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Old 07-15-2013, 02:04 PM   #1
Cvale127
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Electrical Gremlins...still after hours of TroubleShooting! Help!!

Hey guys, so before I begin let me just say that YES...I have read numerous threads and have done alot of research on this issue I started experiencing recently and still have not come up with a solution...

I purchased an installed a GROM IPD3 kit back in early May and everything worked great up until last month. I was coming back from a trip to PA for fathers day, and noticed that my turn signal indicators on the dashboard would not light up...neither would the foglight symbol, However, all the lights would function properly on the outside. SO the first thing I said to myself is maybe the turn signal lever on the steering Column is failing since I've seen that happen to other cars (toyotas) and then the issue is corrected once replaced with a new lever.

Anyway, few days after I returned from my trip I started noticing other weird behavior like the following:

1) Doors not locking with the remote when I exit the car and want to lock it (sometimes it does this, sometimes it functions properly)

2) No seat belt indictator light showing on the cluster (even though I have my seatbelt on lol)

3) Door open indicator light (altough doors were closed)


TWO IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:

**THE GROM kit also stopped working shortly after all these electrical problems started appearing

**EVERYTHING works fine in the car the way it should when the car is NOT RUNNING with the key on 2nd position, INCLUDING THE IPOD ADAPTER!!

ITS WHEN THE CAR IS RUNNING THAT THESE PROBLEMS ARE PRESENT

I know it can't be my battery since its pretty new. An hour ago I just COMPLETELY REMOVED the GROM kit and disconnected the batttery.....15 mins later I reconnected the battery and still NO CHANGE!!! ughhh

So then I disconnected it again and now leaving it off for another 2 hours like some people have mentioned here to see if it works. I hope it does because I really thought it could be the GROM kit since so many people have mentioned similar issues with the DICE kits and then solving the issues by removing the kits.

Any tips or advice you guys have would be much appreciated!! Thanks you!!


3:55PM ****left the battery disconnected for almost 2 hours and still NOTHING*** by the way i forgot to mention the steering wheel controls are not working either. I have to use the volume knob on the radio.

Also checked battery & alternator voltage (before and while the car is running) using the cluster tests and they both check out good.

My next step will be to once again leave the battery disconnected but overnight...doubt it will help but worth a try. Does this sound like a faulty ignition switch to you guys or should I check the fuses inside the DME box? I cant think of anything else.


7/15/13 2:30 PM**** Leaving the battery disconnected overnight did not correct the issue. I removed the radio once again to check the wires and everything still looks good...nothing is pinched etc.....

Last edited by Cvale127; 07-17-2013 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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Not enough concrete info here.

You claim the battery is good because it is only 1 year old or so, battery age means nothing.

Get your battery checked at the local auto parts store, they usually do this for free.

What is your base battery Voltage as shown from the cluster when the car is not running?

What is your base charging Voltage as shown from the cluster when the car is running?

Have you check the body ground on the passenger side below near the motor mount?

Sounds like a C/K buss related problem. How was the Grom unit connected to the car?
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Not enough concrete info here.

You claim the battery is good because it is only 1 year old or so, battery age means nothing.

Get your battery checked at the local auto parts store, they usually do this for free.

What is your base battery Voltage as shown from the cluster when the car is not running?

What is your base charging Voltage as shown from the cluster when the car is running?

Have you check the body ground on the passenger side below near the motor mount?

Sounds like a C/K buss related problem. How was the Grom unit connected to the car?

I claimed the battery is good based on the tests......Voltage showed 12.7V when the car is not running and 14.1-14.2 while the car is Running. Based on what I've read both of these numbers are ideal.

I haven't checked the body ground on the passenger side. Will look into this.

The GROM kit I purchased was a 'behind the radio' kit. You are required to tap into 3 wires on the factory harness (signal/bus, battery, and ground). I have taken out the radio an additional 2 more times after removing the Grom Unit to make sure there are no cut wires or pinched wires. I made sure to wrap some electrical tape on the 3 wires in the areas that were pierced by the posi-taps.


