BMW Z3 Diagnostics with INPA Instructions, Experiences, Discussions, Experimentation

I just went through the process of getting the INPA up and running. I had an old Windows 7 laptop that is now dedicated to it. I bought the 2 cables from the “trusted Chinese seller”. I am not a computer guy, but took the challenge when one pundit said if I could operate the doors (or something like that),
I could do this. He was right. The main thing is to read the instructions until they make some sense (not all those computer words, just that you think you can follow them), then follow them exactly. Be meticulous and patient, and you will reap the rewards.


Note: the following parts are quoted from, I give reputation to 328 Power 04, thanks for his contribution.

In my opinion the best diagnosing system for our BMW cars Z3 is the INPA package. INPA is from the BMW Developer world, it’s very powerful and comprehensive, but the interface isn’t as streamlined/fancy compared to other newer BMW options (which don’t work easily with our cars). The more experience you get with it, the better you will be at it.


How to set up your own INPA diagnostics computer for Z3 use (will work for other cars as well):

  1. Items needed:
  2. Windows capable laptop. I generally recommend Windows 7, but it will work fine with Windows XP, 8, 10, and the ‘in-betweens’. 32-bit and 64-bit work fine.
  3. VAG KKL USB OBD cable with FTDI FT232RL Chip. Yes as used for VW. It HAS to have the FTDI chip. (This will work with all BMWs up to 2007).


  1. $19.88 from ebay USA Seller
  2. $9.05 Trusted China seller with quick shipping
  3. Drivers for the cable are included in installation pack (do not use the disc included with cable)! *Updated 11/22/16*

BMW 20-pin to OBD Adapter.


  1. $4.00 Trusted China seller



  1. This cable works for cars that use K-Line and possibly some L-Line communications (2006 and older cars, including my 1996 328is). BMWs with CAN system will not be read by this cable (2007+)
    b. Some modules can only be read through the 20-pin port (use adapter). They are (but not limited to): Airbag, ABS, DSC, Cruise Control, EWS security, Central Body Electronics, Auto Transmission, etc.
    c. Modules I usually read through the OBD port inside the car: Engine DME.
    d. Although not necessary for Z3, bridging pins 7&8 inside the VAG KKL OBD cable is possible, and programming the cable as below, to fool ignition sense. (Advanced)
    e. Randy rf900rkw: “No soldering needed for our cars. The 16-20 pin adapter does the appropriate pin bridging. It’s only the 01 and later E39-up cars that need the soldering.”
    f. I have heard that there is a USB cable with the FTDI FT232BL chip that does ignition sense all by itself without having to fool it as in point d.


  1. Software:
  2. INPA SoftwareCustom updated INPA pack found here: Go to INPA folder, download “INPA 2016 Pack” ***Updated 11/22/16: Major update. Easier, clearer installation. 12/2/16 Minor update to work better in Win10***

    If you install complete pack, you end up with:

  • INPA version 5.0.6
  • EDIABAS version 7.3.0 (not compatible with ADS cable, ADS needs 6.4.3-6.4.7, OK with USB cables)
  • NCSExpert version 4.0.1 (Compatible with 64-bit Windows, English translation loaded, new Profiles)
  • WinKFP version 5.3.1 (Preloaded with E36 Flash data)
  • Tool32 4.0.3


  1. BMW Technical Information System Software (Repair Manuals)BMW TIS 12/2007, Custom Easy Installer can be found here (1.2GB download). TIS is completely separate of the INPA diagnostics, and can be ran without INPA/OBD Cables.**NEW** 2/11/2017


  • Do not use anything that you don’t fully understand. Serious disabling damage is possible (that is my disclaimer).
  • INPA pack includes: INPA, NCSExpert, WinKFP, Tool32, EDIABAS, NCSDummy, General Installation Instructions (will be improving them slowly)
  • The Instructions folder includes my collection of instructions for WinKFP and NCSExpert, as well as how to deal with some errors while loading daten files (advanced).

