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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 10-31-2006, 07:51 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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TRANS FAILSAFE Prog Error

Need some help .. The other day .. I was up on a very steep incline road ... I had the AC on and started up the incline ... before I moved forward the car slight rooled backwards .. like a manual car would do on a step incline ... all of sudden ... my dash indicated Trans Failsafe Prog .. Car had a hard time moving ... I pulled over and shut her down ... then restarted the vehicle ... Trans Failsafe Prog came on quickly and disappeared ... I was able to move normally and drive her home without any problems or any message popping up .. Started the car today .. and no message ... I will go home tonight and take her for a spin to see if I get the message again ... Would rolling backwards would create this message ?


I had reviewed the search ... I will have codes read to determine the exact cause of this message. In addition, i was wondering what are some of the results with others who had this issue. Did you have to rebuild your Tranny or was it just connectors, or cables ... or something really minor ? Please share your outcome. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2006, 08:05 AM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Happened recently to me...alternator failed. Have your electrical system checked, and a load test performed on your battery. Many auto parts stores will do this for free. Please report back your findings.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2006, 08:15 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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battery is only 2 years old .. Not sure about the alternator .. Do you know if I got the computer read ... it will let me know the exact problem .. would hate to rebuild a tranny ... Only have 80K ... Also, wondering if rolling backwards on a steep incline in an automatic car would create this message or maybe the fluids were out of stuck in one sectoin of the tranny ? Does that make sense?
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2006, 08:17 AM
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chivas chivas is offline
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unlock your OBC and see what the voltage is reading. i can help you do this... or did i show this to you way back before? you know how right? add up the vin, input it and select i think test #7 and you get volt readings.

PS: i was on the can when you called.
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2006, 09:01 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
unlock your OBC and see what the voltage is reading. i can help you do this... or did i show this to you way back before? you know how right? add up the vin, input it and select i think test #7 and you get volt readings.

PS: i was on the can when you called.

More information than I needed to know about your bodily function ...

you should me but .. you went really fast through the process ... Contacted Bill and he indicated that I need to connect the readings from the Tranny to get the code ... going for a drive 2 night ... hopefully will be okay ...
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2006, 09:09 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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Took the car for a drive last night ... No error message came on ... What I did notice was a slight increase is rpm when shifting from 2 to 3 but only when the car was in sport mode. Maybe a slight slipage ...

I have 80K miles .. Should I change the tranny fluid? I know there are pros and cons!
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2006, 06:15 PM
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chivas chivas is offline
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i'm getting the harness to run carsoft..
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2006, 07:12 PM
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jpettit jpettit is offline
keep those wagons rolling
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i had the Trans Failsafe Prog error message a few weeks ago...had to replace the alternator.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2006, 08:03 PM
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chivas chivas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpettit View Post
i had the Trans Failsafe Prog error message a few weeks ago...had to replace the alternator.
well... i see what i'm going to be doing soon...
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  #10  
Old 11-01-2006, 08:35 PM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
i'm getting the harness to run carsoft..

cool .. Can I be first in line ..?
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2007, 12:12 PM
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flyboyy flyboyy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpettit View Post
i had the Trans Failsafe Prog error message a few weeks ago...had to replace the alternator.
was it constant with the failsafe prog error ? does the error code happen everytime you start up the car ? and also was your car in like 3 or 4 gear and it picked up very slowly ?

did you also have a check service engine light on ?

how much did it cost you to change the alternator and where did you do it ?
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2007, 12:23 PM
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jpettit jpettit is offline
keep those wagons rolling
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Quote:
was it constant with the failsafe prog error ? does the error code happen everytime you start up the car ? and also was your car in like 3 or 4 gear and it picked up very slowly ?
the light was on constantly, and happened everytime. i didn't have any gear issues, but after about 3 starts my car wouldn't even start.

Quote:
did you also have a check service engine light on ?
i don't remember, but i don't think so.

