1999 E36 323iSE Touring - 3G EWS Alarm erratic

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  1. 1999 E36 323iSE Touring - 3G EWS Alarm erratic 
    #1
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    krumike's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    323i SE
    Year of Manufacture:
    1998
    Transmission Type:
    Manual
    Car Body Type:
    Touring

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    This is my first post on this forum. And to show I've had a look around first I've found these threads related to my problem.

    E36 Alarm Identification Guide - 3T, 2T, 3G EWS
    http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...3g-ews-t39173/

    BMW ALARM 3G EWS User Guide
    http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...-guide-t12855/

    And this 'similar' problem thread
    2000 E36 3G EWS mk2 alarm problem.

    So what is my problem?

    I should say first that I'm a car driver - I don't mind taking a PC apart but don't extend that pleasure to my car. (That's probably created me lots of friends here - NOT)

    So... I've had my car since Dec 1999 - second owner - wasn't given an emergency key for the alarm - didn't know until recently there was such a thing so didn't question the lack of one. It's one of the last E36s reg'd May 1999. (I put 1998 in my car spec details to avoid confusion as I know the model changed in 1999)

    Since I had the car the alarm has worked in the following way (from memory).
    With car unlocked, alarm inactive.... press red button on remote - audible beep and indicators flash twice THEN doors lock.
    With car locked, alarm active... press grey button on remote - audible beep and indicators flash once THEN doors unlock.
    With car locked, alarm active... press red button on remote for 2 seconds - audible alarm sound (can't remember if constant or pulsing). This is the panic function.
    The alarm did not auto-activate.

    THEN on 4/3/2011 the car went into a garage to have the offside rear trailing arm bush replaced and both coil springs at the same time. The car was delivered back to me and the driver left. When I went to check the car, it was locked so I used the grey button to unlock it. The car unlocked and the alarm sounded immediately. Nothing I did with the remote or key would stop it. (Again I can't remember if constantly sounding or pulsing) I got on the phone to the garage and had no choice but drive 6 miles down the motorway with the alarm sounding to the garage. You'll have noticed that the car wasn't immobilised even while the alarm was sounding. The garage were confused as they 'didn't even disconnect the battery' while the work was done on the back of the car. To stop the alarm sounding while I was there one of the technicians opened the bonnet and did something over by the fuse box... I think he may have disconnected the battery in the back of the car (its a touring) first... and the car seemed to act normally... locking and unlocking with the remote. At that time I was just pleased to hear no alarm despite the hassle and it spoiling the afternoon and evening.

    During the next couple of days (and since then) the alarm seemed to work very differently to before.

    With car unlocked, alarm inactive.... press red button on remote - doors lock THEN indicators flash twice (no audible beep).
    With car locked, alarm active... press grey button on remote - doors unlock THEN indicators flash once (no audible beep).
    The central dash LED illuminates when the key is out of the ignition, then about 30 seconds later the alarm activates. (Is this the auto arming?)

    So I concluded that whatever the technician had done to turn off the audible alarm also rest the unit to its factory setting which are very different to what I've been used to for the last 11 years.

    What's worse is that every now and then... about 5 times since the repair... the alarm seems to sound for no apparent reason. Again... no matter what buttons I press or keys I turn I can't get it to stop. It seems to eventually reset itself but sometimes it seems to be triggered immediately a few times before stopping.

    Another odd thing is that when the alarm sounds without reason it is a on/off (pulsing) sound and the indicators don't flash. However, when I deliberately trigger the alarm (I've tried so many things but daren't dismantle the glove-box)... the alarm sound is constant and the indicators flash.

    My questions...
    1. Does it sound like the alarm has been reset to default settings?
    2. Could this have been done at the fusebox?
    3. Could the alarm have been disrupted during the work on the back of the car? Does it sound like the wiring may have been affected?

    Cheers.
    Thanks for your help in advance.
    And thanks for your patience in reading this far.
    Questions?
     
     

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  3.  
    #2
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    Car Details
    krumike's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    323i SE
    Year of Manufacture:
    1998
    Transmission Type:
    Manual
    Car Body Type:
    Touring

    Join Date
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    Location
    Windsor, UK
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    The repairs in March have 3 month warranty and I haven't been back since the day of the repair. Although its a good garage, they seemed genuinely confused and claimed it was not down to anything they'd done.
    I know everything changed that day and the alarm hasn't been the same since. I don't trust it.
     
     

  4.  
    #3
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    krumike's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    323i SE
    Year of Manufacture:
    1998
    Transmission Type:
    Manual
    Car Body Type:
    Touring

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    Windsor, UK
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    This problem started infrequently but recurred on Thursday - hence my post on this forum. Since my initial post its happened a few times. The alarm sounds either when nothing is happening to the car or when I press the grey button to disarm it. Again, no indicator lights flash and the sound pulses on/off. It also stops for a few seconds every 30 seconds. It lasts for about 4 minutes. Sometimes it continues longer but I think that's because its triggered again somehow.

    Any advice is welcome.
    I want to get this sorted soon as I never know if its going to sound at night. Its bad enough driving around with the alarm sounding during the day without waking the neighbours too.


    Edited.
    I went to the car today and the alarm sounded on clicking the grey button on the remote key fob with no indicator lights (as described above). However, my wife sat in the car while I went back indoors to get something and on return - with the alarm sounding in the same way - the indicator lights were flashing presumably triggered by movement in the car. I used the key fob grey button which stopped the lights flashing but the sound continued as described.
    Last edited by krumike; 11-04-2011 at 19:25. Reason: additional info
     
     

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    #4
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    billywhizz1984's Car Details
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    Despite what the garage say these are classic "battery disconnection" symptoms. This has allowed the backup battery in the siren to run down, hence no sound when arming. As the backup batteries recover this may subside but it does sound like the alarm has defaulted. A trip to an alarm specialist with a Sigma programmer is in order, don't even bother with BMW for this.
     
     

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    #5
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    krumike's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    323i SE
    Year of Manufacture:
    1998
    Transmission Type:
    Manual
    Car Body Type:
    Touring

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    Quote Originally Posted by billywhizz1984 View Post
    Despite what the garage say these are classic "battery disconnection" symptoms. This has allowed the backup battery in the siren to run down, hence no sound when arming. As the backup batteries recover this may subside but it does sound like the alarm has defaulted. A trip to an alarm specialist with a Sigma programmer is in order, don't even bother with BMW for this.
    Thanks billywhizz1984.

    How do I find an alarm specialist with a Sigma programmer? I've not seen that category in my Yellow pages.

    I kinda believed the garage when they said they hadn't disconnected the battery to work on the rear trailing arm and coil springs. Is there any reason to disconnect the battery for that work?

    Does the backup battery have an estimated life span of 10 years anyway? In other words, does it sound coincidental?
     
     

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    #6
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    billywhizz1984's Car Details
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    1999 x 2, 1998, 1997 x 2, 1996, 1995
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    You'll have to ring auto alarm specialists and ask them if they have a Sigma CP3 programmer.

    Was the trip meter reset to zero when you got the car back? Was the radio still tuned to your favourite stations? Could just be a coincidence.....

    The backup batteries will hold enough charge to work provided they have constant current. When they get old they seldom recover from being fully discharged.
     
     

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