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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:00 PM
sdr0018 sdr0018 is offline
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Location: florida
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Mein Auto: 2005 x3
2005 bmw x3 transmission problems

My BMW X3 is starting to have a lot of problems and is about to hit the 100k mark.

I have an after market radio that was put in incorrectly by my father, and it drains the battery. I come home from a quick vacation and have to charge my battery as usual. After jumpstarting the car and driving it a bit, I noticed a few problems.

Lots of lights came up and eventually went away but 2 stayed on longer: the transmission warning light and the dynamic stability control light.

I noticed the car was difficult to drive and did not want to accelerate. Quickly realized it might be a transmission problem, got the fluid checked and it was full. Car started driving ok after it was turned off and turned back on, but on a 1 hour drive on the highway, the car did not want to change gears. The RPM stayed at 3 consistently even when I took my foot off the break.

Seems like the gears don't want to shift which I guess is a transmission problem (I know nothing about cars).

Any ideas or advice? I'd like some insight before I take it into a mechanic and they try to get me to spend too much or get too much done.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:21 AM
ncord ncord is offline
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Location: ontario canada
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Mein Auto: 2006 X3
How old is your battery? A bad one could cause the lights to come on and the car to run
in safe mode.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:59 AM
sdr0018 sdr0018 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 x3
Battery is brand new!
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:55 PM
Kuge168 Kuge168 is offline
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Location: California
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Mein Auto: BMW X3
When did you change the transmission fluid?
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:51 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
Location: Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 941
Mein Auto: 2003 bmw 525i, 2005 X3
Give this a try. It may not help, but sometimes does. Disconnect the battery and use a charger to charge it overnight. Before reconnecting the battery, short the positive and negative cables together for a few seconds to drain any residual voltage in the system. The theory is that you will essentially reboot the car by doing this. By trickle charging the battery overnight, you will assure that the battery is fully charged. New batteries are not always fully charged. The last one I purchased was nearly dead as purchased.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:14 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5i

A new battery isn't always the perfect solution, especially if aftermarket. People wrongly assume they are fresh and fully charged on the shelf at Walmart.

Battery post diameter and/or taper can be such that a good connection with the terminal clamp is difficult to obtain.

Posts and clamps are best cleaned off before installing a new battery even if they look corrosion free.

I really doubt there is anything wrong with your transmission physically - just the electronic control. The original fluid should be still fine at 100K miles.

(Unless of course a previous owner over-stressed the transmission in some way.)

The new radio installation shouldn't be suspected unless instead of a harness adapter the wires were cut.

In that case, if a person doesn't understand that the OE radio is tied into the sleep circuitry (can use the OE radio for up to 20 minutes with no key in the ignition) then something could go wrong.

Often wrongly assumed by eager DIY aftermarket radio installers that there is just one power wire to the sound system and it is ignition switched.

But I doubt this is a factor here.

A more detailed timeline of how things started to go wrong might help the diagnosis.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:41 AM
joylove joylove is offline
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Location: USA
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Posts: 2,080
Mein Auto: 08 e83 LCI
Disagree slightly with the above. Sounds like the radio is wired badly. Remove all non BMW equipment until you get it running and driving correctly. At 80-100k you should be looking to change both he gearbox, diff and transfer box fluids (use BMW fluids ONLY for transfer box). However the fluids are unlikely to cause the limp mode and lighting issues you have.

Resolve your electrical problems with a good battery and well installed radio first then check back with your update.
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