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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-15-2005, 10:48 AM
Loganrunn Loganrunn is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 528i 1999
Electronic Transmission control Module screwed up?

I have a 1999 BMW 528i... has 118,500 miles on it. The other day, the check engine light came on, the ABS light came on, the Automatic Stability Control plus Traction Stability control DSC light came on, and lastly the Electronic Transmission control module (TRANS FAILSAFE PROG) came on. The check engine light seems to go off after driving sometimes. When taking off from a standstill, you have to give the car ALOT of gas to get it going. If I put in park, shut it off and restart, that light goes out until I put it in gear.... then the TRANS FAILSAFE PROG LIGHT comes right back on again and the car is VERY sluggish to start off... The check engine light does stay off, but all the other three stay illiminated.

ANY HELP ON THIS ONE!!!???


THANKS

Logan
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2005, 10:51 AM
sroberts sroberts is offline
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No real help except try to take it to an Autozone (or similar) and get the codes read.
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2005, 04:53 AM
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psychop psychop is offline
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Location: Warsaw, Poland
 
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Mein Auto: E39 528iA
It seems that Your transmission is switching to the emergency mode (Getriebenotprogram) and this is why the transmission behaves strangely.
Most probably it starts in second or even third gear that is why you need
a lot of gas to move off.

Of course it could be a fault in the transmission itself (rather not the electronic
module), noting the traction/abs system lights illuminated i would think about
a fault in some common sensor that is essential for all of the systems.
Alternatively, it can be a fault on the CAN bus which allows communication between
DME,EGS and ABS/DSC modules.

Following the suggestion of having the codes read is a good start.
And i would refrain from driving it because it may cause extended
mechanical damage to the transmission.
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2005, 06:09 AM
chadcham chadcham is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
Did you ever find out what is happening with this one? This morning I went to go to work and I had to give it a LOT of gas to get it to move at all. I assumed that it was the transmission going out so I turned it off and came inside. About 5 minutes later I turned the car back on to see if I had any error messages and tried to move it again, and it ran just fine with no sluggishness. Your comment about the control module made me think that my car might have 'thought' it was in high gear. My car is a 1997 528i BTW,

Thanks,
Chad
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2006, 08:08 PM
ajlindsey ajlindsey is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 528
Logran,

Did you find out what is going on with your BMW "TRANS FAILSAFE PROG" warning lamp? I have 2000 528i with the same symptom. I would like to know your experience. Thanks a lot.


AJ
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2006, 12:26 PM
Damian456 Damian456 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 540iA
Has anyone figured this out yet?

I took mine in (not dealer) and they haven't been able to figure it out yet. Thought it was a short in the ignition. now they think it could be a ABS problem. How did any if you guys fix this?
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2006, 02:18 PM
chadcham chadcham is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 528i
I endedup having to replace the trasmission control module (around $200). It was shorting out due to the wire plastic flaking off. I was easy to check since once the car is up in the air it is easy to get to.
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2008, 07:38 AM
jambre jambre is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 323i
Find EGS

Hi, I know this forum is a bit old but where did you find the transmission control module? Mine is fried from jump starting the car and I need a new one. Dealer wants $1100.
Thanks,
Marnix
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2008, 11:50 AM
musclecarenvy musclecarenvy is offline
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musclecarenvy

Try eBay
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2008, 11:52 AM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Battery and alternator issues can cause this too. Get them checked before getting too far into this. Most autoparts stores will check them for free.
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2008, 07:26 AM
kumasan kumasan is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 540iA M-sport
Exclamation Help diagnosing this same problem!!

2000/6 (after May) 540iA 76K

Yesterday the same thing happened...engine light came on on the way home Monday night. turned the car off in the garage and did an inspection of hoses and things in plain view. nothing.

then started it up yest (Tues) morning for work and engine light was still on but drove fine. got to work. started the car up to drive to a friend to read the code and "trans.failsafe" light came on.

