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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 02-27-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
tomjohnson
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Brake, ABS and Traction Control Lights on

I took my E46 in for an alignment today after changing out the left and right control arms on Sunday. After the guy finished aligning the car, I drove about 2 or 3 miles and the car lost all power, like it had stalled and then the brake, ABS and Traction lights came on. I drove the car after Sunday and sis not have any issues at all with these lights until almost immediately after they aligned it.

I took the car back to them and they said that it was just coincidental and had nothing to do with them.

Would anyone know what I need to check to get these lights off? The car seems to be stuck in all wheel drive because the light is on and it won't go off.

Last edited by tomjohnson; 02-27-2013 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomjohnson View Post
I took my E46 in for an alignment today after changing out the left and right control arms on Sunday. After the guy finished aligning the car, I drove about 2 or 3 miles and the car lost all power, like it had stalled and then the brake, ABS and Traction lights came on. I drove the car after Sunday and sis not have any issues at all with these lights until almost immediately after they aligned it.

I took the car back to them and they said that it was just coincidental and had nothing to do with them.

Would anyone know what I need to check to get these lights off? The car seems to be stuck in all wheel drive because the light is on and it won't go off.
The car is always in AWD...

Usually the three lights mean that there's something wrong with the traction control system. They probably either knocked out or unplugged a wheel speed sensor.

This wouldn't cause the car to loose power or stall though so that's a different issue.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
tomjohnson
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
The car is always in AWD...

Usually the three lights mean that there's something wrong with the traction control system. They probably either knocked out or unplugged a wheel speed sensor.

This wouldn't cause the car to loose power or stall though so that's a different issue.
Thanks Sam. I just came back from AutoZone and had them read the codes again and they are the exact same codes that I posted in another thread where you are helping me as well.

I called the dealer and they told me that the combo of all three lights either indicates a wheel speed sensor or the computer that runs it. They quoted me $450.00 per sensor to replace, if that was the issue.

On my way to AutoZone, I noticed that the lights never came back on. It's really weird. On my center console next to the seat heater, there are two buttons that I believe have something to do with downhill something or other and the last button is for the traction control. I noticed that when I press the downhill button, nothing happens. Could this be related to this issue as well or do I have a faulty button?
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
bmwbob89
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Read your owners manual about the downhill button. It only works at very low speeds.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
tomjohnson
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Read your owners manual about the downhill button. It only works at very low speeds.
Thanks Bob. Everything seems to be going wrong with this car so I was just rambling. The manual is a good resource
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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-The downhill decent is below 5 mph.
-If you need parts in OH, check out ecstuning.com
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:57 PM   #7
tomjohnson
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-The downhill decent is below 5 mph.
-If you need parts in OH, check out ecstuning.com
Thanks for the heads up! I'll bookmark them now.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:07 AM   #8
Kubica
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Shop did not reset the steering angle sensor. Needs to be reset.

DSC codes are not easily read with most scanners. Find new shop.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:49 PM   #9
bmwporschefan
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Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Shop did not reset the steering angle sensor. Needs to be reset.

DSC codes are not easily read with most scanners. Find new shop.
First, I would say follow the above advice. I believe this guy knows what he is talking about.

Second, if the above doesn't fix it, I had problems like yours and it ended up being a switch behind the brake pedal. Talked about it here
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
chilone
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Sounds kind of elementary but is the battery firmly connected?
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
tomjohnson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Shop did not reset the steering angle sensor. Needs to be reset.

DSC codes are not easily read with most scanners. Find new shop.
Hi Kubica, thanks for the pointer. The weird thing is that the lights only went on one additional time, went off and then never came back on. Would you still suggest me to reset the steering angle sensor?
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Sounds kind of elementary but is the battery firmly connected?
Hey chilone, yes, the battery is firmly connected. Good suggestion though, thank you.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:05 PM   #13
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Ugh, tom you've had a plague of lights in that thing seeing your other thread. It could be as simple as a loose connector they bopped servicing the car to what Kubica suggests or worse failing sensor(s). The problem with these sophisticated devils is so many variables. I'd inspect all front-end electrical connectors and report what Kubica suggested back to the service manager. If they bail not addressing the alignment sensor you may need to find another shop. Are there German independent shops in your area? These are never serviced properly at the "do all" shops, trust me.

Edit: re-reading your post something comes to mind. You say you lost all power and then noticed the dash light show. When these stall, all lights come up and looks like a christmas tree. My car pulled this trick and it was the intake cam sensor. Quick and easy fix for a scary problem. It was intermittent and never threw a code as happened so fast. Not saying this is absolutely your problem but sounds similar. We tend to be sensitive to new things after a shop pokes around. I'm wondering why a steering sensor would stall the car if failing or out of calibration? The cam makes sense as ECU doesn't know when to fire with no position data. You're going down. The bugger was, it always restarted, ran for weeks and then stalled again. Stupid sensor.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:29 PM   #14
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While I'm sure that you are sick of this car by now, stick with it and it'll all work out.