**7/16/13 11:30am**

-Just got the battery Tested at Autozone even though the instrument cluster test showed proper voltage, and they said it was 100% fully charged and displaying 12.83V. So this proves I was right about the Battery being good

-IDK what the hell happened yesterday while trying to further troubleshoot this problem but now my windows wont go up when I lock the car (Originally they did so I'm guessing the coding was erased somehow??) and now my airbag light is illuminated on the cluster...this light was never on before.

Last edited by Cvale127; 07-16-2013 at 11:17 AM. Reason: new info
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:17 AM   #4
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Anyone?
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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I would disconnect the Grom unit fully if it is still connected to the car, disconnect your negative battery terminal then touch it to the positive terminal for about 15-20 seconds to drain all the capacitors in all the modules, then reconnect the battery and see what happens.

I know you may think touching the battery terminals together sounds crazy, but this is done on most cars to fully discharge all modules in the car.

BTW do you have an OE head unit still?

Battery Voltage and grounding issues cause all sorts of strange problems in these cars. I see your battery has checked out as fine, but then there is the charging system and grounding.

As a test you can use a pair of jumper cables to supplement grounds.

Negative jumpers cable on under hood negative jumper nut on strut tower, other end of negative cable to good solid metal part on engine.

Good luck.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
I would disconnect the Grom unit fully if it is still connected to the car, disconnect your negative battery terminal then touch it to the positive terminal for about 15-20 seconds to drain all the capacitors in all the modules, then reconnect the battery and see what happens.

I know you may think touching the battery terminals together sounds crazy, but this is done on most cars to fully discharge all modules in the car.

BTW do you have an OE head unit still?

Battery Voltage and grounding issues cause all sorts of strange problems in these cars. I see your battery has checked out as fine, but then there is the charging system and grounding.

As a test you can use a pair of jumper cables to supplement grounds.

Negative jumpers cable on under hood negative jumper nut on strut tower, other end of negative cable to good solid metal part on engine.

Good luck.
I had already removed the GROM kit completely on Sunday as I stated in my original post, and yes the radio is the original stock business radio.

I will try touching the terminals but I do have to admit this does sound kinda crazy lol...last thing I need is a battery blowing up in my face

Thanks for the tips!

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Old 07-16-2013, 07:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
I would disconnect the Grom unit fully if it is still connected to the car, disconnect your negative battery terminal then touch it to the positive terminal for about 15-20 seconds to drain all the capacitors in all the modules, then reconnect the battery and see what happens.

I know you may think touching the battery terminals together sounds crazy, but this is done on most cars to fully discharge all modules in the car.

BTW do you have an OE head unit still?

Battery Voltage and grounding issues cause all sorts of strange problems in these cars. I see your battery has checked out as fine, but then there is the charging system and grounding.

As a test you can use a pair of jumper cables to supplement grounds.

Negative jumpers cable on under hood negative jumper nut on strut tower, other end of negative cable to good solid metal part on engine.

Good luck.

Just to clarify....you said leave the positive cable on its terminal and just remove the negative cable and press it against the positive terminal for 15-20secs? I read online that very bad things have happened to some people who have done this...from frying multiple modules and fuses, to explosion of the battery.

What I did was remove both cables and then hold them together for about 15 secs which did nothing.

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Old 07-16-2013, 07:48 PM   #8
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which door is it showing that is open? If it's the driver's door that could be why the car isn't locking with the remote.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:53 PM   #9
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which door is it showing that is open? If it's the driver's door that could be why the car isn't locking with the remote.
Yeah I've noticed that most of the time it shows that its the drivers door....but there are times where the passenger side shows open as well. I've never encountered a problem like this with any car lol...im really frustrated at this point.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:19 AM   #10
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Re: Electrical Gremlins...still after hours of TroubleShooting! Help!!

