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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 05-28-2009, 02:05 PM
rimshot rimshot is offline
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Unhappy e39 won't change gears if in D

HELP!! I have an e39 1997 528i 4spd automatic. If you put the car in D (drive) it will let you take off but will never change gears. It starts in 1st and stays there. If I maually start in 1st gear and maually shift my way up to Drive it works ok. If you punch it..it will downshift appropriately but wont go back into Drive unless you manually downshift to 3rd then back into Drive again. We checked fluid levels and all are good. I do need a new center bearing soon but other than that it is a sound car.

Since I can still manually shift I didn't think a transmission problem. I suspect some solenoid or relay somewhere. Problem started after the car sat for a month.
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2009, 02:48 PM
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Check the tire pressure, tread and alignment first. If that checks out ok you need to get the codes read, do you know an independent bmw repair shop?
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2009, 03:04 PM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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you can try dropping the pan and replacing the solenoids. I think it would be worth a shot as a last ditch effort.





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  #4  
Old 05-29-2009, 06:09 PM
rimshot rimshot is offline
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Exclamation

Changing "lifetime" fluid had no effect. Cleaning swich under shifter either. Didn't try replacing solenoids (too involved and expensive for me at this point). Any other suggestions out there?
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2009, 08:07 AM
kingmalik21 kingmalik21 is offline
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I dont know if you ever found a solution for above mentioned problem but heres the most likely reason for your car not shifting gears.

Right front abs sensor also functions as a speed sensor providing vehicle speed to the transmission controlmodule. If this sensor gets dirty or shorts out the transmission wont shift thinking that the vehicle speed is low.

Try taking the sensor out and then cleaning it. Also clean the magnetised seal on wheel bearing inside wheel hub assembly with a q-tip. if non of this work try swapping it out with a new one.

Abs sensors are cheap and not hard to replace.

Ps! check your transmission fluid level t as this to can give almost the same symptoms described


Best regards


Malik
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2009, 11:51 PM
m8140 m8140 is offline
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I had that exact problem. When I took it for repair I was told it was (and charged for) the main computer chip (brain). It was an $800 repair bill. Problem was fixed but who nows what they really did.
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  #7  
Old 04-09-2011, 04:48 PM
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im having this problem now! on my way home, everything was going good no problems at all...hit a stop light and then it started acting up. i didnt notice at first until i realized the the rpms were at 3-4 k and i wasnt shifting to 4th...pulled over and put it in park and worked my way to every gear. i could feel the tranny shifting into them and i figured it was just a little hiccup in the drivetrain..so went back to driving and it from 1st it shifts fine to 2nd and then a little high to almost 3.5 to 3rd and then it hangs on 3rd until i hit 5-6k ...tried putting it into s3 and it doesnt help. if i punch it on the throttle it shifts hard into the gears but shifts through all the gears no problem...i just dropped a lot of cash on cosmetic stuff thinking the car was running good...so from this thread, the check list im going to do is the abs sensor, maf sensor oil level, dont know about the solenoid (i know nothing about auto trans) and last resort is indy to check the tranny ecu or the tranny itself...any other suggestions or maybe someone might know the exact problem?
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2011, 06:02 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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It sure would have been nice to know what the OP's problem turned out to be. Good luck, Edmonem.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2011, 07:21 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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I just fixed a 1998 528i this morning with identical symptoms. I found the problem to be the transmission computer. Upon replacing the transmission computer, the car drove great and shifted through all the gears without a problem even though it had 234k.
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2011, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
I just fixed a 1998 528i this morning with identical symptoms. I found the problem to be the transmission computer. Upon replacing the transmission computer, the car drove great and shifted through all the gears without a problem even though it had 234k.
Really? I was talking to my mechanic friend who does the stuff on my car that I can't do, and we both suspected the trans ecu... I went down the line of possible problems and I told him I had no trouble lights at all. I guess I'll have to plug it into a scanner... So how did you figure out it was the trans ecu? How much did it cost and how hard was it to replace?


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  #11  
Old 04-10-2011, 05:56 AM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Originally Posted by edmonem View Post
Really? I was talking to my mechanic friend who does the stuff on my car that I can't do, and we both suspected the trans ecu... I went down the line of possible problems and I told him I had no trouble lights at all. I guess I'll have to plug it into a scanner... So how did you figure out it was the trans ecu? How much did it cost and how hard was it to replace?


