Delayed Shift Problem on Colder Mornings - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series & 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-08-2010, 10:00 AM
steveninchicago steveninchicago is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Plainfield, IL
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2003 325i
Delayed Shift Problem on Colder Mornings

Excellent forum everyone. An issue has come up that I would like to get your advice on. I have an '03 325i, ~100,000 miles, Automatic/steptronic.

First off, my issue is pretty well documented in this thread of several years back:

However, I have not read anything recently on this issue. Basically, on cooler mornings (in the 30's), when shifting into drive for the first time, the car will not go forward until I rev the engine to 1500 - 2000 rpms....then the car kicks into gear and all is fine for the rest of the day. The thread above, mentions a recall SIB 24-0703. I called BMW-NA to see if there were any open recalls on my car which they said there were not. They advised me to call the dealer to check the repair history and to get further information. I did this but am waiting for the service advisor to call me back.

Anyway, supposedly the problem may be caused by "unfavorable tolerances of the forward clutch housing causing internal transmission pressure leak after overnight parking". I do not have any codes or lights on the car and everything operates fine...except for this problem which only happens on cold mornings.

I have tried warming the car up for 5 minutes...but this really doesn't help much. I am considering a tranny fluid change and will take my car to check fluid level soon. I suppose if the tranny fluid loses some viscosity, it will be thicker on cooler mornings.

Anyway...I'm interested in this recall...because it describes the exact problem I am having. Has anyone encountered the same issue?


Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2010, 10:50 AM
steveninchicago steveninchicago is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Plainfield, IL
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2003 325i
Found this post on another message board:

Read this

BMW apparently was well aware of the alleged defect in the subject
vehicle. In December 2003, BMW issued Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)
SI B24 07 03, Subject: ``GM5: Delayed P [Park] to D [Drive] Engagement
on Cold Start.'' The TSB stated that ``Customer may complain of delayed
`P' to `D' engagement (2 to 30 seconds) during the first cold start in
the morning,'' and that the cause was ``Unfavorable tolerances of C1
clutch housing causing internal transmission pressure leak after
extended (overnight) parking.'' The TSB applied to the subject vehicles
and the BMW X5 3.0iA model with a GM5 transmission manufactured during
certain time periods. The TSB indicated that if a customer complained
about this problem, the affected transmission would be replaced with an
improved unit after the servicing dealer verified the aforementioned
delayed `P' to `D' engagement. On February 2004, BMW issued an updated
TSB to include the BMW X3 3.0iA model with GM5 transmission. No TSB was
issued with respect to the 5HP19 transmission.
In its response to ODI, BMW stated that the transmission engagement
delay after shifting from Park to Drive, or from Reverse to Drive, is
caused by an internal transmission fluid leak of the main drive clutch
(C1 clutch) between the molded piston outer seal and the main drive
clutch housing. The C1 clutch provides input torque to the
transmission's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear. If the C1 clutch's torque-
carrying capacity is interrupted, then forward drive gear engagement is
delayed. The problem is more prevalent in colder weather, and usually
occurs during a ``cold start'' such as after the vehicle has been
parked with the engine off overnight.
In its response, BMW argued that the alleged defect does not pose
an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety, for the following
(1) The delay can only occur at vehicle ``cold start'' after the
vehicle has been at rest for more than eight hours, and typically lasts
less than 15 seconds. At the time of a ``cold start,'' the vehicle is
stationary. It is not moving in traffic. Therefore, the driver is not
traveling at some measurable speed. There have been no crashes, no
property damage claims, no injuries and no fatalities associated with
the alleged defect reported to BMW;
(2) The delay is ``self-correcting.'' Coincident with the
transmission engagement delay, a driver who has been sensitized to this
occurrence may increase the engine speed in order to reduce the delay
time. By increasing the engine speed, the transmission's internal
pressure increases more quickly toward its operating pressure, and
enables the drive gear to engage sooner;
(3) The transition from delay occurrence to ``normal'' vehicle
usage is benign. At the end of the delay, the transition to full
engagement of the drive gear occurs in a ``smooth'' manner. There is no
sudden/abrupt forward acceleration of the vehicle. Nothing in front of
the vehicle is at an increased

