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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 05-13-2013, 06:46 AM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Funny Shift. Transmission problems

My 1990 525i revs out when it shifts into third gear. It shifts threw all other gear like butter. Just when it is in second gear right when it goes to shift into third it will hit like 4-5 grand. I did a fluid change this weekend I tried to change the filter but the auto parts store gave me the wrong filter/gasket and was missing the o-ring. I just re-installed the one that was currently in it after I thoroughly cleansed it. It did not look in that bad of condition. The gasket was still in very good condition. Any advice is greatly appreaciated.

Thanks,
Jay.


F.Y.I. this is a automatic transmission.
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2013, 07:39 AM
PlasmaE34 PlasmaE34 is offline
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There's a good chance that a shift solenoid and the pressure control solenoid is screwed. Each solenoid costs $100 (on average) new. The valve body does not need to be rebuilt to change these out.

I'm looking into whether the resistances of each solenoid can be tested through the ecu's harness clamp.

We're not talking about the general resistances that generate transmission fault codes. Solenoids can be damaged in such a way that they do not generate a fault code yet their resistances are not correct. A transmission specialist has equipment that can measure this more precisely than we can. If it is possible, measure the resistances of each of the solenoids using the specialist and then determine what needs to be changed. If this involves dropping the pan again, then it is going to be expensive, so it might not be worth it.


Your symptoms could also be simple slippage due to worn clutches. Hopefully that is not the case, as the only way that gets fixed is through a full rebuild.

You could get your tranny's codes scanned at a shop (the stomp test does not reflect detailed tranny codes). There might just be useful codes there. Its not always the case. Our fault reporting system is an early generation one and is not precise.

It might be simple issues relating to your transmission range switch, or your main relay, or main relay's socket contacts, etc. You'll need to pop off the panel around the stick to just look inside and see if there's anything obviously wrong. Your main relay's socket contacts can be easily inspected (the socket can be pulled up), and you should be using a new oem main relay anyway, it prevents certain electrical problems and their consequences in the car and costs like only $20. Your throttle position switch could also be an issue. At least clean it off with contact cleaner and a toothbrush and see if that helps. Not a bad idea to replace with a new unit, bad tps's can cause engine cutouts while driving with no prior warning before that, but a good oem tps is not cheap...aill run you $80-$100, so its not something people do automatically. Anyway, all these would be the in the "low hanging fruit" category of things.

Please search for and download a searchable copy of the E34 bentley manual and read up on the transmission sections over there.

The consolidated information about troubleshooting and solving transmission issues is rather poor as compared to stuff about the engine. The easiest tranny problems are those relating to dirty fluid, or insufficient fluid, leaks, or the use of wrong fluid. Even transmission shops (the honest ones) will look at a particular symptom and tell you that there are several possibilities to it. The tranny is just too complex, or intrusive but non-invasive diagnostic tools have just not been developed for this. Compare this with the worse possible engine problem : a cracked head. You have block testors, you have compression testors, you have vacuum pressure gauges, you can observe your dipstick oil, you can check changing coolant levels, you can check the colour of the smoke coming out of your tailpipe, all of this can be done for around $150 in total equipment costs and the rest would be time and simple observation, and you've basically figured it out. We have nothing like this for the auto transmission.

Pardon me but i just had to get that off my chest. Dealing with a tranny issue now, quite obviously.

Last edited by PlasmaE34; 05-13-2013 at 07:58 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2013, 09:33 AM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Thank you for the input. I have downloaded the bently manual for the e34. Im going to start with the low hanging fruit and hope it corrects the problem. I have also read it could be signs of a faulty alternator or bad/pinched wires. I guess it just a process of elimination. I was just hoping that some one else may of had this problem and they could tell me it is a easy fix. here is a little more info on it though:

When i start it for the first time of the day and take off it almost feels like its in limp mode for about 6-10 houses. Then it shifts like butter until it warms up. Once it warms up is when it starts shifting funny from 2nd to 3rd. after watching it a little more closely I realize the rpms jump about a grand before it will hit 3rd gear.

Whats crazy is there is a guy on craigslist with a 5 speed swap for a e34 for only $300 still in box. After researching the swap I realized it is a bit too much work for me to get into on this car.

But thanks again for your input. I really appreciate it.
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2013, 09:55 AM
BMR_LVR's Avatar
BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Location: Asheboro, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 525i
Jay, does your tranny have the dipstick or is it like most that the level has to be checked by removing the bolt on the pan?

I guess I just wonder if the fluid level was checked correctly since it is temperature dependent and is not as simple as American cars with a dipstick.

Also, even though the filter looked good, it may have been clogged If it is, then the tranny would likely show symptoms consistent with low fluid since the fluid could not flow through it at a proper pace.

