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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 07-23-2011, 04:36 AM
dugiwugi dugiwugi is offline
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Location: Tampa, Florida
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 525i
Unhappy Transmission in safe mode...

Hey everyone. My 2003 525i looks like it lost all the Trans fluid on my way to Tampa the other day on the highway and it spread all up the trunk with the wind. I have just over 120,000 miles on it and everything else runs like a top. I'm being told it's a pump seal that's most likely wrong with it. Is there anything typical that happens in these at about this time? And can my tranny be one of those GM transmissions?
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2011, 04:47 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
You have the ZF 5HP19 tranny. Here's a link that can tell you more about this tranny.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=409201
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2011, 05:46 AM
dugiwugi dugiwugi is offline
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Thanks. Now does anyone have a problem with losing fluid all-of-a-sudden from the transmission? And do we need to change fluid in the ZF transmissions every 15000 miles?
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2011, 05:54 AM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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How long have you owned the car?
Has the pan ever been dropped for a fluid/gasket kit change?
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2011, 06:20 AM
dugiwugi dugiwugi is offline
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Since 66000 miles and 2 years. Now I have just over 120000 miles.
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2011, 06:53 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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still got the drain plug?

Should be changed 30k miles, 15k doesn't hurt.
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Last edited by bmw_n00b13; 07-23-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2011, 06:56 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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The ATF is supposed to be lifetime, per BMW. Most folks never change it and do not have problems. However, many on this forum strongly disagree w/BMW and change it up. Some as early as 30K, some as late as 100K. Most recommend that after 100K, don't touch it as you can dislodge sediments and other gunk, which can cause a problem. Never, ever flush the tranny!
I have never heard of a tranny losing fluid. The question is where and why? Did the drain plug come out (which would account for a sudden total loss of ATF)? Or did your gasket leak (which would be a slow drip)? Either way, you may have some major tranny problems due to loss of fluid. You need a pro to check this out.
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2011, 08:53 AM
dugiwugi dugiwugi is offline
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Still have the drain plug. Thanks. It's up in the air at one of my client's shop right now. Just wondering now if it has to be replaced if I should go with the ZF or the GM and if they're even interchangeable. Just priced out a new ZF trans at one of my local BMW dealers and looking at just over $3500. Reasonable?

Last edited by dugiwugi; 07-25-2011 at 09:06 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-25-2011, 11:14 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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with 120K on the car, get a used one for half or less.
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  #10  
Old 07-25-2011, 11:22 AM
zman2001 525i zman2001 525i is offline
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Agree with Fudman. I've seen used 5hp19 transmissions for around $700. If you can find a shop that knows ZF systems they can rebuild the "new" one for you and you will still be well below the BMW dealer price. T think the 5hp19 was also used in some e46 models.
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  #11  
Old 07-25-2011, 08:04 PM
dugiwugi dugiwugi is offline
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OK, so let's say I pick up a used trans through eBay with a 30 day warranty on it for 750 + shipping. I need to put Esso LT71141 trans fluid in it as well, correct? This is basically Dexron IV from what I've read in other posts unless someone can tell me differently. And does anyone know a good transmission place in the Tampa area for this?
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  #12  
Old 07-26-2011, 06:44 AM
zman2001 525i zman2001 525i is offline
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I have been using Valvoline MaxLife ATF with no problems. You may want to go to the regional forum to find a local shop that works on ZF systems.
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:34 PM
hawk22 hawk22 is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 530i
I had the same issue. 2003 530i 135k Started spilling fluid all of a sudden. In my case, it's the torque converter and the transmission pump. (So far) I'm confident that's all that's wrong. I dropped the pan and no shavings or debris. Aside from the fact the fluid had never been changed before, everything else looked pretty good.

Last edited by hawk22; 10-31-2011 at 08:37 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2011, 04:45 AM
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The Valvoline Maxlife ATF formulation has been changed is NO LONGER compatible with the ZF tranny. A cheap compatible alternative is the Castrol Transmax Multi-Vehicle ATF (see http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...205&highlight= for details). It's about $6/qt (vice $18+ for Esso) and is LT71141 compatible.
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2011, 09:12 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
i see many ZF 5HP19 on ebay around 80k miles ( bavarian are overpriced , you can find much cheaper )
The asking price is around 700$
If it was me i better buy used and replace , just need to trust seller
GL

Last edited by champaign777; 11-01-2011 at 09:21 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2011, 10:49 AM
kgorczyn kgorczyn is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i SP/PP
FWIW I changed the fluid (Mobil 1 Syn ATF) on my car (2000 528i w/ GM Tranny) for the first time at ~221k miles. I have put over 9k miles on it since, and it's still fine.
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