Rain Sensor Problem - X5 - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 7:56 am Thread Starter
 
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Smile Rain Sensor Problem - X5

I brought my 2nd hand X5 (2004) in Hong Kong a couple of months ago. Everything seems fine except the rain sensor. It does not work even when it is raining dogs and cats. I cannot even choose any intermittent speed (at least I want to have a slow wipe - just like the old version BMW w/o rain sensor). I have searched all the webs and now become an expert.

There are basically 4 ways to deal with the problem:-

(1) Replace the OEM windshield with the original IR receptor attached. This ensure the sensor receive a clear and accurate signal and it will save all the problems. If necessary, you may also need to replace a rain/light sensor unit (just between the IR recptor and the mirror), which is a easy DIY job.

(2) If you have already replaced a windshield which is not OEM, you may find bubbles in the IR receptor area. This cause the rain/light sensor malfunction. You have to remove all the adhesives on the surface of windshield and the IR receptor (be careful not to break the IR receptor when you try to take it off). One way to attach it to the windshield is using a thin layer of transparent (not translucent) silicon gel. Someone has tried the 'Permatex 66B' and it works perfectly well and no need to change another OEM windshield.

(3) Just unplug the rain/light sensor and you will get the intermittent speed back (just like the old model, i.e. it will speed up when you are driving and slow down when the car is station...wow!) Unfortunately, you will also lose the auto light (that I don't really care).

To me, the rain/light sensor is cool but if it creates problem...further problems, I'd rather sacrifice it. That's why I choose option (3) and I am still happy with this choice. Maybe one day when my windshield is cracked and it is insured, I will get it again. Ha Ha.

Thanks for your attention.
p.s. if you want to see DIY photos, please let me know.
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post #2 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 8:10 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

You may think you are posting to the X5 World Forum... unfortunately you missed it.

I can say this because I have an X5 also... and by the way... my rain sensor works. Be sure you have a rain sensing windshield. Often the OEM rain sensor is not used when a windshield is replaced because it is about 3x the cost of a non sensing shield. Best to check twice on a used X5.

We now return you to your original forum.....

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post #3 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 8:18 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Do you really need something that tells you....it's raining? Helloooo
Why the trouble and expense?
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post #4 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 8:30 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Hei obviously I've posted to the wrong forum...and now moves back to X5world. Just to say hi - to all BMW users in different places around the world. Bye
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post #5 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 10:15 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

I leave my X5 in Rain sensing mode so that if we get a little mist or even if it rains...I do not have to go to all the trouble of sliding the lever down to Intermittent, or even to On. Its these little labor savers that really add up to justify spending 3 times what a car really ought to cost.

Not to mention the maintenance and repairs- wait, I slipped over to the BMW Motorrad side... no wait, it must be the BMW Rondel that causes all the trouble....

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post #6 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 10:17 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesn
Do you really need something that tells you....it's raining? Helloooo
Why the trouble and expense?
LOL, I share the same sentiment! Automakers now are loading the cars up with gadgets - bluetooth, voice command, rain sensing windshields.... none of it does anything to make the car go, turn, or stop.

It does, however, increase the possibility that something will stop working.

I'm an regional automotive troubleshooter for a foreign car maker. (That's a fancy name for a good technician that travels around fixing cars dealership techs can't seem to fix.) Part of the job is to inspect vehicles that have been in for repair several times, where the dealer cannot duplicate the condition. I spent 2 days water testing a sunroof for a supposed leak and, despite my best efforts, could not get a single drop of water inside the car. I finally spoke with the owner in an attempt to determine exactly when the leak occurs - driving, parked at an angle, etc. The owner told me that I wouldn't see any leak if the sunroof was closed. It only seemed to leak if it were open during a rainstorm!

And that, my friends, is why we have sensors on windshields to tell you it's raining.

