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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2003 325i

Got the car in July. One key has been relatively reliable. The other pretty much not at all. Never gave it any thought, but the interior lock/unlock button has not worked since I got the car.

Several days ago I put the emergency flashers on. They wouldn't turn off. Base gate guard made me move. I ended up disconnecting the battery and waiting ten minutes. I reconnected the battery and the flashers were still on. However, when I pushed the switch they turned off. I've not tried them since.

Last night I couldn't unlock the car to let myself out - had to lower the window and reach outside with the key... Today three or four times I had the same problem. I could drive for a while and it may or may not unlock. Today I'm running a bit worse than 50% success.

Searching the forum and google, it looks like it's probably the General Module GM5. There are some places here in Germany I can send it for repair.

The door lock and flasher switch are in one box. From what I've read online, the bottom of this part seems to have issues. Could this be the problem? It would be great if it's just the switch, but I'll bet it's not. My wife and I are traveling at the moment so no easy access to tools.

Remove, clean, repair the switch? Send the GM5 off for repair? Simultaneously? Which order if not simultaneous?

Thanks,

Terry
 

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Hello in Wiesbaden.

My son spent some time there as a German Exchange Student and we hosted a student from Wiesbaden. Nice area.

So the central locking button in the console has the guts blow out the back of the switch. Usually you can pry the switch out and glue the rear of the switch back on. The switch here in the US is like $30 USD.

The GM5 relays probably need to be replaced. But keep in mind if the relay's are worn and the battery is low it will make things worse. Make sure the battery is fully charged. One trick it to also try and unlock the doors while the engine is still running as well.

You can buy the relays on ebay for around $15 for a pair, BUT you must good experience with component level repair and the decent soldering equipment. Hopefully you have some connections on base and you can probably get someone to help with the relay replacement. Maybe someone in the Hobby Shop has the skills and equipment. I also believe there is a place in the UK that does relay replacement, I have to assume you can find someplace in Germany if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JFOJ - thanks for the info. As I googled for repair options in Germany, I found the location in the UK you mentioned. I've emailed four places in Germany. I suspect they are all closed for a couple of days over Christmas, plus it's the weekend at the moment.

I actually have the soldering ability to try it myself, but no equipment here. Rather than wait to order the relays and buy a soldering station that I can't take back to the US (220V), I'm just going to get the GM5 repaired.

When you say "battery is low" are you referring to the key's battery or the car? The car's battery is just a couple weeks old. They keys' batteries are in dire need of replacement.

So far, the door-handle-unlock-method has worked OK, even if I forget and turn the engine off before opening the door. I'm going to leave the park parked unlocked for the time being.

Thanks for the info - will update once something else happens.
 

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JFOJ - thanks for the info. As I googled for repair options in Germany, I found the location in the UK you mentioned. I've emailed four places in Germany. I suspect they are all closed for a couple of days over Christmas, plus it's the weekend at the moment.

I actually have the soldering ability to try it myself, but no equipment here. Rather than wait to order the relays and buy a soldering station that I can't take back to the US (220V), I'm just going to get the GM5 repaired.

When you say "battery is low" are you referring to the key's battery or the car? The car's battery is just a couple weeks old. They keys' batteries are in dire need of replacement.

So far, the door-handle-unlock-method has worked OK, even if I forget and turn the engine off before opening the door. I'm going to leave the park parked unlocked for the time being.

Thanks for the info - will update once something else happens.
Low car battery Voltage can and will aggravate problems with the GM5 module that has bad relays. I ran into a car recently where would could not get the doors to unlock until we started the car.

As for key batteries, they rarely fail per Scott @ www.bmwgm5.com, there is usually another problem with the key circuit and/or solder joints cracked.

https://www.bmwgm5.com/bmwgm5/kf_repair.htm

Keep in mind you do not want to become a member of the Wall Of Shame!

https://www.bmwgm5.com/bmwgm5/kf_wos.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interim followup

Hi all,

1) I've been trying to decide when to pull the GM5 and send it off for repair. I can easily ride a bus to work M-F, but that leaves me stranded on weekends. The weather is awful in Germany this time of year, so I really don't want to go w/o windshield wipers...

I'm going out of town for a four-day weekend, so I thought this would be the perfect time to get the GM5 shipped out. It can be back when I get back.

