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The Tire Rack's Tire & Wheel Forum
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:56 AM   #1
Doug330XI
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Harrisburg
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My Ride: 2003 330XI 5sp MT
Tire Pressure Control (RDC)/Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) pre 2007 problems

I have a 2003 330XI w/sport package which comes with the Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) system.

My amber tire light comes on after about 6 minutes of resetting tire pressures, even with correct tire pressures.

Dealer confirmed that all 4 tire "wheel electronics modules-RDC" part number 36118378682 were working properly.

Says they initially read an error in right front (RF) transponder, but then swapped the front tires, reset the system, and an error still read with the RF transponder. They did a continuity test and all 4 antennas read ok. So they ruled that the "Control Unit RDC" part number 36146759023 was being flaky and needed to be replaced, and of course is $250 plus.

Has anybody else had to replace their RDC control unit? Anybody have one for sale?

Here are the Tire Pressure Control (RDC) parts for my model.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...84&hg=36&fg=15

Last edited by Doug330XI; 02-07-2009 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
Doug330XI
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My Ride: 2003 330XI 5sp MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug330XI View Post
I have a 2003 330XI w/sport package which comes with the Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) system.

My amber tire light comes on after about 6 minutes of resetting tire pressures, even with correct tire pressures.

Dealer confirmed that all 4 tire "wheel electronics modules-RDC" part number 36118378682 were working properly.

Says they initially read an error in right front (RF) transponder, but then swapped the front tires, reset the system, and an error still read with the RF transponder. They did a continuity test and all 4 antennas read ok. So they ruled that the "Control Unit RDC" part number 36146759023 was being flaky and needed to be replaced, and of course is $250 plus.

Has anybody else had to replace their RDC control unit? Anybody have one for sale?

Here are the Tire Pressure Control (RDC) parts for my model.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...84&hg=36&fg=15
What a disaster. I bought a new RDC control unit per the dealers diagnosis. After swapping out the old one for the new one I reset the system and my tire light came back on after 6 minutes. Frustrated I returned to the dealer to have them figure out why my tire light was still on. They quickly told me my new module needed to be "coded" for my vehicle.

An hour later I'm told the RDC control unit has been successfully coded but now one of my tire pressure sensors are not working properly. I tell them to replace that and yet another hour later all 4 wheel pressure sensors are working.

So now i have paid
$150 for diagnosis of faulty RDC control unit
$263 for new RDC control unit

and in addition want to charge me
$150 for recoding new RDC control unit and replacing bad tire pressure sensor
$104 for new tire pressure sensor

This is where it gets interesting. I tell them I want them to put my old RDC control unit in to verify it was infact not working. They refused. Lucky for me I had already removed the glove box and the control unit was readily accessible. I tell them to hold my paper work while I personally changed out the unit on the spot. They weren't happy.

I go out to the car, swap the new RDC control unit with the old one. Reset the system, and proceed to drive for 25 minutes, and the tire light stays out.
THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY RDC CONTROL UNIT.

I paid $413 to replace a perfectly good RDC control unit! Now I'm furious.

I go into the dealer explaining the system was working with the old module. My service rep called the shop forman in and then tried to tell me how there was nothing wrong with their diagnosis of the RDC control unit. I then asked them to explain why the system was currently working fine with the old module. Now they get service manager involved and offer to pay for half of the labor to replace the tire pressure sensor. They tell me that because i bought and installed the RDC control module myself, they won't reimburse the labor for the misdiagnosis (they never admitted to misdiagnosing the system).

Ultimately, I talked them into providing all of the labor for the new tire pressure sensor for free, though i still had to pay for the actual tire pressure sensor.

Worse part is now i have an RDC control unit I bought from ECS Tuning for $263 and they will not return electronics.

So i just paid $517 for a repair that should have only cost $150 with parts and labor.

I believe the misdiagnosis occurred when they swapped the front two wheels and they said their was still a fault on the RF (right front) sensor. In the diagnosis report it appears they forgot to press the tire pressure reset button after the tire swap (even though my first post said they did, a second look at the dealer report shows they did not), meaning that although the RF sensor was now on the LF the control module still identifies that sensor as being RF

This explains why they thought the RF channel on the RDC control module was bad. There was nothing wrong with the RF channel, rather the wheel electronics module identified with the RF tire was faulty.

