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Thread: Alarm Behaviour & troubleshooting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    Cape Town, South Africa
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    1998 BMW Z3

    Question Alarm Behaviour & troubleshooting

    I know the Z3 alarm has been discussed in detail but I need some pointers to help me troubleshoot tomorrow - Thanks in advance

    My alarm is behaving as follows


    • Alarm will sound within 30 seconds of arming but the indicators do not flash, just the siren goes off
    • Interior alarm light is located behind the hand break but does not seem to illuminate
    • Car will lock without issue from the key fob and indicators will flash but no bleeping from the alarm
    • Car will lock without issue with the bonnet open (bonnet sensor seems to be connected)
    • Indicators will flash if opening the door from the inside once car is locked. I have not tried this with the siren connected but I would not know if this was connected or if it was just going off as it normally does after locking


    Status of the alarm


    • Tilt sensor was flooded and disconnected before I purchased the car
    • Radio sensor / switch has been disconnected as my CD43 radio is missing the rubber pin cover
    • Drivers door micro switch is very sensitive but works find when closing the door a little hard


    I want to troubleshoot tomorrow and am going to start with plugging in my INPA cable and software. The issue I had when trying this last was I could not communicate with any of the alarm modules. The siren was unplugged at the time, so I am not sure if this is part of the issue but will try again with it plugged in. From there, I am going to disconnect the bonnet switch and see what happens.

    I have not noticed any interior motions sensors but may threads keep mentioning them on the sides of the windscreen and that they are problematic, so will be looking for those and disconnecting them should the above fail.


    Any advice is welcome. If someone could also share how the factory alarm should behave, so I know what I should be working towards


    • Does the system bleep on lock with the indicators?
    • Does the system bleep on unlock?
    • Should I be able to lock the car with the bonnet open?


    Thanks in advance again

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    2000 m roadster 2010 x3
    The fob can mute the beep when arming if you hold both buttons for 3-5 seconds. This turns the beep either on or off

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    MRster / 435i / Z4 M4i
    If you can set the alarm with the hood (bonnet) open then your hood switch is not working properly. I would just unplug the hood switch, which takes it out of the system. This may fix the issue with the alarm going off.
    2002 M Roadster, Steel Gray Metailic, Gray Nappa Leather, Black Soft Top, Steel Gray Metailic Hard Top, TC Kline Double Adj Shocks with H&R Springs, Stromung Exhaust, SSR Type C Wheels.

    2014 435i M-Sport, Mineral Gray, Black Dakota Leather, Driver Assistance Pkg, Prem Pkg, Tech Pkg, 8 Speed Sport AT, Heated Front Seats, Active Cruise Control, BMW MPPK w/MPE, BMW Limited Slip Diff, BBS CH Wheels.

    2022 Z4 M40i, Misano Blue Metallic, Prem Pkg, Driver Assistance Pkg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    UK
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    1998 Z3 1.9 5 speed
    I'm assuming you have the alarm with this fob?
    s-l300.jpg

    I'm pretty sure that none of the diagnostic tools actually connect to that type of alarm.

    When you set the alarm it doesn't actually arm for around 30 seconds, which is why it may be going off after 30 seconds. During that 30 second arming period you can test the various entry points if you can get the beeper to start working - you should be able to set the alarm and then, for instance, open a door. If you get the 'error beep' you know that the alarm has registered the door opening. If you don't get the error, then the alarm thinks that the door is already open. Hope that makes sense.

    Bear in mind that this alarm will still lock the doors even if it is in an error state, so the fact that the doors lock with the bonnet open is not necessarily significant.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    1998 BMW Z3
    So some interesting progress.. I adjusted the drivers door lock to resolve the sensitive micro-switch and plugged the siren back in and now I am able to communicate with the INPA software with the cars immobiliser system (EWS) module but still not with the alarm module (DWA). I have since cleared all error codes off the EWS module and now the alarm is behaving as follows (with the siren still plugged in)

    1 - Alarm locks and unlocks every time without issue from the key fob but with no beeps

    2 - The indicators now only flash with locking every now and then. It seems if I lock and then unlock a few times, it does not flash but if I leave it for a few mins, it will then flash on locking

    3 - The interior alarm light now illuminates and the interior motion sensor (located under the centre console) works once armed

    4 - The car locks and does not false alarm (for the moment). I have tested it with the roof down for about 10 mins and the roof up for the last 45 mins and counting



    So the remaining issues / questions are as follows

    1 - How to get the alarm to beep on locking / unlocking. I have tried the above suggesting key combo but this does not seem work. I have the integrated 3 button key-fobs (see below), so it may be different from the remote you have

    2 - I have removed the bonnet / hood sensor as it makes no difference installed, removed, open or closed. I have tested it with a meter and it seems to be functioning but I don't know what the 3 pins original states should be, so I am going to try and convince my local dealer to let me attach a meter to one they have in stock and see.