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I swapped computers with one out of my parts car. The computer is very easy to get to. It is under the passenger's side micro filter housing.
In my yard, I have about 20 parts cars, and about 40 parted out. I sold the computer for $125, and charged $120 for diagnostics and labor.
Often when a customer comes in for a transmission, it is either the ABS unit or the transmission computer. I do occasionally change a transmission, but that is usually due to someone dogging it out.
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  #12  
Old 04-10-2011, 10:18 AM
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Nice! Hey if I cant find an affordable one Here, any chance you got another one you could sell to me?


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  #13  
Old 04-10-2011, 12:12 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Originally Posted by edmonem View Post
Nice! Hey if I cant find an affordable one Here, any chance you got another one you could sell to me?


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Sure, just get me the part number off of the computer and I will check if I have it.
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  #14  
Old 04-10-2011, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
Sure, just get me the part number off of the computer and I will check if I have it.
Okay...I get paid later this week, so I'll let you know. I'll pm you my info. You take paypal? Btw, how exactly do I know which one is the trans ecu? I've opened that panel before and all a remember seeing was loads of wires and I remember something in there that made a loud humming noise like a small fan when I switch the ignition on...


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  #15  
Old 04-10-2011, 06:18 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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If I am not mistaken, it is the computer closest to the firewall. It should say something like getstrebel on it. If anything, get the part number off of the small white label on the top of both, I will figure it out for you.
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  #16  
Old 04-10-2011, 06:25 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
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... It should say something like getstrebel on it.
Maybe "Getriebe," as in "transmission?"
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  #17  
Old 04-10-2011, 06:28 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Yes, that is what it says, since it is in German. They didn't start writing in English until 1999.
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2011, 12:35 AM
dbirdez dbirdez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
I swapped computers with one out of my parts car. The computer is very easy to get to. It is under the passenger's side micro filter housing.
In my yard, I have about 20 parts cars, and about 40 parted out. I sold the computer for $125, and charged $120 for diagnostics and labor.
Often when a customer comes in for a transmission, it is either the ABS unit or the transmission computer. I do occasionally change a transmission, but that is usually due to someone dogging it out.
I just finished putting an engine in my daughters 97 528i and finding some parts was a challenge, for future reference, do you typically sell parts ?
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:04 AM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Originally Posted by dbirdez View Post
I just finished putting an engine in my daughters 97 528i and finding some parts was a challenge, for future reference, do you typically sell parts ?
Yes, just pm me.
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2011, 09:15 AM
snapple112 snapple112 is offline
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I have heard something like these transmissions needing a computer "patch". A friend if mine had similar problems (and so do I) on his 2004 3 series and he told me the transmission needed to be updated.
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  #21  
Old 04-12-2011, 02:36 PM
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Okay so I took a picture of the ecus under there and just to make double sure I give you the right parts, I took a pic of both.

That's the first one. Sorry it's upside down but I don't think that's the one fir the tranny anyways.

And the other one with the words you guys described... So yeah, pm me a price. I hope you take paypal, I'm kind of afraid to use western union ever since I got scammed a few months ago...btw I live in Hawaii zipcode 96792... Be nice with shipping
I forgot to mention, it's 07/97 production 528i

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Old 04-12-2011, 02:50 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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FYI, "Getriebesteuerung" means "transmission controller."
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2011, 03:13 PM
Dansyerman Dansyerman is offline
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e39 trans problem

Hello lads, I am a little far from yourselves (Scotland) I have a similar problem with my 528i. Gears don't run too smooth, noticebly !st to 2nd, when its warmed up it runs alright.Also, as if it loses power, any link with the gear problem.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:42 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edmonem View Post
Okay so I took a picture of the ecus under there and just to make double sure I give you the right parts, I took a pic of both.

That's the first one. Sorry it's upside down but I don't think that's the one fir the tranny anyways.

And the other one with the words you guys described... So yeah, pm me a price. I hope you take paypal, I'm kind of afraid to use western union ever since I got scammed a few months ago...btw I live in Hawaii zipcode 96792... Be nice with shipping
I forgot to mention, it's 07/97 production 528i

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I just got home from work. I will check if I have it tomorrow and I will PM you. I will only take Paypal; I will try to get you a good deal on shipping.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:41 PM
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I just got home from work. I will check if I have it tomorrow and I will PM you. I will only take Paypal; I will try to get you a good deal on shipping.
Cool, I appreciate it...


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