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Discussion Starter #1
So I'll be driving (2000 323i) and my ABS light will turn on for a couple of seconds then turn off, then after about 1-2 seconds, the ABS, traction, and handbrake lights turn on. (I was hoping it was just the light, but the ABS and traction actually don't work when the lights turn on.) Does this sound familiar to anyone? BMW want $117 for a check-up, so i thought I'd ask here first. Thanks.

Fawzi
 

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you guys got hit with some snow/bad weather right?
maybe theres some crud on one of the senors? I washed my 325 once and all the DSC related lights, dsc triangle, yellow ebrake (brake light) lite up. I restarted the car and i was good to go. how long has it been going on?
 

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Owner's Manual said:
If the brake warning lamp comes on together with the yellow indicator lamps for ABS and DSC: The entire ABS, CBC and DSC control system has failed. Continue driving cautiously and defensively. Avoid hard brake applications. Please have the system checked by your BMW center as soon as possible.
Definitely get it checked out - what you really need is someone who can read the OBD codes which doesn't necessarily have to be the dealer. I believe some auto parts stores will even do it for free or just a minor fee.
 

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As mentioned, it is most likely an obstructed wheel speed sensor. These detect when a wheel is rotating in an unanticipated manor, which will then trigger either the ABS or DSC or both.

When one or more sensor is not operating properly due to obstruction or malfunction, the system displays a fault by lighting all those warning lights. In most instances, this does mean that that system will not activate.

If the obstruction is cleared, the system typically resets itself.

As mentioned above, this is common in winter weather, where salt or slush can prevent proper monitoring of the wheel speed.

If this does not self-rectify after some driving and restarting, it is definitely worth getting repaired.

Good luck, and do drive carefully while the system is not functioning properly.

Ken
 

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And just to note, these warning lights will not always trigger a check-engine light or code that can be read or reset with an OBDII reader. A local autoparts store will not be able to diagnose or reset this system failure.
 

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And just to note, these warning lights will not always trigger a check-engine light or code that can be read or reset with an OBDII reader. A local autoparts store will not be able to diagnose or reset this system failure.
Interesting info - I can see how that makes sense that a bad sensor wouldn't necessarily throw a code. All the system would know is that it has a reading outside the expected range, but not necessarily that the reading is wrong.

How then would the dealership approach troubleshooting this? Do they have a different reader for that system or do they just trial-and-error the sensors?
 

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A BMW tech center can read any electronic system and extract data. The Peake Research tools we carry will also read far more data than the generic OBDII codes, though I'm not certain it will read ABS/DSC functions.

As this is a very common occurrence, I believe many mechanics will visually inspect the brakes and wheel sensors regardless of what the system is conveying. Start with the simple fixes first.

Any BMW techs care to comment? Not being a trained tech by any stretch of the imagination, my experiences only get me so far when discussing what goes on in a service center...

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #8
mf9point8....this is been going on for about a month or so. The Bimmer dealer said it can be like 40 different problems. I think I'm just going to get a good undercarriage wash and probably go to an auto store and have them check the codes. I hope it's just a sensor.
 

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A OBD II reader will not read traction control ABS. The only reason BMW has obd II is because of federal law, and the only thing they are mandated to report are emission codes and failures. That is why you will often find codes that the factory will find that you don't see through the obd II. Its going to be hard to help you till you know what faults you have.
 

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A OBD II reader will not read traction control ABS. The only reason BMW has obd II is because of federal law, and the only thing they are mandated to report are emission codes and failures. That is why you will often find codes that the factory will find that you don't see through the obd II. Its going to be hard to help you till you know what faults you have.
Just talking philosophy here, but I thought the points of the OBDII mandate was to break the dealership's monopoly on service and allow independent mechanics (and DIY'rs) access to the same diagnostic info. Kind of like the new requirement to share the RFID key codes. Guess the ABS must fall in to a loophole or perhaps the number of things that can be read with diagnostics has exploded beyond the minimal requirements.
 