What a pain to take it out. I used Scott's instructions at www.bmwgm5.com. I'm not sending it there since mail to/from the Army post office is too slow. The guy in Munich will have it back in a couple days. Once the GM5 is back, I think I'll send one of my quirky keys to Scott for repair.

The guys at the Auto Craft Shop had never seen anyone do the GM5 before. They just said "battery problem." Not the case. They were intrigued enough, though, to pull a GM5 from a junker for me to use in the mean time. That makes my life much easier!

2) While I was there, I decided to pull the flasher/door lock switch, too. Sure enough, it had the standard blown out bottom. I hope I worked the epoxy deep into the gaps and it holds longer than I need to keep the car! Once again this site has taught me something I didn't know how to do. And saved me money :)

Terry
 

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Kind of funny how you are in Germany where the BMW should be like the GM/Chevy of the country. I would expect that the GM5 repair is something you should be able to get done on almost any corner in town?

But maybe the German mindset is to only replace the GM5 module with a new replacement and they do not repair them?

I have relays sitting here for another repair once the owner pulls the module between the 20F temps!

You had the standard feature for the rear of the central locking switch blow out. This happens around year 10-15 depending on the amount of activity the switch gets and also what gets spilled in the switch over the years.

Did you install the used GM5 module in your car for now??

It will work, there are some basic programming differences that you might see, however, I do not recall if this is a VIN coded module, I do not think it is??
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kind of funny how you are in Germany where the BMW should be like the GM/Chevy of the country. I would expect that the GM5 repair is something you should be able to get done on almost any corner in town?
BMWs are much, much more common here than in the US - particularly the station wagon. All three that I've had have been Touring models.

I found three places in Germany that advertised GM5 repair online. Munich is the closest to me, though by mail that doesn't matter. The price there was also slightly less.

You had the standard feature for the rear of the central locking switch blow out. ...and also what gets spilled in the switch over the years.
Inside, the thing looked like someone had spilled a chocolate shake and had no idea how much had leaked below.

I plugged with wiring connector back into the switch this morning. Locks and flashers work properly. Yeah! Saved $50! (Minus the price of the glue that will go bad before I ever use it again.)

Did you install the used GM5 module in your car for now??
Funny you should ask. The weather yesterday was awful. It started to rain as I left the Auto Craft Shop. I wasn't going to make it w/o wipers. I stopped under a bridge and quickly plugged the GM5 back in. Today I'll swap them out if it looks like I'll have time to get the old one in the mail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Minor update - jfoj asked if I had used the loaner module in the car. I did put it in. Glad I did, the weather here was horrible for a few days. Even with sun today I needed the wipers to get the ice off the windshield.

The wipers worked. The windows worked. The newly repaired push button opened and closed the locks like a champ. The key in the door opened and closed the locks, too. Neither remote key worked to lock or unlock. Previously, with the not-yet-repaired module the lock function often worked, but unlock frequently did not.

The repaired module arrived today, so tomorrow I'll put the repaired GM5 in and see what happens. I might have to try synching the key(s). I'll probably end up sending one key at a time off to Scott Johnson.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I didn't want to reassemble everything until i was sure all was working well. Yesterday after driving with the GM5 hanging from its three cable bundles for almost a week, I put the module back in its frame. I got the whole frame/bracket thing back in place. (Scott Johnson comments on his website that this is held in place with the clips the face forwards, backwards, or sometimes on of each. I had one of each.) The bottom piece went in well. The glove compartment is no longer in control of my back seat.

Swiff's info above helped with the lock/flasher button. jfoj's info kept me going between parts.

I sent one barely functioning key to Scott Johnson for repair. Once that's back, the entire package from key or button to GM5 to locks will be working as it did 14 years ago. The info and DIYs here make all the difference!
 

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Thanks for the update and glad you were able to get things sorted out.

Touring models are really tricking since they do not have a key cylinder for the tailgate, so the ONLY way in the car is with the keyfob, drivers door lock cylinder or a hammer!

A little bit of research, time and patience pays off then repairing these cars as you have seen.

Good luck with other repairs.

If you have not purchased the OBDFusion App and the VeePeak interface from Amazon, this will be the best $30 or less you have ever spent.

Android requires Bluetooth - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0Q8LN...1485689490&sr=sr-1&keywords=veepeak+bluetooth

iProducts requires Wifi - https://www.amazon.com/Veepeak-Scan...8&qid=1485689531&sr=1-1&keywords=veepeak+wifi
 
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