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Need help with “Engine Failsafe Prog” and my e39

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by AngryE39, Jun 13, 2014.

    • Member

    AngryE39

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    I hope someone out there can point me in the right direction concerning a problem I had today with my BMW.

    Car: 2001 540iA (V8 automatic), 140k miles, all service up to date. Recent work included new oil separator and valve cover gaskets 300 miles ago (professionally installed).

    Problem: “Engine Failsafe Prog” warning light came on while I was driving today. I had only driven about 2 miles and by the time I heard the warning chime and looked down at the warning light, the car had stalled. I coasted into a parking lot and checked the owner’s manual. After reading that I need to “have the system checked by the BMW dealer,” I decided to crank it and at least pull it into a marked parking space. The car started but stalled almost immediately. I was able to get it to run long enough to park it and lock it up before getting a ride home, but I am trying to figure out if there is anything I can do with it before I give up and have it hauled to my indie mechanic. There were no other symptoms or warning signs before the “Engine Failsafe” light and stall.

    I have a Bentley manual, Peake code reader, some mechanical knowledge and a decent set of tools. My plan is to go back to my car tomorrow, pull the codes to see if I can luck out and find something simple to fix.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or possible causes for this problem.

    Thank you.
    • Member

    AngryE39

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    UPDATE:

    I went and retrieved my car this morning. Before starting it, I checked the oil and coolant (both were fine) then pulled the codes. The system shows two codes: Air Mass Sensor and Drive-by-Wire Throttle Control. I started it and (gently) drive it 2 miles to my home. After stalling once when I first started it, it seemed to run fine for the short ride home.

    So now my question is: Can anyone tell me what I am looking at here? I was busy with other stuff all day but plan to dig into my Bentley manual tonight to find out what I will need to do to get my E39 back on the road (and to determine if I can do “it” myself). One last thing: I think I noticed the throttle response was a bit slow the past several days. In light of the codes I am getting, I am wondering if the poor throttle response was a tip that the throttle control was getting ready to fail.

    Thanks again for any comments/suggestions.
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    What I would try is look for any air leaks using brake clean while the engine is running spray all the intake areas front and back could have a hose off or have a hole in one causing a very lean condition. Next I would while the engine is running try to pull the oil cap off it should have a slight resistance from the crankcase system working properly if it requires a lot of effort then your new crankcase system has a problem. Last try to unplug the mass airflow sensor and see how the car runs. That will tell you if the MAF is bad. Hope this helps!

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