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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 12-22-2008, 03:28 PM
03 525i Newbie 03 525i Newbie is offline
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Car Revs Up and Down when driving.

When driving I can keep my foot steady on the peddle while its going about 40 MPH but it seems to rev up and down. No drastic increase or decrease but it revs up and down enough for you to notice it. Any advice? Has anyone else experienced this?
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2008, 03:40 PM
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dannyc9997 dannyc9997 is offline
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You only notice it at that speed? Is your car an automatic?
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2008, 04:04 PM
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If it is an automatic it sounds like your tranny is shifting between 4th and 5th gear and can't decide what to stay in. Is this on a completely level surface or on inclines?
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2008, 07:44 PM
black540eye black540eye is offline
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I have felt that with my 2003 540i, Automatic. I try to look at the tach to see if it moves
around...and I can't really see anything. I don't think it is the tranny trying to go back and forth between 4th and 5th. I can be going on a level road, 50mph, and slightly feel it. Our 2001 Acura MDX had a similar problem, but was more noticable...and that turned out to be a faulty EGR valve/sensor...something like that. At this point, I don't think it is too big of a deal...but it is interesting to see at least some other 5-series feeling the same thing.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2008, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black540eye View Post
I have felt that with my 2003 540i, Automatic. I try to look at the tach to see if it moves
around...and I can't really see anything. I don't think it is the tranny trying to go back and forth between 4th and 5th. I can be going on a level road, 50mph, and slightly feel it. Our 2001 Acura MDX had a similar problem, but was more noticable...and that turned out to be a faulty EGR valve/sensor...something like that. At this point, I don't think it is too big of a deal...but it is interesting to see at least some other 5-series feeling the same thing.
Good point. I do know that when cruising at 40 in my car that my pedal is very sensitive with the gears. When I'm on a flat surface at 40 my car will be in fifth gear and if I very slightly push on the pedal, not much to notice really, the car will downshift. I guess it depends on how much the rpms are flucuating.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2008, 02:29 PM
03 525i Newbie 03 525i Newbie is offline
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It is an automatic steptronic in regular drive mode. It happens when cruising on level ground about 40 to 50 mph. I doubt that it is a downshift, those are definitely noticeable. This is more like a slight drop and quick to go back up about 200 rpm at the most. It maintains speed no drops or big pickups and that is why I doubt it is a downshift.What could it be?
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2008, 02:48 PM
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Sounds like its going in and out of TC lockup mode. Watch the MPG meter below the tach. Is it going from infinite (pegged passed the 40 mpg mark) and back to 40?
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2008, 02:57 PM
03 525i Newbie 03 525i Newbie is offline
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That MPG meter doesn't do that. It is just the tach that moves down and then back up a few times. By the way what is TC Lockup? Forgive my lack of knowledge.
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2008, 03:09 PM
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TC lockup (torque converter) is a feature of modern automatic trannys. The tranny has a clutch that is used to minimize slipping at some speeds in order to be more fuel efficient
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  #10  
Old 12-24-2008, 04:47 PM
black540eye black540eye is offline
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Another way I think to explain what happens is this....It's as if you are going 60mph and
a strong gust of wind hits the car and then stops.....that's what it feels like. .... and I feel this
quite often...and there are no gusts at the time. Just another way to get a "sense" of what happens
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  #11  
Old 01-07-2009, 03:56 AM
richard1 richard1 is offline
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I'm a new boy on this site.... Hello.... I have an automatic 735i (2003) and it is doing the same... shifting up and down at 40 mph. Sounds like the transmisson to me. Richard1
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2009, 07:29 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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You may want to check the ICV.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2010, 07:36 AM
kito kito is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i'97- Fiat Palio '05
Mine is a automatic 540i - did that revving up and down.
Discovered "lifetime" fluid is not lifetime
I've had fluid changed (it must not be done by any mechanic) - fluid must be well drained, also the Torque Converter has to be drained.
Dealer also suggested to change the clutches as they weren't in good shape, due to have been using them too much with the old fluid.
Fluid is very expensive here - about 100 dollars/lt - and it taked 12 lts.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2010, 09:44 AM
melophiliac melophiliac is offline
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I just bought a '99 540ita sport with a similar problem. If I'm cruising anywhere between 40 and 65 I can feel the slight stutter every few seconds. It does seem like its going in and out of TC lockup. I've also noticed that if I back the peddle out a bit, it will still maintain the speed and the stutter will go away. But any little incline will decrease my speed, and if I step in slightly again I can feel it happening. Maybe something faulty with the drive by wire? This is my first car equipped with it. Still getting used to it.

