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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this on your fellow E39 forums to no avail. This is really a weird one. My car has auto locks enabled. Pulled out and drove abt. 5 miles and out of no where the passenger side lock starts going up and re-locking by itself. At the same time, it sounds like a motor slipping like what you used to hear just before your electric antenna would go out in years past on American cars. sounds like plastic teeth slipping/grinding/broken; motor/gears slipping and "whirring". At first it was a slow whrring and the lock would go up and down. Then it got much faster and lock stopped moving. then lock button quit moving, but whirring kept on-- on passenger's side. Immediately after, the driver side starts same behavior except after the lock went up and down a couple times and the whirring kept going and getting faster (like whatever teeth were left were now broken) the lock itself stopped actuating, but the whirring just stayed on. Now, it sounds like both sides are staying on and whirring/grinding/drone is coming from both sides of the car and is now hard to pinpoint exactly where noise is coming from. With sound hitting both ears now, it begins to seem like it is coming from console or dash area. Turning car off does nothing. Turned around and headed home after punching the center lock button few times to no avail.

I am now heading home and grinding is still happening. It must have been about 5 minutes by this time that the lock actuators (I'm guessing) are both growling away. I go to lower the driver's side window on the trip home and at last the sound stops (as soon as I go to lower the window). Get home w/o further incident, but when I push the center console lock button, the rear door locks act completely normal, but front locks make same whirring noise for about 2-3 seconds each and then stop. Front doors do not lock. I can push the front lock buttons down by hand easily and by pulling the door handles, the locks will pop up just fine. Pushing center lock button just produces a 2 second whine from each lock area and only rears will actuate.

Don't understand the sequence of how the problem started. Passenger side starts by itself...locks and unlocks a couple times and then whirring starts. Problem jumps to driver's side now in addition to passenger side and it locks and unlocks a couple times and then joins in perfect harmony with the orchestra on the pass. side! Using remote produces same 2 second whine, but if you push unlock on remote it will only try once and then you must push lock on remote next. If you push lock on remote or unlock on remote multiple times in a row, it will only whirr once. You must maintain sequence of lock/unlock/lock with the buttons as if the car believes it has locked and will only respond to the unlock command next. Help!
 

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I used to own a 2000 528i. I had what seems like a similar problem. To sum it up it sounds like your door lock actuators have stripped out. What caused it is unknown to me, as I never figured out what caused my front locks to go haywire and strip out. I replaced both front actuators and drove the car another month or so before I sold it. (had to fix right away since the car was on the market) go figure! It seemed that for some reason those circuits were fed power (or ground) when they weren't suppose to. Meaning there was a short. Try cleaning/checking all grounds, condition of battery, etc. Also, if you really want to get into it, check for broken or chaffed wires in the door hinge area.

Hope this can be of some use for a tough problem!
 

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Sound like actuators. Open up the door, get to the actuator, press the lock button and see what happens. Strange that they both went out in a short period of time; however, that does not rule out the possibility that thy both just happened to fail at around the same age qne useage. Most of our cars do not have the auto lock feature turned on and that increased use may be why yours have failed, and others of the same age have not.


RealOEM.com BMW E39 M5 FRONT DOOR CONTROL/DOOR LOCK
 

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Both of your front door lock actuators may be damaged now, but I don't think that was the root cause. The detail that you describe the symtom is great and helpful. According to what you describe, I can only look to the general module (GM) to blame. This is your 540i, right? Spastic operation is not haw actuators normally fail. Actuator failure normally starts as slow operation, then eventually makes a final actuation and fails. The worst is if it fails in double-lock (arrested); getting the door panel off with the door closed usually destroys it to a certain degree.

The GM is responsible for actuating the door locks. It actuates the rears directly and the fronts as a bus message to the door modules which in turn activate the actautors. The fact that they were locking and unlocking in unison, first the passenger side, then the driver's side in concert can only mean they were receiving the command from the GM, via the P-bus. They should have time arrested after a while (32+ times in 2 minutes, I think) then it slows to once every four seconds for three minutes, then back to normal.

Unfortunately, this is not easy to test as it is not possible to identify the bus message. The fact that the rear door locks did not participate in this symphony tells me that it's not a malfunction of the driver's lock cylinder microswitches (water sometimes causes these to malfunction), or the trunk lock microswitches (the wires get damaged in the rubber boot between the trunk lid and body), or the central locking button in the center console (loose connection or liquid intrusion); otherwise all door locks would have participated. If it was isolated to the passenger door, I would suspect the passenger door module.

I'm not sure about the noise coming from the center console area. I'll have to think about that one.

How is the state of health of the battery? If battery voltage dipped while cranking, it may have induced a malfunction in the GM. I would start with a battery reset for about 15 minutes and see if it corrects itself. If the problem persists, the likely canduidate would be the GM. It's the only module that has the ability to cause this scenario as you describe.

