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DME (engine control module), relay and main fuse replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

DME (engine control module), relay and main fuse replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$1000

Talent:

***

Tools:

T25 Torx, Phillips head

Applicable Models:

BMW X3 Sport Utility (2004-10)

Parts Required:

DME, relays or fuses

Hot Tip:

Disconnect battery to prevent damage

Performance Gain:

Properly operating control module

Complementary Modification:

Clear plugged e-box drain

BMW X3 models have a sophisticated electronic control system. At the heart of the system are computers (control modules) used to make decision based on sensor and user inputs. The engine control module (DME) and transmission control module (TCM) work in conjunction to provide the best driving experience. They share inputs and data across communication circuits, this helps to cut down on wire and the number of sensors used. The computers are programmed with base parameters and utilize sensor inputs to make adaptations and control component outputs as needed.

When replacing your DME, a used replacement is not an option. In the past, we use to be able to grab a DME from a donor vehicle with a matching part number. That however is no longer the case. Late model BMWs utilize an anti-theft system preventing swapping from vehicle to vehicle. This is due to the VIN being programmed in the DME and an assigned rolling code. With that said, there are companies popping up that claim to be able to program a used DME to match your vehicle. I don't have any personal experience with this method, however it is worth a phone call or a web search to see if it is an option for your vehicle. At the minimum, if you buy a new unit, you will have to code, program the DME. This has to be done using an advanced BMW scan tool, such as an Autologic.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal. See our tech article on battery replacing.


*NOTE - Please note that the DME is a dealer only part and requires a VIN number to be purchased.

The DME is located on the left side of the engine compartment mounted in the e-box.
Figure 1

The DME is located on the left side of the engine compartment mounted in the e-box.

Start by loosening the four T25 Torx screws (red arrows).
Figure 2

Start by loosening the four T25 Torx screws (red arrows).

Remove the E-box lid.
Figure 3

Remove the E-box lid. Lift up at an angle and detach the tabs at hinge.

With the lid removed, you now have access to the DME (green arrow) and the TCM (red arrow).
Figure 4

With the lid removed, you now have access to the DME (green arrow) and the TCM (red arrow). To make it easier to replace the DME, first remove the TCM.

Start by disconnecting the square DME connector (red arrow).
Figure 5

Start by disconnecting the square DME connector (red arrow). Press the tab and pull it straight up to remove. 

Next, disconnect the first two connectors on the TCM.
Figure 6

Next, disconnect the first two connectors on the TCM. Press the button (red arrow) and open the lever. The connectors will come off as lever is opened (inset).

Next, disconnect the square TCM connector (red arrow).
Figure 7

Next, disconnect the square TCM connector (red arrow). Press the tab and pull it straight up to remove.

At the corner of the E-box, pull the harness up out of mounting slot and lay aide.
Figure 8

At the corner of the E-box, pull the harness up out of mounting slot and lay aide.

At each side of the TCM is a locking tab (red arrow).
Figure 9

At each side of the TCM is a locking tab (red arrow). Pres the tabs and hold as you slide the TCM up to remove. If only replacing the TCM, reverse steps to install new, program new TCM using a BMW scan tool. To replace DME, continue following remaining steps.

Next, disconnect the next two connectors on the DME (red arrows).
Figure 10

Next, disconnect the next two connectors on the DME (red arrows). Press the button and open the lever. The connectors will come off as lever is opened.

Next, disconnect the final square DME connector (red arrow).
Figure 11

Next, disconnect the final square DME connector (red arrow). Press the tab and pull it straight up to remove.

At each side of the DME are locking tabs (red arrows).
Figure 12

At each side of the DME are locking tabs (red arrows). Pres the tabs and hold as you slide the DME up to remove. If needed, reinstall one connector (blue arrow) to use as a handle when pulling the DME up (inset). Reverse steps to install new DME. Code and program as needed and clear fault memory when complete.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Lou Comments: There are guys who can reprogram DME's. I just had one some recently. My DME was ruined by water. He programmed a used one with my VIN number and mailed it to me. Popped it in and it worked great
September 11, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Learjetdoc Comments: I see on eBay ECM's are being sold as "used in good condition". How are they sold if they are vin specific. I thought these were dealer items only. Reason I'm asking is my 2008 e83 electric radiator fan is not turning on. I have read power to the fan, replaced the temp sensor and changing the pump and thermostat. The ECM is the last in the line for T/S. Any suggestions on the fan or ecm? Thanks...
August 29, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Anyone can sell anything. it is up to the buyer to be sure it will work. A DME can't be shared from vehicle to vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Tue 9/19/2017 03:32:24 AM