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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 09-25-2012, 08:41 PM
Wntrstr23 Wntrstr23 is offline
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Location: Sacramento, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 540i
Question Please Help - Possibly Transmission Issues...

Hello all,

I am having problems with my car (1997 540i automatic) and was hoping to see if anyone might be able provide some guidance...

Last week, I felt the car give a little jerk while driving on level ground at about 45-55 mph. It seemed to also affect the shifter a small bit (had my hand on it and I think it shook a little). I assumed I just hit something small in the road.

Three days ago, while I was driving down the freeway at about 65 mph on level ground, it did it twice, about 5-10 min apart. At which point I realized I must not have hit something last week.

Today, mid-day, I went to back out of a parking stall on level ground, the car shuttered and would not move when placed into reverse. Turned off the car, looked under the hood and under the car, did not see anything 'off'. Started the car and it worked/drove fine. Drove the car just a couple miles and parked again.

Then, today, went to leave work, roughly 5 hours after the earlier issue. The car backed up fine and then as I went to exit the parking lot, car shuttered when I went to accelerate and would not move. Tried to put in reverse, shuttered and would not move. Turned the car on/off a few times, same result. Turned off for a couple minutes, then on and idled for a few minutes and car worked fine again and I was able to make it home.

I bought the car used 7 months ago. The previous owner stated it had the tranny rebuilt about 20k miles before I bought it. I don't know who rebuilt it or exactly what they did.

Another item to note, after I bought the car, and when it was raining hard (only when it rained hard), I heard and felt this loud banging coming from under the car, center area below the center console and back. My hubby did get it on a lift at school and found a loose connector and it seemed fine after that.

If anyone has experience with this sort of issue and can offer some insight on the issues that I may potentially be plagued with and should look into, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2012, 10:05 PM
RichDeezy RichDeezy is offline
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Location: Watsonville, CA (831)
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 530i E39
have you had the o2 sensors and spark plugs and fuel injectors checked... those may also be things to cause "jerks" or "bumps" and/or a rough ride i beleive... not sure, just a thought
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Last edited by RichDeezy; 09-25-2012 at 10:05 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:30 PM
Wntrstr23 Wntrstr23 is offline
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Location: Sacramento, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 540i
We just replaced the spark plugs a few weeks ago. The O2 sensors are newer and checked out good last Saturday. Hubby checked the fuel injectors not long ago and those were fine too. Plus, when stopped, it 'runs' and revs, just shutters when I put it in gear (drive or reverse) and doesn't move when this problem happens. When I was driving and it happened, it just seems like it is 'letting go', if that makes sense.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:33 PM
RichDeezy RichDeezy is offline
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Location: Watsonville, CA (831)
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 530i E39
maybe a clutch issue , if its rebuilt or new tranny i doubt its actually the tranny. im no mechanic though either, but to me it sounds like it would be among the lines of an injector or sorts from what you describe. something just not "kicking" in correctly hmm... not sure, hope someone can have better input than I and help u figure it out...
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:45 PM
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ill540i ill540i is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw 540i
Had the same issue my transmission needs to be replaced

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  #6  
Old 09-26-2012, 07:10 AM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wntrstr23 View Post
[FONT="Arial"][SIZE="2"]Hello all,

I am having problems with my car (1997 540i automatic) and was hoping to see if anyone might be able provide some guidance...
How many miles on the car?
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2012, 06:52 PM
Wntrstr23 Wntrstr23 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 540i
A scary 240k miles... but transmission was supposedly rebuilt around 210k miles.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:41 PM
gcup gcup is offline
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Location: IA
 
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Mein Auto: 540i
Probably Trans

Have a dealer check your transmission fluid. There is no dipstick, so you cant do it. Had a similar problem and they changed the fluid and made sure it was full and it seemed to help.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcup View Post
Have a dealer check your transmission fluid. There is no dipstick, so you cant do it. Had a similar problem and they changed the fluid and made sure it was full and it seemed to help.
One post - and this is your one post?

Troll perhaps?

A simple bump would have sufficed.

Even better, would have been a two-second search of the bestlinks using /transmission F3 as your keyword:
- ATF: Automatic transmission fluid (1) (2) (3) (4) & automatic transmission fluid & filter DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & torque values (1) & how to find the hidden E39 transmission fluid level dipstick (1) & why ATF gushes out of the fill hole (1) & ZF 5HP19 facts (1)
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Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need, in seconds!

Last edited by bluebee; 09-26-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2012, 09:17 AM
gotrice415 gotrice415 is offline
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area
 
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Posts: 66
Mein Auto: M3, 335Ci, X5d, 750i
Wntrstr23,

We see this all the time where owners do get the transmission replaced/rebuilt by "Joe's Transmission repair shop" that "specializes" in European transmissions. Your car has a ZF transmission. There are only two sources of ZF factory authorized parts retailers here in CA. One source is obviously dealerships. Second is a source that I use for transmission replacements for jobs that I do on the side.

Back to your issue. Sounds to me that you have a failure within your clutch B. It is a common issue when a transmission is repaired then refilled with incorrect fluid which causes premature failure within the drum/clutch pack. Second possibility would be a cracked drum which is similar to E46 no reverse. Basically what happens the fluid pressure drops within the clutch pack, thus not allowing engagement. Typical symptom would be once the transmission heats up, the crack and or drum expands which opens the crack= no reverse/no pressure.

In short, you can change the fluid, have a transmission shop say "we'll adjust it" etc, but bottom line sounds like you'll need a transmission. If you're interested in a rebuilt transmission with a 2yr parts and labor warranty. Rebuilt by a ZF factory authorized re builder ( I will give you name of source that deals with me, and you can verify by ZF website) PM me. I'm located in the SF bay area and can perform the job for you.

thanks for reading and good luck!
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2012, 04:23 PM
Wntrstr23 Wntrstr23 is offline
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Location: Sacramento, CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 1997 540i
Thanks for the replies!

The problem only occurred twice, both times were after the battery had been unhooked. The battery has not been unhooked for some time and the problem has not re-occurred since. It may have something to do with the transmission computer relearning according to two of the local BMW dealerships.
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