 2002 530. There is a problem with the cranck shaft sensor. Or so the computer says. The car runs fine and I have been told this code appear very often on BMW and driver just can´t notice any problem with the car. My question is, how can this happen?, It sounds pretty bad to loose info on the crankshaft positioning and yet the car runs fine......
    One the repair is done should I expect better low end torque, better MPG or what?

    Thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    The computer is probably sensing some fluctuations in the Crankshaft Sensor---which fortunately don't seem to be severe enough to produce any symptoms. These sensor outputs can be tested by diagnostic equipment. Whether your car will run any better is hard to say, as it is all relational (better than what?).

    Here's a YouTube video on these sensors with an obnoxious soundtrack, but it does tell you the different types of crankshaft sensors and how they work. I'm not sure which one your BMW uses but it's probably the most complicated one :P

    Mr. Dull EngineerTalks About Crankshaft Sensors

    PS: Turn down your volume, this soundtrack is LOUD.

    MODERATOR

  • ndegroat1ndegroat1 Posts: 11
    My 1999 528i's alarm goes off nightly b/t 2:00-2:30 (I'm sure the time does not matter) no sign of foul play. Wondering- is the computer sending this bad signal or do the batteries in the key fob need to be replaced? I have secure parking while at the office, so I leave it unlocked during the day, but the alarm goes off when I lock it in other areas.
    We have on the street parking and we love this vehicle (with it's 232 G miles) but I know my neighbors want to put this car out of commission as much as I do.
    Thanks!
    Niki

    :cry:
  • ferozferoz Posts: 14
    Thanks; saw the video. I´m still puzzled as to why such an important imput may be failing and the cars runs Ok, Will replace the sensor and let you know what happens.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    I can only assume that the variance is large enough for the engine light to detect but not large enough for the driver to detect.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    I had a similar problem with the VANOS Control Module. The CEL came on and the diagnostic codes indicated a problem with the VCM. I was tempted to do a "black tape repair" as the car ran just fine, mileage was unchanged.

    The techs told me that I'd probably experience a gradual decline in performance so I elected to replace it because I had partial warranty coverage.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • joningsjonings Posts: 6
    I bought a 1988 JDM E34 535i with 146k Kilometres last year. After a head gasket and oil gasket, it's good to go...except someone broke in, and smashed the deck and center computer out of it, and cut through all of the wiring harnesses in the dash... :mad: OKay, fine, wtvr, however the fuel gauge, temp gauge, speedo, odometer and tach don not function properly, the low fuel light does work however. The Speedo and tach function some times, and other times fluctuate wildy in comparison to actual road speed and engine speed...any clues? Also, at start up, the car makes a sound like that of a loud digital camera with a zoom lense...what is that? And lastly, it appears that there is 2 intakes on the vehicle...but only one air filter box, with the "other intake" piping into what appears to be some sort of belt driven contraption on the engine, w/out any filtration, if it were a super or turbo charger would that air not need to be filtered? or is that the exhaust charge piping being routed back into it? I really no little about this particular car as info is hard to come by, any suggestions would help
  • bmwgal3bmwgal3 Posts: 13
    I had the same problem with my 2004 545i's seat. I am 5'5' and the driver's seat was very uncomfortable. I needed a 1.5inch pillow (I used a very firm lumbar support pillow) to sit on, just so that the seat's comfort was tolerable. I drove around like that for 3 years, embarrassed every time I pulled in for valet parking or carwash. When I was looking for my next car, I was very turned off by BMW b/c of the seat problem. Someone on this board recommended the comfort seats. I was doubtful, but I tried it and it is great. I now have a 2008 535i with the comfort seats, no pillow needed. What a relief! I recommend you look for a car w/ comfort seats so you don't have to pretend you look cool sitting on a phone book for the next few years! :shades:
  • dukiedougdukiedoug Posts: 12
    Thanks for your input. I will definitely keep that in mind. However, I think I have decided on going with the infiniti g35, their power seats have more than enough lift for me. But thanks again for your suggestion. I definitely do like the 5 series and will not rule them out of my next purchase.
  • cindysuecjcindysuecj Posts: 2
    My battery is completely dead and we are trying to figure out how to replace it...all we can find from the manual is that it is in the trunk...what next? Also, after reading some posts, it sounds like it might just need to be recharged..is it best to jump it with another car or to use a Battery Tender..if so, how do we do it? How long should an original battery last? I have not been driving it much and maybe have gradually drained it? Mileage is 63K. Please help!!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,453
    If it's completely dead you should probably go ahead and get a new battery. I've had good luck with Interstate batteries. The MTP-H7 is the one you want. And yes, if you don't drive the car very much I'd invest in a good battery tender, such as the one BMW sells.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • cindysuecjcindysuecj Posts: 2
    I charged the battery on 2005 525i after it was completely dead. Now it will start, but the wipers are on and will not turn off! HELP! I thought maybe it had to do with resetting something? went to the computer to look, and message came up saying:

    pass. restraint malfunction
    cruise control malfunction
    wind shield wiper malfunction

    Any ideas? Would installing a brand new battery help or is this different? It all started when the battery died.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    Burner is right, probably a new battery is in order. And NEVER jump start a totally completely dead battery in any event, no matter what you choose to do. You could lose the top of your head, which you will probably need. Charge up the old one *slowly*.

    MODERATOR

  • davis101davis101 Posts: 5
    you must check the alternator--replaced my battery before i checked it and could have saved some money. oh well new battery is good for 7 yeaars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    Oh I think burner and I (if I may speak for him) were talking about how if a battery discharges completely and totally, it is usually injured by that process and thus its normal lifespan no longer applies.

    MODERATOR

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,453
    I've also found that bad batteries can cause all sorts of mischief in the newer gadget-laden Bimmers. Inoperative switches, phantom fault indications- you name it.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,803
    computers freak out if voltage drops below a minimum, no doubt about it. And modern cars have something like 75 microprocessors in them.

    MODERATOR

  • redflearedflea Posts: 16
    I have my 1995 530i (small block 3.0 liter V8) in at a local indie shop. They have a factory trained BMW mechanic who is having problems solving a problem...I get sudden power loss at about 4000 RPM.

    If I get up to that RPM, the power loss is complete until the revs fall, and the check engine light comes on.

    Any thoughts as to what to look for, things to check/try? My mechanic is stuck and scratching his head...the short block was replaced under warranty in 1999, so it isn't related to the old problem with sulfur and the original alusil engine blocks in the mid-90s V8s.

    Thanks!
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