E36 S50SB30 Diagnostics Problems

Discussion in 'BMW Diagnostic, programming and software discussion' started by sfh3l, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. 11 Feb 2018 at 10:36 AM #1

    sfh3l On the path

    Dec 30, 2017
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    '94 M3 3.0, '95 318is, '90 Z1. '72 CSL, '72 911 T, '34 Austin 7, '25 Rolls 20
    Hi All,

    I am hoping that someone on here can help and stop me tearing out what remaining hair I have, or indeed setting fire to the car and walking away from it......

    The car is a '94 E36 M3 3.0. I suspect that it has multiple faults, since the ABS light is now on constantly. The P.O. had just disconnected it. I refitted the bulb to the dash and hence I know it is a serious problem. I have had the faults read and cleared, but suspecting that this was going to take some doing, I don't want to keep paying to have it read/cleared, so have bought various software and hardware in the hope of being able to do it myself.

    No joy yet. From my research here, it would appear that my car is not OBD and should connect via an ADS interface. I have the INPA, EDIABAS and other software already from the first OBD leads I bought (and had to return). It has all installed successfully on my Win 7 Ultimate Asus Laptop. I bought a decent quality ADS Interface from a supplier in Germany. This kit comprises the 20-pin round plug to OBD, ADS unit with serial port output and a serial cable to connect to the laptop. I had also bought and successfully installed a USB to serial port adaptor for the laptop, with drivers all successfully installed on it and no apparent conflicts there.

    When I try to connect to the car, I still get pretty much nothing of any use. The only difference I notice between trying to connect with the old 20-pin to OBD is that INPA now shows that the ignition is on, where before it only showed the battery as being connected.

    The software is of course horrible and not at all intuitive, but I can't even get that far at the moment as my car is resolutely NOT communicating with me.

    If I select "Info" in INPA it only details the software info and shows a line of ??????? where you'd expect to see details of the car configuration. Whatever modules I try to find on the car, it just throws an error message and says that the dialogue hasn't been possible.

    I'm guessing this might just be something fairly simple, but fundamental that is stopping the two talking to each other. I wonder - does anyone have any ideas that might spring to mind that could help solve this please? Like I say, I'm beginning to lose patience with it............

    Thanks in advance and sorry this is a long post. :-(
  2. 11 Feb 2018 at 10:50 AM #2

    Iain Achieved official socks

    Apr 14, 2010
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    I have never had any luck getting mine to work without a native serial port, also the abs will almost without doubt be one or more wheel sensors. Probably worth replacing all four. They can be had cheaply
  3. 11 Feb 2018 at 10:53 AM #3

    E46CoupeM3 Achieved official socks

    Oct 31, 2012
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    2001 BMW M3
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    Most of the car is easily accessed with a VAGCOM KKL / OBDII cable circa £3 from China with an FTDI FT232RL chipset (amongst others)

    That gets you about 80% of modules.

    Various modules are still ADS modules on these.

    For Example Mparallel will be able to tell you what is what type as I thnk he customised his by category. He will likely tell you the ABS can be read with a normal cable - though not sure on this because both my older E36 (95 and 95) require ADS to read this. Randomly changing ABS sensors would not have helped me when it was the £17 red relay.

    On ALL E36 the KOMBI (Instrument cluster) is an ADS module, so this is the easiest test of whether you have your ADS module working.

    Software isn't that bad. For Example you select E36, then select Instrument cluster on the right after highlighting body or chassis on the left and then read faults.

    Typically ADS hates "fake"serial ports.

    If when you connect the cable the circle for battery goes black and then turn ignition on the circle for ignition goes black that means it is successfully faking two serial port pins, means it is going through the com port but not necessarily will work. Does the ignition circle go on and off with the key?

    Does your ADS come with a true 9 pin serial? If so I would find a laptop or even cart an old desktop outside with one.

    Finally you could post a thread requesting someone in your area with ADS reads for you? (Put the info in the title)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  4. 16 Feb 2018 at 10:52 AM #4
    zigzag sky

    zigzag sky Wearing official robes

    Sep 30, 2010
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    2004 Silver E46 M3 Vert (GONE) / 1999 Cosmos Black E36/7 M Roadster / 2002 Grey BMW E65 745i
    Trying to connect to the car using one of these cables and a 16pin to 20pin adapter will never work... they need to use a proper ADS connector with the correct lead.


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