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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 07-04-2009, 08:55 AM
gp87210 gp87210 is offline
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Mein Auto: 01' 540iA Sport
harsh thud/jerk and engine stalled while coming to stop

So yesterday I'm driving my car (2001 540iA w/ 112k miles) and it is running great for a while and then as I am approaching a red light going about 5 mph there is a sudden harsh jolt from what felt like the drive train/transmission and the engine stalls out. I was thinking WTF just happened and assumed my transmission just became a large and expensive paper weight. I get out and check for any obvious problems and don't see anything wrong. I start the car back up, put it through the gears and everything seems normal and I drive away. Drove a few more miles back home and the car is running fine and nothing seems to be wrong.

At this point I am assuming it happened during a downshift to 1st but I don't know for sure and I was coasting pretty slow for a few feet so the car may have already been in first gear. I have heard of the Technical service bulletin regarding harsh down shifts and upgrading the trans software but my software was updated in 2007 and I never heard about the problem being this severe.

I will be taking it to an indy during the week to have the car checked out/trans codes read but in the meantime has anyone heard of/experienced this issue and what are your opinions on what it could have been and how serious it is. And I have not changed the trans fluid on the car, and plan on doing it soon.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2009, 09:35 AM
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dannyc9997 dannyc9997 is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i
Mine does it, although not that bad, every time I come to a stop. Been doing it for a year and a half now and I just havent had time to figure it out. Might just be some bad tranny mounts that are allowing the trans to twist under load.
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  #3  
Old 07-04-2009, 10:21 AM
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demas demas is offline
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Mein Auto: F10 550i M-Sport
I've been trying to sort this out for a long while -- its the most irritating feeling.

when almost coming to a complete stop, it will upshift and the RPM's go way-down and the thud is not a nice feeling.


I had my inspection a few weeks ago and I asked the dealer to address this. They had reset my transmission software (I think it was called "EGS reset") and it seemed to be much better but it's already starting to come back. It happens now about 6 out of 10 times when stopping


I know there are others here who have said they have the same issue. It seems to affect the 2001~2003 540i's.
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  #4  
Old 07-04-2009, 10:22 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Could be an intermittent camshaft position sensor. Since it only happened once, there may not be a Pending Code stored.
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  #5  
Old 07-04-2009, 11:03 AM
gp87210 gp87210 is offline
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Mein Auto: 01' 540iA Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyc9997 View Post
Mine does it, although not that bad, every time I come to a stop. Been doing it for a year and a half now and I just havent had time to figure it out. Might just be some bad tranny mounts that are allowing the trans to twist under load.
Tranny mounts definitely seem possible. I will check mine today and report any findings. Interesting that this seems to be a common problem, I haven't seen much about it on the forums.

Thanks for the replies, guys
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2009, 11:39 AM
lsfeder lsfeder is offline
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Mein Auto: 540i M , 560SEL
Its 100% your tranny and engine mounts. Especially at the mileage you are at. Whats happening is both units are not snug as they should be and allow play in the drivetrain which could cause stalls. Change them both out... its a relatively easy job.
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2009, 02:18 AM
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M///Chook M///Chook is offline
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Location: Australia
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 535i V8 sedan
Mine does this too.

However, 12 months ago when it first happened, I tried to accelerate away from the standstill, and the engine just free-revved. I had smashed my 'clutchpack A' assembly in the auto trans, which is responsible for 1st, 2nd & 3rd gear. I know this, because I pulled the trans apart on my workbench, and found the clutchpack retaining snap-ring had shattered the clutchpack lip. It cost me $400 to get a new clutchpack assembly shipped from ZF (the front input shaft is part of the clutchpack) and then my labor time to put the tranny back together.

BMW was quoting me big $$$ to get a whole replacement trans at the time, because they didnt want to pull the trans apart due to high mileage. I showed them what I found in my trans, and how easy it was to fix it, and the tech guys were stunned that an owner had attempted to pull his trans apart I'm now known as the 'trans guy' every time I walk into the service dept

I still get harsh downshifts from 3rd to 2nd, but they're not common. That could be a software issue. What does concern me is that from cold, going from Park to Drive, it hesistates, and then I get a BUMP and its in drive. I think thats a lazy clutchpack piston..