Most interesting. Everything seems to lead towards the can bus. I could be wrong but that piece of electronic is like a computer, in the sense that it tells electrical parts to your car how to act and act right. All the issues you listed I believe can have its roots traced back and end up at the can bus. Not sure what to say as far as solution

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Old 07-17-2013, 12:37 AM   #11
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Both jfoj and newb hit on this and it's the first thing I thought of when you said you controls on the steering wheel don't work, the steering wheel controls are bus related. The ECU has a CAN bus feed and I suspect the GM5 module also plays a large part in bus functionality although I have never touched the GM5 yet.

Has your car been in/around/near a lot of water/rain/puddles lately?

As jfoj mentioned ground on these cars can wreak havoc on these systems when there is a fault. Make sure the ground at the back of the car is clean and tight where it connects to the chassis. Make sure the ground on firewall to the engine is clean and tight. There is also a ground buss behind the glove box behind the relay panel. It has about five or six blue w/yellow stripe wires all attached together.

In front of the drivers side firewall is the car's ECU. Open that and disconnect/reconnect the wiring modules to re-seat them.

If none of this works, I'd track down the GM5 and do the same with the wiring connectors.

If it still doesn't work good puzzle.

Edit: corrected CAN bus reference
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:33 AM   #12
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Electrical Gremlins...still after hours of TroubleShooting! Help!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NumbaOneNewb View Post
Most interesting. Everything seems to lead towards the can bus.
The CAN bus is only for the engine and transmission and connects to the instrument cluster as the gateway device. The CAN bus has nothing, NOTHING to do with the steering wheel controls, general module, turn signal indicator lights on the instrument cluster or radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
Both jfoj and newb hit on this and it's the first thing I thought of when you said you controls on the steering wheel don't work, the steering wheel controls are strictly CAN bus related. The ECU has a CAN bus feed and I suspect the GM5 module also plays a large part in CAN bus functionality although I have never touched the GM5 yet.

In front of the drivers side firewall is the car's ECU. Open that and disconnect/reconnect the wiring modules to re-seat them.

If none of this works, I'd track down the GM5 and do the same with the wiring connectors.
Yes, the ECU (which i like to call DME because that's what BMW calls it) connects into the cars CAN bus, but, it has nothing to do with OPs symptoms so don't both reseating the connectors, it won't help.

The OPs problems are related to the K-bus. It's been discussed many many times here on the forum and jbeurotech posted a good amount if info on how to track down problems with the k-bus so search and read this web page http://bmwgm5.com/e46_k-bus.htm
A few things to check first, connections to the CD changer in the trunk even if you don't have a changer installed. Make sure it's not wet. The k-bus wire is a smaller diameter white wire with red stripe and yellow dashes. If you have a meter measure the voltage of this wire with respect to ground (chassis of the car). It should measure approximately the same as the battery voltage with periodic blips to approximately half battery voltage. When k-bus problems occur this signal will sit substantially below battery voltage.

A lot of people instantly want to blame the general module for k-bus problems, but, it is rarely the cause. If you want to prove it to yourself completely disconnect the general module by removing the three connectors from the module and test the turn signals and fog lights. If the problem is still there then the general module is definitely not the problem. Keep in mind that there can be up to 14 different modules on the K-bus (instrument cluster, airbag module, radio, cd changer, sunroof module, rain sensing wiper module, HVAC control module, steering wheel button module w/volute spring, immobilizer module aka EWS, driver seat memory control module, driver side and passenger side mirror module and light control module to name the major ones.

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Old 07-17-2013, 02:40 AM   #13
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The CAN bus is only for the engine and transmission and connects to the instrument cluster as the gateway device. the CAN bus has nothing NOTHING to do with the steering wheel controls, general module.

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Good to know. I stand corrected. But steering wheel controls are contact closures that communicate to a bus. Your answer is short, are you meaning that the steering wheel controls are products of communication with the GM?

If so, locks, idiot lights, bus related functions all communicating with the GM5. Does this smell like GM5 failure to you? The other common thread is ground.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
Good to know. I stand corrected. But steering wheel controls are contact closures that communicate to a bus. Your answer is short, are you meaning that the steering wheel controls are products of communication with the GM?

