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Lots Of BMW 528iA Questions

Q. Dear Vince, Hi. The details of my bimmer are:

  • 1997 BMW 528iA (E39)
  • 2.8 liter DOHC
  • 182,000 kilometers
  • Automatic Transmission
Lots Of BMW 528iA Questions

I have some problems/queries for my car.

1. The Park Distance Control (PDC) of my car is not working since last two to three months. Can you please tell me what can go wrong with it. I do not want to go to the dealer and spend $150.00 to $200.00 just to have a scan test. Can I check it visually myself to see what is the problem?

2. When I unlock the car by the remote key or manually by inserting the key in the door lock, All the four door locks are unlocked simultaneously. I heard that the remote key can be programmed in such a way that when I press the button once, only the driver's door is unlocked and pressing it twice will unlock the remaining doors. Can I do this change myself? What is the procedure.

3. The fresh air intake of my car's A/C system is always on when I start the car. Even when I leave the re-circulating mode "ON" the last time I use the car. How can I leave the re-circulating system ON always?

4. Some of the pixels on the display in the dashboard are missing. Is there a way the display can be brought back to original state.

5. What can be a generally possible reason/s for a sluggish pick up of the car. The BMW I owned earlier was the same model, 1997 BMW 528i, running 240,000 kilometers and it was having a far better pickup than the present one.

6. My bimmer, not always, but often on startup emits a cloud of white smoke, it disappears very quickly in less than 5 seconds and then there is no more colored emission from the exhaust. Car resumes to normal colorless emission. Please advise me what can be wrong. My car consumes around half a liter of engine oil, Mobil 1, every month.

Please help me out as you had always done in the past.

A. Here we go, by the numbers.

1. The Park Distance Control is a safety/convenience system that uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the close proximity to other objects when maneuvering the vehicle in tight spaces such as parallel parking or parking in a narrow garage.

The PDC monitors both the front and rear of the vehicle. The driver is warned, through an audible gong system, when the vehicle comes close to another object. As the object gets closer, the audible gong increases in frequency until a steady tone is produced.

As the distance to the object increase, the steady tone will return to a beep and stop when the vehicle moves away from the object.

The PDC is automatically switched "ON" when the ignition is switched on. However it does not become active until the vehicle is shifted into reverse.

Lots Of BMW 528iA Questions

The system can be manually switched "ON/OFF" with the console mounted switch. Have you checked to see if you have, accidentally, turned it off? Otherwise the PDC module may be bad.

2. This is a known problem. A timing problem in the General Module, Software Versions 1.2 through 1.5, can initiate, and then quickly discontinue, the Comfort Opening Feature, temporarily blocking the unlocking of the other doors and dropping the two front windows slightly.

If the software version of the General Module is 1.1 through 1.5, replace the General Module with one of software version 1.6 or higher (P/N 61 35 8 37 688). I would recommend the BMW Dealer do this, and bring all of your RKE transmitters since they will all have to be reprogrammed.

3. This is the normal operation of the system. The primary purpose of the HVAC system, contrary to popular belief, is to keep the front windshield clear and dry. So when you first start the vehicle, the HVAC defaults into fresh air to prevent the interior windows from fogging up. In addition, the HVAC can only be kept in the RECIRC position for a maximum of 15 minutes when it reverts back to FRESH.

4. No. It can only be replaced.

5. There are quite a few reasons for this. I would start with the basics such as a fresh tune-up with new air and fuel filters.

6. If the smoke is white in color and has a sweet, sickly smell, it is anti-freeze and is an early symptom of a blown head gasket. If the smoke is bluish in color, it is oil and a sign of valve seals starting to go bad.

"My car consumes around half a liter of engine oil, Mobil 1, every month" tells me nothing. I would need to know how much per 1,000 miles to offer any kind of opinion.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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