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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 10-11-2015, 12:49 PM
blacksquid blacksquid is offline
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Location: Alexandria, VA
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 142
Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
2000 540i Shifting Problem

I'm having an odd intermittent problem where the car doesn't stay in gear after shifting normally. Sometimes I can't get the car in gear, accompanied by a nice grinding noise, even though the clutch pedal is fully depressed. I can get the car to stay in gear if I hold the shifter firmly in place while releasing the clutch but there is a kind of clunk.

I've had the car looked at by a couple of shops, one of the shops is specializes in transmission repair and is highly regarded. but they can find nothing wrong.

The car has ~144k.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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2000 540i M-Sport, build date 11/1999
2007 Z4 M Coupe (sold)
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2015, 03:21 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Does the trans shift okay with the engine stopped?

If so, possible that the clutch hydraulic system is bodged, and the master and/or slave cylinder is leaking internally.

If bleeding the circuit fixes the problem temporarily, I'd vote to replace both cylinders.

Here's how to bleed:

Make sure the rear portion of the master cylinder reservoir is full.

Dismount the slave cylinder, but leave the hose connected. Push the actuator rod all the way in. Let it out slowly. Repeat 3 times. Remount slave cylinder.

Good idea to orient the cylinder so that the hose connection is at the highest-most position, so the air can be flushed out.
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Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

Last edited by edjack; 10-11-2015 at 03:23 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2015, 05:09 PM
Barracuz Barracuz is offline
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Location: Providence, R.I.
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 599
Mein Auto: 2001 525i 5 spd
So youre sying is that the gear stick pops back into neutral?

What about when stopped and going into first? Can you manage to get it in gear then? Does the car jolt when you do?

Is it all gears?


And as edjack suggested. turn the engine off and shift without using the clutch
Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Does the trans shift okay with the engine stopped?
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2015, 05:37 AM
blacksquid blacksquid is offline
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Location: Alexandria, VA
 
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Posts: 142
Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barracuz View Post
So youre sying is that the gear stick pops back into neutral?

What about when stopped and going into first? Can you manage to get it in gear then? Does the car jolt when you do?

Is it all gears?


And as edjack suggested. turn the engine off and shift without using the clutch
That was an interesting experiment. I tried shifting without the clutch this morning and it would not shift. I depressed the clutch and was able to shift into all gears with no problems. I was then able to shift into gears 1-4 with no problem. 5-6 and reverse were more difficult but still doable.
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2000 540i M-Sport, build date 11/1999
2007 Z4 M Coupe (sold)
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2015, 04:45 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
With the engine stopped?
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2015, 05:10 PM
blacksquid blacksquid is offline
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Location: Alexandria, VA
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
Yes, with the engine stopped, cold.

The car is shifting normally now. Like I said, intermittent problem.
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2000 540i M-Sport, build date 11/1999
2007 Z4 M Coupe (sold)

Last edited by blacksquid; 10-12-2015 at 05:12 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2015, 08:27 AM
blacksquid blacksquid is offline
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Location: Alexandria, VA
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 142
Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
Thought I'd post an update to this thread.

I left my car with the transmission shop for a couple of days and they were able to experience and determine the location of the problem. Unfortunately for me, the problem was inside the transmission.

I guess the folks at BMW never intended these transmissions to be rebuilt so my options were limited; buy a low mileage pre-owned transmission from a reputable salvage yard for ~$1600 or a remanufactured transmission for ~$3600. The remanufactured transmission is a special order item that takes 2-3 weeks to deliver from Germany. Since the clutch had never been replaced and the flywheel was not in good shape, I opted for the pre-owned transmission, a new clutch, pilot bearing, and flywheel. I read the threads about dual-mass vs single-mass flywheels but didn't consider it important for my driving style.

Total out the door was a little over $4K part & labor.

Shifting is so much better now!
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