If I go from Park to Reverse when cold, and then into Drive, I do not get the big bump. So I just do that now when the trans temp is cold, and I dont have anymore problems
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2009, 03:52 AM
Ebonix Ebonix is offline
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Location: Melbourne Australia
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 540IA Steptronic
Quote:
Originally Posted by gp87210 View Post
So yesterday I'm driving my car (2001 540iA w/ 112k miles) and it is running great for a while and then as I am approaching a red light going about 5 mph there is a sudden harsh jolt from what felt like the drive train/transmission and the engine stalls out. I was thinking WTF just happened and assumed my transmission just became a large and expensive paper weight. I get out and check for any obvious problems and don't see anything wrong. I start the car back up, put it through the gears and everything seems normal and I drive away. Drove a few more miles back home and the car is running fine and nothing seems to be wrong.

At this point I am assuming it happened during a downshift to 1st but I don't know for sure and I was coasting pretty slow for a few feet so the car may have already been in first gear. I have heard of the Technical service bulletin regarding harsh down shifts and upgrading the trans software but my software was updated in 2007 and I never heard about the problem being this severe.

I will be taking it to an indy during the week to have the car checked out/trans codes read but in the meantime has anyone heard of/experienced this issue and what are your opinions on what it could have been and how serious it is. And I have not changed the trans fluid on the car, and plan on doing it soon.

Thanks
Hey Chook...

i have the same problem, intermittant though...i did read somewhere, can't remeber where that there is software out there to eliminate that problem, its an Auto transmission problem when the car comes to a halt shifting from 2nd to 1st.

Mine started doing after i took it for a long drive to Sydney) 90% of the time spent in cruise control....its a glitch in the softare from what i remember reading. Wish i knew where i found that because i want to reprogram the Auto

Cheers!
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My EX daily chariot - '99 540IA Steptronic

Standard Cosmetic Mods - Staggered wheel set up, OEM ///M Steering Wheel, ///M spoiler, ///M grills, front lip, Muffler delete with 3" SS bent pipe and tip, the rest is stock.
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2009, 04:27 AM
Ebonix Ebonix is offline
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Location: Melbourne Australia
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 540IA Steptronic
Quote:
Originally Posted by M///Chook View Post
Mine does this too.

However, 12 months ago when it first happened, I tried to accelerate away from the standstill, and the engine just free-revved. I had smashed my 'clutchpack A' assembly in the auto trans, which is responsible for 1st, 2nd & 3rd gear. I know this, because I pulled the trans apart on my workbench, and found the clutchpack retaining snap-ring had shattered the clutchpack lip. It cost me $400 to get a new clutchpack assembly shipped from ZF (the front input shaft is part of the clutchpack) and then my labor time to put the tranny back together.

BMW was quoting me big $$$ to get a whole replacement trans at the time, because they didnt want to pull the trans apart due to high mileage. I showed them what I found in my trans, and how easy it was to fix it, and the tech guys were stunned that an owner had attempted to pull his trans apart I'm now known as the 'trans guy' every time I walk into the service dept

I still get harsh downshifts from 3rd to 2nd, but they're not common. That could be a software issue. What does concern me is that from cold, going from Park to Drive, it hesistates, and then I get a BUMP and its in drive. I think thats a lazy clutchpack piston..

If I go from Park to Reverse when cold, and then into Drive, I do not get the big bump. So I just do that now when the trans temp is cold, and I dont have anymore problems

Hey Chook...

