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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 06-01-2009, 01:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Newbie..Key problem..help!

Hi everybody. First post, first time BMW owner. Just picked up a 06' 530i nav, no cd changer, no ipod integration, no aux (i think). Still learning about BMW and the car.
Anyway, first post, first question. I have 2 key fob and they do not work consistantly. The unlock button works better when I'm facing the driver's side, and rarely works when I'm facing the passenger side. Most of the time so far, I have been using the integrated key and it's really annoying. I thought it was the battery, even though putting it in the ignition is supposed to charge it. I change to a new battery and nothing has changed. Then, I read about initializing the key? However, it does not say that in the owner's manual and it's probably for older models.
Please kindly point me into another direction to fix this problem. Could it be both of the keys malfunction? How much to get a new key from the dealer? Any way to prevent $1000000 for just a set of keys?
Thank you very much inadvance for the advices and suggestions.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is the car out of warranty? I would take it back to them and have it checked. I know that there was a similar problem with the 2006 X3 (I have one but didn't had the problem) and there was a fix for it. As for the CD changer and Aux, you can buy both from BMW or get an ICE Ipod connector that will allow you to control it and read your tracks through the factory display. The BMW "Ipod Integration" sucks (I've heard!)
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Finally!!! Thanks for the reply Jimoreno. The car is out of warranty unfortunately. I want to know what can I do before bring it into the dealer and get robbed of my hard-earned money. I tried it with the 2nd set of key fob, it's the same thing. I really hope it's nothing electrical or mechanical. Sigh
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just to be sure, it is the unlocking-locking functions that don't work properly, right? I guess your last resource is to change the battery in both remotes and see if that helps.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes sir! It is the locking and unlocking function that's very inconsistant and annoying. I guess I'd have to bring it to the dealer and get it check out then. Sigh... thanks alot for the help.
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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remote key problem

First we need to establish the type of key that you have - diamond type or rubber covered with replaceable battery.

The diamond type does not have a replaceble battery but is rechargeble nevertheless. It can be recharged in the ignition for around 30 minutes or may need as much as 25 hours if it has been fully discharged according to BMW.

The rubber covered type is equipped with a red LED that flashes when an operation is initiated and is therefore easier to troubleshoot.

From what you describe, I assume the following:

That your door lock actuators are fine since you can use the manual function to lock/unlock the car with the key on the drivers door (integrated lock).

You may have a problem with the relays in your General Module (GM circuit board that are the brains of the lock/unlock and window functions in your car). The relay contacts are generally the first to go on the board and can be sourced separately for around $15 each - the GM is however around $500 and needs to be coded by the dealer. check this website for a full explanation of the GM and relays here (it is for the E46 but I am led to believe that a similar module resides in the E39s)
BMW E46, E85-Z4, E83-X3, E52-Z8 GM5 Module Repair for Door Lock/Unlock Problem

The key that is intermittent may not be transmitting a proper signal each time it is initiated. I am assuming that one of the keys is not working consistently as you describe in your post. In this case check that this is not repeatable on both keys. If so you can isolate the problem to one key.

I personally do not think that it is a problem with improper innitailization of your keys but you can try to re-innitialize them as per the following BMW procedure: (it is a bit terse and confusing - I suspect that it was translated from the original technical German document)

InitializationFunction
The initialization procedure allocates the key transmitter to the general module. During initialization, a code is generated in the key transmitter and then transferred to the general module. The code is stored in the key
transmitter and in the general module. The general module recognizes the keys belonging to the system on the basis of this code. Only commands from these keys are then carried out.
A maximum of 4 keys can be initialized for each vehicle. The codes of all other keys are deleted when a key is reinitialized. This means that all the keys of a system must be initialized simultaneously.

Initialization procedure
Carry out key transmitter initialization in the vehicle interior.
 Unlock vehicle via central locking and close driver's and passenger's doors.
 Briefly switch on terminal R (position two) in vehicle (maximum 5 seconds) and switch off again. => The system is now ready to be initialized.
 Press and hold ”unlock” button on the key transmitter.
 Point key transmitter in direction of antenna and, with the ”unlock” button pressed, press ”lock” button three
times within 10 seconds. => A new code is generated in the key.
 Release both buttons. => The general module signals that initialization of the key transmitter was successful by locking and unlocking the central locking system.
Repeat the procedure as of Point 3 (= press and hold ”unlock” button on key transmitter) to initialize the other
keys. Terminal R must not be varied during this procedure.
The initialization procedure is terminated if terminal R is switched on.
Note
A voltage-independent memory in the radio-control key ensures that the initialization data is not deleted even
when the battery or rechargeable battery is discharged.

Good luck
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