Just before having a friend read the codes the yellow ABS and Brake lights came on. Then car was unable to find its idling stop and would search between 700rpms - 1000rpms.

read the code came up with a "can bus" not communicating with DSC...

heard this is a potential problem with a dieing battery. So replaced the battery and still the same problem...

only on the way to get a battery the tach stopped working and the temp gauge instantly shot up to high! since it was an instant response it could not have overheated but turned the heat on full just in case. temp gauge went instantly back to normal (but just kept the heat on incase).

then i notice that the tach was working again but now the left side of the dash was not working! So no speed or gas gauges but tach and temp worked fine

friend thinks it might be the control module but ive also read that it could be a:
-dash pod (THe e39 generation uses the dash as an integrated part of the dme -ccm - can bus)
-Camshaft sensor (left bank) and the Crankcase breather unit
-contactplugg on the ABS/DSC unit so its clean
-ABS/DSC controlmodulproblem
-faulty DSC unit
-trasmission control module

Im lost with were to start so any help would be greatly appriciated...and can probably fix these above things myself or get a friend to assist with instalation...just need to know what to start with
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2008, 03:48 PM
osikani osikani is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528I
Thumbs down

I've the same problem, mine (2000 528I) also showed the same light after replacing camshaft position sensor then decide to reset the code.

However, the code is MAF or VAF A CKT Range/Perf. Will this code trigger a transmission malfunction? Car doesn't drive well at all, it shifts with some noises in the lower gears.
Thx.

Parto.
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2009, 07:57 AM
Chops Chops is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i
I've had the same problem with my 2000 528i as kumasan and osikani. The error codes included the cam sensor problems as well as multiple transmission errors and no one was able to interpret them. My error codes indicated that the transmission was not working in any gear, but the car drove for a year with no problems. Like jambre, my problems started, when I jump started the car and the Service Engine Light came on.
After multiple theories, my mechanic found a new (used) Transmission Control Unit and the light is finally out. Not sure why I needed one though, except to pass inspection.
Part Numbers
BMW: 1 423 886 or Siemens: 5WK33502AB
This BMW part works for the following BMW models: 1999-2000 BMW 328Ci 2DR ( E46 ) BMW 528i 4DR ( E39 ) BMW 528i Wagon ( E39 ) BMW 323Ci 2DR ( E46 ) BMW 323Ci CONV ( E46 ) BMW 323i 4DR ( E46 ) BMW 323i Wagon ( E46 ) BMW 328i 4DR ( E46 )

Last edited by Chops; 05-15-2009 at 08:18 AM.
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  #14  
Old 05-15-2009, 09:08 AM
03bmw525i 03bmw525i is offline
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Mein Auto: 03 525iA, '87 325e 5spd
Bad alternator and/or battery can also cause this. Definitely check charging system and battery. Same thing happened to me. Alternator and battery replaced and problem solved.
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2009, 05:56 PM
cager169 cager169 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 bmw Z3, 1999 bmw 528
wow i just logged in to ask the same question. My 99 528i is slow to take off, it doesn't shift but on that one gear it can go 60+mph (only did it once to see if it shifted) i have no lights or codes, changed the tranny oil and filter, new alternator and batt. the one thing that i am reading is the jump starting thing, guilty as charged i did jump start it but the problem was there already but do you guys think the computer is doing this? the car starts and idles fine but the stareo is off and the steering wheel is off only arter a couple seconds of driving it powers on and the horn works. my car has the GM 4L30 tranny any help?
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  #16  
Old 05-15-2009, 07:13 PM
JERRY_ENT JERRY_ENT is offline
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Mein Auto: 99 BMW 323I SEDAN
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadcham View Post
I endedup having to replace the trasmission control module (around $200). It was shorting out due to the wire plastic flaking off. I was easy to check since once the car is up in the air it is easy to get to.
I'M IN NEED OF HELP BECAUSE THE BMW DEALER IS SUCKING ME DRY AND NOT FIXING MY PROBLEM.. SOMEONE HELP ME OUT PLEASE. HERE IS WHATS GOING ON WITH MY CAR.

