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Old 02-26-2011, 04:46 PM   #1
99 black gt
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Any info on doing your own GM5 repair? (diy)

I'm having issues with my central lock. Sometimes it just wont unlock the doors, sometimes the interior handles wont unlock either so the doors are completely stuck. Seems to be more common in rain or cold weather. From my general understanding, this is an issue with the GM5 central locking / window / wiper controller.

My question (and i have searched) is whether anyone has any information on what goes wrong with these. Bad relay, transistor, cold solder joint, or whatever... I'm pretty savy with a soldering iron and wouldn't be opposed to giving it a shot if i had a little bit of information, but i'm not going to go in and just start pulling things off in hopes of replacing the right one accidently..

Thanks in advance for any help fellow drivers. Hoping i can get this fixed without paying too much or having my unit out for 3 weeks while its shipped around.. I hate having my son climbing all over my seats just to get in and out
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
TerraPhantm
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It's the relays that go bad. It's supposed to be a fairly difficult repair from what I've read... Though if you're skilled and have highend equipment, I'm sure you can do it. Scottjoh repairs these for pretty cheap, you might want to just look into using his services.

If time is an issue, just grab one from a newer car and have it recoded (they're not tied to the VIN or anything, but there wrre minor changes throughout the years that can be accounted for through coding). From what I've seen, the newer ones are a bit more reliable
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 99 black gt View Post
Hoping i can get this fixed without paying too much or having my unit out for 3 weeks while its shipped around..
3 weeks. I don't think so. Using next day shipping you could have it back within 48 hours for not that much. And since it's your cars module there is no need for a trip to the dealer for coding. Just pop it back in. Everything will just work including the key fob (as long as the key fob was sync'd to the car before removal).
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:57 PM   #4
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Don't waste your time. Just have Scott fix it for you. www.bmwgm5.com. I sent it to him via USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail small box for $4.95 on a Saturday and had it back in my car the following Friday. He did the repair on the same day the box arrived and shipped it out the following day.

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Old 02-26-2011, 10:01 PM   #5
jdstrickland
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I don't think the GM5 is your problem.

You say the inside door handles don't work, or work intermittently. This indicates a mechanical issue within the latch mechanism. Since you are reporting from the Nation's Ice Box, I'm sure this is your problem. Since you can pull the door latches and clean them for free, you should do this before spending your hard-earned cash on a GM5.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:52 AM   #6
missamo80
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The interior handles won't unlock any door except the driver door if the GM5 is broken (which is why so many people post amusing stories about having to crawl through the driver's door when the GM5 is failing).

Scott won't let you send in a GM5 unless he believes it's broken based on symptoms described. The OP should send Scott a mail with the issue, and if it's really the GM5, Scott will know and can fix it. Easy and painless!

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Old 02-27-2011, 01:11 AM   #7
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I don't think the GM5 is your problem.

You say the inside door handles don't work, or work intermittently. This indicates a mechanical issue within the latch mechanism. Since you are reporting from the Nation's Ice Box, I'm sure this is your problem. Since you can pull the door latches and clean them for free, you should do this before spending your hard-earned cash on a GM5.
GM5 can control whether or not your interior handles work. Lock your car with the key and try using the interior handles.
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:57 AM   #8
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Op, yours is definitetly a GM5 module problem, because my car had exactly symtom last year. What it was is one of the repay on GM 5 module which operates the door unlock fuction overtime is weekening, causing its contactor not able to fully makeup when energized, resulting in less current pass through the contactor to activate the door unlock actuator and not able to unlock the door, that's why when pushing the unlock button you only hear a click as if it tries to unlock but then nothing happen.

What I did was ordered a pair of relay(control lock and unlock and some other functions) from Scottjob and repaired it myself, it works fine since then, but I have to warn you that unless you have a good soldering iron (500 watts minimum) and a solder extration tools plus good soldering skill, don't try to DIY, you could break the traces on the module pretty bad and may cause more issue, in worst case could end up $$$$$$$ for replacing the whole module and a trip to stealer to recode.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:13 PM   #9
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i already know it's the gm5... I searched pretty well before posting, i've just never seen someone do the repairs themselves. I did a few years of EE for school and as vocational in highschool. Its been a while, but i used to be pretty good on a circuit board so i figured if it was a simple fix, unsolder a part and put a new one in, i'd just do it and save the time money

the only thing that really scares me is that the gas tank locks... i almost got stranded because of that, scared the hell out of me. That's what made me want to get this done fast
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:31 PM   #10
taibinhvuong
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Yes, it's a simple taste, just unsolder the 2 relays and put the new ones on, the problem is taking out these relays is a pita if you don't have the right tools and skill.

Last edited by taibinhvuong; 02-28-2011 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:45 PM   #11
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I did the relays on a GM5 board.

Getting the relays out is the hard part. Small wire on relays, double sided circuit board, lead free solder!! My board also had a weather proofing silicon sealer it was dipped in as well. The silicon was just like a thin layer of clear RTV. Fairly easy to scrap away, just one other thing in the way to pulling the relays.

I used a decent hand held solder sucker and a 45 Watt iron??

My trick was to actually tin or resolder each relay terminal with lead based solder, to allow the heat to flow from the solder iron to the board, then use the solder sucker to pull the solder out of the trace hole. If I was unsucessful with the first solder sucker attempt, I resoldered with lead based solder, then used the solder sucker again. If you are careful and decent tools, you can do it, but it WAS NOT easy, and I have performed a lot of electronic assembly and repair in my day.\

One other thing to replace at the time you repair your GM5 is to install a new wiper relay. Just after I sorted my GM5, the wipers were acting up. I originally thought I screwed up something in the GM5, but after some thought, replaced the wiper relay for about $22 and all was good.