Software Definitions:

  • INPA – Diagnosis, resetting errors, aligning EWS/CAS, advanced activation of certain car behaviors (ex: turn on your ABS module for bleeding brakes) – MOSTLY SAFE
  • NCSExpert – Coding (changing internal module settings, and marrying a module to the car – Advanced)
  • WinKFP – Flashing (you need the Daten files for your car, and you need to load them to WinKFP – Very Advanced)
  • Tool32 – An advanced tool that is used to load the INPA/DIS/ISTA .prg files to run custom diagnostics and module behavior manually, without a nice user interface. Very powerful. – Advanced
  • EDIABAS – The virtual server service that the 4 programs above use to connect to your cable.
  • TIS – Technical Information System. Repair manual for BMWs.


  • Other Softwares:
    NCSDummy – A 3rd party helper for NCSExpert coding file interpretation. Not completely necessary. It is for changing settings inside a module mostly. (Ex: Turning off the iDrive warning on start, or changing module behavior, or changing the way the temperature dummy gauge’s range on the instrument cluster.)
  1. Installation:All prerequisites: Environment Variables and USB cable Drivers are included in pack and in instructions.
    This updated pack can be installed over my older pack just fine.

    Direct download -> download button on Top Right “INPA 2016 Pack” (243MB)
    Extract all the files from the zip folder.

    *Installation Instructions, click on thumbnail to download pdf. (included in pack as well)*
    INPA 2016 Installation.pdf

    D. Using INPA and other BMW Tools with Z3

    -The key must be in ignition on Position II; full power. You can diagnose with engine running, or without engine running.
    -If you connect to OBD port inside, you can only read ECU and TCU.
    -If you connect at the 20-pin connector under the hood, you can read all other car modules, ECU and TCU included.
    -The scripts for Z3 diagnosis are found under the E36 section. You can also press the “Shift” key on your keyboard and click the “Old” button (or press Shift+F6).

    1. Diagnosis with INPA:

-Enter into your desired module. To read errors, click Errors button, and click read. To clear errors, click Clear button.
Click on thumbnail to see an example
Example of Clearing an Error with INPA.pdf

Engine Control Module scripts are under E36 > Engine > (choose your ecu): OBD or 20-pin Port

  • Z3 with the M44 1.9L choose DME 5.2
  • Z3 with the S52 and single VANOS M52 (early 2.8) engine you use the MS41.1 script (non-North America may have to use MS41.0 for some M52 engines)
  • Z3 2.3, 2.8 with dual-VANOS you use the MS42 script
  • Z3 2.5i, 3.0i use the MS43 script
  • Z3 with S50B32 (Euro) use the MSS52 script
  • Z3 with S54 use the MSS54 script

Transmission (only automatics) E36 > Transmission > (choose your TCU) Trial and error to find yours. OBD or 20-pin Port

Chassis (basically ABS and DSC modules) E36 > Chassis > (choose your ABS/DSC) Trial and error to find yours. 20-pin Port Only

  • My S52 Coupe has “ABS5 ASC5”,
  • My roadster has “DSC e46”,
  • My 328is has “ABS MK4G”Body (airbag, and other body modules for Z3.) E36 > Body > (choose control module you desire) 20-pin Port Only
  • Airbag
  • On-Board Computer UHR/BC E36/7
  • Electronic Vehicle Immobilization EWS Security
  • Instrument cluster KOMBI
  • Cruise Control GR2
  • Thermal Oil Sensor TOENS (S54, some M52tu, M54)
  • Central body electronics ZKE
  1. Coding with NCSExpert

BMW Z3 Single module coding with factory options/settings

  1. Advanced Sensor Calibration with Tool32

Z3 DSC Lateral Acceleration Sensor Calibration Instructions
Z3 DSC Steering Angle Sensor Calibration Instructions

E. Modifications, Troubleshooting:

1. Check your Environment Variables:

Ediabas Environment Variables.pdf

2. Advanced Cable Modifications (optional if using only for Z3/E36):

FTDI Cable Mod.pdf
This is done just once, the settings remain saved in the cable.

3. Troubleshooting Connections:

The most common problem with connecting to INPA and the other software is a COM port number MISMATCH. To fix this:

Connection Troubleshoot.pdf

If you have response problems, stability problems, or a slow connection while diagnosing:
Set the cable’s Latency Timer to 1msec (from default of 16msec). Described in pdf above.


Thanks to 328 Power 04