It just seems like your symptom are more related to improper fluid level or a clogged filter.

Anyway, I hope you get it sorted out and it is nothing major.
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Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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  #5  
Old 05-16-2013, 10:16 AM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR_LVR View Post
Jay, does your tranny have the dipstick or is it like most that the level has to be checked by removing the bolt on the pan?

I guess I just wonder if the fluid level was checked correctly since it is temperature dependent and is not as simple as American cars with a dipstick.

Also, even though the filter looked good, it may have been clogged If it is, then the tranny would likely show symptoms consistent with low fluid since the fluid could not flow through it at a proper pace.

It just seems like your symptom are more related to improper fluid level or a clogged filter.

Anyway, I hope you get it sorted out and it is nothing major.
Yes my car has a dip stick. The filter the autopart store gave me did not have the exhaust looking thing on the bottom so i took it back. Plus the pan seal was the wrong size. So I just cleaned the filter with some part cleaner. Not much "gunk" came out of it. What would be the "correct" way to check the fluid level? I think it may have some thing to do with ATF temparture though. I read some where that atf goes to a cooling box in the radiator. It has a fairly new radiator in it. Maybe the previous owner did not do some thing right when installing?? Any thoughts? Thanks for the input. Much appreciated!
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2013, 11:27 AM
BMR_LVR's Avatar
BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Location: Asheboro, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 525i
Oddly enough, even though you have a dipstick, there are still temperature parameters that determine the proper level. The Bentley manual covers it. It helps to buy one of the inexpensive laser temp guns. I got mine at Autozone for about $30. Well worth it.

Read the Bentley manual well because improper fluid level can cause your symptoms.

Regarding your filter, I would not trust that it is clear because there was not much gunk in it. A proper filter kit installed along with a proper fluid level may indeed fix your problem. However, there is no way to tell until you get those installed.

Good luck.
__________________
Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold


Last edited by BMR_LVR; 05-16-2013 at 11:29 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2013, 11:54 AM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Thak you very much. I am going to print the transmission section of bently today!

I dont believe it is the filter though. As it is a good idea to replace it with a new one once i get the correct kit. It seems to only shift funny when the fluid warms up. :/ And its only does it between 2nd and 3rd after it has fully warmed up. Every thing about the tranny works text book beside when it goes into third gear after it has warmed up. O yeah and another thing if i start from a dead stop at the bottom of a incline and start going up it shifts fine going up hill. does not rev out or nothing. I guess I just need to start reading my manual. Thank you very much for your input.
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2013, 11:38 AM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Location: ca
 
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Mein Auto: E34
Ok here is an update. After spending the weekend reading the forums I decided to take apart the center console. Here is what I found. Sorry bout the mess. Going to clean after I post. But I found these abandon wires. What and where do they go to? And could this be cause of the funny shift between 2 and 3rd gear??

As you can see in picture one there is no neutral safety switch, aka gear selector. Should there be one on my 90 525i??? It looks like there should be one... Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
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__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...

Last edited by Jay.; 05-19-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2013, 04:45 PM
burbankE34 burbankE34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay. View Post
My 1990 525i revs out when it shifts into third gear. It shifts threw all other gear like butter. Just when it is in second gear right when it goes to shift into third it will hit like 4-5 grand. I did a fluid change this weekend I tried to change the filter but the auto parts store gave me the wrong filter/gasket and was missing the o-ring. I just re-installed the one that was currently in it after I thoroughly cleansed it. It did not look in that bad of condition. The gasket was still in very good condition. Any advice is greatly appreaciated.

Thanks,
Jay.


F.Y.I. this is a automatic transmission.

Find a copy of the electrical troubleshooting manual for your transmission. Test the pressure control/modulator solenoid, and your shift solenoid for gears 2-3, through you transmission ecu's wiring harness - the troubleshooting manual will have the pinouts. If the resistances are ok, then its very likely that your clutches are worn.

You can still change those two solenoids - $200 in new oem parts and maybe 2-3 hours in labour - before you contemplate a full rebuild. Tribal knowledge on transmissions, its tests and workarounds, is unfortunately very limited.

Before that, vacuum out your console, remove the transmission range switch (its the black plastic curved thing in the middle of the picture), check the contacts inside and compensate for any obvious problems if possible, reconnect those two unconnected wires after figuring out what that's for, clear your error codes, and see if the delayed shift is still there. It probably will be, but you never know.

Check the troubleshooting tables for the tranny attached here for leads as well. Good luck.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf E34 Troubleshooting Tables Searchable.pdf (1.04 MB, 71 views)

Last edited by burbankE34; 05-19-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2013, 05:10 PM
burbankE34 burbankE34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burbankE34 View Post

You can still change those two solenoids - $200 in new oem parts and maybe 2-3 hours in labour - before you contemplate a full rebuild. Tribal knowledge on transmissions, its tests and workarounds, is unfortunately very limited.



