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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings all, I had some front end work done to my 2001 BMW 325i this morning and now I am having several issues that I cannot seem to resolve. The front driver and passenger lower control arms, tie rods, sway bars and control arm bushings were replaced and now when I start up the car I have a variety of warning lights and failures. The symptoms occurred immediately upon starting the vehicle following the work performed and are as follows:

1) Orange transmission warning light is on (cog with an exclamation point in the center)
2) Red BRAKE warning light is on (even with e-brake disengaged)
3) Red seatbelt warning light is on (even when the seatbelts are fastened)
4) Engine temperature gauge instantly goes as far to the red as possible and remains there
5) Tachometer and Fuel Economy gauges are not functioning
6) Speedometer inaccurately shows speeds well over actual road speed (displayed 70 mph while driving approximately 40 mph)
7) Orange car which usually illuminates to indicate doors ajar no longer lights
8) Performance is significantly reduced (perhaps in safe mode from trans warning light?)
9) Fog light, Turn Signal and High Beam indicators no longer illuminate (All functional, no dash indicators or sound for turn signals)

A trip to Autozone indicated only one error code, P0500, which appears to be related to a speed sensor. A preliminary search of the internet seems to implicate the ABS module or the speed sensors. I would greatly appreciate any help or advice in resolving this matter. Thanks.
 

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Sounds like a potential grounding issue as well as a speed sensor issue.
You've got some electrical diagnosing to do.


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Discussion Starter #3
Discovered additional symptoms today, seems the A/C compressor is not kicking on now nor does the time on the clock change. Checked fuses 10, 34 and 43 for the instrument cluster; all are good. Turned key to position 1 and pulled and replaced fuse 43 to try to reset instrument cluster; no change. Checked the sensors at the wheels where the work was performed and they appear to be installed correctly. Reset transmission ECU in effort to revert back to factory settings; no change. Car was sitting for three weeks while I was in Florida for the holidays, so the battery was tested and the terminals thoroughly cleaned. Throwing a new code now, P0714, implicating a stuck TCC solenoid or a torque converter clutch circuit. Still working on a solution; I greatly appreciate all the assistance in helping me to resolve this matter.
 

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Try to run the car with the MAF disconnected.
Check the electrical connectors on the back of the instrument cluster.
Check the - I believe it's a large, round - electrical connector at the transmission for bad contacts.

It's weird that all that started after suspension work, may just be a coincidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
This morning the BMW would not start, when turning the key the instrument cluster lights would flash a few times and the engine would not turn over. Had it towed into the dealership to attempt to figure things out. Dealership believes instrument cluster is faulty ($1200) and the battery ($369) needs to be replaced as the terminals are supposedly not making good contact. The BMW technician believes that all of the instrument cluster symptoms, as well as the A/C compressor and trans limp mode are all caused by a faulty instrument cluster, and the failure to start this morning is due to a weak battery or loose connections. I turned the key to position 1 and ran test 2 to check the cluster; all of the lights illuminated and all gauge needles moved through their full range of motion. Not entirely sure if the cluster is faulty or not.

A quick call into a friend at Interstate Battery secured the $240 battery for $85(blemished). Upon hearing of my issue, my friend suggested the theory that the BMW***8217;s computer turns off non-critical components when it receives low amps from the battery and not to be surprised if after installing the new battery everything works as it should. I have never heard of such a thing, but will gladly accept it if the new battery fixes the issue. Battery should be in tomorrow; if that doesn***8217;t work, I***8217;ll check out the ignition switch and start pricing clusters :banghead:
 

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Bad instrument cluster can cause limp mode?
They're under $200 on Ebay.
 

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Replace the battery and check the voltage using the hidden OBC menu. Sounds a lot like bad battery, alternator, or FSU. I doubt the cluster is bad, sounds like BMW trying to keep their hands warm deep in your pockets.


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That sounds like a good battle plan. Battery first, ignition switch second, cluster last. In fact I'd probably look at other things before I do the cluster. The front-end work is probably a coincidence, or a result of the key being in the ignition while you worked on it.

