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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 12-14-2011, 02:08 PM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 540i
Please: Anyone who Knows about 540i Transmissions..


My transmission saga continues. I thought I scored on a great deal. I ordered a 53,000 mile used transmission from Engine and Transmission World and put a 2 year warranty on it. My local repair shop got the transmission today. They said it looked as good as advertised; mounted just fine. yet, it doesn't work right. Error codes and locks up. Their diagnostics equipment isn't old enough to pull up the complete codes, so we are having to hire another shop with more updated equipment to trouble shoot the issue; verify the transmission is good and hopefully identify the problem

This particular transmission was an exact match on the the Engine and Transmission World's website and they guarantee all of their transmissions are fully tested. I typed in the VIN # of my car; the production date matched my car. The seller even verified the information as well. Should be the right transmission, right? One concern:

Maybe a clue: The Car Fax showed that this transmission was pulled from a BMW 740i. Are they programmed differently?

Before I spend another fortune on all kinds of diagnostics can anyone else offer any clues or have any experience with transmissions not operating correctly?
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2011, 05:11 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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The only thing I can think of is that the E39 has a separate ECU for the trans, whereas the E38 has the trans ECU integrated into the engine ECU, on the same PC board.
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  #3  
Old 12-14-2011, 09:38 PM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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hmmm..Okay. Well, I think the BMW mechanic should know that. I'll let you know what they say. This has gotten so expensive. I'm at the point of getting this BMW in good shape, running and putting it on the market. I've lost the heart for this.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:42 AM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedbimmer View Post
hmmm..Okay. Well, I think the BMW mechanic should know that. I'll let you know what they say. This has gotten so expensive. I'm at the point of getting this BMW in good shape, running and putting it on the market. I've lost the heart for this.
Well, now that you've gotten it into shape I say that you get your money's worth out of it and drive it!

IIRC, you have the ZF 5HP24 transmission. Those were installed in both the 740i and then later in the 540i.

I believe that there were two different versions of the ZF 5HP24. I'm not sure what the cutoff date is, but you can compare the serial numbers on the green tags. I'm also not sure if they are different electrically.

The only thing I can think of is that the gear selector shaft switch is adjusted incorrectly. Google "ZF 5HP24 repair manual" and also "ZF 5HP24 troubleshooting guide" and you will find two PDFs to download that have good information for you and the shop.

Also, be sure that the torque converter was installed correctly, and that the correct spacing washers (sometimes they're needed, sometimes they're not) were installed between the converter and the flywheel. Since it's a transmission from another vehicle (and I hope you installed a new / rebuilt torque converter as well, or at least the one that came with the 'new' transmission), then that spacing / alignment may need to be looked at.

I'm in the process of rebuilding one for my 540i and hope to have it completed and installed by this Sunday. I'll try to post the progress here in the forum.

Last edited by windsmith; 12-15-2011 at 04:48 AM.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:39 AM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Thanks Windsmith:

I'll look into this. And yep, the transmission came with the torque converter.
The shop has got a BMW tech looking diagnosing the problem, hopefully as we speak. I would hope he knows about these things you mentioned.

Will let you know what happens.
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Last edited by usedbimmer; 12-15-2011 at 08:40 AM.
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  #6  
Old 12-19-2011, 11:10 AM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Could it Really be This Stupid?

After having 3 BMW shops diagnose the transmission, my repair shop called to tell me the transmission was bad. I called the Engine and Transmission World where I purchased it to tell them it was bad. The guy, in a very cocky manner, told me it's because they failed to install the transmission filter. He seemed very certain of this.

So, I called the shop and told them. He said he was pretty sure they did install the filter, but would verify it. I really have a hunch they did NOT install it.. How can 3 different transmission techs troubleshoot a problem and not detect this?

My question now is, might they have done some damage to the transmission if they were testing it this way?
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  #7  
Old 12-20-2011, 06:30 AM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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The transmission filter should have come pre-installed with the transmission. If anyone didn't install the filter, it was the guys at E&T World. Sounds like they're trying to give you the run-around.
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2012, 09:13 PM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Car is working...finally and drives great. The end result was that the first transmission was indeed bad. E&T, to their credit did get the 2nd one sent out promptly. The big problem was cost. I had to pay the shop a 2nd time to completely remove the bad transmission and replace it with the new one. E&T won't cover that. Transmission has to be installed and working before the warranty takes effect. So, $3,457.00 later.. I'm up and running. Ouch..