    The conclusion and next steps are... It could have been the drivers door which has now been aligned again... It could have been the bonnet / hood sensor which has been removed... I am going to leave it for a few days and then re-install the sensor / install a new one if I find a problem when comparing to the dealers but the main thing is to still find out how to enable the beep on lock -- Going to ask the dealer too but I have my doubts with the age of the car

    41hnhhytqfl.jpeg

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I'm not sure why there are three wires to the bonnet switch, as it's a simple open or closed switch and should only have two. Do you have the wiring diagrams for the car? If not, you can download them from here: http://wedophones.com/Manuals/BMW/

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by BladeRunner919 View Post
    I'm not sure why there are three wires to the bonnet switch, as it's a simple open or closed switch and should only have two. Do you have the wiring diagrams for the car? If not, you can download them from here: http://wedophones.com/Manuals/BMW/
    Thank you, I have found the switch wiring. Very overly complicated for no reason but will re-test in the pins tomorrow and check

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Two Z3 Roadsters 2L & 3L
    What is the build date of your Z3? This will help you select the right wiring diagrams for your car.

    I see that you are in South Africa and have the 3 button key. It may be that you do not have the Alpine alarm that is used in the USA and many of the early UK Z3's. I suspect that your alarm is actually part of the General Module 4 (ZKE4). My UK spec Z3 has the 3 button key and the alarm is part of the ZKE4. You can get the wiring diagrams for this variation from here. https://zroadster.org/resources/ It is probably the first resource on that page as it is for the 1998 cars.

    I have never heard a peep from my siren, even when the alarm has been set off. Either the siren is dead or it is turned off.
    So how does this alarm system work:

    On lock:
    - The indicators flash
    - If all doors etc are closed, the led light will blink once every 2 seconds.
    - If there is a door open or bonnet/hood open, then the red light will flash fast for about 20 seconds, then return to the once every 2 seconds routine.

    On unlock, the door just unlock. There is no flash from the indicators.

    If the alarm is set off. The indicators flash continuously until you either remotely lock/unlock the car or put a valid key into the ignition and start the car.


    The alarm sensors are simple devices. You unplug the radio switch and the bonnet/hood switch to deactivate them. The bonnet/hood switch is a common point of failure. They are easily fixed. The switch comes apart/unclips. The push rod usually wears down and stops switching the contacts. I drilled a little hole in the end of the push rod and glued in a dress makers pin. The extra 1.2mm height of the pin head solved the problem.

    INPA is a useful tool to look inside the ZKE4 and see what is happening with the central locking system. By memory, there are also digital points for the doors, radio switch the bonnet/hood switches and more to do with the key buttons etc. Also check out the "Activation" tab to see what you can switch on/off with regards to the alarm system.
    2000 2.0L Z3 Roadster,
    2000 3.0L Z3 Roadster,
    2000 323i E46

    There is only one thing more pleasurable than working on a Z3, that's driving it top down on a fine day.

  9. #9
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    @Muzz258 - Thank you for the link and the different options on the alarm. My car is a week 15 1998 (April 1998)... So before they changed the alarms from what I believe.

    Going to check the light behaviour a little later and will see how it works vs. my bonnet switch.

    I have just checked my INPA software and found the ZKE4 module but it is listed as Central Body Electronics... I don't think I have ever gone in there but will give it a try shortly and see

    Will keep you posted & thanks again

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Sorry for the very delayed reply.... So I managed to sort almost all of it all and it has been working since my last post.

    The bonnet switch despite being functioning on the multi meter is definitely the cause of the intermittent alarm. What is most odd, instead of the system seeing it mostly working, I think the system see it as mostly disconnected and then every now and then it reconnect but as open. I presume this from the fact that I can lock and unlock the car without any issues with the bonnet / hood open and the switch connected.

    The other initial issue is that it would seem you need to let the siren's battery charge for a little bit before testing as this can also cause the system to go off.

    In the end, the dealer did not have the switch in stock at that branch and I am not bothered about having it disconnected as the rest of the system works perfectly.


    Lastly, I was not able to get INPA to pick up the model at all but know my mechanic was able to on his tool, so I am going to ask him to see if he can enable the beep on lock.


    Thanks again for all the input

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I also have the hood switch disconnected (after three switches failed), but I don't understand the logic about having a hood switch. It is almost impossible to open the hood without pulling the hood lever from inside the cockpit. So if someone wanted to get under the hood and the alarm is on, wouldn't they set off the alarm when trying to access the hood lever in the cockpit?
    2002 M Roadster, Steel Gray Metailic, Gray Nappa Leather, Black Soft Top, Steel Gray Metailic Hard Top, TC Kline Double Adj Shocks with H&R Springs, Stromung Exhaust, SSR Type C Wheels.

    2014 435i M-Sport, Mineral Gray, Black Dakota Leather, Driver Assistance Pkg, Prem Pkg, Tech Pkg, 8 Speed Sport AT, Heated Front Seats, Active Cruise Control, BMW MPPK w/MPE, BMW Limited Slip Diff, BBS CH Wheels.

    2022 Z4 M40i, Misano Blue Metallic, Prem Pkg, Driver Assistance Pkg

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