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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:23 PM
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Teemo Panda Teemo Panda is offline
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Mein Auto: E53, E46-M3, E70, F25-X3

I had this problem too when I had my 2003 X5, they had to replace the whole transmission, I was lucky that there was still 2k miles left before my original warranty expired :X

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Old 11-05-2013, 12:06 AM
X3RCGTOrider X3RCGTOrider is offline
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Location: Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: BMW X3,850i, 1969 GTO,
Was anyone ever able to fix their X5 transmission? We had the torque converter replaced and that solved the problem for ours. It shifts smooth and great again and the terrible kick went away for good.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:25 AM
x_l_r_8 x_l_r_8 is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 2004 X5 4.4i, 2003 530i
Same transmission jerk here on our 04 X5 4.4i with 130K. I was about to change out the trans fluid and filter to see if it would help but my mechanic says don't do it. He's a BMW master certified mechanic and says that if the fluid has not been flushed on a regular basis it contains tiny fragments of the clutch plates. If replaced the transmission could start slipping needing a $6K replacement. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:22 AM
channingd channingd is offline
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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: X5
My 2004 X5 4.4 did the same thing. Only when the tranny was cold though. Went away as it warmed up. Simple fluid flush and replacement with new filter. Drove like new, right until by wife rear ended a full size pickup and totaled it.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:45 PM
Kappy21 Kappy21 is offline
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Location: Vermont
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: E53 X5
This is a fluid pressure problem within the transmission or in the torque converter (which is external to the transmission but connected to it). It could be simply dirty fluid or a clogged filter which restricts fluid flow within the transmission and a fluid and filter change will fix this. If there is a dirt clog in the valve body, you probably need a replacement valve body since it's very hard to find someone who will rebuild a valve body on a ZF. If it's the torque converter, the torque converter should be replaced before the slamming damages the transmission clutches. The automatic transmission depends on free flow of the transmission fluid through the valve body so that the proper gear can be selected at the proper time, all of which is controlled by fluid pressure. When there is a small blockage, the transmission can't change gears in alignment with engine speed and you get the slamming. Slamming is a different problem than slipping which would indicate that the friction surfaces on the clutch packs are worn and heading to failure.

It seems that new car dealers, particularly the European brands, view transmissions much light bulbs: If it doesn't work right, screw in a new one. They don't seem to have much interest in what happens inside the transmission case or any idea how to fix, or even diagnose, an internal transmission problem. There must be some economic or political reason for this lack of knowledge or interest. I don't know what it is. The best bet is to find a really good transmission specialty shop that has experience with ZF products. A fluid and filter change is probably only a couple of hundred dollars and it's important that it's done correctly since some ZF transmissions need to be filled according to the temperature of the fluid which is monitored as the fluid is added.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:04 PM
X3RCGTOrider X3RCGTOrider is offline
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Location: Oregon
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Mein Auto: BMW X3,850i, 1969 GTO,
We did have the valve body rebuilt as well at first thinking that was the reason for the transmission issues ( Very expensive to have done) it was found that a tube that flows the fluid through the transmission had disintegrated and was causing improper flow which could of been causing some of the issues. The transmission changed afterwards by making the problems different or more noticeable. It was easier for the kicks to happen with the downshift and there some other oddities happening too with other shifts. After we got the torque converter replaced, all those problems were gone.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:06 AM
tolgatt tolgatt is offline
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Location: Calgary,AB
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: 2005 BMW X5 4.4 Sport
of course my 2005 4.4 X5 has this issue as well , and I am totally used to not getting it kicked hard by now . I make sure I come to a complete stop , you can also feel at the very last second the gear goes down to first with a slight vibration and then I start accelerating again . Am I happy with it ? absolutely not !
I am still trying to make up my mind if I should get the fluid and filter changed . It doesnt bother me that much so I would pay thousands to get valve body or torque converter fixed.

I forgot who mentioned on earlier posts but yes I think this is a very very very common problem with an expensive fix and BMW should fix this issue at their own cost for whoever takes their cars to their services that has complaints.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:07 AM
roym01 roym01 is offline
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Location: Bolton
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 10
Mein Auto: 2005 X5 4.4
Same issue with my 2005 4.4.

Rolling stop, acceleration, slam! Very infrequent, but that was probably due to the fact that I quickly learned that if I came to a complete stop it would not slam.

Truck has 100000 miles and my indie was hesitant to change the fluid/filter. Same advice about not changing the fluid, "if over 100000 and never been changed, don't change".

I changed anyway, fluid and filter but no flush. Couldn't help myself as nobody can convince me that leaving the original fluid in there forever is a good thing. Indie says fluid looked good and filter was dirty. After a week no slams, but not really sure if permanently fixed as now I am so used to coming to a complete stop that I do not remember not to.

