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Thread: External (Ambient) Temperature Sensor Replacement

  1. #1
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    External (Ambient) Temperature Sensor Replacement

    DIY:
    External (Ambient) Temperature Sensor Replacement

    The ETS placement on an E39 is shown in the following thread.
    Where is the External Temperature Sensor located?

    If your temp reading is still -40C after several days, you may need to try this...
    Quote Originally Posted by eva89 View Post
    Netstat is correct - you need to short the terminals to calibrate the sensor. I had to do the same thing. With the car off, bend a piece of wire into a "u" shape, and short across both terminals. After it is in place, turn the key to the "on" position, while still on, remove the wire and plug in the sensor. Check the display, the temp should then be correct. Also, the climate control will not work right if the temperature is reading -40.


    Depending on the amount and kind of damage done to the wires, you may need this kit.
    Quote Originally Posted by PJB View Post
    That depends on what is at the end of the wires. If the ends are in tact then just the sensor is needed. If the ends are frayed, cut, or otherwise damaged, then I would suggest that in addition to the sensor, you pick up Bavarian Autosport's External Air Temperature Sensor Plug Repair Kit (part number 61138365340KIT):



    You can buy the passenger's lower engine compartment cover, the external temperature sensor, and the wiring repair kit for about $122 USD before shipping.
    If you use the kit, there are some additional instructions that you'll need to follow to get the sensor working. The following is the best description of the extra steps, but as more data becomes available, I'll update this post.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmedarts View Post
    I bought the kit from Bavauto and had the same issue.

    It's been a while, but I think the sensor itself comes as one piece but it is actually two, and you have to take the inserted piece out, and then open it up, in order to get the connector ends of the supplied wires all the way into it.

    Carefully examine it and you will see where it comes apart. I almost felt like I was breaking it. The connectors on the ends of the wires end up all the way at the end of the plastic male piece when they are inserted properly, then the male piece goes into the female temp sensor itself.

    I then just crimped the wires onto the leads. According to "bavarian otto" the polarity is not important.

    Good Luck
    Quote Originally Posted by BoardEm View Post
    Fixed. The female plug Bav Auto provides is three pieces; a gray piece, a green piece, and a white piece. I pulled them all apart and once I too the white piece off the wires simply slipped in. Simple instructions saying to take all the pieces apart would have saved me a lot of time and cussing. Oh well. Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 08-22-2012 at 07:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks James,

    I'd like to add my 2 cents:

    1. The factory location is prone to curbside damage, so I relocated the temp sensor upward a bit (in the same area as the Air Pump) to avoid repeat damage. I did this in 2006 and so far so good:




    2. After installing the new temp sensor, you must drive the car, otherwise the computer will not recognize and calibrate it.

    End of my 2 cents, HTH.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Thanks James,

    I'd like to add my 2 cents:

    1. The factory location is prone to curbside damage, so I relocated the temp sensor upward a bit (in the same area as the Air Pump) to avoid repeat damage. I did this in 2006 and so far so good:




    2. After installing the new temp sensor, you must drive the car, otherwise the computer will not recognize and calibrate it.

    End of my 2 cents, HTH.
    Thanks Cam!
    I knew you'd be posting the alternative sensor location at some point.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post

    1. The factory location is prone to curbside damage, so I relocated the temp sensor upward a bit (in the same area as the Air Pump) to avoid repeat damage. I did this in 2006 and so far so good:
    What did you use to fasten the sensor in its new location? I no longer have my undercover also, and like where you chose to put it.

  5. #5
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    Does anyone know the part number of the sensor?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eyeball View Post
    What did you use to fasten the sensor in its new location? I no longer have my undercover also, and like where you chose to put it.
    Cam seems to really like zip ties, but I'll PM him and let him know you are inquiring about his method.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stankia View Post
    Does anyone know the part number of the sensor?
    You should study realoem.com's site and try to get familiar with how parts are grouped. Even though parts from one model E39 may seem similar to parts on another model, the best way to browse for the correct part for your E39 is to enter the VIN into the above website.
    Also, I am unable to post the proper part number for you because the only information you list about your car is that it is an E39. That is probably the most obvious information about your vehicle. Since this is the E39 forum, we can safely assume you are referring to an E39! What we need to know is the year (production date preferably) of your car and the model designation (540, 530, etc.).
    Please read through the FAQ thread parked at the top of the E39 main subforum as it contains information that would have saved both of us some time.
    Please read before posting!!! E39 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)/ Links/ Autoparts
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 04-01-2010 at 09:26 PM.

  7. #7
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    Yes,

    James is correct.
    Look closely at the above pic, I used a single zip tie. It works well.
    Actually if you don't have a drill, then use a screw to tap 2 holes for the zip tie.

