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My 550i has for a few months now been throwing active steering failed messages. When you go on these forums there is a lot written about these sorts of issues especially it would appear for the E60 and E61. I can't believe some of the suggested fixes and it has been a surprise that having posted dozens of cries for help someone did not follow up with what the root cause was and more important what the fix was. I am sure there is more than one issue and more than one fix but surely in this day and age we can do better.

So not wanting to be like the rest I thought I would share my story and confirm so far my successful end outcome be it that it may still be too early to get overly excited about the fix.

I won't bore you with a novel only point out the behaviour I experienced

- It started after driving back from Taupo, the next day when driving to work. It self cleared within a KM down the road after I stopped and restarted the car.

-It next appeared again after another longer drive home the next day when starting the car. Again reset a KM down the road following the same procedure. Around two months had passed since the first time this occurred and took me to around end March this year

- Third appeared with a few weeks and this time I hadn't been driving any distances out of the ordinary. From this point forward I was getting the fault at least once a week. At this time I started to investigate on the WWW forums what this was about.

-Basically over time the fault was becoming more regular but still corrected itself after driving stopping and restarting. I tried some of the myths on sties such as put the key in the car but don't start up. Turn the wheel all the way to the left, then to the right and then back to the centre. Start and drive forward. Turn off and wait a minute. Start up and the issue will be sorted. Some suggested the same procedure but wait up to 30 minutes. Some suggested doing the same but with the engine running. I tried them all and nothing worked.

-When my car developed a new spin on the fault where I put the key in to start the car and saw my steering wheel start to turn itself to the left. I starte the car and got the same fault message but now the steering wheel was offset to go straight. At this point I suspected the root issue was my angle sensor. When it reset it self I notices a shuddering in the steering wheel as it re-centred itself while I was driving. At this point I sort help

-Taking it to the local mechanic who has always been good at fixing any concerns I have had with other cars got the faults off the car being 6137 - Motor Position Sensor Failure. Then 614A - Motor Position angle not inialized and then OEA3 which I can't recall what it said but basically more of the same. My mechanic recommended replacing the Angle sensors. A cost of $1500. At this point I realised that I need an BMW authorised expert to give me there opion as I know a witch hunt when I see one.

- I took my car in Wellington based on a mates advise who also happens to be member of this community to First European Cars. They took the codes and got different error codes and descriptions than my mechanic and it seems to be down to using actual BMW devices vs OBDII devices which are not necessarily giving us the best data. This lead the them to recall another customer who had the same issues and symptoms and the fix was a wheel re-alignment. That customer had recalled hitting a large pot hole and when the alignment was checked found the wheels off by more than .30 each side. When reset and the active steering reset/calibrated the issue was resolved. I cant recall hitting anything that would make my while alignment go out but it was worth a try. And what do you know. My alignment was out on the left by -0.28 and the right by -0.36. This procedure was then performed on my car and since yesterday I have not so far touch wood had the fault appear.

So I will drive around for a week and let you know if this was truly the cause and fix to my issue. Got to say it is better to spend $80 for an alignment than $2000 for a replace of parts that may not be broken?

It I have saved that money then I may just see what performance improvements I can make. Activating the true sports mode in my 550i will be the first act.

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Shows that a second opinion can save you a lot of money and time. I've had a few cases of that myself :)

Always a big relief when a potential major problem turns out to be a simple cheap fix.

Edited by Matth5

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Great job on posting the story for others as well

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Follow up. For a few days the issue seemed to be sorted but it came back yesterday morning. So I have my car booked back In for the next course of action. The ASU (Active Steering Unit) sits under the drivers seat. The fault logs and some analysis showed that it was not behaving consistently so the next course of action is to pull it out and send it to a specialist in Christchurch. They will run diagnostics and find out if anything is out of place and if it is and can be fixed, fix it and return the unit. If it can be fixed I have to buy a new unit. Still only talking $200 to around $600 which is still much better than blindly changing the angle sensor which testing indicated was good. Evidently JAP and other assian imports that sit on at the docks and in transit for long periods can have these sorts of issues. In some cases this can be caused by mosture and others buy bad battries. In the case of the battery mine is good there too.

Anyway I will report when I get the unit back on the outcome.

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It's good you have taken it to First Class European, Sheldon sorted out fault codes on my E60 as well as rebuilding the vanos on my E46, I have been happy with the quality of his work.

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Well time has gone turned and some progress has been made.  The issue turned out to be a water leak.  Appears this can be a common issue with e60s.  There is two common faults that cause water leaks.  First and most common is leaves collecting in the window cell vents causing water to pool and leak through average welding that seems to be a common issue with this model.  If unchecked the damage the water does is the least of the issues.  It can cause rust on a key point in the firewall and car body that can be exceptionally expensive to fix and if noticed by people doing WOFs will mean car is not warrantable.  Luckily this was not my specific issue.  The second issue which was my issue is the wiring lume which goes from the engine through the firewall about where the driver foot rest is positioned.  A rubber Gromit stops water from getting through.  When people push additional wires through it pays to check the Gromit is not damaged or half out which was what mine was.  Seems the water leak was traced back to this. 

So some time ago water had pooled and compromised my Active Steering control unit which had already been opened and was more compromised to this condition.  The control unit sits in the floor under a foot from the break pedal and is surrounded by foam.  You could tell that water damage had occurred on the aluminium.  I was warned that the replacement which is $1700 and luckily I am covered by AutoSure cover could mask additional issues.  The control unit is the very first thing on the start-up boot log so anything else is suppressed behind this.   Today the unit was installed and surprise surprise a new issue is now being reported.  I am now waiting on confirmation from insurer that they can proceed to the next stage of part replacement.  Hopefully this will be squared away tomorrow.  Very complex systems and components within the Active Steering in these cars.  Good when it works but not so good when it goes wrong.  Anyway I will post an additional update with what is done next and what the outcome is. 

