2001 525d E39 Airbag warning light stays on

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  1. 2001 525d E39 Airbag warning light stays on 
    #1
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    davidharrison's Car Details
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    Hi Fellas,
    I have been plagued with this problem for five years. Please help.
    Battery voltage when ign off is now 12.2 volts but five years back was 12.7 volts.
    Airbag Fuses 40 and 42 are intact
    At ign switch position 1 and 2 and with car running the airbag warning light is always on.
    Six years ago we bought the car wit no warning light showing. At first it was intermittent. Five years ago the car went back to seller garage who got/had the light switched off. This lasted 5 miles and it was on again - intermittent.
    6 months later the BMW Main dealer tested the system with diagnostics and found no fault. Light was intermittent at that time. Credit to Halliwell Jones in Chester they didn't charge for this work and time they put in.
    A year later with light always on the local specialist BMW dealer got the light turned off - it was always on at that time. This lasted for about 2 miles and cost 100 pounds.
    I don't blame them too much for they put the time in to sort it. Next try they didn't charge for for but the light stayed on. I decided to find the fault myself but it is not easy to track down but I really need your help other wise a good BMW becomes scrap at the next MOT.
    This is what I have:
    The car is the facelift model with only one OBD11 diagnostic port - in the drivers side cubby hole top surface.
    My new B800 srs scan and reset tool for BMW shows no fault. Initially reading FA pressing "enter" just gives the two short horizontal lines. No codes. (Just like the BMW main dealer said happened with his professional diagnostic equipment).
    Someone has removed a plug under the drivers seat and soldered the black wires to the seat to the incoming lead (not sure if this is an airbag sensor or not).
    A meter test on the passenger seat airbag sensor wires showed no ohms. I took this to be open circuit and bought and fitted a Techtronics passenger seat airbag sensor by pass unit.
    This has made no difference. The light is still on in all three ign switch positions. Needless to say I have tried all combinations of switching ign and B800 scanner on and off as described in the scanner instructions
    I am beginning to think that my next purchase will have to be an SRS ECU. and with no fault codes to work on I will have to go on buying the bits until I happen across the faulty unit. Can you help on this matter please?
     
     

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    Have you tried canning with inpa? I had an airbag light on for a few months and finally scanned with inpa and got two faults - passenger seat occupancy sensor and battery switch 1.i fitted a bypass to the passenger seat sensor and there was a switch in my boot had come loose - I taped that up and cancelled the codes and fingers crossed its been fine since!!
     
     

  4. 2001 525d E39 Airbag warning light stays on 
    #3
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    davidharrison's Car Details
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    Thanks for the reply. I don't have INPA but BMW Halliwell Jones would have used it, and also the BMW Indie I went to. They said that no fault codes were showing. I have a little Chinese trouble code scanner B800 for SRS. Don't laugh - at my age it is all I can afford. This showed no fault codes either. I too have now bypassed the passenger seat sensor using a kit I bought on Ebay. I guess the kit is resistors and a diode so the airbag module sees exactly what it would see if the passenger seat sensor was functioning as it should. Basically it is a little electronic box with two wires sticking out of it and I attached it instead of the seat sensor. STILL THE RED AIRBAG LIGHT WAS ON AND STILL NO FAULTS SHOWED ON THE CHINESE B800. i.e. It made no difference. I was a bit intrigued as to why the main BMW dealer in Chester and also the local BMW indie specialist (and also the local garage) could not put this fault right. Therefore I did a full strip out of all the central console bits needed to get me to the airbag module. It was quite a job for me. (Even though it looks easy on YouTube) I was at it all morning. I have got the airbag module in my hand now.
    The airbag module has the references: 65.77-6920848, TEMIC Nr G5T1H29AKL5. I do not think this is the right one for the car!
    The car has not been in an accident in my ownership, and the garage selling me the car did not say it had been in an accident, or that the airbag module had been changed (They would have said wouldn#t they, do you think - after all this is the UK, where everyone is brought up to be honest and truthful)
    What I think now is that I have a airbag module from a 530d e39 fitted to a 525d s39. Obviously someone in a scrap yard (sorry - recycling agency) on eBay has come across this before because they catagorically say that an airbag module with the references above is unsuitable for a 2001 525d e39.
    So I am having a bit of a chuckle now and will have to buy a correct unit for my car. Thank you for your help. I would like to know where the wire was in your boot so I don#t have to find that out later if you can let me know please. When I have got the right unit fitted I will let you know what happens to the little red light that the government in their wisdom think, if it is on, should be sufficient to scrap an otherwise perfectly sound BMW.
    By the way, how can scrapping a perfectly good car with a little red light on be energy efficient. Are these fellas mad. Is our government in the hands of the car makers? Sorry about that - just a litle diversion caused by the exctasy of presuming I have found a fault no one else around here could.
    Please advise if you know the correct airbag module ref no for a 2001 facelift model e39 525d which is, little red lights apart, a great great car, at 130000miles running on its original battery and exhaust, having only ever had two new front discs and regular servicing I have done myself since I bought it with 60000miles on the clock.

