I have a ghost in my BMW

Very strange happenings to my beemer…

It’s a 2001 530d stationwagon (I live in Germany, Armed Forces) that has electrical issues galore. When I turn off the car, pull out the key and open the door, the radio stays on. In fact, I’ve come back to the car after being inside somewhere and it’s turned itself back on. On top of all this, my battery is drained all the time, but I don’t think it’s the radio’s fault (completely). I also have another strange problem.

There are times when, after being in the market for 15 minutes or so, I come back and nothing turns on. The dash is dark, the doors won’t unlock using the FOB or door actuators, so I hook up the jumpers to the terminals and touch the other ends to each other, make a big spark, and then everything is fine and turns back on.

Who and what is haunting my car?

I’d pull the fuse for the radio to see if battery drain problems subside. Then I’d clean the battery terminals and inspect battery terminal clamps closely for corrosion, and the same for the major grounds. Making that spark could be “burning” through connection crud. In the end, you also might need a new battery.

All European cars are made with gremlin seeds in them. It takes about 10 years for those seeds to mature, then they hatch, releasing them among the electronic modules. Yours seems to have found the convenience module, which is responsible for the door locks, window controls, and radio power delay. To get the car right, this expensive module may need to be rrefurbished or replaced.

Not only do I agree with Busted’s theory, I tip my hat to his creative way of communicating it.

You might also search on BMW specific forums. There may be a specific issue that others have found a solution to. The odds are that if you’re struggling with this, you’re not the first.

Actually, I mainly posted to offer my sincere thanks for your service to our country. You have my personal gratitude and the gratitude of a grateful nation. Enjoy your tour in Germany. Take countless, numerous photos. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life. Today, as I age and my body falls apart, I often think back to my years in the military and often pull out the old photos.