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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Hi, the green indicator warning lights on my dahboard have started to function at random, also the high beam warning. The brake lights also seem to come on at random. Any ideas?
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Check the battery,BMW is known to light up random instrument lights and do funny things with electricals.
  • My wood trim on cassete cover is cracked so I'm looking to buy a used one, not mechanical parts, just wood trim.

    Dealer asking 95 bucks andI think that's too much.
  • What about the 02 sensor? What about the cat. converter? What about the air mass flow sensor? What about the fuel pressure regulator? Is any of those components bad or did you change it? Does this car have a lot of fuel smell coming out of the tailpipe during initial startup? Is this a New York car which basically sits at idle in traffic all day long?

    Has this car been driven a lot of city miles- if so, use a little carb cleaner through the intake while the engine is running (a LITTLE, not A LOT as too much could damage the valves). Also, spray some carb cleaner up the tailpipe as the car is warm.

    Drive the car on the highway with the engine warm shortly after to blow all the carbon deposits out as it could either fail emissions inspection or reduce fuel combustibility or efficiency.

    Also, check the auto parts store for a special fuel additive which is recommended to be added at an empty tank of gas, run it for a few miles, then fill up. This is NOT A FUEL ADDITIVE. This bottle specifically says that it guarantees that it will make your car pass emissions inspections of your money back. This is for emissions testing, but you may need this to help you blow out those carb deposits because this stuff adds "oxygenates" to the air which adds air to the combustion chamber and may keep your car from dying after deceleration.

  • No, try the circuit boards. Especially with the Service Interval Unit (which has en electronic battery soldered to its circuit board in case of power failure) needs replacement since they last about 6 to 10 years. Also, as for your high beams flashing on and off, that's a good one, since mine's is doing that too. Possibly another circuit board cross-fire maybe? Anybody have a solution to that because with my high beams keep flashing, it may cause an accident or fail safety inspections.
  • Tell you what. If you need some BMW parts, I found a pretty good place that has some BMW e28s, a before they had a BMW 320i and a 733i, but I guess they junked those.

    I found out that they had these cars when I was pulling parts for my '87 black BMW 528e automatic.

    I found 2 BMW e28 5 series: a '84 528e tan/tan stick shift and a '88 black/black 535i stick shift. They also have several other BMWs including an e36 3 series 2 door and several e32 735i or 735iLs.

    Keep checking the yard because they deal in just as many luxury cars and imports as they do domestics.

    The Location is:

    Shorty's U Pull It Yard
    529 Flint Hill Rd.
    King of Prussia, PA
  • I have an 1986 BMW 325es, 2 door automatic transmission that may be leaking fluid out of the rear main seal. But, here's the mystery to this car.

    1) I didn't see a puddle of fluid on the ground when I added more fluid or left the car to sit with fluid still in trans.

    2) When I found out that I lost the fluid, it was sprayed all over the firewall and engine compartment, nearby the trans. fluid dipstick (I will admit that the stick wasn't all the way in, but it NEVER caused a problem like this before.)

    Could it be that this fluid was in the car since its manufacturing 20 years and 180,000 miles ago? Or could it finally have broken the viscocity after driving on it for 80,000 miles when it should be replaced every 50,000 miles?

    I had a similar problem with my '96 stratus when I lightly rear-ended this stupid jerk on the I-95 with a '98 Black Ford F-150 because he didn't merge with traffic during rush hour and didn't move when he saw me coming. Whoever you are, thank you for ruining my car and next time, I'll smash your freaking tail lights out.

    Anyways, when the fluid leaked out, I had to drive it for a few miles to a nearby auto parts store for ATF fluid. What kind of damage could be done to the car's trans. if it was driven a mere 2 to 8 miles without fluid? Would there have been less damage since I added the fluid when the trans. was cold?

    Why does it seem that the clutch has a slight chattering problem that goes away if I don't push the brake pedal down as much? Also, why is my power steering not smooth and quite jerky although it was not damaged in the accident?
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    92K miles on the car and ready for another Inspection I..........believe it or not the largest BMW Dealer in Chicago (where I bought the car) actually does not recommend changing the transmission fluid in the car........ever! Does that make sense or are people having the trans. fluid changed?

    Also said I'll need new spark plugs at 100K, at a cost of $288.00? runs 100% perfect!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,647
    The techie at Roundel and many knowledgeable BMW enthusiasts feel that BMW's "lifetime fill" for A/Ts is designed more to reduce costs than to prolong the life of the car. I'm inclined to agree. My 528iA has the same miles as your car. I did a full trans service (lube+filter) @ 65k and again @ 90K.

    For less than $200 at an indie repair shop it seems like cheap insurance.

    Speaking of Indies, there's probably a couple of good BMW specialists in the Chi area that'll replace your plugs for $100 or so. Try

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • bfletchbfletch Posts: 4
    Hi, I recently purchased an 03', 525, sport package with 42K miles. Overall, I love the car. I have one complaint; When I get over 50 to 60 MPH, the wind noise through the doors is quite load. It's a "low rumble" and much loader than I would have expected for this car. The car is in excellent condition (lease return), still under warranty. I do not see any evidence of damage to the door, gasket seals along the door or frame, etc. I know the car has a very low air drag coeficient, so wondering if that may be it? Anyone else experience this...comments? Thanks, Bill.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    If it is "low rumble", could it be your tires? How many miles on the tires, and how old is it? Rubber will harden as it ages and will make more noise, and the sport pkg tires will be worse than the all-seasons, generally speaking.
  • bfletchbfletch Posts: 4
    Definitely not the tires. New rubber about 1 week ago. It gets louder as I move my head toward the door jam. It is either air flow over the car/outside mirror, or it's the sound of the air passing through the door/door jam seal. Just wondering if this is normal, and if others have experienced this with this particular make/model. Regards.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Since your 525 is preowned, do you know if the side mirrors are originals? The reason I ask is that I read in either BMW mag or Roundel that the design of the side mirrors was changed @2001 (maybe even a bit earlier)to help eliminate wind noise. If the previous owner replaced the originals, then they could be causing the noise. Just a thought.
  • bmw51kbmw51k Posts: 2
    :mad: I've a BMW 525i, 2001. Having had the brakes changed front and rear, and had new sensors fitted the brake warning light is still on. Does it need to be reset by a BMW techie, or should it have gone off when the new pads and sensor were fitted?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    This is coming from my very fuzzy memory from having experienced the very same thing years ago. I believe that if you turn the key to the point were it would be if the engine were running (but don't start the car), and leave it for at least a minimum, and then cycle the key off and then back on, the light should go out. If that doesn't work, ask around or call your dealer, there is a method for performing the reset.

    Best Regards,
  • bmw51kbmw51k Posts: 2
    Many thanks for the reply. The method worked just fine.
    I'll tell the "brake replacement specialist" for his future reference!
  • bfletchbfletch Posts: 4
    Ok, I was checking out a long thread at another BMW site and think I got it. It appears that when they put your car on a flat bed for towing they remove the lift pads. These are rectangular, about 4 x 1 1/2 in, covers that will air flow inside your car frame. They dont always put them back in, and sure enough the guy who towed mine did not. I'm hoping this will do the trick, and based on the messages from others who experienced the same wind noise, I'm fairly confident it will. Just fyi in case someone else has to deal with this.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    I have a 97 528 and have had the same problem. It could be many things; however, I have heard of any number of people who have had to have new head gaskets or even new cylinder heads - now THAT is a very expensive job (looking at $5K depending upon what else they do).
  • Jjohnjohn.........any luck? I am here in ATL too, and would love a good referrel!

  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    It's been some time since I have been to the forum but I recall reading a message about wet rear floors in BMW's and that the "weep holes" in the bottom of the back doors might be clogged. I looked for the weep holes yesterday and all I could find on any of the door bottoms was two holes per door with black "plugs". I didn't see any holes in the plugs (or anywhere else) to check for clogging. They said the water originated from the sun roof. Any detailed location of these holes would be much appreciated. FYI - My rise is a 03 530i manual.

    Thanx in advance, this forum is the best!

  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Please disregard my recent post on this subject. The "weep holes" have been found. For anyone else looking for them, they are located on the bottom outside edge of the rear doors. They are rectangular in shape. BTW - mine were not clogged so I'm still not sure where the water is coming from. Someone else suggested maybe a "vapor barrier" was out of place but I have no idea where this apperatis is located. Anyone have a clue?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    The vapor barrier is a plastic sheet just behind the door panel itself.

    You should also check for leaks in your tail light lens gaskets and for a clogged sunroof drain.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Thank you for the prompt response Mr. Shiftright. Can you comment on the sunroof drain? I presume the holes I found on the bottom door edges are where the water would come out but where is the hole in the sunroof area that it would orriginate? If i puur some test liquid into it and it doesn't come out the door edge holes do you have any recommendation on what to stick into the sunroof hole to open the clog up? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    A can of compressed air is probably the safest thing. You might have to put newspaper down in the back carpet near the doors, in the crevice where the back seat meets the floor, and in the trunk/hatch, to isolate the source of this water leak.

    Tail light gaskets let in water, which then flows forward as you brake the car. The door drains can clog and the bottom of the doors fill up like a fish tank and overflow through the door panel. The door "squeegee", the rubber strip where the window does into the door, can also tear and leak, letting too much water in the door. The sun roof drain can clog, causing a drip from the headliner....OR...the rubber tubing inside the headliner, by the back window area, can slip off the sunroof drain, causing an internal leak you can't see until it reaches the back carpeting. The last item would be the biggest hassle to find and fix.

    If you pour water into the sunroof drain, it should drip out in front of the rear wheel, not in the doors. If you pour water in that drain and you don't see it draining out under the car, then it's draining out INSIDE the car somewhere.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 6_speed6_speed Posts: 37
    I have a 1997 540i 6spd. I have changed the remote batteries once before.

    Today, I tried replacing the battery in my key fob again. These were the steps:
    1) Car is locked.
    2) Remove the 2 batteries (CR1220) from the fob.
    3) Drove another car to Walgreen - can't find CR1220 batteries
    4) Drove back home. Reinsert old batteries BUT didn't properly do the +- matching - I didn't realized until step 8 below.
    5) Remote doesn't work anymore.
    6) Unlock the BMW using key (in keyhole).
    7) Drove BMW to RadioShack. Found CR1220 batteries.
    8) Drove home, replace with new batteries - this time paying attention to the +- matching. Time between 4) and this step was at about 3 hrs - was running other errands.
    9) Remote doesn't work - can't unlock/lock.

    a) Do you think I fried the circuitry on the key fob with the mismatched +- when I reinserted the old batteries?
    b) I read (from div2) that if one takes too long to replace the battery (as I did in this instance), I'd have to re-program. I read through the manual but found no instructions. Anyone here has those instructions?
    c) Do I need a new (master) key?

  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Thank you Mr. Shiftright for the very thorough response.I haven't checked anything on the trunk tail light lens yet (still concentrating on the sun roof/doors. I did find two holes on the front sides of the sun roof. They are a little smaller than a standard sized marble. I'm presuming these are the drain holes. Again they are kind of on the sides as opposed to the floor of the sun roof. There didn't appear to be any type of cloggage blocking them. They were very clear and open as were the holes in the bottom of the doors. One more hint to this whole thing; when I wash the car I always have to open the rear doors to let the excess water out. I'm not talking about buckets here but enough that I wouldn't want to not open the doors. Also, I looked under the car in front of the rear wheels for any holes and couldn't readily see any.
    This really has me stumped can you provide any further guidance given these recent revelations?
    As always, any and all information is greatly appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    The sunroof drain holes should be in the rails the roof rides in.

    Can you try the paper towel test on the rear floor as you wash the car? Maybe you can keep checking as you wash and see what part of the paper towel gets wet first? If it's the side of the towel facing the door, then it might be a window squeegee that's leaking. If its the rear of the towel facing the back seat, it could be leaking from the trunk. Maybe you could leave water off the roof while you do this testing.

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  • bookedupbookedup Posts: 17
    Weather permitting, I'll do some testing this weekend. Thank you so much for your prompt thorough responses Mr.Shiftright!

  • jstone9jstone9 Posts: 1
    I spilt some water in my trunk from a cooler and I cleaned it up. What I didn't know was there is electronic control module under the spare tire. There is no drain hole in the spare tire well. So the electronic module shorted out. Dealer says it is my issue and I have to pay.

    So if you haul anything in your trunk, make sure you don't spill anything. I may cost you big time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Oh that's a brilliant place to install an electronic module. Almost as good as when Porsche put the car's engine management computer under the driver's seat.

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