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am fortunate to find someone so knowledgeable. Yes, this is with a 2002 540ia. Cold weather here and fact that car sat for awhile could mean battery was tad low, but it started the car fine and I was 10 minutes into the drive when it started. The noise seeming to com from the center console is really just that both doors now make the whirring sound in unison...kind a stereo affect where then the music seems to be centered in front of you. I am sure it is coming from each front door. Where is the GM located and how many gazillion dollars are we likely talking about here if you have an idea. Makes complete sense why fronts only are affected. Must have sent an unlock signal first to one door and then kept sending that signal even though door was unlocked until it stripped the actuator. Then it moved to the other side until it had destroyed that actuator too. So, I am looking at a GM and two door actuators...can't wait to see what that adds up to. Are the actuators a fairly easy DIY? Does dealer need to code GM? What all will be involved to get it back to "normal"?

Thank you so kindly for the excellent advice. I can try the battery disconnect if you think it might solve the GM fault. It seems to be sending normal pulses to the doors now, but actuators must be toast?

Bill
 

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I don't think the GM is related to the noise coming from the center console. The GM is behind the glovebox. As far as the price of a GM, I'm not sure. If I had to guess, I'd say $400-500? Yes, it has to be coded by a dealer or someone with DIS V44, Progman, or ISTA/P. If the GM is replaced, remember that all the CKM (car key memory) will be lost, as will the initialization of the remote keys, so bring them with you when (if) the GM is coded.

As far as the actuators themselves, the driver's side is more difficult because of a shield that is placed there, but neither one is particularly difficult, just a bit time consuming.

Try the battery reset and let me know what happens.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Larry:

Your help has been invaluable. I believe the battery very likely was the cause as her 2002 has 90K miles on it and had the original battery which never failed to start the car even in the coldest weather, but it measured only 12.3 VDC on my fluke. I bought a new battery and wondered if I found a new module for the 540 with Xenons as she has if it would be able to bypass coding and just need key programming. From what you say, I will still need programming. If that is the case, does it really matter if I buy a used model from say a 2001 530 or a 2003 528? I only see mention of car needing module that matches the type headlights you have???


Also, as for the inside the door actuator, If you look at them on Ebay, they fall into one of two categories...one looks like a pack of cigarettes and only has a connector on it and the other has rods and such that it for sure is the rod with the lock button itself, a rod to hook-up the the inside door handle, and also looks like it has the cigarette pack-sized module also mounted to the steel plates with all the rods and linkage needed. I assume that is the part I stripped out, but what does the small cigarette pack-sized module do by itself?

Thanks again Larry- you have been exremely helpful. I hope with new battery that BCM acts correctly, but with stripped door lock mechanisms, I'm not sure how I can tell if it is working right. When I start and push lock button, it attempts to run the actautors for about 2 seconds and then stops. That seems "normal. It no longer runs on and on...

Bill :2:
 

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Bill -

Glad I can help, but we're not out of the woods yet. Swapping a GM out of another car is possible for testing basic functions, but the ZCS code for your vehicle (the master of this information is the instrument cluster) should be written to it. Redundant data storage is not a responsibility of the GM, so swapping one from another vehicle and coding it should be OK. But even if you get a used GM from even an identical vehicle, the CKM (car key memory) functions will be adopted, so if you had daytime running lights, or automatic locking after starting off, or different alarm confirmation (visual/audible) set, it might drive you crazy. Key programming is trivial, so that's not an issue.

As for the lock actuators, the cigarette box with one connector is the component you seek. The latch does not contain the actuator. The part number you're looking for is 67 11 8 352 165, and they're identical left and right. Installing them isn't too dofficult if you're handy, but lining up the actuator receptacle and the control element and be tricky and requires patience.

Let me know if you have any other questions. By the way, an original battery in an '02 is almost unheard of. You definitely got your money's worth out of that one.

Larry
 

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I found it was easiest (for me) to remove the latch assembly from the door and replace the actuator "on the bench" or in my lap in the passenger seat. Anyways, it allows you to see how the assembly works and actually, if I remember correctly, there was one screw that holds on the water shield that was hard/ impossible to take out with it in the door.

Hope this gives some insight. Good luck with the root cause!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great insight. So, for those who have done this replacement, in that cigarette pack sized assembly, what is inside there that makes that slipping, whirring, stripped gears sound? Is it just a small solenoid, gearset, or what is actually in that pack? Have either of you seen a diy that you think would be helpful? I am working long hours this week so I have not been about to tackle, but I have bought a new Duralast DL-49 battery which I hope may get the General Module to start behaving itself again. Assuming that it does, then hopefully just the two actuators took the hit. I just don't know what is inside that assm. that would make the noise like the lock is locking and unlocking, but yet the knob does not move whatsoever...the button at the door top.

Bill
 

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When I replaced my last lock actuator I pulled the old Actuator apart to see how it worked. The Actuator is just a small power motor connected to a worm drive. The worm drive is most likely the thing that is being stripped.
 
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