    Dave.
     
     

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  6. Mine too Dave! 
    #4
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    Hi Dave, I have a 2002 E39 525i in pristine condition as well and I can't get the airbag light off and its been like this for a couple of years and like you have been down the bypass route for the passenger seat. Bought the B800 code reader and that shows no faults and so nothing to clear. I have just bought the Inpa software and it looks great on the laptop and its supposed to show any fault codes and again nothing on the airbag system SRS at all and so nothing again to clear. My next trip is to the Indie to check and hope they can identify but what if they get the same as you and then I take it to the BM dealer and get the same as you? I can't even think of scrapping this car with just 35K miles on the clock.

    If BMW can't see any fault codes to clear and the airbag light is on, then surely it has to be a BMW problem to suss out and not yours or mine? Its very frustrating as read hours on this fault and still can't suss it out?

    Have you made any progress? MY MOT is not due until Dec so do have some time. I guess a few idiots at the EU have decided this is now a MOT failure when it wasn't before.
     
     

  7. e39 airbag warning light stays on 
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    Hi Beeswax, Thanks for replying
    This is where I am at:
    I bought the car at 60000 miles. It has now done 120000 but is in good condition.
    The airbag warning light comes on and stays on at ign switch position 1 and 2. It always remains on when driving. At first it was intermittant but about five years ago it became a permanent feature.
    1. Garage I bought the car from 5 years ago could not sort the problem.
    2. Main BMW Dealer Halliwell Jones could not sort the problem.
    3. Local Indie - Trenic, Queensferry could not sort the problem.
    All said no fault codes showing on their diagnostic equpment when connected to car.
    4. I recently bought my Chinese BMW SRS diagnostic scanner on EBay. It shows no fault codes when connected to car.
    I read the single most likely fault was the passenger seat sensor. Thus I bought and fitted a passenger seat by-pass unit. This made no difference - the red light stays on.
    I read on EBay that SRS unit Temic G5T 1H29AKL5, BMW 65.77-6920848 is not the right unit for my car, a 525d, 2001 year. This is what is fitted. I phoned Spares Dept at Halliwell Jones. I always find them helpful. They insist the unit is correct for the car and they should know.
    The unit is difficult to get at. It is between the seats, behind the hand brake. You need to disconnect the car battery and leave for about 30mins before touching the unit.
    I took it off and sent it to Liverpool to be reset. 30 Pound cost, it came back reset (very good one day service). I refitted it. The red light came on straight away.
    This is the interesting bit:
    a) Even without the SRS unit fitted in the car the airbag warning light comes on when the ignition switch is turned on. However, if I disconnect the earth wire that goes on the SRS unit mounting stud, and the SRS unit is not fitted, the light does not come on.
    b) With the earth wire not connected if I connect the SRS unit up the light comes on when the ign is switched.
    Thus to get the airbag warning light off I need to disconnect the SRS unit and the earth wire.
    I haven't drawn any conclusions yet.
    I could do with a good circuit diagram because it is difficult to second guess what a few men in Germany were thinking about 20 years ago when they designed the circuits. I also need to see an instrument printed circuit board know where a circuit light can get its voltage from, when the thing you would think should be suppying it isn't in the car
    Still there is no red light on the dash now. The downside is that in the event of a serious accident the airbags won't deploy.
    Airbagman.co.uk is a long way away down south and it seems unlikely they will be able to sort what the dealers couldn't. Frankly I don't know no what to do except draw conclusions and act on them. I would guess that this would mean stripping the instrument panel out to find out where the light was getting power from.
    It may be better to scrap what is otherwise a good car and never buy another BMW.
    Anybody with any ideas on where to from here?
    By the way, why is it I went out last week and didn't see a single e39, yet five years ago I used to see thousands each week. Where are they all. Have they all got little red lights on?
     