    PS: "Eyeball", I'd go buy another cover (even if you move the temp sensor upward) because this cover protects the Air Pump and your temp sensor.
    The cover is inexpensive, about $15 or so at dealer.
    Last edited by cnn; 04-02-2010 at 09:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    Cam seems to really like zip ties, but I'll PM him and let him know you are inquiring about his method.

    You should study realoem.com's site and try to get familiar with how parts are grouped. Even though parts from one model E39 may seem similar to parts on another model, the best way to browse for the correct part for your E39 is to enter the VIN into the above website.
    Also, I am unable to post the proper part number for you because the only information you list about your car is that it is an E39. That is probably the most obvious information about your vehicle. Since this is the E39 forum, we can safely assume you are referring to an E39! What we need to know is the year (production date preferably) of your car and the model designation (540, 530, etc.).
    Please read through the FAQ thread parked at the top of the E39 main subforum as it contains information that would have saved both of us some time.
    Please read before posting!!! E39 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)/ Links/ Autoparts
    I went to the stealership today and said that I need an ambient temp. sensor, they didn't even ask me for the model or year and just gave me the sensor ($60 ). It physically fits but the dash still shows -40F degrees. Is there anything else I can do?

  9. #9
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    You got ripped off. The online price is about $30.

    And Yes you have to drive the car a while so the computer registers the new sensor.
    Last edited by cnn; 04-03-2010 at 09:32 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stankia View Post
    I went to the stealership today and said that I need an ambient temp. sensor, they didn't even ask me for the model or year and just gave me the sensor ($60 ). It physically fits but the dash still shows -40F degrees. Is there anything else I can do?
    Bummer you got hosed although not all parts at the dealership are marked up that much. Did you read the entire first post in this thread?
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    If your temp reading is still -40C after several days, you may need to try this...
    Quote Originally Posted by eva89 View Post
    Netstat is correct - you need to short the terminals to calibrate the sensor. I had to do the same thing. With the car off, bend a piece of wire into a "u" shape, and short across both terminals. After it is in place, turn the key to the "on" position, while still on, remove the wire and plug in the sensor. Check the display, the temp should then be correct. Also, the climate control will not work right if the temperature is reading -40.

    By the way, YOU are the one that will benefit from putting more specific car info in your car list.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 04-02-2010 at 09:23 PM.

  11. #11
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    Female Plug

    "Fixed. The female plug Bav Auto provides is three pieces; a gray piece, a green piece, and a white piece. I pulled them all apart and once I too the white piece off the wires simply slipped in. Simple instructions saying to take all the pieces apart would have saved me a lot of time and cussing. Oh well. Thanks for the help."

    I skipped the female plug and slid the female parts of the wiring onto the ouput pins of the sensor then housed it with electrical tape. Be very careful not to break or bend the pins. My exterior temp reading has been accurate for the past month since I did this.

    Where I am the seasons have been changing, so we have had some eratic temperature changes. Temp sensor has been fairly accurate.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the great writeup! Replaced my sensor this weekend and it registered the correct temperature as soon as I turned the key.

  13. #13
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    The write-ups helped - thank you guys & also for providing the links. Did both the outside temp sensor & the plastic panel that holds it, today on my wife's E39 touring. Yes, it was showing -40 degrees & had lost the battle with a curb. After install, drove it to reset temp - took @ 7 miles & it was back up to outside temp & a/c began working again.
    Thanks,
    Jack

  14. #14
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    I jacked up my m5 today to give this a go; the entire sensor and wires were missing.

    When I removed the panel, there was only a 'plug' there, with no wires.

    I mistakenly only ordered one wire, so I'm waiting on that. In your picture above, you show two 'tubes'. What are those for?

    Putting the sensor together is easy enough, but then I'll have two white wires leading away from it to the part connected to the car; I checked that part out fairly well, and it doesn't really look like the wires just push into it (the regular end of the wire, not the end with the connector attached).

    Am I missing an additional part other than the extra white wire? How do the white wires connect to the connector attached to the vehicle?

    Thanks! - Chris

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by axxegrinder View Post
    I jacked up my m5 today to give this a go; the entire sensor and wires were missing.

    When I removed the panel, there was only a 'plug' there, with no wires.

    I mistakenly only ordered one wire, so I'm waiting on that. In your picture above, you show two 'tubes'. What are those for?

    Putting the sensor together is easy enough, but then I'll have two white wires leading away from it to the part connected to the car; I checked that part out fairly well, and it doesn't really look like the wires just push into it (the regular end of the wire, not the end with the connector attached).

