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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:54 AM
drfusion drfusion is offline
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Location: North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 2005 BMW X5 4.4i
Need help with a few issues please...

I am hoping some of you have run across these issues and how I might go about addressing them. The car is a 2005 X5 4.4. I can't complain about it too much as I got it several years ago with 30,000 miles on it and it now has 225,000. I feel like I've got my money's worth. Along the way, I've repaired numerous issues like the transfer case actuator gear, replaced the rear airbags, wheel sensors, etc, etc. I have a couple of issues now that are perplexing me.

Issue 1: 4x4 light on. It's the only light on, no ABS light, no DSC - just the 4x4. I've seen posts where all or most of the lights are on but not one that says just 4x4. I can feel the car is only using the front wheels to drive itself. No engine codes and cleared just to be sure. Where do I begin?

Issue 2: Transmission seems to be falling into neutral during the 3-4 shift for a second or two, which brings on fail safe mode. It does not do it all the time, only sometimes. I stop, reset it and keep going. Is there any hope or is this tranny on the way out?

Thanks all!
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:56 PM
Porando Porando is offline
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Location: South OC
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,449
Mein Auto: 2011 335i, 2004 X5 4.4L
On issue 2 - asap service transmission - replace fluid, filter and couple seals inside, than reset adaptation. Hopefully this will fix the shifting issue and save you lots of $$$. It fixed mine though it was harsh shift between 1 and 2 gears.
I use this place to buy kit and ask mechanic to do the job as I don't have a lift - you can do it yourself w/o lift but it is not easy to do it right. They charge for 3-4 hours of labor as it requires dropping the fluid pan and draining old fluid, dropping Mechatronics to replace seal, replacing filter and pan than properly refill the transmission (need to do it at the right temp).
I would go to good BMW mechanic who can diagnose your specific issue as it may require solenoids replacement as well.


What do you mean by "I stop, reset it and keep going"?? Resetting only can be done by mechanic who has proper equipment.
Doing what others are suggesting -holding accelerator pedal for so many sec etc, is not resetting transmission - if it does anything it would be the driving style memory though I doubt that even doe this.

Last edited by Porando; 02-10-2016 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:58 PM
drfusion drfusion is offline
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Location: North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 2005 BMW X5 4.4i
Thank you so much for the good information! I'll look into that transmission work right away. I am a good shade-tree mechanic and have rebuilt engines, manual tranny's, etc so I will probably do it myself.

When I mentioned "resetting the transmission" I meant only resetting the OBDII error codes with a diagnostics scanner. If it goes into fail-safe 3 or 4 times I think, it stays there until I reset the codes. Then it works fine for a while. Thanks again!
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:23 PM
80stech 80stech is offline
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Location: Canada
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 117
Mein Auto: E30, E53
You might try to check the trans oil level.
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