     

  8.  
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    Sorry. It was our Jag XJR that has done 130000 miles. The e39 has only done 120000. The Jag never has any problems that aren't normal wear and tear.
     
     

  9. Airbag light on continously. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidharrison View Post
    Hi Beeswax, Thanks for replying
    This is where I am at:
    I bought the car at 60000 miles. It has now done 120000 but is in good condition.
    The airbag warning light comes on and stays on at ign switch position 1 and 2. It always remains on when driving. At first it was intermittant but about five years ago it became a permanent feature.
    1. Garage I bought the car from 5 years ago could not sort the problem.
    2. Main BMW Dealer Halliwell Jones could not sort the problem.
    3. Local Indie - Trenic, Queensferry could not sort the problem.
    All said no fault codes showing on their diagnostic equpment when connected to car.
    4. I recently bought my Chinese BMW SRS diagnostic scanner on EBay. It shows no fault codes when connected to car.
    I read the single most likely fault was the passenger seat sensor. Thus I bought and fitted a passenger seat by-pass unit. This made no difference - the red light stays on.
    I read on EBay that SRS unit Temic G5T 1H29AKL5, BMW 65.77-6920848 is not the right unit for my car, a 525d, 2001 year. This is what is fitted. I phoned Spares Dept at Halliwell Jones. I always find them helpful. They insist the unit is correct for the car and they should know.
    The unit is difficult to get at. It is between the seats, behind the hand brake. You need to disconnect the car battery and leave for about 30mins before touching the unit.
    I took it off and sent it to Liverpool to be reset. 30 Pound cost, it came back reset (very good one day service). I refitted it. The red light came on straight away.
    This is the interesting bit:
    a) Even without the SRS unit fitted in the car the airbag warning light comes on when the ignition switch is turned on. However, if I disconnect the earth wire that goes on the SRS unit mounting stud, and the SRS unit is not fitted, the light does not come on.
    b) With the earth wire not connected if I connect the SRS unit up the light comes on when the ign is switched.
    Thus to get the airbag warning light off I need to disconnect the SRS unit and the earth wire.
    I haven't drawn any conclusions yet.
    I could do with a good circuit diagram because it is difficult to second guess what a few men in Germany were thinking about 20 years ago when they designed the circuits. I also need to see an instrument printed circuit board know where a circuit light can get its voltage from, when the thing you would think should be suppying it isn't in the car
    Still there is no red light on the dash now. The downside is that in the event of a serious accident the airbags won't deploy.
    Airbagman.co.uk is a long way away down south and it seems unlikely they will be able to sort what the dealers couldn't. Frankly I don't know no what to do except draw conclusions and act on them. I would guess that this would mean stripping the instrument panel out to find out where the light was getting power from.
    It may be better to scrap what is otherwise a good car and never buy another BMW.

    Anybody with any ideas on where to from here?
    By the way, why is it I went out last week and didn't see a single e39, yet five years ago I used to see thousands each week. Where are they all. Have they all got little red lights on?