If so, locks, idiot lights, bus related functions all communicating with the GM5. Does this smell like GM5 failure to you? The other common thread is ground.
The steering wheel buttons connect to a small board with electronics that then connect to the k-bus. The general module doesn't care about anything regarding the steering wheel buttons. The general module couldn't care less if you pressed the R/T, volume up/down or tune up/down buttons. Only the radio and the telephone care. By the way the cruise control buttons DO NOT go over the k-bus.

It does not smell like a GM5 failure. The GM5 is not some mighty module that everything has to go through. Turn signal indicators, fog light indicator, seat belt indicator will work perfectly fine without a general module even present in the car.

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Old 07-17-2013, 04:01 AM   #15
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You are sure both battery terminals are sufficiently tight yes? What you describe could be caused by a bad ground.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:29 AM   #16
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Electrical Gremlins...still after hours of TroubleShooting! Help!!

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Originally Posted by scottjoh View Post
The CAN bus is only for the engine and transmission and connects to the instrument cluster as the gateway device. The CAN bus has nothing, NOTHING to do with the steering wheel controls, general module, turn signal indicator lights on the instrument cluster or radio.


Yes, the ECU (which i like to call DME because that's what BMW calls it) connects into the cars CAN bus, but, it has nothing to do with OPs symptoms so don't both reseating the connectors, it won't help.

The OPs problems are related to the K-bus. It's been discussed many many times here on the forum and jbeurotech posted a good amount if info on how to track down problems with the k-bus so search and read this web page http://bmwgm5.com/e46_k-bus.htm
A few things to check first, connections to the CD changer in the trunk even if you don't have a changer installed. Make sure it's not wet. The k-bus wire is a smaller diameter white wire with red stripe and yellow dashes. If you have a meter measure the voltage of this wire with respect to ground (chassis of the car). It should measure approximately the same as the battery voltage with periodic blips to approximately half battery voltage. When k-bus problems occur this signal will sit substantially below battery voltage.

A lot of people instantly want to blame the general module for k-bus problems, but, it is rarely the cause. If you want to prove it to yourself completely disconnect the general module by removing the three connectors from the module and test the turn signals and fog lights. If the problem is still there then the general module is definitely not the problem. Keep in mind that there can be up to 14 different modules on the K-bus (instrument cluster, airbag module, radio, cd changer, sunroof module, rain sensing wiper module, HVAC control module, steering wheel button module w/volute spring, immobilizer module aka EWS, driver seat memory control module, driver side and passenger side mirror module and light control module to name the major ones.
I have read all of jbeurotechs threads a few days ago, but honestly i havent had the time to pullt out that black connector box behind the GloveBox and check out all those modules 1 by 1. Im also not sure i would want to risk mixing up those wires like somone else did by mistake and run into more issues.

Is their an exact way i can pinpoint this problem with software without have to get to that connector box and test all those modules manually? I went to a members house yesterday and we hooked my car up but so many confusing errors popped but that neither of us really understood. One i do remember reading was "CAN TIMEOUT" along eith a whole buch of other stuff.

I will try to upload pics of the stuff i wrote down later on this evening.


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Old 07-17-2013, 06:41 AM   #17
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Electrical Gremlins...still after hours of TroubleShooting! Help!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
Both jfoj and newb hit on this and it's the first thing I thought of when you said you controls on the steering wheel don't work, the steering wheel controls are bus related. The ECU has a CAN bus feed and I suspect the GM5 module also plays a large part in bus functionality although I have never touched the GM5 yet.

Has your car been in/around/near a lot of water/rain/puddles lately?

As jfoj mentioned ground on these cars can wreak havoc on these systems when there is a fault. Make sure the ground at the back of the car is clean and tight where it connects to the chassis. Make sure the ground on firewall to the engine is clean and tight. There is also a ground buss behind the glove box behind the relay panel. It has about five or six blue w/yellow stripe wires all attached together.