If I put the cruise control on and let the car maintain speed on the highway, I can notice it alot more. It feels like the cars confused about what gear to stay in and when and when not to go into TC lockup. I have 110k on the car. Should I do a tranny flush and filter change? I'm really convinced its something with the tranny or the tranny controller.
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2010, 01:23 PM
kito kito is offline
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Finally I got the car to BMW dealer. They opened the gearbox, and discovered fluid is awfully worn, filter in bad shape.
Some of the clutches were slightly worn, but the one on the torque converter was gone - and that was exactly what I was feeling - torque conevrted engaged and disengaged all the time.
They say I was lucky as gearbox may have been totally destroyed - anyway I'll have to pay 4000 dollars for repair, new fluid and so on.

For what I've discovered, in the forums, and talking with the dealers, is that BMW says fluid is for life, but, it should be replaced, after, I don't know, noone tells, but I imagie between 100.000 and 200.000 kms.
Mine is 160.000, but I started noticing the problem at 140.000

By "my experience" you should get yours drained, flushed, and replace filiter and fluid.

Luck
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  #16  
Old 02-04-2010, 12:15 PM
melophiliac melophiliac is offline
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I've also noticed that mine only seems to act up once its warmed up. I live relatively close to the highway I have to jump on on my way to work, so I can usually cruise for about a minute while it's cold. It drives fine until it warms up, thats when it starts feeling funny. Even cruising at low speeds, it comes on and off. Maybe some kind of sensor messed up?
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  #17  
Old 02-04-2010, 03:41 PM
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i'm not sure what yr yours is, but i could be your wheel bearings. they give a noticable vibration at different speeds.
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  #18  
Old 02-04-2010, 05:04 PM
larryshomework larryshomework is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
You may want to check the ICV.
Had an idle problem on a e30 325e that was similar but only at idle; not while moving.

It would get too much input and rev; hit some kind of limit that told it to stop and shut of the fuel until it dropped too much then repeat; surge, drop, surge, drop.

It was the idle control valve and fortunately a couple treatments with Techron must have degunked it enough to solve the problem.
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  #19  
Old 02-04-2010, 06:07 PM
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ive always had that pronlem with my car switching from 4th to 5th gear back and forth even with the TC rebuilt.....i appreciate everybodys input but is this normal?
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  #20  
Old 02-04-2010, 06:22 PM
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check the fluid level. it's not normal for it to switch between gears, until need be.
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  #21  
Old 02-05-2010, 06:02 AM
melophiliac melophiliac is offline
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I think I might just take it to an indie shop I've been eyeing in Seattle. I really don't want to replace the TC, or the tranny for that matter.

If it comes to that, maybe I'll just wait it out until a totaled M5 comes along and swap over all the guts *goes into dream sequence*
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2010, 11:58 AM
melophiliac melophiliac is offline
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What was I thinking above with the M5 swap? I gotta get the A5S tranny working right, haha.

So I've noticed that mine happens once warmed up and between about 45 - 68mph. Which is actually a bit off when comparing to a nav unit. 70 on the speedo equals about 67 on the nav. Stock wheels too. Anywhooo. Car has about 111k, so I'm wondering if I should brave a tranny fluid change, or even flush. The transmission seems fine, always shifts great, doesn't seem to slip, at least none that I can notice. Keeping it floored up to 120 feels great, both in tranny talk and in terms of satisfaction. The fact that it doesnt do this while cold seems odd to me. Does the TC not go into lockup at all until the engines fully warmed up? Does anybody have extensive knowledge on what's controlling the TC lockup?

Aaron
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