Some poor sod today who had an e61 was told there transmission failed and needs to be replaced a common issue with the e61 evidently especially around the 100,000km's.  The car is worth $6k and the replacement transmission is $12k.  The car has been written off. 

By the way the fix of the welding of the e60 firewall rust bill was quoted at $16k most of it labour due to having to strip out the engine, then the panel work and then the rebuild.  Not sure I believe that.  Surely it can't be that labour intensive.

 

 

 

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So here is what's next.  While the insurance is still being assessed the next step is to check the next part of the Active Steering boot chain.  Advised there are seven components that make up the entire active steering function in BMWs.  While the next part is not due to actual water damage it is probable the Control unit being water damaged caused a voltage issue that shorted out stuff up the line.  Was expecting a call to confirm the autosure was approved to extend the next part of this journey but guess they haven't heard back yet.  Explored if the Active Control function can be disabled but it is part of the other steering and breaking functions and can't be disabled. Surely in this day and age allowing a fault to cause up stream corruption is catered for in the form of fuse taking the hit not the more expensive parts but then what do I know.

 

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^^ very good point, that!  inter-module protection (or lack thereof) clearly an issue!

Mate of mine in UK ran a 545i SE for many years, his steering angle sensor was replaced by BMW dealer.

 

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Sounds more like an argument to go for a proper diagnoses from an expert  straight off rather than dicking around with speculation / forums and ......

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Sheesh Mark - sounds very frustrating. I've had Active Steering warnings on my E60 when I've had the car parked on the kerb overnight - but this has been sorted with a re-calibrate. Good luck with getting this sorted - at least Autosure are good to deal with. I've just been through both sorting the brake warning trifecta on my X5 with a (re-repair) to the ABS control unit and a compressor switch replacement.

My advice to anyone picking up a moderate age/kms BMW is always get a MBI and then still allow up to $5K for sorting stuff out - unless you are getting something absolutely immaculate and with a significant service history!

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Well hopefully the issue is now sorted.  The second fault after the primary fix was made to the active control unit was due to my car not having BMW correct program installed.  Seems the program was changed in Japan.  Car had to be sent to BMW dealership to have the correct program for the model installed.  When that was done the re-install of the Active control program then took and the fault is now sorted.  Picked up my car this avo.

Additional good news is that the replacement ACU is covered for 4 years so if something in the future should go wrong I am covered.

End cost to me was $600 which isn't so bad.  The bad was the frustration and the eight week fault diagnostics.  Additional benefit I now know a lot more about Active Steering in BMWs both how it works and what can go wrong and why it can go wrong.  Hopefully this helps others and they go to a certified expert.

 

 

 

 

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The active steering fault light came on on my way to work this morning in the E60 I've barely had 2 weeks :(  Hopefully a reset sorts it

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tyre pressures, and alignment first.  

Mine came on the other morning.  It had been sat on an angle for 5 days... sat squarely in a nice, level carpark and it reset fine.  The steering had been a little odd.  I checked tyre pressures next day and found them pretty low (32PSI), so I need to check them more regularly (I'm running 37/42 PSI in 245/40/18).  

I'm usually very sensitive to pressures, I wonder if the Dynamic Drive counteracts a bit of tyre wiggle?  Strangely, the TPS didn't give me a nudge about pressures.  I digress.  

Keep us posted.

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I static reset it when I left work and it was fine all the way home and back again this morning (which is only 10km each way). Will check tyre pressure tonight.

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How do you static reset the Active Steering?  Keen to know.

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When I say static I just mean I wasn't moving. So went lock to lock, back to centre, turned key off, waiting about 30 sec, started car and all was good.

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On 6/13/2017 at 11:53 AM, Mack10 said:

When I say static I just mean I wasn't moving. So went lock to lock, back to centre, turned key off, waiting about 30 sec, started car and all was good.

Yeah I'd find I'd have to do this if I'd been tinkering around in the car and let the battery get flatter than it liked (I suspect the battery was on the way out as I wasn't spending that long). The car would shut things off automatically and show me car-on-a-lift picture next time I turned the ignition on.  Do this a few times and it'll give an active steering issue the next time you start it up.

The turn on, lock to lock once or twice, back to centre, and turn it off seemed to fix it each time.

Was a pain because the steering weight and ratio's would be out.

If you're doing the same as I was (lots of tinkering), and/or your battery is weak you could end up with the same. 

On 6/12/2017 at 4:42 PM, Olaf said:

 Strangely, the TPS didn't give me a nudge about pressures.  I digress.  

Had similar concerns about the TPS. Would loose 5psi + with no warning to be seen.  From what I understand the jap cars worked on rotation speed as opposed to active sensors.

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i find that big low profile tyres dont give very much "low pressure feed back"

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On 6/17/2017 at 5:44 PM, scottr said:

If you're doing the same as I was (lots of tinkering), and/or your battery is weak you could end up with the same. 

Had similar concerns about the TPS. Would loose 5psi + with no warning to be seen.  From what I understand the jap cars worked on rotation speed as opposed to active sensors.

Yes indeedy, mine has rotational speed sensors.  Excellent point!

8 hours ago, kiwi535 said:

i find that big low profile tyres dont give very much "low pressure feed back"

I think you've nailed it there, Paul!

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14 hours ago, Olaf said:

I think you've nailed it there, Paul!

no pun intended!?

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10 minutes ago, kiwi535 said:

no pun intended!?

tumbled. :ph34r:

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