Quote:
how much did it cost you to change the alternator and where did you do it ?
i had it done at a local independent shop. the battery was covered under warranty, and i had some other work done at the same time, but i think around $400 CND.
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2007, 06:53 PM
trulynutso trulynutso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaptom540 View Post

I have 80K miles .. Should I change the tranny fluid? I know there are pros and cons!
If you have the life time bmw trans fluid, I would not recommend changing the fluid. From my experience, the new fluid has some chemical in it that helps break in the new clutches of a trans. When you add this to the used clutches, it may cause the transmission to slip when it was fine before. This is just my experience from it. I'm not sure if this applies to the 5 series, but the 7 series have a problem with the transmission harness. The harness develop high resistance and cause shifting problems. Good luck.
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2007, 12:27 PM
fkhatib fkhatib is offline
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OBC unlock for 530 2003

Hi chivas,

My car is BMW 530 / 2003 the old shape, would you please tell how to unlock the OBC
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  #15  
Old 11-03-2007, 10:40 AM
fkhatib fkhatib is offline
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Hey kaptom,

I have the same problem,
Have you been able to fix the problem with the (Trans Failsafe Prog) msg, did you have to replace the tranny ?

Regards

Last edited by fkhatib; 11-03-2007 at 10:48 AM.
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  #16  
Old 02-09-2008, 07:05 AM
manthny18 manthny18 is offline
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TRANS FAILSAFE Prog Error

I Jusy Recently Also Got That Message When I Was On The Thruway My Car Just Turned Off And Wouldent Start It Said Trans.failsafe Prog I Drive A 2003 Bmw X5 4.6is With Only 37k I Dont Understand What This Means But Im Taking My Sav To The Dealer Today But A Little Later. Can Anyone Tell Me What This Means I Will B Very Thankful.......thanks....
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2008, 07:08 AM
manthny18 manthny18 is offline
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Hey Kaptom Did U Fix It If U Did What Was The Issue And How Much Did It Cost...thanks....
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  #18  
Old 09-02-2008, 02:50 PM
ilian007 ilian007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manthny18 View Post
Hey Kaptom Did U Fix It If U Did What Was The Issue And How Much Did It Cost...thanks....

I have same problem as Kapton somebody found the problem yet????
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  #19  
Old 09-02-2008, 06:44 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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BEWARE, the Trans Failsafe Prog may or may not be a real problem. This mode limits you to third gear to allow you to limp to a dealer. I got it two years ago on a rainy winter day when I had 50K on the clock. I took it to the dealer who spent two days troubleshooting it. They even called BMWNA. They finally said I need a new tranny. I said No F'in Way! I asked them to reset the OBC and the tranny has been fine since (now 69K). I have never returned to that stealer.
There have been many posts regarding possible causes. Some are related to alternator, some battery, some a sensor. Very rarely has it been a true tranny problem. I believe mine was sensor related. Not sure a Peake can reset the OBC. If not, take it to a dealer or indy. It'll cost you 1 hrs labor but it is cheaper than a new tranny.
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  #20  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:07 PM
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dannyc9997 dannyc9997 is offline
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Atf could be a little low too
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  #21  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:07 PM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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never had any issues since that day .. never got it checked out .. my guess .. i was on a steep incline hill and maybe the fluids shifted causing the trans failsafe .. check out roadfly.org and do a search on that board ..
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  #22  
Old 09-25-2008, 07:28 PM
Renegade_530 Renegade_530 is offline
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Hi all. Kaptom, I dont believe its got anything to do with the incline or the fact that your car rolled backwards, since i have the same issue. I drive a 530 2003 btw, this happens to me rarely if i step on the gas after a complete stop and the RPM goes beyond 5 or 6. Also seeking help if someone had this issue before and got it resolved.
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  #23  
Old 11-25-2008, 07:40 AM
Rick3010 Rick3010 is offline
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Trans failsafe prog

Yep, I had the same thing. I drive a 530 diesel (2002) and had the same warning a couple of times after driving "sporty" so to say. My wife never had this problem since she drives it slow and gentle. It has definitely something to do with the torque and/or slip. I assume the tranny is protected for uncontrolled slip or something. Mine has 390 000 km on it BTW...

Still going.
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2008, 01:52 PM
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Damn! 390,000 KM? That is a lot of driving in 6 years! Way to go!
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  #25  
Old 11-25-2008, 06:32 PM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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well .. this thread came back to life .. might as well give you an update .. no issues ..
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