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OB II was desigend to alow everone to fix EMISION RELATED complaints nothing else... That means certain check engine light faults that do not effect emsions are not required to show up in OBD II. Is this stupid yes but thats how it is. From a business perspective its not so bad for us as we have invested in the BMW factory tool(15,000 cocos), from a personal standpoint I think its all pretty stupid but BMW is not the only one!! Ford GM ext you can't read ABS faults through obd II
 

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This is one of the good reasons for the DIYer to invest in a Peake Scan Tool. While it will not read ABS/DSC codes, it will read Factory BMW Codes that the OBDII scanners will not.

For specialty diagnosis, a tech center like Seth's is the only real option.
So what does the Peake Scan Tool read, and what does it not read? Can you clarify that? I recently had the EML light on, and my OBDII scanner showed nothing, so I might be interested, but am confused as to what the thing will be able to do for me. Any advice?

Thanks.
 

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I had the same issue, changed wheels and tires and it went away. I think my old tires where really unbalanced, or underinflated. Check out your tire pressure, and make sure the tires are balanced properly. There is a sensor on the passenger rear wheel and one on the front drivers wheel, they could have gone bad, or could be dirty.
 

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So what does the Peake Scan Tool read, and what does it not read? Can you clarify that? I recently had the EML light on, and my OBDII scanner showed nothing, so I might be interested, but am confused as to what the thing will be able to do for me. Any advice?

Thanks.
To best answer, the following explanations are direct from the manufacturer:

The R5/FCXII is not an OBDII device, it is a factory-code scanner. Meaning, it reads the full range of detailed BMW factory codes (which are the same codes the dealer has access to.) In contrast, OBDII tools use a government-mandated, generic code language, and do not read any BMW factory codes. OBDII is not inherently bad, but for BMWs and other European makes, OBDII tools suffer significant limitations. The two most common complaints about OBDII are a.) "unknown code" messages, or misleading codes that prompt unnecessary replacement of perfectly good engine components, and b.) the OBDII device would not reset the service reminder lights.

The R5/FCX-II code tool will reset the Check Engine light, Service Engine Soon light, the Oilservice and Inspection lights and the Maintenance Mileage indicator, and it can often reset other lights by association. What that means is that there are other systems in the car that check the health of the main ECU (also called a DME), if the DME's got a problem then the light for the other system comes on too. For instance the automatic transmission light will come on when there is a sudden fault in the DME. Resetting the faults in the DME, which Also reset the Engine light, will bring the DME back to normal status and all systems monitoring it.

I hope that is helpful.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #19
turbo: those sensors are for the brake pads, they would activate the brake pad light to turn on and nothing else.
 

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****, I have this same problem with those three lights. They would come on for a couple days and then go off for like a week. I jsut had my engine replaced for hydrolock by the insurance company with a new clutch, starter and rebuilt bmw warranteed motor. I got the car back and haven't seen the light in over 1200 miles now. My girlfriend is driving it and puts the front bumper on a curb, and now it comes on and off again like before. I'm pulling the front bumper tonight to see what it might be.

Note to anyone...
Never have strictly bmw in Bellevue WA do any work for you...they suck ass!
I get the car back with a dead o2 sensor, dim halo, dead battery, and they didn't even test drive the car outside of their parking lot cause the tabs were expired! Seriously, why would you put a new motor in and all this work and not test drive the damn thing. I'm so pissed with them.I hope they can read this **** too! I'm gonna post something elsewhere about this too. I even used a good buddy discount on the whole thing from someone who knows the owner really well, they gave me 90 off! 90 off $10,453! WTF??

Off topic, sorry,

I'll try to report back in with what I find. I also have a scan tool that pulls codes specific to cars and tells you what they are, it pulls vehicle sensor info too while the car is running. It only cost me 70 shipped off ebay. Great tool, awesome investment.
 
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