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7 Series - E65 / E66 (2002 - 2008)
Discussion of BMW's 4th generation E65/E66 7 Series flagship. The E65 generated much controversy, due to its radical styling and iDrive user difficulties. Nonetheless, the E65 broke records to become the best-selling 7-series iteration ever, especially after its 2005 facelift.

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Old 01-03-2016, 07:00 PM
MCPhotographer MCPhotographer is offline
Registered User
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Mein Auto: 745i
Transmission Failsafe Mode Parking Brake Malfunction and related issues

Hey guys, there are a TON of threads about this issue and so many of them do not go to completion or they are vague. I'm going to tell you my experience and what's worked for me up to this point. I still require some guidance also. If you feel compelled to contribute please make sure your posting is relevant to the problem and furthers solutions.

My issue. 02 745i. Occasional problems shifting into reverse, sometimes not wanting to go into neutral. While driving car went into Transmission Failsafe and all the instrumentation died. After spending much time reading the forums I decided on this course of action.

Replace Mechatronic Sealing Sleeve, Adapter, and seals.

Mostly I followed Wilson009's DIY of replacing the seals and transmission pan. His thread can be found here. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=502966 I had a couple of snags along the way however.

How the job went. Ok first of all my bolts were Torx head and somewhere between a 25 and not quite a 27. I stripped a few of these trying to get them off with the 25. I eventually found a T27 but that one was too big. I resulted to taking a T30 and banging it in with a hammer and taking an impact wrench and slowly removing. I was able to get all but 1 out. Some people had said they used a box wrench and bottle jack. Not sure how that worked. There really isn't room to get a wrench over the head. I tried a bolt extractor, EasyOut and reverse bit. Nothing worked. While drilling the head to use the reverse bit I happened to drill all the way through. When using the reverse bit the head snapped off. This was good because I could now free the pan. Once the transmission oil pan was off I used pliers to removed the headless bolt. That took forever and was frustrating. I suggest using this method for any stripped bolts. I replaced the bolts with some M6 (crap I don't remember now if it was M6 or M8 but pretty sure it's M6) M6 x 1.25 inch bolts that I bought from Ace Hardware. They were $0.43 each and I bought some washers which were I think like another 20 cents a piece. I bought a whole boatload of bolts from Lowes but none of them were long enough. They can be had cheaper there but I didn't know what I was looking for when I went.

Next step. I followed the diagram that was referenced here:
A few of the things I learned from doing this were:

#1 - Remove the transmission connecting cable first. It's a tough, tough squeeze to get it off. I was able to get my left hand in there and turn it. Once that's off remove the sealing sleeve by first pulling down on the locking tab, and once that's released pulling the sealing sleeve straight out, don't twist. Again this is a bitch unless you have hands the size of a 5 year olds.

#2 - Now release the bolts from the Mechatronics and the unit will drop down. Do not remove anything BUT the T40 Torx screws. Those are the only ones holding the Mechatronics to he transmission. I believe there are 10 or 11 of them. I watched a You Tube video where dude took ALL the Torx bolts off before dropping the Mechatronics. That's wrong, and I misread what the instructions in the reference guide I used said and I also took them all out.

If you think you have problems with any of your units check your OHMs resistance. If it all checks out then replace the Mechatronics. What I did was I got some paint and marked where the locating tab was on the outside of the sealing sleeve so that I could see it while I was lying on my back. There is no way to tell where the hell it is without marking the spot. This helped tremendously. It's damn near impossible to do it by feel based on where it's located. Now take the Mechatronics and hold in in place with maybe 4 of the bolts. Once that's done insert the new sealing sleeve from the outside in, paying attention to where the locating tab is by where you put the paint mark. With relation to the connector pins on the Mechatronic unit it's at about 5:30. Once that's in I would tighten the bolts down a little more and maybe add a few more and at that point apply pressure on the sealing sleeve towards the Mechatronics unit and then push up on the locking tab. (I used a piece of wood and non-marring pry bar to apply pressure on the sleeve since my hands don't fit far enough in there to aplly any significant type of pressure). It should lock into place when you do it correctly. I then replaced the transmission connecting cable even though the instructions say to replace the pan first. As far as replacing the sealing sleeve adapter is pretty self explanatory and can only fit one direction. I did not replace the 4 round sleeves since I could tell that someone had already serviced the transmission. There were mismateched bolts and some heads that were already on their way to stripping. The sleeve and adapter that were in there were in ok shape as well as there not being any metal shavings that I could see and fluid that wasn't terribly awful.

Let me note this. When I drained the oil and took the pan off, it dripped FOREVER. It made a huge mess and since I am working on the street since I don't have a garage I didn't have time to wait for it to drain completely before I got under there. Being January I'm only good until about 4:30 to get stuff done. It was extremely messy. You may not have the same experience. I would suggest that you allow 3 to 4 hours for it to drain before starting to remove the Mechatronics. On my refill, I got 8 quarts back in before it started dribbling out.

Problems: Sos I had gotten 6 quarts in and ran out of fluid. I took it off the ramps and stands and moved it closer to the curb and parked it for the night. I didn't get back to working on it until 2 days later (New Years and such). Today when I went out to put it back up on the ramps it was again in Transmission Failsafe. I tried every method I read about on here to get it out of TFS. Now I had to do this the first time I got it on the stands because I was in TFS and it wouldn't go in to drive. I didn't remember how or what I did the first time. I thought I had held the ignition down for 15 seconds but that didn't work this time. What did work was.

1. Put the key in the ignition, do not put your foot on the brake
2. Push the ignition to turn on electronics
3. Hold down the gas TO THE FLOOR (now I tried doing this by holding it down before the 1st stop, but that didn't work. I had to go to the floor with it in order to work)
4. Wait 25 seconds (I think I waited 27)
5. Put your foot on the brake and hit the start button

That got me out of TFS.

Once I got it on the stands I was able to get 2 more quarts in.

I will post videos and links shortly.

Last edited by MCPhotographer; 01-04-2016 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:10 AM
mathat mathat is offline
Registered User
Location: norfolk
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: 730d
great write up - I did my pan last year and had no problems with any of the bolts, sounds like it's hit or miss if it's going to be a nightmare job , I did not go any further than changing the filter as I did not have any real problems but I wished I had for peach of mind (mine just seems to rev a little higher that I would have thought it should and the oil change did nothing so I am presuming there's nothing wrong) - it might be worth mentioning more about the OHMs resistances test you did as I would think that's worth while while your in there!
your very brave to do this on the road - I had great problems levelling mine for an accurate refill and was also worried about dirt getting blown into the gearbox while open!
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