Bottom line, Dealers do not see very many E46 cars with the RDC tire pressure system, and as such, take a long time to diagnose the system, and then often get it wrong. It's too bad the system does not display on the dash which tire pressure sensor is giving an error. It would make self diagnosis much easier.

Last edited by Doug330XI; 03-15-2009 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:53 AM   #3
Anoninla
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Thanks, this is a helpful post. I have the same problem. My tire pressure monitor light is yellow all the time. Even if one tire is completely flat and the warning indicator color should be red, the indicator is still yellow. I had a mechanic clear the codes, check the tire pressure, and reset the monitor, then the light went off for about 20 minutes before it turned yellow again. He charged me $80 just to hook it up to his computer system and that did not fix the problem.
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:01 AM   #4
Doug330XI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anoninla View Post
Thanks, this is a helpful post. I have the same problem. My tire pressure monitor light is yellow all the time. Even if one tire is completely flat and the warning indicator color should be red, the indicator is still yellow. I had a mechanic clear the codes, check the tire pressure, and reset the monitor, then the light went off for about 20 minutes before it turned yellow again. He charged me $80 just to hook it up to his computer system and that did not fix the problem.
I've had to replace the tire pressure sensor modules for 3 reasons.

1) Module damaged by tire being demounted from unauthorized machine. Care has to be taken to not push the tire in while demounting on the valve stem or opposite of the valve stem side of the tire. The battery of one of my modules was cracked open (nasty battery stuff was oozing out) during demount from a previous owner and the module died.

2) Module stopped communicating. They were able to pull battery strength, which was good, but it wouldn't communicate tire pressure for what ever reason.

3) Module battery power too low. My car was manufactured in december of 2002 and my original tire pressure sensors went dead in July of 2009. That gives a battery life of about 6.5 years.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
US_to_DE_330xi
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I appreciate all these excellent posts about TPMS issues. I've had issues with my 2003 330xi's TPMS for years - it went from being fussy to being yellow all the time. The BMW dealership here (I moved from the USA 2 years ago) replaced the control module, which fixed the problem for a few days. Unfortunately I didn't have the time / location to challenge the repair in time. After a few 50 Euro consults, the local garage confirmed the last post - the batteries in the sensors are probably dead (they said 7 year life span). Now I'm wondering if I can order these from the USA (much cheaper) and have them installed with my change to summer tires. Anyone see an issue with that? One concern I already have: According to autoanything.com, there appear to be several types available which are discerned by different valve stem colors. But . . . mine are all aluminum/silver color. Any ideas?
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:51 PM   #6
Doug330XI
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For the 2003 330XI w/ sport package:

You can buy the OEM Wheel electronics module, RDC 433MHZ
BMW part # 36118378682 (about $110 USD)

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...84&hg=36&fg=15

Valve stem assuming you have sport package with BMW LA wheel, double spoke 98 rims

BMW part # 36111096449 (Green Valve Stem) (about $14 USD)

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...05&hg=36&fg=15


Also, BERU made the system for BMW. You can buy the BERU version:

http://www.beru.com/download/produkt...tung_tss_e.pdf

BERU Wheel electronics module, RDE 002 433MHZ
BERU order number 0 532 207 002

Valve stem RDV 002 Green
BERU order number 0 535 007 002

And for recalibration see page 12 and page 32 for parts:

http://www.beru.com/download/produkt...rung_tss_e.pdf
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:50 AM   #7
gr8v8
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Quick inappropriate question: Can the TPMS system be added to a car that did not originally come with it? What is involved? I was looking at this page on RealOEM and noticed that all the parts are available. Would it be plug n play?
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:14 PM   #8
Doug330XI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8v8 View Post
Quick inappropriate question: Can the TPMS system be added to a car that did not originally come with it? What is involved? I was looking at this page on RealOEM and noticed that all the parts are available. Would it be plug n play?
You would need the wiring harness in addition to the parts you show in the link. The wiring harness runs cables to the antenna at each wheel well. This would require quite a bit of work to make it look like it came from the factory.