One more problem after getting it back, though: The windshield fluid is not spraying. I've been looking at the forum for troubleshooting ideas. Maybe pump. Maybe fuses, etc..
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:11 AM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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The pump is behind the front right wheel liner, to the rear of the wheel. Can you hear it run when it's turned on?
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2012, 03:36 PM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Nope. To be honest. I don't hear the pump running at all..and the fuses check out okay. I took the wheel and wheel well off and examined it. Nothing to see really. Could it be bad pump or electrical?
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:44 PM
xraye39 xraye39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedbimmer View Post
Could it be bad pump or electrical?
Yes, it could be either. Did you check the fuse for the pump? Did you have someone activate wiper while you were examining the pump? Did you check for power at the pump? Did you try reseating the electrical connector? Many things you could do to narrow down the problem.

BTW congrats on getting your transmission squared away.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:25 AM
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sainda210 sainda210 is offline
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Good thing is that the windshield fluid pump will be about a 40 dollar part and about 30 minutes work to replace. The hardest part is getting the tire and inner wheel shroud off, then it's right there. Also, when activating the wiper fluid, do you get water run off from the bottom of car? If so, it could be the tube just getting disconnect from the washer tank.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:43 AM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Continued Windshield problem...

I'm going to dig a little deeper on the forum.
I did remove the wheel and shroud and inspect the pump part and connector. While I was in there I didn't see anything loose. I did not have a voltage tester to check to see if there was power getting to the pump. I pulled the pump and re-seated it. It really sounds as no power is getting to the pump or the pump is dead...However, I also noticed that I am not getting the dashboard indicator light telling me that my windshield fluid is low (which it is).. I've checked both fuses and they are fine. Is there a sensor or something that is preventing me from getting the low windshield fluid warning? Is it part of the pump. I found the pump for $12.00, so replacing it is no big deal - I just have a hunch though the problem might be somewhere else.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:17 PM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usedbimmer View Post
The big problem was cost. I had to pay the shop a 2nd time to completely remove the bad transmission and replace it with the new one. E&T won't cover that.
If it were me having to pay that bill, I'd spend $50 to have an attorney send them a demand letter for the cost of the 2nd R&R labor with a threat to take them to small claims court if they don't pay. There is no excuse for a transmission rebuilder to send out a bad transmission. Worth a shot, even if you don't follow up in small claims court.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:30 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is online now
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Your State Department of Consumer Affairs might be interested as well. Find out if they have a Bureau of Automotive Repair, or something similar.
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2012, 06:39 PM
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adjmcloon adjmcloon is offline
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If they sent you a bad transmission, how can they NOT pay for the labor to remove and install the 2nd one? It's their fault!

I think I would consult with an attorney.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:42 PM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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I've had good luck with demand letters. Usually when faced with having to travel out of state to answer a small claims court filing, they pay the few hundred that you're asking for. My success was with junk faxers, but it should work fine in this case as well.
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  #18  
Old 02-05-2012, 09:19 AM
usedbimmer usedbimmer is offline
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Thanks for the advice on the attorney letters. I may look into that.

A $13.75 windshield Pump from Pelican Parts solved the wiper fluid problem.
That's an easy fix. The only difficult part was taking off the darn wheel well shroud and fastening it back on. If not for that, it's a 10 minute job.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:09 PM
windsmith windsmith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adjmcloon View Post
If they sent you a bad transmission, how can they NOT pay for the labor to remove and install the 2nd one? It's their fault!

I think I would consult with an attorney.
Usually the warranty terms state that they will NOT cover labor costs for removal / installation under the warranty. Where you may be able to make a case is that they did not test the transmission prior to shipping it, and it was bad out of the box. The inconvenience and expense of having to defend their case in court will likely prompt them to just shell out the cash for r/r.
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