I will update over the next few weeks for those interested.
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:39 PM
DonJuan DonJuan is offline
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Location: Ruimsig, Gauteng, South Africa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: X5 4.4i
Transmission "Kick-down"

Hi Guys,
Been there done it with my X5 4.4i 2005! I had a major problem with "shift-shock" on my X5 especially on the "kick-down"
After replacing the transfer case, various software updates etcetera, I gave up.
Until a very knowledgeable mechanic asked if the "lifetime" gearbox oil had been changed at 80 000 km - which BMW hadn't done while my car was still under Motor Plan.
Anyway, I changed the gearbox oil and the problem disappeared!!!
NNB: With the oil change you'll need 12 litres of the costly oil. You do a 6 litre change, cycle the gearbox thoroughly and replace the remaining 6 litres
This should be the cure for most 4.4i
Depending on the age of your vehicle and the wear on the clutch plates this could also be the cause in some cases.

Last edited by DonJuan; 06-01-2014 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 02:43 PM
x_l_r_8 x_l_r_8 is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 2004 X5 4.4i, 2003 530i
Just wanted to post a follow up that I bit the bullet and replaced the trans fluid and filter on our 2004 X5 4.4 with 135K miles going against my master BMW mechanics recommendation. Did a complete flush running through all the gears. It "seemed" to help initially but did not cure the problem for the long haul. Now we're at 145K and the trans is kicking again harder than before. It's downshifting pretty rough now as well when coming to a stop at lights. I've read somewhere that replacing the $200 valve body wiring harness (part #24.34-1 423 719) has cured the problem. Of course the oil needs to be drained again and the pan dropped so wanted to see if anyone tried this before going through the trouble. Thanks.

Last edited by x_l_r_8; 09-17-2014 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:32 PM
1hander 1hander is offline
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Location: San Antonio, Texas
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 411
Mein Auto: 00 540i M-06 X5 4.4
whats happening to our trucks is plain and simple wear... the fix is to replace the worn parts

the parts that are causing these crazy antics from out trannys are primarily...internal gaskets, orings, solenoids, checkvalves and clutches

the orings and gaskets deteriorate and shrink...when they do this, they allow fluid to leak from its intended path....which also causes a drop in pressure....you give it gas or the rpm goes up a bit..then thhe pressure goes up enough to overcome the loss of pressure...which then allows the upshift or downshift

the internal wiring harness ...the seals harden, they crack...the wires get invaded by oil....you get the picture

there are check balls in the valve body that start a certain diameter...as the trans ages these checkballs get worn down from slamming back and forth.....when they get worn down past a certaion point...they can no longer stop or check the flow of fluid the way that design intended,,this causes fliuid reversion ... pressurized fluid being in the wring place at the wroing time...

of course by then the pressure is higher than design intended...well now the upshift or downshift takes place with a higher pressure than intended and this extra pressure causes the slamming feeling your getting...try to picture rvving the engine on a stick shift and then dumping the clutch ... thats essentially whats happrening here..

shift solenoids get worn and clogged from debris ...they get sticky and do not move freely and will suddenly do what the module asked it to do 3 seconds ago...sometimes you can change the shift solenoids and all will be right again....the shift solenoid are EDS solenoids....meaning they are not the on/off type... they are a proportional solenoid....that is how the valvebody gives nice smooth shifts...by applying an increasing voltagfe to the solenoid which gradually locks it up... the condstant in and out ..in and out,,, wears the barrels and pistons,,,sometimes they get sticky from gunk and particles... and instead of a nice smooth shift it will get stuck and suddenly soot in the rest of the way which gives a nasty shift...up and down

clutches release material into the system.... this material is abrasive in small amounts but after thousands and thousands of miles well you get the idea ... they clog passages and filters... they change the viscosity of the oil..
if the clutches are still good on the tranns, your still looking at a full rebuild...anytyhing less is not realistic, it has to be pulled anyway.....

the reason that some people get mixed results with curing the problem by chanfging the filter and oil..is...the filter does get clogged...and the new oil is just thay...its new...its thicker..not as broken down...

the torque converter could also start to cause problems...just bt the nature if its design...our trucks are old....

mine was shifting crappy.when i bought it.. i changed the oil and filter but did not flush it...flushing a transmission with that many miles on it is a death sentence....but if you have nothing to lose from trying then go for it...

i changed the oil and filter and the shifting was great.. the only thing i have is on its first drive of the day...the 1 to 2 shift is slightly depayed...and the higher rpm fromn the delayyed shift ,makes the shift slightly harsh... but if i just step on the accelerator a little faster it shifts great...weird..

i know im going to replace this trans in the next year,,,thats why i have a transmission from bmw sitting on the floor in the garage...i thought about just doing the valvebody but as far as actually fixing the problem.... that would be like trying to hit a target on a moving truck from a moving truck/// the odds are that it has many other worn parts...i chose not to screw with one grain of sand at a time...

if your having these problem... you need to start saving money...cuz its coming... these vehiclles have gotten so complicated that it is no longer realistic to expect a vehiclle that can go 150k.... no matter how much we pay...

i have a 2000 540i... doesnt burn a lick of oil...6 speed is da bomb if i could found the x5 in MT i woulda bougfht that... it has 199760 miles on it.. nothing major has gone wriong with itr...the x5 has been a different story..
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Last edited by 1hander; 09-18-2014 at 12:50 PM.
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transmission, x 5

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