The three traction control lights will come on if the battery is disconnected for an extended period of time to allow the system to recalibrate. Most of the time the lights go off after driving ~500yds or so but that doesn't seem to be the case for you. Maybe it just took longer for the system to calibrate? Is there any place (slippery surface) you can go to test the system out for functionality?
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:55 PM   #15
tomjohnson
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Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Ugh, tom you've had a plague of lights in that thing seeing your other thread. It could be as simple as a loose connector they bopped servicing the car to what Kubica suggests or worse failing sensor(s). The problem with these sophisticated devils is so many variables. I'd inspect all front-end electrical connectors and report what Kubica suggested back to the service manager. If they bail not addressing the alignment sensor you may need to find another shop. Are there German independent shops in your area? These are never serviced properly at the "do all" shops, trust me.
Hey White Knuckles, thanks for following my woes with this car. What Kubica suggested was to reset the steering angle sensor but I've looked into that and it appears that I'd need to take it to the stealer for that. From what I could gather, it is special software that is used to do this job.

The lights haven't come back on though and I have driven the car about 130 miles since the last episode. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. Another issue, unrelated to the lights I was dealing with is that the headliner is beginning to sag. I called the stealer again today and was quoted $1000.00 for a headliner. . Would you have any suggestions on what I can do to save a little money on replacing or fixing this?

There are a couple independent "German car repair" shops in the area and I haven't looked into them yet but that is something that I've not considered until you suggested it. Thanks, I'll do that today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Edit: re-reading your post something comes to mind. You say you lost all power and then noticed the dash light show. When these stall, all lights come up and looks like a christmas tree. My car pulled this trick and it was the intake cam sensor. Quick and easy fix for a scary problem. It was intermittent and never threw a code as happened so fast. Not saying this is absolutely your problem but sounds similar. We tend to be sensitive to new things after a shop pokes around. I'm wondering why a steering sensor would stall the car if failing or out of calibration? The cam makes sense as ECU doesn't know when to fire with no position data. You're going down. The bugger was, it always restarted, ran for weeks and then stalled again. Stupid sensor.
Yes, that was the really weird thing, I lost ALL power as I was driving. Even when I stepped on the accelerator, it was just slowing down and was completely, 100% unresponsive. I think that worried me more than the lights that came on. You're correct though, the lights all came on after the power returned about 5 seconds later.

Would a wheel speed sensor make the car stall?

Last edited by tomjohnson; 03-04-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:00 PM   #16
tomjohnson
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While I'm sure that you are sick of this car by now, stick with it and it'll all work out.

The three traction control lights will come on if the battery is disconnected for an extended period of time to allow the system to recalibrate. Most of the time the lights go off after driving ~500yds or so but that doesn't seem to be the case for you. Maybe it just took longer for the system to calibrate? Is there any place (slippery surface) you can go to test the system out for functionality?
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sam. It's a shame because I really do like the car but when it starts taking food off the table, it'll make me rethink my whole position.

Actually, the lights haven't come back on, thank God. I've driven the car for about 130 miles so far and I've not seen the lights come back on. But, like White Knuckles said, it's weird that I lost all power after getting the car aligned. It's making me wary of it and the confidence I once had in it, is slowly diminishing. I was thinking about just dumping the car and maybe getting a manual shift coupe which is really what I wanted from the start but couldn't find one.

There is no area where I think I could test the all wheel traction. All of the snow around here is now gone.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #17
White_Knuckles
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Originally Posted by tomjohnson View Post
... the lights all came on after the power returned about 5 seconds later.

Would a wheel speed sensor make the car stall?
I wouldn't think a wheel or steering position sensor would stall the car. Kubica or others may chime in on that one. When the engine stalls, all lights come up like the lamp test you see when you roll the key to position 1. Usually you're too busy wrestling the car to the side with no power steering to notice. The cam sensor is a favorite for that trick and very intermittent in my case.

What is the mileage on your car??
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #18
SamDoe1
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Yes, that was the really weird thing, I lost ALL power as I was driving. Even when I stepped on the accelerator, it was just slowing down and was completely, 100% unresponsive. I think that worried me more than the lights that came on. You're correct though, the lights all came on after the power returned about 5 seconds later.

Would a wheel speed sensor make the car stall?
Did you loose electrical power or engine power or both?

Wheel speed sensor wouldn't cause this unless there was a massive short somewhere in the system.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:17 AM   #19
tomjohnson
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Did you loose electrical power or engine power or both?

Wheel speed sensor wouldn't cause this unless there was a massive short somewhere in the system.
I only lost engine power. All of the dash lights remained lit. This happened for about a good 5 seconds and then the engine power returned, the car responded to the accelerator and I heard a few beeps (The same beeping you hear when you open the car door with the key in the ignition) then finally the three lights (All wheel traction, brake and ABS) came on.

Any ideas? It's not done it since but I wish I knew what it was.

Last edited by tomjohnson; 03-05-2013 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:40 AM   #20
SamDoe1
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No clue... Without codes or it happening again I can't even begin to guess what it would be.

If I had to, I'd go with WK's diagnosis of cam shaft sensor or crank sensor.
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