1997 E39 523i - where has my fuse gone?

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  1. 1997 E39 523i - where has my fuse gone? 
    #1
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    tomsgrandpa's Car Details
    Model of Car:
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    Year of Manufacture:
    1997
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    I have had the nearside wiper fail over the Christmas period. To do a makeshift job I removed the arm etc and just relied on the sweep of the drivers wiper, then that stopped. Upon further examination the balljoint on the nearside has failed due to corrosion and the actuation arm of that wiper seems to have jammed against the bulkhead and possibly blown a fuse.
    All easy so far - just mechanical.
    Now I have no power to the motor & none to the relay. The card that is with the fuse box says the wipers are covered by fuses nos 1 & 26 - trouble is there are no such fuses in my car and no wires supplying the fusebox in those positions. Local main dealers are scratching their heads and have come up with no answers.
    Car was built in Sept '97 and has the single wiper relay.
    Anybody have any idea where the fuse is?
     
     

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    mikesmith2's Car Details
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  4. 1997 E39 523i - where has my fuse gone? 
    #3
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    tomsgrandpa's Car Details
    Model of Car:
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    Thanks for this but all the fuses have been checked - in the fuse box - and are working - each was pulled, checked and re-fitted.
    The actual fuse box is the normal design of a single straight box set up under the top of the glove box.
     
     

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    Dr of BMW gildersol's Avatar
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    Is the relay 6 pin. There is no 12v at any pin? Can you see the colour of the wire thats on pin 2 of the relay (if it is 6 pin)
     
     

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    tomsgrandpa's Car Details
    Model of Car:
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    It's a 7 pin relay although the 7th is not connected to anything. A further confusion ( to me ) is that the pin nos do not refer to the same nos on the relay socket !.
    Regarding the wires : they are as follows:
    relay pin 1...relay block 8 - black with brown tracer
    relay pin 9...relay block 3 - brown with white tracer
    relay pin 5...relay block 2 - red with white tracer
    relay pin 4...relay block 5 - brown
    relay pin 8...relay block 1 - brown with black tracer
    relay pin 2...relay block 4 - black with green tracer
    Relay is Siemens no V23141-B3001-X7 BMW pt no 6136-8364501
    There is no 12v at any pin even with the ignition on and the wiper switched on fast speed - that is why I suspected the fuse ?
     
     

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    Dr of BMW gildersol's Avatar
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    The relay you have is a 2 stage (two separate coils stage 1 and stage 2). All diagrams I have covering all years and versions of E39 show fuse 1 as the supply. This is the red wire with white tracer going to pin 2 on the relay base. The earlier cars with 2 relays used fuse 26 as well but on your model I don't think it's used as the +12v supply to the relay coils is also supposed to be from the red/white wire through links internal to the relay. The general module then provides the 0v to the relay coils.

    No idea where the suppy should come from on your car if there's nothing in fuse 1. I know you've checked the fuses but I've attached a pic anyway of the layout.
    Can you see a red/white wire anywhere behind the fuses?
    Attached Images
     
     

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    #7
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    No wires at all - none on no 1 or fuse position 2 so there is no confusion there. I understand there was a changeover between the two sorts of relays sysytems at about the time when mine was built. I believe it went from a 2 relay system to the one system. I am just wondering if mine is a ******* version of them both but even then one supposes that the 2 relay system still had a fuse ( s) in the fuse box. Would any of the fuses in the boot serve it, I believe there is a wiper module somewhere - still haven't found that either - don't really know where to look but if I could find it, at least I could do a bit of back tracing with it.
    The snow has arrived in Cornwall ! so I expect I will have to leave looking for the red/white tracer wire 'till tomorrow
    Thanks for all your time & trouble so far
     
     

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    #8
    Dr of BMW gildersol's Avatar
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    I think you do need to try to track down where the red/white wire comes from. You won't have a wiper module as the wipers are controlled via the general module. The wiper switch is wired to the general module and then the module does the rest.
    The general module is behind the glovebox (A1 in the attached pics.) and controls all the body functions such as locking etc.
    Attached Images
     
     

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    #9
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    Well, I have now power to the wipers.
    Strong light and a pair of glasses revealed that there was a red/white wire to position 6 in the fuse box. Diagram in fuse box stated, window lifts, central locking and mirrors - took fuse out - all of the 3 still working. Must be that then - nope - fuse ok - re-fitted still nothing to the relay block. Pulled the glove box to bits, got into the fuse box - found that in fact there was a live feed going to position 1 ( red/white). Caught sight of something green in bottom of fuse box moulding - after virtually breaking the moulding got a 30amp fuse out - no sign of how it got there - impossible to drop down there - took pic before attempting to remove. Fuse OK - fitted in position 1 - we have power to relay/wipers.
    I am not daft - I am 62 - my eyesight no longer perfect - the initial foray into the fuse box was together with my daughters boyfriend whe is well into all things auto related. He can confirm the initial problems although it was me who found that there were no wires feeding position 1 - eyesight?
    How did the 30amp fuse get to where I eventually found it when it couldn't drop into there - why did it come out - how did it come out - I am not even going to start investigating fuse pos 6 !.
    It can't be the Cornish pixies as I was in Northamptonshire when this occurred - I am now questioning my sanity whilst feeling rather a fool.
    My thanks to you gentlemen for all your efforts - at least I have now got deeper into my car's workings than I had before. I have now got to put it all back together and repqir the wiper rack
    Thanks again
     
     

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    #10
    Dr of BMW gildersol's Avatar
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    Hey, these things happen to us all. The main thing is you now have the chance to do the repair, and you know your car is wired as it should be. Good luck with the wipers as it's no use without them in this weather
     
     

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