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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 05-06-2008, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E39 540i "engine failsafe program" - help!!

Greetings.

While driving my 98 540i home this evening I got a "engine failsafe program" warning and the car lost power with the rpm fluctuating between 500 and 2000. I managed to get to the roadside and switched off. Starting up again, the car seemed fine and I drove for about 3km before the same happened again.
Needless to say, it was a long drive home, having to restart a couple of times.

There were no other symptoms prior, and the car behaved normally each time that I restarted, right till the warning.

Help!
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check your fluid levels especially the engine oil level. Is there any weird engine sound? Does the transmission shift normally? Look under the car do you notice any leaks?
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the suggestion.... all levels ok.

I drove the car again late last night, about 5 hours after incident with no problem. Just to make sure, I did a reset via the the test facility on the instrument cluster. Again drove around with no fault.

I decided to drive to work today and chanced the peak hour traffic with no incident???
Being an electronics engineer, I'm still sceptical that the problem has corrected itself and will post an update regarding same soon.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a 2001 540 and I had a similar problem which re-occurred three times, almost on a monthly basis. After three very expensive trips to BMW Battersea the problem was found to be faulty connections to the ECU due to water ingress. You could probably check for this fairly easily, mine is in a white plastic box to the rear of the engine bay on the passenger side (RHD Car)
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Engine Failsafe Program

I had the exact problem with my 2001 525i. Mine happened within miles of having the spark plugs replaced, the thermostat unit replaced, and an oil change. I drove back immediately to garage, where they scanned it and came up with error codes 60 - temporary throttle sticking - and 61 -permanent throttle sticking. He cleared the system and I drove home, when it happened again. I will be bringing it to him tomorrow morning of course. In the meantime, can I assume that it is related to the repairs on the car? It had never happened before.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This happened to me and it was a transmission problem, serious enough that they would have had to pull it out and rebulid. I hope your problem is less serious, good luck.
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Something similar happened to me a few years back, but that's because my MAF sensor shorted out and quit working.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Engine Failsafe Program

When I started my 2005 X5 this morning. The bell dinged and this message popped up. I turned the car off and restarted it and same message. I ran the car while contacting BMW Assist. The first adviser couldn't tell me anything. I turned off my car and went into the house to call my BMW service advisor and waited for a return call to find out whether to drive it or tow it and when it could be seen etc. I came down an hour and a half later and the car was still warm, it turned over and no message. My Service adviser said that if the car appeared to run without a problem I could drive it, if not I should have it towed. I have the extended Warranty and the extended service policy so I drove it, without a problem, 30 miles to the dealer, but since I left it I have had no word about what might be wrong. So I wait. I understand that this could be any number of things from the starter to the exaust system. I appreciated your comments and experiences. Thank you for posting. It made me more comfortable about driving it.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yrshaik View Post
Greetings.

While driving my 98 540i home this evening I got a "engine failsafe program" warning and the car lost power with the rpm fluctuating between 500 and 2000. I managed to get to the roadside and switched off. Starting up again, the car seemed fine and I drove for about 3km before the same happened again.
Needless to say, it was a long drive home, having to restart a couple of times.

There were no other symptoms prior, and the car behaved normally each time that I restarted, right till the warning.

Help!
Hi there...Have just bought a e39 540i an have the exact same problem...did you find a solution?
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The "Failsafe" program usually refers to the auto tranny... But you can often reset by disconnecting the battery for an hour or so, or via the computer (this is more fiddly)...
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Alternator

Actually I believe I have discovered the problem in my car, thanks to an independent garage I had to use when I was well out of range of a dealer. It should have been discovered at my dealer, but was resolved when the battery not charging light came on. It was electrical, as all the other respondents suggested. In the 2005 X5, there is clamp on the power steering line above the alternator and the periodic leaking of small amounts of power steering fluid onto the alternator was causing havoc and gradually killed the alternator. When the clamp was replaced, after the alternator was replaced, no more problems. It was a costly and avoidable repair. But so far no problems for 4 months. If you have a similar configuration: Check your power steering clamp and your alternator. More importantly, if your take the car in and get the free fluids top off, you might want to ask it any of them seemed out of line. I had noticed my steering seemed different and had just had my wheels aligned during all this, after all, wheel alignment is a discounted promo offered by the dealer. I never asked about the free stuff, like how much power steering fluid I was using. All's well that ends well!
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Good advice fella, and well done - Happy Days !!
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