In front of the drivers side firewall is the car's ECU. Open that and disconnect/reconnect the wiring modules to re-seat them.

If none of this works, I'd track down the GM5 and do the same with the wiring connectors.

If it still doesn't work good puzzle.

Edit: corrected CAN bus reference
If this was a problem caused by any of the grounds on the car wouldn't i experience trouble starting the car or difficulty getting the battery charged? The battery was 100% charged when i took it out the car and got it tested at autozone.

The only thing i can think of that could have possibly damaged a ground is an engine clean i did back in April-May. I had replaced a badly leakong oil filter housing gasket in Febuary or March. A few weeks later when it got warmer out i sprayed some safe engine degreaser (none solvent based) and then hosed down the engine (making sure to cover intake throttle body and all wires i saw exposed in the engine ba with plastic bags). I also ran the engine after hosing it down till it was dry. I dont recall spraying the firewall with water....but i did spray underneath the car eith the splash guard taken out because their was alot of oil residue on those hoses by the steering rack.

Wouldn't have the problem started right away though if one of these grounds was damaged during this engine clean?


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Old 07-17-2013, 07:22 AM   #18
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Just for me, go back and check on your battery again. If it's older than say 4-5 years, don't mess with it, just get a new one.

You can have the voltage but not the amps. You know, I drove almost 40 miles with a dead alternator...at night, with headlights on (should've turned them off and I bet I would have gone farther by a good bit!) You need both voltage and amps.

And, +1 with the 'check the cables on bat terminals are tight, not just tightened.'

Then, my guess is ignition switch...almost every ignition switch failure thread that I've read includes issues at steering wheel and the radio.

...and then, if it is a weak bat, maybe your electronic thingy wasn't installed right...as in, could it be drawing power and draining your bat? Just musing.

Final point is to be careful about spending money and time hunting an odd electrical problem before you've 'really' verified that you don't just have the most common of problems...weak/dead bat.

BTW, next week in OT, I'll be doing a thread on personal grooming and treating the ladies right. You don't want to miss it. Sign up in advance!
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cvale127 View Post
I have read all of jbeurotechs threads a few days ago, but honestly i havent had the time to pullt out that black connector box behind the GloveBox and check out all those modules 1 by 1. Im also not sure i would want to risk mixing up those wires like somone else did by mistake and run into more issues.

Is their an exact way i can pinpoint this problem with software without have to get to that connector box and test all those modules manually? I went to a members house yesterday and we hooked my car up but so many confusing errors popped but that neither of us really understood. One i do remember reading was "CAN TIMEOUT" along eith a whole buch of other stuff.
There is not quick way of figuring out k-bus problems. There is no magic software. There is no short cut. You either get lucky or you buckle down and follow jeurotech's instructions and figure it out. CAN timeout was probably a DME fault code and has nothing to do with your K-bus problem. You might have noticed when scanning the car with a BMW specific scanner (not generic OBD-II) that most of the modules are unreadable, no communication. Only modules that you can read are the DME, transmission, ABS and IKE. The other modules not readable of course is a typical k-bus problem.


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Old 07-17-2013, 04:58 PM   #20
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My Ride: 2005 330ci ZHP
BTW some things I forgot to add are that:

1)The A/C works well when it feels like it (since this problem started). One day it will blow Ice cold air and other days it will blow hot as if the there were no freon left in the system. I've been driving around in this heatwave for the past 2 days with NO A/C

2) Passenger Mirror no longer goes down when in Reverse...HOWEVER both mirros still can be moved with the switch joystick.


These next 2 JUST STARTED on SUNDAY while trouble shooting and disconnecting the battery a few more times...Idk what the hell happened.


3) Windows no longer go up when I press the Lock button on the remote (like i used to be able to before)

4) Windows STILL go down with the unlock button, HOWEVER, the sunroof remains closed! Everything used to open before.


Here is a pic of what James (Hollywood516) wrote down that stood out to us while scanning my car yesterday with PASoft:
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Last edited by Cvale127; 07-17-2013 at 05:00 PM.
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