    Hi Dave, thanks for all that. I have emailed the Department for MOT's to tell them about the airbag light potentially scrapping otherwise excellent cars and someone on BMWLand tells me that they still haven't implemented the airbag light and so lets hope they will reconsider and just make it an advisory. I think the problem is when it fails the MOT most garages offer to repair the fault and with airbags every car is different in where all the equipment is and so most would not be able to do the job and even main dealers may struggle as you have found. I can't get my head around these people not being able to identify the problem with all their diagnostic equipment though? How can that be?

    If it is going to be part of the MOT, the airbag light will need to come on though for a few secs and then go out and someone elsewhere has suggested putting a timer relay on the wire to the airbag light that comes on and goes out after a few seconds but we have to get to the right cable to identify that don't we? I don't fancy scrapping my E39 with 35,000 miles otc though.

    I did have problems with the drivers seat belt clicking in the socket and so have removed the front seat now and have ordered a pretensioner unit of ebay and will see whether that sorts it. Thing is in almost every case that I have read with people with the airbag light, they have managed to read the codes and get the problem identified and also to cancel the airbag fault code. Why can't we? I'm thinking the OBD2 socket isn't capable of reading airbag codes on some cars?? There is just a few wires to it and makes me wonder? Just why is the Inpa when plugged in not reading them?

    My next job while the seat is out is to replace the airbag ECU like you have done but your experience suggests that may not work either?

    Lets keep each other posted hey?

    Mike
     
     

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    Does you vehicle have the round diagnostic connector under the bonnet as well as the obd connector under the dash?
     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smart Motor Works View Post
    Does you vehicle have the round diagnostic connector under the bonnet as well as the obd connector under the dash?
    My 2002 525i doesn't have the round plug under the bonnet, just the rectangular OBD2 under the steering wheel. I have read that during the transition period both were fitted and people found they could diagnose and reset the airbag light using the round plug but not the OB2 in that car. I'm just wondering if my and David's car have not been wired correctly via the OBD2 and why nothing is showing up on any diagnostics even the ones at the dealers. But wouldn't we expect them to know this?

    Almost everyone that has had the airbag fault has managed to identify and clear it either by the B800 airbag tool or others or the software solution using the laptop and yet we can't? All mine keeps saying is no fault which is rediculous if ALL fault codes are stored until they are deleted?

    I have just changed my drivers side pre tensioner seat belt and its still the same. I will ask my Indie to have a look at it now. I have looked at all the other stuff and can only suspect the airbag control module under the rear air vent now but its not worked for David. I need also to try and check the wires to the OB2 and see if that's the problem?
     
     

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    Ok, from a technician point of view, if you are certain your diagnostic equipment is capable of the task and connected correctly with the ignition on, but still not giving any information, you need to check the basics. First of all power supply to the control unit. (Disconnect the control unit!) This can be supplied to more than one pin in the connector, and can be permenant, terminal 'R' and terminal '15' ('radio' and 'ignition on' positions of the ignition switch). You must also check these supplies relative to the earth terminal(s) in the same connector, preferably using an old style, non LED test lamp - i.e. with an incandescant bulb. This will show up any high resistance wiring connections that a multimeter or LED tester will not, due to the current draw. If these supplies and earths are satisfactory, you must now check the K bus communication to the unit. I believe this is a grey/white/yellow or similar. To check this, you need a multimeter. First of all, with the ignition on, and the meter set to DC volts, check the voltage level of the K bus relative to chassis ground, it should be around 12 volts. Next, check the AC voltage level on this wire, it should vary depending upon how much digital communication is taking place - i.e if you operate the passengers window from the drivers side, you should see a brief increase in the AC voltage level. If this is all satisfactory, and you still have no communication, then the unit is pooped.

    N.B. this all depends on your diagnostic equipment being up to scratch!

    N.B.2 NEVER REMOVE THE AIRBAG ECU WHILE IT IS PLUGGED IN, OR PLUG IT IN WHILE IT IS NOT BOLTED DOWN! Any false moves in this situation will deploy a selection of airbags, and you will be severely injured at best!

    Good luck, and I hope I was of some help.
     
     

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