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  #1  
Old 06-16-2019, 03:27 PM
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'01 3.0i Project - Soft-Roading on the Cheap (Also, Lots of Dash Lights!)

Hi everyone, I just picked up a 2001 X5 3.0 on the cheap. I'm doing a "cheap crossover off-road challenge" and this fit the bill. $1700 with 195k miles and a Christmas Tree dashboard. Not new to BMWs, have had uh... nine? before this. First X5 though, and it's got some goofy electrical stuff going on.

I have the Trifecta lights as well as the Transmission Failsafe light illuminated, as well as the SES light.

The transmission shifts fine on its own and goes up and down through all gears. It also does its thing in DS mode and I can Steptronic through gears on my own. Shifts up and down are a bit firm at times so it may be upping the line pressure due to the warning light.

Otherwise, it will pull strong enough to redline and click off shifts. Does 65-70 mph happily.

Going to read the codes tomorrow, but I am guessing a wheel speed sensor could be a culprit.

It's also got some strange electrical things in the dash. Turn signals and high beams work, but cluster bulbs don't illuminate (nor does the turn signal clicker make noise). Hazard button works and flashes properly. Key fobs do not work to operate the remote door locks. Locking manually does produce the alarm chirp. It randomly agrees with me that the driver's door is closed and my seatbelt is fastened.

There's an Eonon Android head unit installed and I'm wondering if that could be causing some issues.

Anyway, will be pulling codes but wanted to see what the hive mind thought as well. Going to keep the thread updated with what I find.




Last edited by Brake_L8; 06-26-2019 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 03:42 PM
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Red brake means low fluid. Trans failsafe typically from low alternator voltage or from a dirty connector on the back of the transmission.


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Old 06-17-2019, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Red brake means low fluid. Trans failsafe typically from low alternator voltage or from a dirty connector on the back of the transmission.
Cool. I'll check fluid tonight. My old roommate had an E39 540i and got the Trifecta lights, but I suppose they're all yellow in that case.

My code reader went MIA so I'm borrowing one from a friend tonight and will see how much of a nightmare this car is. I think it was whacked in the rear as the taillights are aftermarket smoked units, but the rest of the car is stock.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:23 PM
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Low fluid sets red also trifecta. Other trifecta causes like bad wheel sensor sets orange. Hand brake will set red brake but won't set trifecta.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:24 PM
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Low fluid sets red also trifecta. Other trifecta causes like bad wheel sensor sets orange. Hand brake will set red brake but won't set trifecta.
MVP right here. Thanks for explaining the different states of trifecta. I'll check fluid level tonight and am planning on bleeding the brakes soon as it is.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:34 PM
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Don't even bother without pressure bleeder. Waste of time. Easy with the right tool.


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Old 06-17-2019, 09:12 PM
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Don't even bother without pressure bleeder. Waste of time. Easy with the right tool.
Oh yeah, we'll use the right stuff. This is my other BMW - "do it once, do it right" is how you work on these :



Got home tonight and borrowed a friend's Schwaben scan tool. Lots to look at on there! I think I narrowed things down a bit.

Trifecta Lights:
These self-clear upon shutdown and stay off when you re-start. They illuminate after rolling the car forward a few feet. Scan tool says "DSC: Inlet valve, front right" which I assume is a wheel speed sensor.

I checked the brake fluid and the reservoir is full. Wiring looks good, too.

Transmission Light:
This never clears, even if you tell the scan tool to erase everything. The code is "EGS: CAN torque interface." Again, it drives and shifts fine although some shifts are firm and others are more mild.

Service Engine Soon:
Many codes! I cleared them, the light went out, and came back on re-start. The two that seem pertinent are "DME: Signal, mass airflow sensor" and "DME: Oxygen sensor voltage before cat, bank 2."

There were a few other codes related to EWS and tank ventilation solenoid activation. I'll have to check and see what is re-set now that I cleared it. Only drove it a few blocks after clearing.

Instrument Cluster:
Still thinking ignition switch is to blame for this. I read that one test was to see if the driver's sunvisor light works, and mine does come on with the visor mirror cover being moved. BUT... in my testing today, I noticed that the fog light indicator appeared briefly as I bumped the key (fogs work regardless, X5 was running). Ignition switch is relatively cheap and simple to swap.

So, my plan of attack for this Saturday is...
  • Replace O2 sensor
  • Replace FR wheel speed sensor
  • Clean MAF
  • Bleed brakes
  • Oil & filter change
  • Transmission drain & fill (kit from FCP Euro, new filter)
  • Replace ignition switch
  • Clean the everloving funk out of it
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:15 PM
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Looks like Mike Hartley's Viper in the background. I know that car...
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:08 AM
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Cleaning MAF won't help with that error.

Check wiring and contacts. If the connection is compatible you can put in the MAF from your other car to test if the MAF is broken. A recent thread somebody "Apollo 13'd" his wife's 3 series MAF into his X5 to test. Duct tape was involved. I'd have used foam


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Old 06-18-2019, 08:36 AM
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Cleaning MAF won't help with that error.

Check wiring and contacts. If the connection is compatible you can put in the MAF from your other car to test if the MAF is broken. A recent thread somebody "Apollo 13'd" his wife's 3 series MAF into his X5 to test. Duct tape was involved. I'd have used foam
Yeah, I've never really had success cleaning a MAF but if we have the can of spray cleaner then... why not. A new one is only $100 if I need it. I did buy a new intake boot for $19 as those typically crack and can mess with the air metering.

I found a failed safety inspection receipt in the glovebox and it listed front and rear brake pads as being low. Is the same red BRAKE light used for pad life? The other items listed were all fixed but I am wondering if I need pads. Will have to poke a flashlight in between the wheel spokes and check thickness tonight.

Parts should all be here in a day or two and then I can get to wrenching. And cleaning. Holy hell it's disgusting in there.

Insurance is set up on it and once I get it through VA safety inspection, I can start driving it to work.
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