The other suggestion would be to swap your horn relay and fuel pump relay at the same time. This costs nothing. The horn relay probably gets little to no use over a 7-10 year period, however, your fuel pump relay is used everyting the car is started.

I have found in these cars the control circuits/relays tend to give out long before the item the control, except for window regulators and fuel pumps!!

For all the nay sayers out there, a word to the wise, once your car is 7-8 years old, I would recommend replacing the relays just because. Because it is not if you will have a problem, but when! It seems that most cars have problems around year 8-9 from what I have seen. As for the fuel door, now sure about the early cars, but the later cars had an emergancy gas flap release in the trunk.

Last edited by jfoj; 02-28-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
I did the relays on a GM5 board.

Getting the relays out is the hard part. Small wire on relays, double sided circuit board, lead free solder!! My board also had a weather proofing silicon sealer it was dipped in as well. The silicon was just like a thin layer of clear RTV. Fairly easy to scrap away, just one other thing in the way to pulling the relays.

I used a decent hand held solder sucker and a 45 Watt iron??

My trick was to actually tin or resolder each relay terminal with lead based solder, to allow the heat to flow from the solder iron to the board, then use the solder sucker to pull the solder out of the trace hole. If I was unsucessful with the first solder sucker attempt, I resoldered with lead based solder, then used the solder sucker again. If you are careful and decent tools, you can do it, but it WAS NOT easy, and I have performed a lot of electronic assembly and repair in my day.\

One other thing to replace at the time you repair your GM5 is to install a new wiper relay. Just after I sorted my GM5, the wipers were acting up. I originally thought I screwed up something in the GM5, but after some thought, replaced the wiper relay for about $22 and all was good.

The other suggestion would be to swap your horn relay and fuel pump relay at the same time. This costs nothing. The horn relay probably gets little to no use over a 7-10 year period, however, your fuel pump relay is used everyting the car is started.

I have found in these cars the control circuits/relays tend to give out long before the item the control, except for window regulators and fuel pumps!!

For all the nay sayers out there, a word to the wise, once your car is 7-8 years old, I would recommend replacing the relays just because. Because it is not if you will have a problem, but when! It seems that most cars have problems around year 8-9 from what I have seen. As for the fuel door, now sure about the early cars, but the later cars had an emergancy gas flap release in the trunk.
My 98 production (09/98 they started changing things , mine is earlier than 09/98) has the gasrelease "string/plug/flap".

I remember reading a GM5 guide somewhere , might even have been from bmwgm5.com, not sure.

I'd say open your module and have a looksie , if you think you can do it get some relays and go to wrok
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #13
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Took a drive up to Scotts today to get my GM5 module fixed. In and out of there with in 1 hour. I think we spent more time talking than he did fixing the module. It took no more than 25 min and he reinstalled it. All my locks work with no problem. Thanks Scott. If you do have problems with your drivers door not unlocking and your others doors do, give Scott a call. He'll guide you and ask questions to what problems you have with your vehicles locking system. Thanks once again. I'll bee seeing you soon on the lighting for the cluster.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:33 AM   #14
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i just sent it to scott, it's simple and easy... you don't have to mess around with the chip/soldering ...
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:44 PM   #15
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Just to confirm, the relays that control the locking are the two closest to the capacitors?
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:36 AM   #16
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Send it to Scott @ BMWGM5.com. Its worth the ~100 dollars or so.

Before i did this I tried "cleaning" the relays and ended up damaging the double lock portion as well as still having some residual temperature issues where the drivers door wouldnt lock in cold weather because I messed up the tolerances while "cleaning" them. I finally gave up trying to save a few bucks and sent mine off to Scott and now am glad I did.


After I got mine back from him I opened it back up to take a look at the repair and was truly impressed with the finished work. It shows he is a skilled master and not just some guy with an iron. He even goes as far a replacing the "siliconized" coating on the back side of the board.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
I don't think the GM5 is your problem.

You say the inside door handles don't work, or work intermittently. This indicates a mechanical issue within the latch mechanism. Since you are reporting from the Nation's Ice Box, I'm sure this is your problem. Since you can pull the door latches and clean them for free, you should do this before spending your hard-earned cash on a GM5.
This is incorrect! The interior door handles are not mechanical in these cars! If you take off your door panel you will see this. The door handle attatches to a wire that runs to an actuator or some other electrical sensor which communicates with the GM5 module for locking/unlocking/security purposes. I am having a similar problem and need to get my module sent in but need to round up the extra $100 first.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:43 AM   #18
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I have this exact problem. The gm5 was confirmed bad at my dealership.

For those who have removed the part, how difficult is it? On a 1-10 scale?
I just looked at the diy, and I'm lost. I guess I just have to get down there to find out....

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:00 AM   #19
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I had my GM5 replaced in march after experiencing the same problems as OP, I had the first Hardware version (HW 01 SW 06) and now have the latest for this model (HW 32 SW 45). One difference I noticed with my old GM5 module compared to the ones I saw on the web was that mine had 4 resistors instead of 2 (separated by a metal wall). I did however had to get it initialized (?) to the car by the Stealer and they didn't even program the old settings back in the new unit..... When I asked why the dude replied: "cause you didn't asked"........
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:38 AM   #20
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As for the DIY challenge of removing the relays (have done this before on other things) are all of you guys saying it is difficult to remove them because you tried to pull them out in one piece?!

Is this process made easier by first carefully destroying the relays so you can pull each pin individually?!
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