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97 BMW 528i with Goblins

I have a 97 BMW 528i with 222,000 miles. In the last 3 weeks, while driving down the road, the Hazard Lights come on, the overhead light comes on. Then when I stop the car, get out, and try to lock the doors, the doors will not lock the first time the door lock is depressed. The alarm goes on, but the door locks are not engaged. So I must unlock the doors which aren’t locked, and then lock them again. At which point the doors lock and the alarm is reset. Another piece of information is that my battery died 3 weeks ago, the first time this happened. I took the battery in and they said I had a bad cell in the battery. So I replaced. After the battery was replaced, I took it the SRS airbag light came on. So everything seem ok, other than the airbag light for a week. Then the lights started again. One week later, my battery was dead. So I charged the battery and went back to Autozone, my alternator is working and the battery was charging. I also, cleaned the battery contacts prior to going to Autozone. I don’t know if this helped or not. Anyway, I decided to take the car to my mechanic and they found nothing wrong with the car, other than the oil temperature sensor which they replaced and said possibly could cause this problem. Not the SRS airbag light, that problem they said is because the SRS control module is shot. So now a week later, after replacing the oil temperature sensor, the hazard and overhead lights are still coming on when driving down the road. The next step I was going to try was to lock the doors and see if the doors become unlocked while driving down the road, which might point to the crash sensor relay or fuse. However, I don’t know if this problem will cause my battery to drain again or if it was unrelated. I could use some help.

You are definitely on the right track thinking of the crash sensor because the symptoms (dome light, flashers, and doors that won’t lock) are all what it is designed to do after a crash. I wonder if the dome light and flashers came on while you were away from the car and ran down the battery.

Thanks. After looking into my owners manual, I think that my control module is blown which contains the frontal impact sensor. When I had my car into the mechanic, he said that when he tried to reset the SRS airbag light, it came back the the control module is blown. So I think that this is the root of my problem. Also, it is a good thought that the dome light and flashers came on while I was away from the car. Do you see any issues with buying a used SRS control module? A new one is over $468 where as if I can find a used one, it might be worth the savings. Any thoughts?

When I drove Volvos, I used the salvage yards a lot because the local Volvo/Saab salvage yard is great. Now that I own four BMWs, I rarely use the BMW salvage yards because their prices are nearly equal to the on-line price for new OEM parts. The counter guys have the authority to negotiate down a bit on the price, but the lowest they will go is still not cheap.

If you can get a used one for 30% or so below retail, with at least a 30 day warranty, I would say go for it. I would shop eBay and the salvage yards that advertise on-line.

Before replacing it, I would open it up and examine it under a strong magnifying glass. If you have owned this car for a long time, you know that BMWs of this vintage are subject to cracking solder joints in various electronic components. You might get lucky and fix it for free. You would have to be able to see the crack which won’t be easy. This would be tougher than a dark radio display in which you can probe components with a toothpick until the display flickers to find the cracked joint.

Are Goblins worse versions of Gremlins?

So I finally bought an airbag control module for a BMW 528i online at e-bay. However, I left on vacation just before then and so I finally got back to installing it. When I tore apart my car, I found that the part number is different than what I had found listed on various websites for a 1997 BMW with side airbags. The websites I looked at had listed part number 6577-8372521. What I purchased was 6577-8374799. So I called the dealership and found out the one I have will not work. I could take the old one out and look for cracked solder joints, my only concern is that this is my only car and so if I remove it and don’t have a working replacement, I could get stranded. My question is do I have to worry about re-programming the control module if it was in a vehicle previously.

Why do you feel not having a working SRS module in the car will cause you to become stranded?

So do mean I can disconnect my airbag control module and the computer won’t react adversely to it? There’s nothing linked in the computer or ignition? I’m just checking.

Absouletly you can drive with the SRS control unit disconnected. Many times you would have to pull the car into the shop and remove the module to get the number (as you found) then you would drive the car to the lot while you waited for the part to get ordered and recieved. You have seperate issues going on here.

Nope. Gremlins were made by AMC. Nothing could be worse than a Gremlin, even a goblin. My dad had a Gremlin.