Check the troubleshooting tables for the tranny attached here for leads as well. Good luck.
And sometimes that info comes too late. For instance, the reverse gear going out seems to be one common way for the tranny to fail. Some have scrapped the car as a result, being quoted around $2k for a full rebuild, which is the only reliable way to guarantee a working transmission. For $2k + cost of salvage, you can buy another E34.

The fix is much cheaper. There's a check ball in the valve body. Its a little ****ing plastic ball. Cost like $5 oem. Moves up and down a particular oil channel. It wears down over time, and when it goes, the reverse gear goes. Just open up the valve body and replace this, there's no need to change anything else or rebuild the valve body if nothing else is wrong with the tranny. Perhaps, just change the reverse shift solenoid too, its only $100, even if it tested ok on the wiring harness resistance check. Can be done with the valve body work at no extra charge.

Its becoming clear that the only time you should trash the tranny is when the clutches are slipping uncomfortably. That means, the tranny's slippage-compensation program is no longer enough to workaround expected wear and tear there.

Apart from that, its a valve body /valve body's solenoids issue. Rebuilt and warrantied valve bodies with tested solenoids can be bought for between $400-$800, depending on who you talk to. 2-3 hours labour to change and one quart of oil to topup.

This is if there are no obvious repeated error codes indicating something specifically wrong with the tranny, if your main relay and main relay's socket contacts are good, and nothing obvious is wrong with the components around the centre console, which fortunately, is easily checked.

Last edited by burbankE34; 05-19-2013 at 05:13 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2013, 06:13 PM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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ok im going to repair to start off repairing all faulty sensors. Could the abandon wires in the center console possibly be to the factory radio that was in it at one point? Any ways awhile back ago I bought a e30 and it came with a repair manual in the glove box. Out of the blue I remember I had it. So after digging it up out of all the boxes I realized it is for e34's as well. Haynes Repair Manual 3 & 5 Series. So I start reading and it Kind of hinted that it could be a poor coolant temperature sensor. As mine is faulty. Can anyone recommend me a place to get oem parts. Im starting to realize autozone and places like that are not the place to get parts. Usually their parts work but are not the correct ones.
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2013, 03:20 PM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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So today I started to drive my car around manually and noticed I dont have second gear with low rpm's only when it hits about 4k does it continue to go. I took the gear selector switch off yesterday and there was a oil based substance all over it so I cleaned it off with alcohol and q-tips and now it seems to be acting up in my lo gears. Just wondering if this may narrow down the possibilities of what it could be...
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...
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  #13  
Old 06-02-2013, 08:34 PM
Jay. Jay. is offline
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Nice little video I found
__________________
'91 525i - Drove it till the wheels fell off
'89 325i - Sold(Drop top on 20" rims)
'93 325i - Totaled
'97 740i - sold
'87 325es with chip - Sold(one of the worst mistakes of my life)
'86 325e - Sold
'90 525i - Current daily driver

I bought a Honda ONCE...

Last edited by Jay.; 06-02-2013 at 08:37 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-14-2013, 05:22 PM
Arkansas finest Arkansas finest is offline
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Mein Auto: 1992 525i touring
1992 525i touring

hey yall, after looking and searching the available information, i cant seem to find anyone with my specific problem. i have a 4 speed automatic with 180,000 miles, everything is perfectly fine and all 4 gears shift smoooth like glass. BUT there is this, i get in the car, start it up, go into reverse only to have to wait literally 5 entire seconds before you feel the "catch" if you will. once in reverse, it works fine until i get up to a quick back speed, it slightly sputters but stays steady. once in D, all is well! like brand new. i found a small leak by my trans cooling lines going into the radiator. i also discovered a good leak around the smaller front sump, or pan, i gotta be way way due for a full trans service,(although it still scares me) i feel it must be done. ive been driving like this for 8 months now with it not getting any worse, but im on thin ice man. what is my next course of action? i did already get under her and loose the fill bolt, only to have additional fluid to come out, i got scerd so i tightened it back real quick like. lol this s#it is givin me a serious headache. i do realize there are TONS of "simular" issues but if i have fluid coming out of the fill hole, how is it so low that only my reverse is affected? THIS IS A FLUID LEVEL ISSUE! its just gotta be, no codes are showing and no wiring or solenoids are faulty.

Last edited by Arkansas finest; 09-14-2013 at 05:50 PM. Reason: sorry if this is to simular to other issues or if im posting in the wrong area, im at a loss.
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