These cars have been documented to show some weird electrical gremlins when low on battery or with an intermittent/high-resistance ignition switch. See some documented symptoms below, eerily similar to yours:

Nickvjr said:
Hey blubau,

I recently troublehshooted a friends 2003 330Cic that had very similar problems to what you are having. She has a 330Cic with no adapters or modificaitons. One day she got into her Vert and was headed to a friends house when she noticed some lights on the dash. When she arrived at her destination she tried to put up the top but nothing would work. Going off my memory here are some of the problems she was experiencing:

Key in Ignition One
-Airbag and Roll-Over System light would NOT come one (indicating a system check failure)
-Radio would work but not all the time - sometimes the radio would shut off and power up on its own
-OBC could not be changed to another screen - stuck on outside temp

Key in Ignition Two
-Cluster would power up but some lights would remain lit
-Seatbelt light stayed on regardless if the drivers seatbelt was buckled in - also no chime for the seatbelt warning
-Cruise Control light was on and could not be turned off
-Airbag light was on and would flicker
-DSC light was on and could not be turned off
-Power Folding Top buttons did not work - LED would not even light up
-Seat Heater Button would not work or light up
-Turn Signals would work outside the car but not visable on the cluster
-Brake Lights always ON
-Pressing the HORN sometimes made the instrument cluster lights flicker (airbag and rollover system)

We went through her entire electrical system following the many K-Bus diagnosis threads we found. We isolated modules, replaced the battery with a known good battery (off my '04 330Cic), did voltage checks on the entire K-Bus wiring, checked ALL OVER for shorts or exposed wires... and nothing! After we noticed the horn would have an affect on the cluster indicator lights (airbag and rollover system) we decided to replace the steering wheel clock spring with one out of my '04 330Cic. Still nothing!

Ultimately it was the IGNITION SWITCH that was the culprit. And although the swithch itself passed several voltage tests and had no shorts there was enough resistance that had built up in the contacts to cause a current drop which was hindering the K-Bus System. I used the ignition switch out of my Vert and her symptoms were ALL SOLVED!!! I ended up buying her an OEM Ignition Switch from ECSTuning.com and installed it when it came in.

Glad to report that after replacing the ignition switch NONE of the symptoms have presented themselves again. So before you dive into that K-Bus System take a gander at the ignition switch. If you are close to a buddy that can let you try his/hers ignition switch as a test that would save a lot of troubleshooting. The switch is not that difficult to get to and can be carefully removed WITHOUT pulling off the steering wheel.

GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Issue Resolved!

Got the battery last night and put it in, sadly this was not the problem. I removed the instrument cluster and checked that the connections were good. Removed the steering column and checked the ignition switch, also appears to be in good working order. This morning I took the car into a local mechanic who was kind enough to offer a free inspection of the vehicle. The mechanic concluded that the instrument cluster was faulty, which is what BMW concluded as well. This afternoon I sought and managed to obtain an instrument cluster from another 2001 325i from a local salvage yard for $65. Upon plugging in the instrument cluster, most of the symptoms were resolved. The transmission warning light is gone and the car is no longer in limp mode, turn signals and gauges all function once again, and the A/C compressor is now functioning as well. Evidently, the instrument cluster was the issue; whether its malfunction is related to the work performed on the front end or just freak coincidence remains a mystery.

For anyone who has this same issue, BMW informed me that the instrument cluster must be from the same car (in my instance another 325i sedan with an automatic transmission) for the clusters to be interchangeable. The cluster does reflects incorrect mileage (94k versus the 163k my BMW has on it), but a local shop quoted around $100 to burn the actual mileage into the new cluster. The only issues remaining are warning lights on illuminated car indicate that the tail lights are not functioning (however they are) and the BRAKE light is still on, but is now yellow instead of red. I am not sure if this the result of memory retained from the previous car the cluster was in (perhaps one rear-ended that made its way to the salvage yard) or from some other cause. This is a vast improvement over the previous condition of the vehicle and I can now drive it safely having functional gauges and warning lights. I will continue to work on the taillight and brake warning lights and post any progress.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this thread and helped me to resolve my issue, all of your help has been greatly appreciated!
 

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Glad it worked out!

It's not very comforting to know that even an instrument cluster malfunction can cause limp mode, but this shows the complexity of the electrical system of the car.

It was a good idea to take the car to the dealer, they are pretty good with diagnosis.
 

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BBA-Reman

Hey Lawman, I just sent my cluster to BBA-Reman up in Massachusets where they fixed my cluster. It went completely out and nothing worked. I spent $390.00 total. That's way cheaper than 1200.00. Hope this helps.
 

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OP only paid $65.
 

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Im here to resurrect this thread, I am having the exact same issue with my 330i down to the t.

I had my car go into the shop for a no start issue, initially changed the starter, but turned out to be a key issue.

Now my car starts but I'm having every issue you had with my car. I tested another cluster but no luck, this is a known good cluster. I'll have to try some other things this weekend. I have a new ignition switch just sitting around ill give that a try.
 
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