Is there a Master Annoyance Relay? - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 06:05 PM
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Is there a Master Annoyance Relay?

My new-to-me 1998 528i has been providing me with a nice size list of annoying little gremlins for the last month (since the weather turned colder).
A bit of background. My new friend was undriven for about a year or so, it sat outside. Previous owner was a bimmer mechanic, retired, and we worked out a nice deal...I knew there would be issues simply because our cars don't sit well...."stiffen" up? I'd go back to the gentleman but he tragically passed away...way too early...a month after I got the car.
Let's see. For about two weeks I had to manually shift until it warmed up, the traction control and ABS lights come on (occasionally), the airbag warning light has joined the fray, and every once in a while I had no response when I turned the key (I traced the problem to the ignition switch/key{very worn down} and the internal battery. Now the steering wheel, which rises out of the way after the car is turned off, will not adjust in any direction when running, huh?.
The Bentley manual has been a great help in beginning to understand the systems but I am almost convince there is a master annoyance relay (other than the ECU) that I somehow activated (I didn't drink enough Deutsche beir?). I've checked every fuse, they're good. I intent to pull every relay, every relay, check for appropriate continuity and cleanliness and replace if necessary. Battery is new so that shouldn't be an issue.
Almost forgot. The computer readout in the pod hasn't said a thing. No warnings or reminders, etc.
(I've replaced the radiator, water pump, hoses, front shocks, starter, tie rods and the inner universal, belts, etc.)
Where's that MAR? Thank for your thoughts in advance. t
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 09:45 AM
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If you dont own an OBDII code scanner I would consider investing in one or making friends with someone who has one. Or, most auto parts stores will scan for DTC's for free. That is where I would start. Most DTC's wont trigger a CEL, so you wont know unless you do a scan. The CEL is mostly for emissions related problems, like an O2 sensor failing. The ABS light could be coming on as a result of a failed sensor. Their is a software program (BMW Carsoft) that allows you to scan the ECU and the different Modules (SRS, ABS etc) and to see how their running and if their are any codes stored. This is the best starting option. The other option I would turn to is wiring itself. I would double check all ground and standard connections, and inspect all wiring that bends or moves through normal operation of the vehicle. On several models, the wiring loom going into the trunk wasnt long enough to take the strain of the trunk being opened and closed all the time. Eventually the wiring would become frayed and short out, cause a whole wack of different problems. The worst being the car would catch on fire, and potentially burn to the ground, but a fire because of this has only ever been reported a couple times. While the fraying and shorting is quite common, it catching fire is not.

The ignition switch, and keys will wear down over time. I found using a new key definitley helps a little bit with a few things.


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#3 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 12:12 PM
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The gentleman I alluded to that passed away was my source for the OBDII reader....so I will be making that investment.
I found out about the CEL....shortly after the car changed hands the CEL came on...this one was easy.
I put in just over 1/2 a tank and as I go around the car I smell gas. lots of it. The lots of it was dripping from the passenger side under the rear seat. (I/we got Plastic tanks?!?) The thimble sized plastic projection next to the pump/sending unit had a rather significant crack (gap actually). Sealed that up and no more CEL.
As to your other observations (thank you). This model is, as you said, tightly assembled and the possiblity of a worn through loom is a very good place to look.
.....As is the Carsoft program.
One, kind of amusing thing. At some time in the past the car was owned by a family of barbarians. Those little creatures really worked over the interior (as did their cat) so I've been on a mission to find all the spilled soda pop and hidden stain locations. Nasty work but....there is a very real possibility that they hit a critical wiring location..or ground.

Updates as necessary (may help others after I find a flaw).

Later, t
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 02:16 PM
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Its possible that spilled fluids had a part. Pulling up the carpet to check is not a fun task though. Yes the gas tank is plastic.


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#5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 02:59 PM
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I've already decided that given what I can see down there, but can't reach well enough, that I'm pulling the seats so the carpeting will be a bit easier.
The one cleaning job that I'm going to careful with is the driver's seatbelt. So no heavy duty solvents or cleaners....
I don't know, obviously, how they did it but it is actually stiff, as in a sort of flexible way where it comes across the upper torso. It is actually grayish tan vs tan for that section.
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 07:07 PM
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Here's a crazy solution that worked for me recently... I have a '98 540i that I returned to driving condition last week after sitting outside for a year. I added a new battery and the first problem was the radio would not work, then the turn signal and high beam indicators were out of wack, and the car would fog up in a MAJOR way. Also the backup lights would not function. Every fuse was gone over and everything was fine. To me there was no possible way all these problems could happen from just sitting. Since the rear floor mats felt damp I figured the car just had an inordinate amount of moisture in it. So my solution was to go to Home Depot and buy a 4 lb. tub of of a product called "Damprid". I took off the lid and set it on the floor of the back seat and not four days later everything was back to normal. I kid you not, the interior of the car no longer has that musty feel to it and I'm convinced it sucked all the moisture out of the air that was hindering the electronics.

Give this a try. It is a far cheaper solution than going through everything else.
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:16 PM
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lolll i would also say try these solutions its better and cheaper than taking your car to service station.......

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