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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Thu, Oct-18-2018, 12:25:32 PM   #1
m3e46_1970
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Default DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

I have searched here and far for a possible solution. While this seems to be a “common” problem, I don't see anyone getting a completed solution. So I wanted to start this thread hoping someone can help me fix the issue (if not already) or I can help someone out there with similar problem.

Vehicle: 2001 BMW E46 M3
Problem: DSC and tire pressure lights both come on at about the same time (both amble color). No brake light.

This problem started about a year ago, as I was driving through a neighborhood less than 30 MPH. I felt what seem like a slip (road was dry) and looked on the dash and both lights were ON. I pull over to look at the street, tire and underneath the car and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Got back in the car, turned it ON and the lights were gone/OFF. Drove home, ~20 miles, and never experienced the problem again for a good 9 months.

Three months ago, they started to come ON again. I made no changes to the car, beside the regular oil and oil filter changes. Turning the car OFF and ON clear the lights, at first maybe once or twice a week and then almost every time I drive it and even when sitting in a parking lot or stop light. As far as I can tell, it is completely random. But here is a few of my experiences:

Note: Once both lights are ON, no other adverse effect is notice. I can still use my "Sport" mode. I'm assuming DSC is off but I have never driven to a point where DSC actually did anything for me. Of course, I can't turn off the DSC or the tire pressure lights manually once they are ON.

1. Driving straight down the highway at 70 MPH, feel my front brake applied for a split second and both lights came ON.
2. Waiting at the stop light to turn Right out of a shopping center. Light turned green and I started the turn and saw my DSC light blinking (3 or 4 times) and the brake applying (split second with each blink) and both lights came ON.
3. When this happen, I can "feel" stronger impact of the braking the slower I’m driving. For example, if I was doing 45 MPH, it is a much stronger feeling than if I was doing 80 MPH. At first, by myself, I always thought it was only the driver side brake applied (like I was rolling over a bunch of road reflectors). But I recently had a passenger with me when it happened and she said she felt the passenger side brake applied. So I am guessing both brakes were applied. However, some times, especially at very low speed, less than 30 MPH, I don't feel anything at all.
4. Get in the car in the parking lot, turn the engine ON sitting in the parking lot waiting for one thing or another. Few times, after about 1 to 5 minutes, with the car in neutral and no pedal touched, the lights come ON.
5. Start the car, manually press the DSC button to turn ON the light on the dash (tire pressure light OFF) and started driving. When the tire pressure light do come ON, I do not feel anything (i.e. no braking) regardless how slow or fast I am going. This has been my mode of operation for the last month so I am not startle when it happened.

Here is what I have done to try to fix this issue (based on other posts).
1. Removed and cleaned both front wheel speed/ABS sensors. Notice that the rubber boots were falling apart but the wiring and connector were good. (didn't solve it)
2. Removed and cleaned both front wheel speed/ABS sensors again but also spread brake cleaner into the sensor holes to clean the spines the sensors were reading. (didn't solve it)
3. Replaced both front wheel speed sensors, figure this will be the cheapest. (didn't solve it)
4. Took car to O'Reily and have them hookup their ABS reader to get any code. No code in computer.
5. Took car to Advanced Auto Parts and have them hookup their Check Engine Light code reader. No code in computer.
6. Took car to BMW dealership and have them read the computer. After about 4 hours, they called and said possibly bad steering angle sensor (SAS) and they can replace it for ~$1100. Not sure if they saw a code or just what the mechanic think that's the problem. Told them thanks but no thanks. Asked them if the car needed to be reprogrammed/calibrated if I was to put a new SAS in myself and they said yes (for $167). The diag costed my $172.

After researching online, I saw that a new OEM SAS run about $300. So I contacted the same BMW dealership part department over the phone and asked how much their was and was told $167 based on my VIN. No brainer, told them to order it and gave them my credit card over the phone (Friday) and they said it will be in on Tuesday. Over the weekend, I took the lower cover of my dash off and snapped several pictures of the SAS on the bottom of my steering column. On Monday, I drove to the dealership and spoke to the same guy that took my order over the phone and asked him to verify the part he ordered for me. He looked and comparing to my pictures, it was the wrong part. Luckily, they have the one I needed in stock and he sold it to me for $313 after a 10% discount for my trouble. I changed out the sensor in my drive way (45 minutes top). Took the opportunity and changed out the driver side seat as well (brought the entire seat off a running/driving M3 at BimmerWorld in Atlanta) since my was ripped. Reconnected the battery and turn the engine ON. DSC light was ON immediately. To me, a good sign since this is a different behavior. Drive the car for about a week until I can drop off the car at the BMW dealership for reprogramming/calibrating (I did call other mechanic shops and they said they don’t have the tool to reprogram something like that). Tire pressure light still randomly come ON but I don't feel the braking. But that could be associated with my #5 above with manually turning off the DSC (i.e. light ON).

Took them 4 hours to complete the programming/calibration--said they will also update all the software in the process (costed $168). Pickup the car, DSC light OFF and no tire pressure light, and drove home. About 3 miles out of the dealership, DSC light started blinking, braking applied and tire pressure light (and DSC light) come ON solid. Pull off the road, turn off the engine, turn it back ON and lights were OFF. About 30 seconds later, still park on the side of the road, both lights came ON again. Turn off the car again and back on and lights stayed OFF. Texted BMW that problem still happening and started driving home. After about 20 miles, lights came ON. Oh yeah, no response from BMW but I didn’t expected them to do anything since I didn’t let them try to fix it.

After additional reading (on this site) on another post someone said he turn his steering wheel all the way to the left and then right to re-calibrate it and hasn't had the lights for over 2 years. So I did that yesterday morning (17 Oct 2018) before starting my 32 miles drive to work and then 32 miles home, either lights had come ON. Of course, that is only 1 day (2 drives).