This is what i was talking about...have a read

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/571290
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My EX daily chariot - '99 540IA Steptronic

Standard Cosmetic Mods - Staggered wheel set up, OEM ///M Steering Wheel, ///M spoiler, ///M grills, front lip, Muffler delete with 3" SS bent pipe and tip, the rest is stock.
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2009, 09:33 AM
gp87210 gp87210 is offline
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Location: Atlanta
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 01' 540iA Sport
That TIS mentions the 3-2 and 5-4 down shifts which I don't believe I've ever had a problem with, AND like I said my trans software was updated in 2007. You guys think there is an update/TIS even more recent than 2007?
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2009, 08:15 PM
hokiehigh hokiehigh is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 540i MSport
mine did the same thing once, stalled at a STOP sign one block from home after a long drive, I restarted the engine and drove home just fine. No code.
Not sure if it's related, but I drain/refilled the trans fluid twice and the tranny seems shift better now. still occasionally get hard downshifting (2-1) but haven't stalled yet.
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2009, 09:54 PM
washburn33 washburn33 is offline
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Location: Jersey Shore
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 97
Mein Auto: 2001 E39 540IA Sport
I think you should change your trans fluid. I had a similar symptom I went on a cross country trip from AZ to NJ a few months ago. By the time I got to Oklahoma on the second day I stopped at a gas station and as I slowed to a stop at the pump the last two downshifts were very abrupt. Luckily I have family there. I ordered a filter kit and replaced about six quarts. It was way better. I have since changed it two more times and it shifts like new. I have the directions on my site.

http://www.e39enthusiast.com/transmi...id-change.html

Cheers
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2009, 03:22 AM
Ebonix Ebonix is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 540IA Steptronic
By reading the comments here, these problems seem only to occur after the vehicle has done some continuous long distance driving, maybe the computer resets itself or sets itself in accordance to non stop driving conditions??

has anybody also encountered that the engine oil nees topping up after a long trip, read somewhere that BMW engines don;t burn the oil but somehow it vapourises...i have no leaks, no smoke etc yet after an 800km non stop trip, arriving at the sestination my "check engine oil" light comes on and so does my "water level low" light....add 1 ltr oil and maybe half a litre of water and all is good again....strange?
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My EX daily chariot - '99 540IA Steptronic

Standard Cosmetic Mods - Staggered wheel set up, OEM ///M Steering Wheel, ///M spoiler, ///M grills, front lip, Muffler delete with 3" SS bent pipe and tip, the rest is stock.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2009, 07:38 AM
gp87210 gp87210 is offline
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Location: Atlanta
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 01' 540iA Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebonix View Post
By reading the comments here, these problems seem only to occur after the vehicle has done some continuous long distance driving, maybe the computer resets itself or sets itself in accordance to non stop driving conditions??

has anybody also encountered that the engine oil nees topping up after a long trip, read somewhere that BMW engines don;t burn the oil but somehow it vapourises...i have no leaks, no smoke etc yet after an 800km non stop trip, arriving at the sestination my "check engine oil" light comes on and so does my "water level low" light....add 1 ltr oil and maybe half a litre of water and all is good again....strange?
I had only been driving for maybe 10 minutes and was only a few miles from home when it happened to me.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2009, 08:43 AM
detox8907 detox8907 is offline
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Location: San Antonio, TX
 
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Posts: 54
Mein Auto: 1997 528i Auto
it happened to me but it was my camshaft position sensor.... it was a thud or jerk when stopping a little too fast. i did have a code though.
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  #16  
Old 07-07-2009, 09:16 AM
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demas demas is offline
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Mein Auto: F10 550i M-Sport
I'm keen to see if the tranny and engine mounts are the cause. I'm not fully convinced its the mounts since after the transmission software reset the feeling did improve but now its coming back. But it would be good to change them out.

It seems it doesn't matter how long the car has been driving to cause this. I have gotten the check oil level message a couple of times over the past two months, but the oil level was fine - no codes.
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  #17  
Old 07-21-2009, 08:43 PM
540 Rick 540 Rick is offline
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Location: Dearborn, MI
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 540iA
My 2000 540 iA does the clunk routine every once in a while when shifting to 1st gear at stop signs. It seems to be an issue only after rapid shifting while driving in suburban subdivisions where there are stop signs at every corner. Is this a software issue and is there an updated fix?
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