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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello boys and girls,

Brief intro: Long time reader, first time responder. I live in Minneapolis, MN and just bought a 2000 M5 (love it) in October , but need to sell due to job transfer to the city (Chicago). Question: I just had the ******* replaced on my cluster and when they called me, they told me somebody had put a piece of tape over the CEL to conceal its true identity.

I guess my question is, why? To pass emissions? I haven't checked the code yet, but I will guess it's the secondary air system? So much for full disclosure! The sleazy bastard I bought the car from claimed to be a man of God with a forward facing moral compass. Wrong!! I did a pre-purchase inspection, but no diagnostic since the cel light was not illuminated. Feedback?
 

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Well, if you'd done a PPI with a reputable shop they would have detected the fault codes regardless of whether or not the CEL was taped over or not. Just taping over the light might hide it from being visible but it's not going to hide any fault codes from the scan tool.

As for why he would have hidden the CEL with a piece of tape, your guess is as good as mine. However, I'd bet he did it so that anyone who came to look at the car wouldn't bother to hook up an OBDII scanner since they wouldn't see the CEL and be inclined to scan in the first place.

Covering the CEL with a piece of tape won't help you pass emissions. When you go to any emissions station they plug in an OBDII scanner and they'll see the codes regardless of whether or not your CEL is visible illuminated.

So, what should you do? Remove the piece of tape, get your car scanned, pull the fault codes, and fix whatever the issue is.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah the PPI was done by BMW, but unless the CEL is illuminated they will not check for codes. Tape is removed and car has yet to be scanned. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am just a little pissed off that I am uncovering hidden secrets with my car. I do not live in state that requires any sort of emissions check, so I have no idea what it entails.
 

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Yeah the PPI was done by BMW, but unless the CEL is illuminated they will not check for codes. Tape is removed and car has yet to be scanned. Thanks.
That's surprising! I would have figured if the BMW dealer was doing a PPI they would plug it into a diagnostics machine regardless of a CEL being illuminated or not. How disappointing to hear...
 

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I am just a little pissed off that I am uncovering hidden secrets with my car. I do not live in state that requires any sort of emissions check, so I have no idea what it entails.
If you live in a city / state that doesn't require your car to pass emissions then I guess you're in luck. That gives you all the time you need to get the car scanned and fix whatever the issue is.

If it were me I would start by purchasing an OBDII scanner to pull the codes yourself. Alternatively you can go to any major auto part store (i.e. AutoZone) and they'll pull the codes for you for free and tell you what the codes are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks man, I will look into that. Yeah, I don't know on the PPI. I was told by the BMW that a diagnostic is not required if light is not on. Fu$##rs probably lied to me.
 

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I would, because in my mind I think they are to blame for not discovering the car had any fault codes.

I understand they didn't see a CEL since it was covered with tape but they are a dealer, they should have plugged the car into a diagnostic machine, especially since they were paid to do a PPI.
 

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Wait. When the car is turned on, all the dash lights should illuminate. INCLUDING the CEL. If this was covered you can detect it when you turn the key on.

Nothing to do with reading codes or computers. It is DESIGNED this way so you cannot put tape over it or poke the bulb out with a drill and fool the emissions test.... light doesnt come on at key position 1, fail. It is part of every emissions inspection as I recall.

Good luck getting BMW dealer to admit to anything- they'll claim you did it or the guy doing the cluster did it or told you that.

Again, you are barking up the wrong tree asking them why they didnt scan codes. Simply say "your inspection failed to mention the fact that the CEL was disabled- and THAT is proved when you turn the ignition key"

Pretty basic, IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yep, that was my fault for not detecting that early. I just noticed about a month of starting the car the damn light did not illuminate. Bad pre-purchase inspection on my part. Now I need to chase down a whole mess of issues I previously thought were devoid.
 

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Don't feel too bad. When I bought mine, I had TWO PPIs done. One by a dealer and one by an indie. They BOTH scanned the car and they BOTH missed the TWO broken headlight adjusters. Since the car is not my DD, I did not notice the bad headlights until about 3 weeks after purchase. The previous owner also did not disclose it to me. Live and learn, I guess. In this instance, the tuition for the learning part will be over $1500 for new lights.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Both of my adjusters are gone too, but an easy enough fix. Surprised you bought new headlights because of that. Anything else wrong with them ?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
If I told you the list of **** wrong with my car you would think I was kidding. Most of the problems are small and DIY'able. I let a few things go by because of its age, but a few things were left undone (not disclosed) and yes headlight adjusters were one of them.
 

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Both of my adjusters are gone too, but an easy enough fix. Surprised you bought new headlights because of that. Anything else wrong with them ?
Mine is an 03, so the headlights cannot be baked open. (They are originals, hence 11 years old). Also, I live in the middle of a concrete jungle (Manhattan) and garages here do not permit you to work on your car, the inside of the headlight covers are kind of cloudy, I do not have the tools (nor probably the skills) to attempt, from what I've read here on the board, a rather complicated procedure for the 2003s. I figured, if I take the car to a friend's house, remove the lights, try to install the new adjusters through what really would amount to a delicate surgical procedure, I would have spent a minimum 6-8 hours + the cost of the aluminum adjusters (ca. $200) and still have cloudy lights. Since the car is a keeper and I will never sell it, I'll bite the proverbial bullet.
 

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Yep, that was my fault for not detecting that early. I just noticed about a month of starting the car the damn light did not illuminate. Bad pre-purchase inspection on my part. Now I need to chase down a whole mess of issues I previously thought were devoid.
You are missing my point- if the BMW dealer (or any competent mechanic) did a PPI, they should have caught it. Not by 'pulling codes', but just starting the car!

If the same dealer is doing the cluster that did the PPI, you have a powerful argument to make....
 

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The interesting thing is that while this is done for "passing emissions" it really shouldnt be, as to pass emissions they check the operation of the CEL bulb.

Ive experienced this on one of my cars, someone wadded up some paper and shoved it in the little recessed area in which the CEL sits in my Z4.
 

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Even that went over their heads. Even with all your years of experience it is clear you have never gone though the phaze of a hot BMW being available to the masses.
Be patient, 2 maybe 3 years we will get back to where we were, but the cars will be worth twice as much. There will be half as many......
 

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Hmmm. I will call tomorrow and have a little chat with them. Thanks !
There is no reason why the BMW Dealer should not have checked the codes under a PPI. I would question this dealers service practices if they didn't at least do this. This is basic PPI 101.
 
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