I am hoping that the problem is "fixed". I will update if they come back ON--planning on taking a 400 miles trip in the M3 today.

If anyone have any other fix suggestions, I will certainly try them if it is not fixed already. Hopefully, I can bring this thread to a successful conclusion.

Thanks.
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Old Fri, Oct-19-2018, 01:00:01 PM   #2
m3e46_1970
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

Well, the problem is definitely not “fixed”. Yesterday morning, everything was looking good. Headed down to Biloxi, MS and started twice along the way, ~173 miles and 2.5 hrs drive. Hit speed from 0 – 100 MPH and absolutely no problem. On the way home, all was good until we hit a construction area and had to slow down to about 50 MPH and after driving for about 25 miles. Both lights (DSC and tire pressure monitor) came on at the same time with the usual braking. Continued to drive it until home in that condition. Stop off at the drug store 8 miles from home to pickup something. Restarted the car twice and both times, the lights came ON about 5 – 10 seconds later while still parked in the parking lot.

I understand there is a yaw sensor underneath the driver seat. But that was changed when I replaced the driver seat—not to say that the one that came with the seat is good or bad. Plus, I pull the seats out of a running M3 (the seller wanted to put in racing seats so he sold me his which I help him remove it from his car).

Any help I can get in diagnosing this problem will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.
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Old Fri, Oct-19-2018, 03:50:50 PM   #3
Hender107
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

Your not going to like this answer, but you can chase that problem for months and replace a lot of perfectly fine parts without knowing the actual code. My suggestion, find an indy shop that has access to autologic or some kind of proper ecu reader, one that actually goes into the code, not just scanners that tell you your gas cap isn't tight. BMW dealers are only as good as there best mechanic that day, and unfortunately they don't have half the training and knowledge on previous generations and indy shops.

With all that being said, 1 or both of the pressure sensors could be acting up/going bad. Your brake like is not illuminated amber so this makes me think that is less likely. You've checked or changed all the other problem components, the last thing which is what your not going to want to here, would be your DSC module it self. Again I would take the time to try and find someone who can properly diagnose not just guess at it, you'll waste way more time and money crossing your fingers and replacing all the cheaper stuff first.

Speaking from experience here on the same issues.
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Old Sat, Oct-20-2018, 02:49:53 AM   #4
m3e46_1970
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

Thanks Hender107. Any recommendation what I shoud look for or ask to make sure the "indy shops" know what they are talking about?

Just for clarification, my tire pressure light is AMBER (not red) and because of that, you don't think it is one of the TPM sensor in the tire needed changing?

Thanks again.
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Old Mon, Oct-22-2018, 02:08:25 PM   #5
Hender107
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

It very well could be, my lights were the dsc and brake light illuminated amber, so my problem was a little different, I know it was abs/dsc related. Given its your tire sensor light and DSC it may be a TPS, but still you wont know which without getting it read.

As far as what to ask for, im not super educated on the topic unfortunately. But any shop that has a reputation (good one) should be able to properly plug in and tell you specifically or at least in the area what the issues is. I know of auto logic systems specifically bc thats what my shop uses, that may be a bit overkill. These cars are smart and will let you know whats wrong. If you take it some where be explicitly clear with them you want to know whats wrong first and to not fix anything.

Last edited by Hender107; Tue, Oct-23-2018 at 06:25:54 PM.
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Old Tue, Oct-23-2018, 03:41:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

I suggest checking all of the ABS/DSC fuses. There are 7 of them.

I recently replaced my DSC module to address a similar issue, and a few days later the lights came back on. INPA said it was a bad pump motor, which made no sense since I had just replaced it. Checked the fuses and one was blown.

If that doesn’t fix it you may want to pull the codes yourself using INPA.
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Old Tue, Oct-23-2018, 06:39:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

You might want to check the brake reservoir cap. After track days I had the same lights going off, was actually losing a little bit of fluid as well around the cap, was hard to tell at first but it became more noticeable. Replacing the cap in my case seemed to fix it. Are you losing any hydraulic fluid?
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Old Mon, Oct-29-2018, 03:01:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

Thanks for the replies.

Beside a small oil leak (was told around the valve cover) I do not know of or seem any fluid lost. Will definitely take a closer look tomorrow in the light.

I will check the fuses as well.

I just brought and received the ODB cable with the INPA software. Tried to get it installed all day today but running into a non-English issue (Dutch I belives). Will re-install it tomorrow to see if I can get around it.

I have a ODBII code reader and was not able to pull any code from it using the Torque app that I've paid for on my phone/tablet.
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Old Mon, Oct-29-2018, 03:18:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by m3e46_1970 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Beside a small oil leak (was told around the valve cover) I do not know of or seem any fluid lost. Will definitely take a closer look tomorrow in the light.

I will check the fuses as well.

I just brought and received the ODB cable with the INPA software. Tried to get it installed all day today but running into a non-English issue (Dutch I belives). Will re-install it tomorrow to see if I can get around it.

I have a ODBII code reader and was not able to pull any code from it using the Torque app that I've paid for on my phone/tablet.
INPA is easier to get up and running using Mikes Easy Tools (google that for the link). Mine is stuck in German, but all you need is the hex code, which for DSC ABS issues would start with 5D or 5E. Full list of codes here http://www.endtuning.com/bmwcodes.html

Most OBD readers will only read engine codes, you’d need something like this to get chassis codes:



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Old Tue, Oct-30-2018, 06:43:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: DSC + Tire Pressure Lights

For what its worth, this is the scanner I have and it read my abs and a few other chassis codes. Its good for the price point, told me a had a bad pressure sensor when I had my light issues.



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Discussing DSC + Tire Pressure Lights in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)