[[Page 26209]]

risk of being contacted, nor is there any risk of startling the driver;
(4) The drivers are sensitized to the delay and can take corrective
actions once they have experienced the delay. They will know to expect
it in future cold starts and can increase the engine speed to avoid the
temporary effect of transmission engagement delay; and
(5) If a subject vehicle is prone to the condition of transmission
engagement delay, the occurrence will arise early in the vehicle's
lifecycle when it is fully covered by warranty. BMW's analysis of the
warranty claims suggests that most of the potentially affected vehicles
have already been repaired.
ODI has received a total of 13 consumer complaints (including one
from the petitioner, who has a GM5 transmission) regarding this issue,
of which 11 are unique to ODI. Like those reported to BMW, none of
these complaints involved a crash, injury, or fatality. Information
contained in the ODI consumer complaints and from telephone interviews
with complainants is consistent with BMW's assessment of the safety
consequences of the alleged defect. The reported transmission delay
period ranged from 4 seconds to 75 seconds, with an average of 20
seconds. The complainants indicated that the delay only occur during
``cold start,'' after the vehicle has been parked overnight. Drivers
learned to shorten the delay by increasing the engine speed; when the
engine speed is increased, the vehicle creeps forward until the
transmission is fully engaged. One complainant indicated that he
shortens or eliminates the delay by shifting the transmission in Drive
but keeping the vehicle stationary for 30 seconds with the brakes
applied for pressure to build up in the transmission.
As the petitioner noted, it is possible for a driver to back a
subject vehicle into the street from a driveway and then not to be able
to move forward as normal. While this could theoretically create a
safety problem, the risk is very small, and there are no reported
crashes or injuries due to the alleged defect. As mentioned previously,
once they are aware of the problem, the drivers appear to have learned
to take precautionary and compensatory measures.
In view of the foregoing, it is unlikely that the NHTSA would issue
an order for the notification and remedy of the alleged defect as
defined by the petitioner at the conclusion of the investigation
requested in the petition. Therefore, in view of the need to allocate
and prioritize the NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the
agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2010, 01:32 PM
steveninchicago steveninchicago is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Plainfield, IL
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 168
Mein Auto: 2003 325i
Sorry, I thought there was a recall...turns out only a service bulletin was released. Anyway, I'd appreciate your comments.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2012, 09:01 PM
MikeATL325xi MikeATL325xi is offline
Registered User
Location: Atlanta
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 325xi
Me too

Hi Steve,

I have the exact same issue with my 2003 325xi. The text you posted from that claim describes my issue precisely...

I'm wondering if this is something I can just live with or not. I'm concerned as to the internal transmission fluid leak of the main drive clutch (C1 clutch) between the molded piston outer seal and the main drive clutch housing.

I mean where is this leaking to?

And how much might a tranny replacement for an out-of-warranty 2003 325xi run me?

Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 06:17 PM
Steelsmitty Steelsmitty is offline
Registered User
Location: Brentwood, TN
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 2003 325Xi
Did you ever resolve the Tranny issue on cold mornings?
I just bought the same car as you and am having the same issue. Goes away after a few minutes but is a total pain in the butt.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 09:16 AM
im im is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: florida
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 621
Mein Auto: bmw325i /318ic
I had this on a 2003 325i auto.
Vehicle was outside of warranty and over 50,ooo miles when problems started.
Car was purchased with about 17,000 miles.
I went to the dealer and had them do a download to the computer at about 54,000 miles..
No diagnosis paid, i told them i wanted only the download to transmission.
This increased the RPM at cold start and reduced the delay some.
I then went home and added one bottle of Lucas transmission fix by pumping it into the transmission with the car lifted only on the plug side. (drain plug side higher).
This reduced the delay even more to about 1 or 2 seconds.
The first second was not noticeable because most people wait that long anyway after they change transmission selector and before they release the brake and then press the gas.
Car developed the problem at 50+ thousand and was sold with over 150 thousand miles.
Delay started becoming worse again at about 125,000 miles.
Transmission fluid was never changed.
The original delay at 54 thousand got to be almost 15 seconds before all was done.
If you put it in sport mode immediately you could over ride the delay.
What i did is not the correct "service book "action but i did get another 100,000 miles out of the car before changing it.
Cost was about 1.5 hours at dealer (always look online for service coupons) for "program" of transmission computer and less than $20 for the Lucas stuff.
I probably should have changed the transmission oil and filter also but it was never done because it looked very clean when i checked it the first time.
Reply With Quote

See More Related BMW Stories

Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series & 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms