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A "starting" issue

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by AJWhite, May 16, 2012.

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    AJWhite

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    Hello all. Hope everyone is having a happy healthy spring so far.
    My 540i 6 speed (2000) has had two recent issues with starting.
    103,240 miles, new plugs in the fall, otherwise solid.
    The car turns over, starter runs, but engine fails to engage/fire up. The independent BMW mechanic nearby scanned for codes and nothing was stored or found. Each time he set up his scanner to the computer, the car then was able to fire up. He would then let the car sit overnight and could not find any causes. The second time he did not charge me the diagnosis fee.
    His advice was to wait for it to happen again and try the dealer, or let him try to find a code again. I don't really want to get stranded anywhere.
    The first time the car was moving and had a fail safe, ABS fault. No codes were stored, and I had been driving a few miles when the car just lost power and wouldn't start. The second time the car was in my driveway and hadn't been driven in one week. Thanks for reading.
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Wow, I feel for you man. I can only offer moral support from a fellow 540i6'er and the hope that you eventually find the cause of this gremlin. That kind of intermittent issue can really challenge your faith in a car. Gotta be something findable though: fuel, air, spark - one of them is not there...
    AJWhite likes this.
    • Member

    AJWhite

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    Looking at the repair order, for the first visit, the tech used the scan tool to check the crank signal, then the vehicle started. He also cleared the antilock brake code #59 and checked the circuit to the DMEI. This fault code appeared on the dash display as a "fail safe" mode, and engine shut down. The second visit the tech just hooked up the scan tool to check the crank signal again and the car started.
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    AJWhite

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    Just tried to start the car again. This time it fired up, ran for about 15 seconds, then shut off. No messages or codes. I tried to re-start, but it just cranks and doesn't fire up. I have called for a tow to the BMW service center.
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    AJWhite

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    The BMW center says my DMEI or controller unit is bad. The cost installed is in the $1,800 range. Does that sound like a normal cost for this part?
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    MGarrison

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    If the below links are any indication, I suppose so -

    From a quick glance of realoem.com, it looks like one of the changeover dates for the DME is 9/2000, but I don't know enough of the differences to say whether the previous generation DME would work or not.

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin...&FILTER_BEMI=ON&FILTER_BEX5=ON&FILTER_BMWM=ON

    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=DN53&mospid=47588&btnr=12_0885&hg=12&fg=10

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E39-540...Parts_Accessories&hash=item4845514b78&vxp=mtr
    AJWhite likes this.
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    AJWhite

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    The build date of my particular edition is 7/99. It looks like they do not make the DME or DMEI new anymore. They seem to be refurbished and around $965 +. I am hoping that it will be backed up with a warranty of at least 2yrs. Thanks for the links, the only one I had looked at earlier this evening was the realoem.com, and bavauto.com.
    • Member

    AJWhite

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    It was the DME module. The BMW center seems to be the only repair facilities able to handle this sort of issue. It has been fine for the week the car has been back. Total costs, including a core charge and a core refund was around $1,600. I would think the core charge ($205.50) is included in the cost of the new / refurbished part and not added on to the cost, and then subtracted as in my invoice.

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