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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 07-20-2014, 02:21 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Engine off when driving!!??

My car is a 08 X5 4.8i, 82,000 miles. Today, when I was driving it to shops, the engine suddenly stopped after a hard break, and the yellow engine light was on. After I restarted the engine, the light was off and my car drived like normal. I have tried many hard breaks along the way home. The same thing happened two more times. What I mean by 'hard brakes" are something like slowing down from 30-40mph to 0 in 20 feets. And the car stalled at a very low speed or even stopped. The last one was really dangerous. I tried to turn after a hard break, and then the engine was off and my steering wheel was locked. I almost couldn't turn and just missed a crash into the brick fence of our community.

The similar thing happened a few times before. One time after a hard break the engine lost sufficient power (but not totally off), and the alarming light of 4by4 system malfunction and dynamic drive malfunction was on. The alarms last for a few hundred miles. After a break in a gas station and restart of the engine, these alarms was off. I thought it was related to the wear of front brake pads, as it was already alarmed for a replacement. But now, after a replacement of the front break pads and rotors, it happens again. I did used INPA to read the error code when I get back home. The attached pictures show the original errors. After clearing, the VGSG errors remain, but others are gone.

Do anyone have the similar experience and give me some advice? I'm really frustrated about this, as I've spent lots of money on this car in recent months, $1300 for seat sensor, $600 for brake pads and rotors and $1000 for air springs just a few weeks ago.
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Last edited by alextoqiang; 07-20-2014 at 04:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2014, 12:08 AM
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serge1 serge1 is offline
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It appears the transmission is stalling the engine. You know, how the transmissions downshifts when slowing down; that is to match the speed. At least my vehicle behaves that way. It can even be felt, a very slight jerk as if driver applied brakes. This is somehow specific to BMWs - haven't noticed this in other cars.
Anyways, it can be concluded that downshift does not happen in your vehicle (at all or downshifts too late) and thus being on high gear and applying brakes chokes the engine. Kind of like driving a vehicle with manual gearbox. If the driver doesn't use clutch when slowing down, the engine will stall.
Why it happens? That I can't know. It is very likely a problem with transmission, not engine. That's why the 4X4 errors.
How old is the transmission fluid?

Last edited by serge1; 07-21-2014 at 12:21 AM.
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2014, 09:01 AM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
It appears the transmission is stalling the engine. You know, how the transmissions downshifts when slowing down; that is to match the speed. At least my vehicle behaves that way. It can even be felt, a very slight jerk as if driver applied brakes. This is somehow specific to BMWs - haven't noticed this in other cars.
Anyways, it can be concluded that downshift does not happen in your vehicle (at all or downshifts too late) and thus being on high gear and applying brakes chokes the engine. Kind of like driving a vehicle with manual gearbox. If the driver doesn't use clutch when slowing down, the engine will stall.
Why it happens? That I can't know. It is very likely a problem with transmission, not engine. That's why the 4X4 errors.
How old is the transmission fluid?
Thanks for your reply. I don't know how old is the transmission. I haven't changed it for 2 years, 20k miles since I bought it. Also, dealer didn't notice me any service due for transmission fluid in the next 10k miles. I heard from someone that the fluid is life-time.
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2014, 09:13 AM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Some updates: I've brought the car to an BMW certified indy. The just called me that they haven't found any error from computer and haven't encountered the same problem when driving. They suggest me to drive it for a few more days when more error codes are available or the problem become more frequent.

This is really frustrating. I am worried about a sudden stall at every brake. It's not only a stall. If the engine is off, I lost control to my car and may have been killed in certain circumstances.
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2014, 11:26 AM
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serge1 serge1 is offline
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I wouldn't be driving that vehicle, to be honest.

Regarding errors: Since you did get the 4X4 errors, they are stored in memory, but they may be BMW-specific errors requiring special equipment. It doesn't look like your bmw-certified indy has the equipment to read them. The indy might just have a regular OBD2 reader. Your INPA is more useful in that way since you were able to pull more codes.
Did you have a chance to research what the codes you pull mean?

You may want to spend some time to develop "repro steps" (as we call in software industry). See under what conditions the stall happens.
-Braking before turning
-Braking after turning
- ...
Once you have established a solid repro steps, take it to BMW dealer and reproduce it there. It may be worth spending extra buck so they hopefully diagnose the cause. Remember, indy shops are usually better than dealerships when it comes to expertise, but may lack equipment (like in your case).

P.S. Out of warranty, correct?
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2014, 01:54 PM
ard ard is online now
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OP was badly abused by the BMW dealer for a few issues...$1300 for some passenger seat sensor as I recall. Hard to swallow and go back....

Could be a harness issue or ground strap. Why am I thinking about a transmission sub cable that was a culprit in something similar?
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2014, 08:00 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
I wouldn't be driving that vehicle, to be honest.