My 1999 323i has a slipping transmission. A light came on inside the
gear selection display on the dash (a large round gear with an
exclamation point inside the circle) ......not a good thing, I'm sure.

When I put it in drive, and give it gas it sounds like it's in
neutral. Car moves forward slowly with lots of rpm's, but not a lot of
forward progress. When it finally gets up to about 30 or 40mph seems
to work okay, but from a dead stop it moves ahead very slowly with
lots of rpm's. Feels like I'm driving a manual and letting the clutch
out very slowly (too slowly).

My owner's manual says it's a problem with the electronic transmission
control module (Page 67).

Any ideas?

How much does a new transmission control module cost? or can someone tell me where i can get one for cheap if that's the problem.
Edit/Delete Message
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  #17  
Old 05-15-2009, 07:15 PM
JERRY_ENT JERRY_ENT is offline
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Mein Auto: 99 BMW 323I SEDAN
Quote:
Originally Posted by JERRY_ENT View Post
I'M IN NEED OF HELP BECAUSE THE BMW DEALER IS SUCKING ME DRY AND NOT FIXING MY PROBLEM.. SOMEONE HELP ME OUT PLEASE. HERE IS WHATS GOING ON WITH MY CAR.

My 1999 323i has a slipping transmission. A light came on inside the
gear selection display on the dash (a large round gear with an
exclamation point inside the circle) ......not a good thing, I'm sure.

When I put it in drive, and give it gas it sounds like it's in
neutral. Car moves forward slowly with lots of rpm's, but not a lot of
forward progress. When it finally gets up to about 30 or 40mph seems
to work okay, but from a dead stop it moves ahead very slowly with
lots of rpm's. Feels like I'm driving a manual and letting the clutch
out very slowly (too slowly).

My owner's manual says it's a problem with the electronic transmission
control module (Page 67).

Any ideas?

How much does a new transmission control module cost? or can someone tell me where i can get one for cheap if that's the problem.
Edit/Delete Message
Don't you have to reprogram the transmission control module after you buy from ebay and etc and if you did where did you take it
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  #18  
Old 08-07-2009, 04:51 PM
bigal540i bigal540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 540I 2003, 328i 1998
Trans Prog Fail

looks like this was some months ago, but what happen with your transmission issue, I am having the same with my 540i 2003?
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  #19  
Old 08-09-2009, 11:48 PM
paul bounds paul bounds is offline
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Location: fort wayne indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 528i
Arrow tranny probs similar but different

I just bought a 97 528i, with a fried gearshift sensor/module. The car has park, reverse, neutral just fine, but when u put in drive, it'll take off like normal in first but will not shift up. Your just stuck driving around in first. Well, my buddy had a replacement module he pulled of another 97 528i he parted out. He gave it to me, and upon inspection I noticed the insulation was hard and cracking and just flaking off. So, just as a quick fix and to get the car running to see if this fixed the shift prob, I wrapped each of the five wires with elect. tape, then all of them as a bundle. I just installed it tonight, went for a drive, same thing. Stuck in first. I mean it takes off strong, no lag, nothing, its just at the top of first I let off and it just decels, whether I manually shift or not, it wont go into 2nd or others at all. Also, while it's decellerating, if I bump the gas a little ya know u should feel a little kick if your still in gear right?? Well, she just revvs like she's in nuetral, then it'll catch at like 3500-4000 rpms. Oh yeah, I have no check lights, no codes, no errors. . PLEASE HELP.

Last edited by paul bounds; 08-09-2009 at 11:52 PM.
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  #20  
Old 08-10-2009, 07:03 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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there are like 5 guys here with 5 different problems. If the car will not shift gears and is defaulting to a single gear (3rd) your trans is in limp mode and you can bet there are codes. Your average OBD-II scanner cannot properly read the EGS module, you need to see a dealer or Indy with a GT1 or BMW carsoft.