Your car would probably also need to be recoded to accept the new RDC control unit. Most E46's that did not come with the TPM system used the ABS system to sense flat tires. If your system currenty uses that than it would need to be disabled so that the new TPMS was used instead. You would need the dealers diagnostic tool to perform any manipulations like that. I haven't seen any retrofits for an OEM TPMS system on the web for an E46 yet. If you do, please share.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:14 PM   #9
Anoninla
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My Ride: 2003 330xi
TPM Sensors for 2003 BMW 330 xi Sport

It appears that you can't replace the battery in the tire pressure monitor sensor, so you have to buy a new sensor for each tire (and they recommend you buy a new valve stem too if you are changing the sensors).

Tirerack.com seems to have a good price for the BMW TPM sensor and valve stem ($76 per sensor and $8 per valve stem). The website doesn't give much info about the part numbers, but I called a Tirerack rep and he said it was the OEM sensor (my BMW 330xi Sport has the original factory wheels). Then I would need to take it to a local shop to have the old sensors removed and the new ones installed (the tires need to be taken off and the sensor is bolted to the inside rim of the wheel).

Has anyone ordered the sensors from Tirerack before?

Can anyone recommend another trusted vendor for the sensors with a good price?
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:15 AM   #10
bmwpassion
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2003 330xi TPMS sensors

I'm running into the same problem with my 2003 330xi. The TPMS yellow light has been on since I purchased the car about 9 months ago and while replacing the tires and rebuilding the TPMS discount tire discovered that all the sensors went out. Discount Tires is selling replacements for $87 each.

Usually Tischer BMW (getBMWparts.com) has the best price but they are:
Valve Stem 36146792830 $12.10 each
Module 36118378682 $91.01 each

It looks like the sensors come in 315 MHZ and 433 MHZ. How can I tell the correct frequency to purchase? Did BMW only use one frequency in 2003 or do I need to check the CONTROL UNIT RDC? I know my key remote fob runs on 315 MHZ.
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
Doug330XI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpassion View Post
I'm running into the same problem with my 2003 330xi. The TPMS yellow light has been on since I purchased the car about 9 months ago and while replacing the tires and rebuilding the TPMS discount tire discovered that all the sensors went out. Discount Tires is selling replacements for $87 each.

Usually Tischer BMW (getBMWparts.com) has the best price but they are:
Valve Stem 36146792830 $12.10 each
Module 36118378682 $91.01 each

It looks like the sensors come in 315 MHZ and 433 MHZ. How can I tell the correct frequency to purchase? Did BMW only use one frequency in 2003 or do I need to check the CONTROL UNIT RDC? I know my key remote fob runs on 315 MHZ.
Looks like it depends on your cars build date. Mine was built in December 2002 so it has the 433MHZ system. Check out the parts at the following link:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...84&hg=36&fg=15


No. Description Supplement Qty From Up To Part Number Price Notes
01 CONTROL UNIT RDC 315MHZ 1 09/1999 03/2002 36146759022 $256.94 +core
01 CONTROL UNIT RDC 433MHZ 1 03/2002 09/2003 36146759023 $256.94
02 Reception antenna RDC 315MHZ 4 09/1999 03/2002 36146758601 $40.53 +core
02 Reception antenna RDC 433MHZ 4 03/2002 09/2003 36118378753 $40.53
only in conjunction with
Screw-on valve RDC
03 Wheel electronics module, RDC 315MHZ 4 09/1999 03/2002 36118378681 $107.84
03 Wheel electronics module, RDC 433MHZ 4 03/2002 09/2003 36118378682 $107.84

Last edited by Doug330XI; 10-23-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:11 PM   #12
bmwpassion
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Great! Thank you.

Would it be save to assume that my 2003 330xi was built between 03/2002 - 09/2003? I know it was purchased March, 2003 and was imported a few weeks earlier. I looked at the window invoice and its carfax but could not find a build date.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
Doug330XI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpassion View Post
Great! Thank you.

