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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 06-19-2009, 04:19 PM
astgroguy astgroguy is offline
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Location: Ohio
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Mein Auto: X5, 330xi, 911 Cab
Trans Failsafe Prog in 2002 X5

Thought I'd share this experience in hopes of helping somebody else who might experience the same thing.

About two weeks ago, my wife called to tell me the instrumernt cluster on our 2002 X5 3.0 was displaying an error "TRANS FAILSAFE PROG". The vehicle has only 49,000 miles, and I couldn't belive it was a transmission problem....after all, this was a BMW. From my office, I Googled the error in hopes of getting more information. I found alot of possible casues, and was filled with horror when I learned of BMW's use of GM transmissions in this and other models. I found bunches of people who ended up spending thousands on new or rebuilt transmissions, even low mile vehicles. I had some hope when I also read about some people clearing the error with a new alternator or battery.

When I got home, I checked the battery and found a solid 14V...that couldn't be it. I drove the vehicle and the transmission performance was horrible. Everytime the vehicle slowed down, the tranny downshifted with a loud "clunk" 3>2 and the 2>1. Ouch!! I thought for sure we had a crappy GM tranny and were looking at thousands in repairs.

I then bought an aftermarket computer cable and software in hopes of pinpointing the error before the stealer told me "new tranny, six large". Unfortunately, the cable found some unidentifed transmission module errors and some other miscellaneous errors, like a bad air flow sensor and telephone disconnected. I couldn't clear the error or link it to a transmission problem. Finally, I threw up my hands and decided to bite the bullet and take it to the "stealer" to get their diagnosis.

Long story shoft, turns out an easy to replace mass air flow sensor was the cause of the problem. Seems the tranny gets engine output info from the computer that relates the combustion air volume passing the intake air sensor to engine speed. No shaft encoder....or if there is one, it wouldn't take over and work by itself.

Anyway, with no air flow reading, the tranny module just decided to go to sleep. After the stealer diagnosed the problem, I politely declined his $600 repair bill (for starters...they said there would be road testing and more cost after the airflow sensor), purchased a remanufactured unit online for $200.00, replaced the unit in less than five minutes and cleared the error with my new cable and software.

Moral of the story: check the mass air flow sensor when the tranny starts acting up....it isn't sure how fast the input shaft is turning 'cuz it isn't windy! Go figure.
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2009, 10:30 AM
evd19us evd19us is offline
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Location: anaheim
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 10
Mein Auto: now a 2000 bmw x5
hi i have a 2003 vw jetta vr6 . and it have the same problem the tranny downshifted with a loud "clunk" 3>2 and the 2>1. i also have a have a 2000 bmw x5 with 190000 miles . yesterday the check engine light came on and displaying an error "TRANS FAILSAFE PROG". .and now drives only 3rd and 4 gear today the battery die.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:37 PM
x5homework x5homework is offline
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Location: 98366
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 02 x5
hi hi hi

would you mind telling me or directing me to the five minutes air flow sensor replacement job? i bought one sensor online, but a "friend" says i need two. do you happen to know? thanks much
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:47 PM
x5homework x5homework is offline
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Location: 98366
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Mein Auto: 02 x5
another mystery to me

well, hello, out there. mom of four in an old x5..... and, one of those four, probably the 2 year old is pressing random buttons e.g. dome light, etc. long story short, thank heaven for road side emergency assistance. so today, the tow/charge/etc guy says, "car's making a loud noise. sounds like alternator or water pump. you should have it checked." thirty minutes later, the noise is gone. anyone care to direct me to a troubleshooting plan? i prefer not to ask the stealer. i don't need another $150 car wash. the local nondealers probably mean well. however, the brake job they did left me with a nonstop service message. ugh. any help? thanks a bunch$$$$ fanbelt/barsoap theory probably not applicable :!
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  #5  
Old 05-04-2013, 01:13 AM
flyace20 flyace20 is offline
Yippikayaaaay
Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: 2002 X5 4.4
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5homework View Post
well, hello, out there. mom of four in an old x5..... and, one of those four, probably the 2 year old is pressing random buttons e.g. dome light, etc. long story short, thank heaven for road side emergency assistance. so today, the tow/charge/etc guy says, "car's making a loud noise. sounds like alternator or water pump. you should have it checked." thirty minutes later, the noise is gone. anyone care to direct me to a troubleshooting plan? i prefer not to ask the stealer. i don't need another $150 car wash. the local nondealers probably mean well. however, the brake job they did left me with a nonstop service message. ugh. any help? thanks a bunch$$$$ fanbelt/barsoap theory probably not applicable :!
I got myself a diagnostic tool for less than $200 so I can diagnose and fix myself. But I thought that even if you can't fix yourself, you can find out what the problem is before you take it to mechanic...brilliant
just don't tell your mechanic that you already already know what the problem is, just to keep them honest.
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2013, 08:00 AM
x5homework x5homework is offline
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Location: 98366
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Mein Auto: 02 x5
strategy

thanks for that advise. it sounds like a decent strategy. do you mean the code reading device that you attach to the car and it displays or prints out data?
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2013, 08:40 AM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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Location: Crook County
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 498
Mein Auto: BMW, Lotus, Porsche
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5homework View Post
would you mind telling me or directing me to the five minutes air flow sensor replacement job? i bought one sensor online, but a "friend" says i need two. do you happen to know? thanks much
If you have a V8 engine, the MAF replacement will be similar to this video.

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  #8  
Old 05-04-2013, 02:13 PM
x5homework x5homework is offline
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Location: 98366
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 02 x5
$$$ thanks $$$

can't thank you enough $$$$ and so much time saved....you're a gem
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2013, 04:46 PM
flyace20 flyace20 is offline
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Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: 2002 X5 4.4
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5homework View Post
thanks for that advise. it sounds like a decent strategy. do you mean the code reading device that you attach to the car and it displays or prints out data?
Just a code reading tool which comes with a booklet. I got the R5/FCX-3-16, seems to work pretty good.

http://www.peakeresearch.com/fcx3.htm
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2013, 05:46 PM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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Location: Crook County
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 498
Mein Auto: BMW, Lotus, Porsche
If you have a laptop or a computer with a USB port you can buy a cable and a program call BMW Scanner 1.4. Cable and software can be brought on eBay for around 30 - 40 dollars. It is very easy to install and use.

If you have an older computer or laptop with just a serial port you can get a cable and software call Carsoft 6.5. It is a lot harder to install since most copies on the net are not original and a crack must be installed along with the software.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2013, 10:46 PM
x5homework x5homework is offline
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Location: 98366
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 02 x5
gems!!!

flyace20 & upallnight, thanks for the links and the good information. sure appreciate you both taking the time to shed some light on solutions to be had. i will get started looking for the software / cable option first. otherwise will order that machine, thanks for the link!!!! love links, they save soooo much time.

have any good resources for oem parts? i am getting parts online from oembimmerparts and autohauzaz. what do you guys think of these places? oh and the coolant....distilled water or bmw coolant, right? i found the reservoir and added the distilled water. have to order the coolant i guess, it's not just around town on the shelves. lots to know about keeping the machine up to snuff.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2013, 11:39 PM
flyace20 flyace20 is offline
Yippikayaaaay
Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: 2002 X5 4.4
I got two bottles of the blue BMW coolant. The parts guy said its enough to change the V8, just has to be mixed with distilled water. It wasn't really much more expensive than other good coolants. There is a procedure for changing coolant, I believe you can find it on this here forum. You have some good websites for parts, another one I use is http://realoem.com/bmw/
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