There can be many reasons the car enters limp mode, and a scan of the EGS module will help pinpoint where the problem is. I recently repaired a 528i that was not shifting out of first. The problem was that the wiring to the output speed sensor was damaged, easy fix.
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  #21  
Old 08-10-2009, 08:03 AM
bigal540i bigal540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 540I 2003, 328i 1998
Trans Prog Fail issue solved for less than $400

I drive 540i 2003, 64000K, I was getting the trans prog fail message and check engine light was on. First I went to the dealer and they told me it couldnt be the fluid because it is lifetime... lol they suggested I have the transmission control module upgraded for a small fee of $900 and they would do my tran flush if I insisted for $720. If the upgrade on the module didnt work a new one could be ordered for $980 and after install my total would be around $1700. Point here is they offered to get me back up and running for around 2600 to 3000 dollars.

I wouldnt settle for these answers and purchased fluid, filter, ring and seal from them for $350, I changed the fluid myselft and let me tell u the magnets in the pan work becuz they where had gunk on them, the fluid looked really bad, lifetime my behind. Anyways, I cleaned everything up and put it back together and then I realized quickly, the fluid would not be put back easily. I had to purchase a plug with a nozzle, then I used my fluid pumper I had in my garage and the fluid easily went back into the transmission. Now when I put my car into gear it sits down like its ready to get somewhere quickly.

My neighbor check the error message and it was trans sensor fail, which is why the check engine light was on. He reset the light for me. I took my car on a road trip last night 6 hours round trip and the trans is shifting like new and no lights are on anymore. Good luck and thanks for information, it motivated me to at least try it and the $3000 bill made a difference also.
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  #22  
Old 08-10-2009, 08:30 AM
bigal540i bigal540i is offline
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Mein Auto: 540I 2003, 328i 1998
Trans Prog Fail issue solved for less than $400

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Sorry I should have attached a picture of my car in first message, Im still learning.
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  #23  
Old 08-20-2009, 08:45 PM
paul bounds paul bounds is offline
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Location: fort wayne indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 528i
Yeah!! OSS!! Hopefully???

Man Mark, I'm thinking (and hoping) you hit the head on the nail with the output speed sensor. Me and a guy at work have been arguing about exactly that lol, and I've been telling him "naww, that couldn't be it!!", but it makes sense. Oh btw, I do know it's not entering limp/failsafe mode because when I first got it, I pulled the TCU and went for a drive to see if it did anything different, and it did. Then and ONLY then did it go into failsafe, and it said so across the dash, and it was obvious it was in 3rd (I got about 40mph not really pushing it), not 1st as is my condition now (it'll start winding out at about 15-20mph) with no "failsafe" going across my dash. Thanks guys, Imma check that OSS tomorrow and let chaw kno!! P
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  #24  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:07 PM
zingalie zingalie is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 530I
dash lights and trans failsafe.check ABS module on hydraulic unit.It is the black box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loganrunn View Post
I have a 1999 BMW 528i... has 118,500 miles on it. The other day, the check engine light came on, the ABS light came on, the Automatic Stability Control plus Traction Stability control DSC light came on, and lastly the Electronic Transmission control module (TRANS FAILSAFE PROG) came on. The check engine light seems to go off after driving sometimes. When taking off from a standstill, you have to give the car ALOT of gas to get it going. If I put in park, shut it off and restart, that light goes out until I put it in gear.... then the TRANS FAILSAFE PROG LIGHT comes right back on again and the car is VERY sluggish to start off... The check engine light does stay off, but all the other three stay illiminated.

ANY HELP ON THIS ONE!!!???


THANKS

Logan
check abs module brain rf near strut tower,will also cause trans failsafe.
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  #25  
Old 12-16-2011, 02:15 PM
Poloreloaded Poloreloaded is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw 740il
Transmission module

let me know who has a transmission module for sale. please call me at 609-349-9272.

my 740il is a 1998.
the production date has to be near 09/97 and the part# GS8.60.2
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