Would it be save to assume that my 2003 330xi was built between 03/2002 - 09/2003? I know it was purchased March, 2003 and was imported a few weeks earlier. I looked at the window invoice and its carfax but could not find a build date.
The manufacture date will show on the drivers side door frame sticker.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:39 PM   #14
bmwpassion
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Thanks again!

December, 2002 so its also 433 MHZ system.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:08 PM   #15
stalion529
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Hi all, I have an 04 330xi and since I got my Winters (with original BMW rims) switched off to put my Summers (with replica Ms) the Yellow light is ALWAYS on, even when turning key before ignition. I've tried to reset a million times. Is it a fair assumption to say that the tire place when they switched the tires left the sensors in the Winters (with original rims)? How do i know my car has sensors? Last year when i did the switch i didnt have this problem.

I brought to a dealer (with Summers) and they said all my sensors were missing and wanted to charge $763 to replace all of them.

please help! so frustrating!!!
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:43 PM   #16
Doug330XI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stalion529 View Post
Hi all, I have an 04 330xi and since I got my Winters (with original BMW rims) switched off to put my Summers (with replica Ms) the Yellow light is ALWAYS on, even when turning key before ignition. I've tried to reset a million times. Is it a fair assumption to say that the tire place when they switched the tires left the sensors in the Winters (with original rims)? How do i know my car has sensors? Last year when i did the switch i didnt have this problem.

I brought to a dealer (with Summers) and they said all my sensors were missing and wanted to charge $763 to replace all of them.

please help! so frustrating!!!
The BMW RDC sensors are secured to the rim by a metal valve stem. If your valve stems are made of rubber then they wouldn't have BMW sensors.

Also for those of you not sure if you have the system with sensors in each wheel, in addition to having metal valve stems, on the drivers side door panel near the sticker detailing recommended tire pressures there should be an additional sticker that has a tire with RDC printed on it. This indicates your car is in fact equipped with the RDC system (this system is rare and I believe was intended to ship from the factory with cars equipped with run flat tires since the ABS system probably couldn't adequately detect deflated run-flats)
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:38 PM   #17
stalion529
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thanks for the reply... Unfortunately im still alittle bit confused because:

my tire valve stem on the tires with original rims (didnt cause TPMS light) look metal with rubber skin. Does it need to look completely metal? Inside the car door I see the tire sticker but it says "RES**" the two or three last letters of the sticker are peeled away...

Im so tempted at this point to just completely deflate the tire/rims which i suspect have the sensor to just feel if they are there. Or alternatively just manually switch all 4 tires back
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:00 PM   #18
Doug330XI
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Hmm. Upon closer inspection between the 2003 and 2004 owners manuals it appears the TPM (Tire Pressure Monitor) section was removed from the 2004 owners manual. The index in the 2004 manual says "refer to Flat Tire Monitor" when looking up "Tire Pressure Monitor" where as the 2003 manual actually has a "Tire Pressure Monitor" section. Well the "Flat Tire Monitor" system uses the ABS system to sense different wheel spin rotation rates to detect flat tires and wouldn't have any sensors in the rims.

Also the part numbers that support the RDC/TPM system (including all metal valve stems) end for build dates newer than September of 2003.

I hadn't done much research on cars newer than my 2003 but it appears BMW did away with the TPM system for 2004+ E46 sedans. Also, I'm guessing the sticker you mentioned reads "reset", which is required everytime inflation pressures are changed.

I'm guessing there is something wrong with the "Flat Tire Monitor" system in your car. This could include wheel speed sensors or something in the ABS electronics.

Last edited by Doug330XI; 06-28-2011 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:36 PM   #19
stalion529
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thanks again. hmm.. i think your right.. must be something wrong with the speed sensors or ABS electronics. definitely pisses me off that the dealer didnt catch that and that something could have broked maybe when the tire place replaced the winters.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:55 AM   #20
stalion529
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after thinking about it more, i wonder if something is wrong with my aftermarket replica M rims. maybe it is throwing off the indirect system. has anyone heard of this?>
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