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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 02-09-2013, 03:04 AM
Banner Banner is offline
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Location: Ireland
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: X5 E53
Trans FailSafe Prog - Starting Issues

Hi, first post so car details are 2004 X5 E53 3.0D Auto with 105k miles and regular non dealer service. Apologies for the long post but I wanted to include as much detail as possible as this is a complicated issue.

After a first visit to a local independent BMW specialist for a service, he noticed a leak in the Auto box and suggested a full auto transmission service. I booked it back in for this and got the car back just before Christmas. The following day I got a error message of Trans FailSafe Mode and the car went into 3rd gear and stayed there. The ABS and brake light also came on. I turned around and took it home. I eventually got the car picked up and delivered back to the garage after Christmas and they investigated and found that a lead in the gear box had oil in the sleeve and this was preventing the gearbox getting information from the engine about how fast it was going and therefore the box didn't know what gear to use and went into the safe mode instead. He cleaned this up and all worked okay. For a few days at least!

I then started getting intermittent trouble starting the car. Sometimes it would start fine, other times the ignition would come on but it wouldn't turnover. Back to the garage but it would start fine for them and nothing showed up on the diagnostics (he advised they have the same system that the main dealer has). They diagnosed the starter motor and got this reconditioned and back in the car and it started fine. Again, for a few days.

Started getting the same issue again. This time when they got it in the garage they had the same non starting issue and the diagnostics suggested that there was a breakdown in the communications at the EWS and they replaced this. Car worked fine, but only for a few days.

Back to the garage and they kept it for a few days. Stripped the wires down and cleaned everything up. This is where it gets interesting! He gave me two options. First, replace the EGS in the gearbox which would cost over 2k. This MAY solve the issue. Alternatively, the issue seems to be that the ignition is not getting the message from the gearbox to say it is in Park and therefore won't allow it to start. To get around this problem he suggested fitting a button under the steering wheel that would effectively bypass this safety check and would in effect allow the car to start in gear but you would need to have your foot on the brake at the same time. I went with this option as I didn't fancy paying out 2k more on top of what it already cost me. Got the car back and yes, worked fine for a few days. It started normally without having to use the new button. Only thing I noticed was that when I turned the engine off the passenger side indicator light came on constant until I took the key out. I put this down to a minor side effect of the new wiring the garage installed.

Tried starting it today and it wouldn't start as normal. Pressed the button and it started fine but sounded as if it was starting in two stages... it started weakly and then fired up properly a second later. Next thing the Trans FailSafe Prog came up and the ABS and break lights came on. Drives fine but I can't leave it like this.

I'm probably going to have to bring this back to the garage again but I was hoping someone on here would have some suggestions as I think the garage have ran out of ideas.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2013, 06:00 AM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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Location: Crook County
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 520
Mein Auto: BMW, Lotus, Porsche
There's is a neutral safety switch that will prevent the car from starting in any gears except P and N. If the engine doesn't start when the trans is in P shift it to N and see if it starts. If it start you need to have the neutral safety switch replace.

Here's a Technical Service Bulletin on the issue:

http://www.aboutautomobile.com/Equip...+Safety+Switch

Since you have a Diesel, not sure what type of trans is in your X.

V8 uses zf trans and I6 gas uses GM trans.

http://www.xoutpost.com/844101-post2.html

Last edited by upallnight; 02-09-2013 at 06:22 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2013, 08:08 AM
Banner Banner is offline
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Location: Ireland
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: X5 E53
Thanks for the advice. When the car fails to start, shifting it to N doesn't seem to resolve the issue. The lights on the dash don't light up to indicate which gear it is in so the symptoms of the TSB do seem to correspond to my issue. However, having already replaced the EWS and reconditioned the starter motor, I am reluctant to spend any more money unless I am sure this is the issue. If it is the Neutral Safety Switch, should this not have shown up on the diagnostics?

Also, it is a V6 so not the GM transmission.
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  #4  
Old 02-12-2013, 08:34 AM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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Location: Crook County
 
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Mein Auto: BMW, Lotus, Porsche
Are you sure the engine is a V6? In the states the diesel engine for a X5 is an inline 6.

The BMW X5 35d's diesel motor, internal code name M57TU, is an inline-6 cylinder 3.0-liter with an aluminum alloy block.

Have your mechanic looked at the connector for the neutral safety switch? It could have come loose. Also there is small amount of adjustment that you can perform on the neutral safety switch so that it is in synch with the gear shift lever position.

The fact that your gear indicator is not showing up on the dash is why you are having a starting issue.

Last edited by upallnight; 02-12-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2013, 09:04 AM
Banner Banner is offline
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Location: Ireland
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: X5 E53
Apologies, it is a straight 6.

He didn't mention the Neutral Safety Switch but I will ask him. I'll let you know what he says.

Thanks again.
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