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post #7 of 16 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 10:46 pm Thread Starter
 
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

The rain sensor has of course added value to the car but I think it is so stupid not to consider the maintainance problem. I have seen so many rain sensor problems on different forums (so sad that's why I do not feel lonely...) and the best answer I get is to replace the whole OEM windshield. Why not just install the sensor independent of the windshield (say on top of the roof or at the corner of the windshield...I can think of hundreds of better alternatives). A good manufacturer should be considerate.
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post #8 of 16 Old Nov 9th, 2008, 6:15 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

I got a rock thrown up into our 740's windshield and had to get it replaced. It was a nationally prominent glass company that did it, and they said that they had to get the windshield from BMW, as they did not like any aftermarket source.

That windshield has the rain sensor at top, and an I.R. coating on the whole shield to keep temps down in the sun, and a heated lower portion where the wipers rest to keep them from freezing up in winter.

Just the shield was over $700 their cost! I can't imagine what it would have cost me at a BMW dealer. Thank goodness for Insurance! Without insurance I may have been driving around in a BMW 740 with plastic duct taped in for a windshield.


I learned shortly after buying the car that the I.R coating blocks R.F.. My radar detector would not pick up anything behind it. Then I noticed a small clear spot in the lower center, put it there and it worked. The clear spot is likely for "speed pass" etc., but it allows radar detectors too.

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post #9 of 16 Old Nov 9th, 2008, 7:16 am
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Thumbs up Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

At last, the Ultimate site.Where I can fix problems for my bike and my 330i.I had to unplug my sensor after I had a replacement windshield installed.Now I have to juggle between my cafe-latte and the windshield wiper controls.
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post #10 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 2:44 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
....The owner told me that I wouldn't see any leak if the sunroof was closed. It only seemed to leak if it were open during a rainstorm!....
Of course! Follow the logic: you overpay that much for a vehicle and you don't even get an auto-wet closing, sunroof?

Next time, maybe a "Smart Car?"

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post #11 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 3:04 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjacobson

Next time, maybe a "Smart Car?"
Naaa, just need a smart owner.
Why do we need "rain sensors"? People can't look out the windshield and tell it is raining and then draw the conclusion that the wipers need to be turned on?
Or is it because they are maxed out with the cell phone, coffee, danish, newspaper and XM radio controls that they just can't handle turning the wipers on?
Lets just make everything work on voice recognition...that'll put a crimp in a car thief's style.
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post #12 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 3:09 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morley
Naaa, just need a smart owner....
I thought you HAD to be a smart owner to overpay that much for so little vehicle?

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Some really OLD friggin' White dude who couldn't have possibly known what he was talking about!) WARNING: Official HATE speech!
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post #13 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 3:12 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjacobson
I thought you HAD to be a smart owner to overpay that much for so little vehicle?
Ahhh. money and intelligence do not go hand in hand..usually the reverse.
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post #14 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 4:35 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morley
Naaa, just need a smart owner.
Why do we need "rain sensors"? People can't look out the windshield and tell it is raining and then draw the conclusion that the wipers need to be turned on?
Or is it because they are maxed out with the cell phone, coffee, danish, newspaper and XM radio controls that they just can't handle turning the wipers on?
Lets just make everything work on voice recognition...that'll put a crimp in a car thief's style.
The rain sensor on my '01 740iL does not turn the wipers on unless you have the wiper switch on the steering column turned to intermittent. It mainly is there to vary the time between sweeps as rain level changes. The switch on the column turns the wipers either on, intermittent, or off. If you leave it on intermittent, the sensor will function to turn the wipers on when the windshield gets wet, but in intermittent mode. It has no affect when not in intermittent mode.

Don't know about other car models.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
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EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
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post #15 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 9:25 am
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
The rain sensor on my '01 740iL does not turn the wipers on unless you have the wiper switch on the steering column turned to intermittent. It mainly is there to vary the time between sweeps as rain level changes. The switch on the column turns the wipers either on, intermittent, or off. If you leave it on intermittent, the sensor will function to turn the wipers on when the windshield gets wet, but in intermittent mode. It has no affect when not in intermittent mode.

Don't know about other car models.
Hey Dave, Did you read the manual or something??

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post #16 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 6:43 pm
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Re: Rain Sensor Problem - X5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_R
Hey Dave, Did you read the manual or something??
Yes, I did. Believe it or not, most engineers do read manuals.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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