    Am I missing an additional part other than the extra white wire? How do the white wires connect to the connector attached to the vehicle?

    Thanks! - Chris
    Are you referring to the two tubes indicated by the blue arrows? If so, I believe those are for the secondary air pump. They have nothing to do with the ambient temp. sensor.


    As for the wires, I think you should have purchased the kit.vvvvv

  16. #16
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    jamesdc4,

    Thanks... !

  17. #17
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    Ambient Repair Kit

    Greetings to all,

    Hey I am trying to figure out how to put my ambient repair kit wires together...Do anyone have instructions to provide?

    Thanks

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smookey525i View Post
    Greetings to all,

    Hey I am trying to figure out how to put my ambient repair kit wires together...Do anyone have instructions to provide?

    Thanks
    Not much to it.

    Simply insert the ends of the wiring into the connector.
    Then use :
    1. either the butt connectors as shown by jamesdc4 (crimp it with a pair of pliers).
    2. or solder it and use heat-shrinkable tubing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Not much to it.

    Simply insert the ends of the wiring into the connector.
    Then use :
    1. either the butt connectors as shown by jamesdc4 (crimp it with a pair of pliers).
    2. or solder it and use heat-shrinkable tubing.


    Thanks for the Info

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    You got ripped off. The online price is about $30.

    And Yes you have to drive the car a while so the computer registers the new sensor.

    I replaced the (missing) sensor but it still doesn't register. The wiring appears to be good.
    How long do I have to drive for it to register?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by etcetera View Post
    I replaced the (missing) sensor but it still doesn't register. The wiring appears to be good.
    How long do I have to drive for it to register?
    Did you do this?
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4
    If you use the kit, there are some additional instructions that you'll need to follow to get the sensor working. The following is the best description of the extra steps, but as more data becomes available, I'll update this post.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmedarts View Post
    I bought the kit from Bavauto and had the same issue.

    It's been a while, but I think the sensor itself comes as one piece but it is actually two, and you have to take the inserted piece out, and then open it up, in order to get the connector ends of the supplied wires all the way into it.

    Carefully examine it and you will see where it comes apart. I almost felt like I was breaking it. The connectors on the ends of the wires end up all the way at the end of the plastic male piece when they are inserted properly, then the male piece goes into the female temp sensor itself.

    I then just crimped the wires onto the leads. According to "bavarian otto" the polarity is not important.

    Good Luck
    Quote Originally Posted by BoardEm View Post
    Fixed. The female plug Bav Auto provides is three pieces; a gray piece, a green piece, and a white piece. I pulled them all apart and once I too the white piece off the wires simply slipped in. Simple instructions saying to take all the pieces apart would have saved me a lot of time and cussing. Oh well. Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 08-06-2010 at 02:11 PM.

  22. #22
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    I fixed it. The wiring was *not* good. A voltmeter revealed it. The sensor was dangling loose and snagged on something, disappearing and in the process damaging the wiring.

    I traced the break, which was right at the place where the sensor plugs into the plastic receptacle, and solder it together. Thus far it holds. If it doesn't, I will get the kit.

    To validate the wiring being good, pull the voltage with a voltmeter, mine read 3.5V.

    Another sign is that you should see the temperature immediately go down. First, the -40C display should start flashing. Within 5-10 minutes, it should read -39.5C and then take another hour or two to get to say +15C. By that time, AC was blowing ice-cold.

    I relocated the sensor to a new place, holding it with straps. Will examine it in a few days and decide if I should keep it there or find a more permanent place.

  23. #23
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    Where did you reposition the sensor?
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 08-11-2010 at 02:59 PM.

  24. #24
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    Okay, I replaced ambient air temp. sensor yesterday. The sensor along with a new plug. The wires were soldered then shrink wrapped. Temperature was showing -40 prior to changing out. Started the car and it read +122. Drove about 10 miles temp. went down to about +55 for a minute or so then back to +122. Today I drove about 60 miles all but a minute temp showing at +122. I hesitate to short the terminals out. Is this the only way or can I just wait this out and maybe the sensor will calibrate itself ? My ride is a 2000 M5.
    Thanks Henry

  25. #25
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    Okay, I replaced ambient air temp. sensor yesterday. The sensor along with a new plug. The wires were soldered then shrink wrapped. Temperature was showing -40 prior to changing out. Started the car and it read +122. Drove about 10 miles temp. went down to about +55 for a minute or so then back to +122. Today I drove about 60 miles all but a minute temp showing at +122. I hesitate to short the terminals out. Is this the only way or can I just wait this out and maybe the sensor will calibrate itself ? My ride is a 2000 M5.
    Thanks Henry

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