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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 12-01-2012, 12:01 PM
tyoung23 tyoung23 is offline
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Location: Wilmington, DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
Failsafe Trans Prog ??

My 530i '03 just got this message yesterday, couldn't accelerate or even park it.. P, R, D nothing worked.. just coasted back or forward so had to use Ebrake. Never had a trans issue, shifts smooth as always, no warning lights.. anyone have this problem before? I see it could be fluid low, battery issue, something electrical...
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,052
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
The Trans Prog Failsafe can be triggered by a failing alternator or a bad sensor. Or it can be an indicator of a failing tranny. It is not likely due to low ATF level as the system is closed. You need to get the tranny codes pulled. That requires a GT-1 (dealer) or equivalent code reader. Once you pull the codes, have them reset it. The dealer will typically charge you one hours labor. If it doesn't come back, it was probably triggered by something else. If other electrical issues arise, it is may be due to your alternator. If it comes back with no other symptoms, your tranny may be the cause of the problem. Good luck and report back the cause.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:40 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Posts: 19,181
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
You need to get the tranny codes pulled. That requires a GT-1 (dealer) or equivalent code reader.
I ran a quick /trans failsafe F3 in the bestlinks which instantly came up with this:
- How people tested & resolved transmission "Trans Failsafe Program", aka "Limp Mode" (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16)

Of course, I'd run a routine check of the battery & alternator as a matter of course:
- DIY how to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator

If it comes to the choice of an hour's labor at the dealer (which is about $200 or so out here in the south bay), I'd just buy the $50 to $100 cable & download the software listed below & learn how to do it myself if it's possible.
- What are the most often recommended BMW diagnostic tools & cable interfaces (1)

If all that failed to find the problem, THEN I'd go to an independent BMW repair shop (like Ray's Automotive); but they charge something like $150 just for diagnosis (so the cable & software is a better deal overall).

Only if the indy failed to find the problem would I go to the dealer.
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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; 12-02-2012 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Added links to help the OP.
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:03 AM
tyoung23 tyoung23 is offline
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Location: Wilmington, DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
car fixed - no trans needed

the first garage I took it too by recommendation of a friend, was not bmw specialist.. my mistake for taking it there.. they said I needed a transmission and all codes were reading that it needed trans.. and it'll be 2800, I said there's no way it needs a trans.. never slipped, shifted hard or ever gave me a problem.. so took it to Mtech in Wilm...great shop, he knew right away where to check.. the axle had a pin that broke and came out of the rear .. was a matter of just reinstall..problem solved...
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