Regarding errors: Since you did get the 4X4 errors, they are stored in memory, but they may be BMW-specific errors requiring special equipment. It doesn't look like your bmw-certified indy has the equipment to read them. The indy might just have a regular OBD2 reader. Your INPA is more useful in that way since you were able to pull more codes.
Did you have a chance to research what the codes you pull mean?

You may want to spend some time to develop "repro steps" (as we call in software industry). See under what conditions the stall happens.
-Braking before turning
-Braking after turning
- ...
Once you have established a solid repro steps, take it to BMW dealer and reproduce it there. It may be worth spending extra buck so they hopefully diagnose the cause. Remember, indy shops are usually better than dealerships when it comes to expertise, but may lack equipment (like in your case).

P.S. Out of warranty, correct?
I've tried to reproduce the error. But it's very difficult. It happens every 1 of 10 brakes or even less. I think the indy I visited did diagnose my car with a computer. It's a very good one in our town, and specialize in BMW.

Yes, it's out of warranty. But even within warranty, I don't know what can the dealer do. Thanks for your information. I'll keep tracing the error and update here.

Last edited by alextoqiang; 07-22-2014 at 08:22 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2014, 08:19 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ard View Post
OP was badly abused by the BMW dealer for a few issues...$1300 for some passenger seat sensor as I recall. Hard to swallow and go back....

Could be a harness issue or ground strap. Why am I thinking about a transmission sub cable that was a culprit in something similar?
Yes, you are right. I've spent quite some money recent months. I'm very frustrated that I could see an end. I've never been hard on this car and treat it like a baby. I read a post about the similar error, the guy has been fighting with BMW North America and the dealer for a few months, and changed many parts, but still couldn't solve the issue. I am just worried that my car will become a black hole like that.

I just passed by some dealers on my way home today and tested Nissan pathfinder and grand cherokee. Although I found I'm still in love with my X5, I am thinking about trading it in before it kills me and others.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:23 PM
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You might want to try this process I found yesterday. It may be a long shot but all it will cost you is time. This is designed to clear and reboot your modules. It's been effective in fixing some problems.

Bear in mind that when he says to short the cables, he means to connect the disconnected positive and negative cables together. Please be careful.
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2014, 11:21 AM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HT417 View Post
You might want to try this process I found yesterday. It may be a long shot but all it will cost you is time. This is designed to clear and reboot your modules. It's been effective in fixing some problems.

Bear in mind that when he says to short the cables, he means to connect the disconnected positive and negative cables together. Please be careful.
Why do you think it is a battery issue? When my car stalls, only engine is off. All electronic systems are on.

Also, are you sure shorting the positive and negative cable will not kill the battery? I would let the dealer to do this job.
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2014, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
Also, are you sure shorting the positive and negative cable will not kill the battery?
connect positive and negative cables after DISCONNECTING FROM BATTERY
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2014, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
It happens every 1 of 10 brakes or even less.
1 in 10 is a pretty good repro rate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
I think the indy I visited did diagnose my car with a computer. It's a very good one in our town, and specialize in BMW.
Then I am not sure why they can't pull codes with their BMW specialized readers. A generic 4x4 error was displayed to you on dash - it has to be stored in memory with a specific code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
Yes, it's out of warranty. But even within warranty, I don't know what can the dealer do. .
I can't blame you in low confidence in dealers - I have same low confidence. That is why YOU would need to control the diagnosis process. If I was in this situation, I would use the dealer for nothing more than diagnostics. Not a fix. Diagnostic should be a flat fee - no need to commit to any fix attempts. Dealers love throwing parts at the problem - that's why you control it.

Try this:
Before attempting the hard brake and stall, put the tranny in Manual mode and force the gear into higher, so the current gear would show on dash.
As the vehicle slows down (not during hard breaking at least) the current gear should instantly show on dash.
If you somehow attach your smartphone and point to the dash display, start recording a video and attempt the 10, 20 or how many times it takes to stall, you will be able to see what gear is engaged when engine stalls.
If the dash shows 3rd or 4th gear - it has to be the culprit. Under normal cirumstances, 2nd gear should be engaged when vehicle is stopped.

Last edited by serge1; 07-23-2014 at 11:37 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2014, 11:51 AM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
1 in 10 is a pretty good repro rate!

Then I am not sure why they can't pull codes with their BMW specialized readers. A generic 4x4 error was displayed to you on dash - it has to be stored in memory with a specific code.
The 4by4 error was on for a hundred highway miles and off after I restarted the engine. It came together with the DSC error and gone together with that. It was a months ago, and never come again. At that time, my brake pads was alarming low. The front brake pads, rotors and rear air springs were changed during this months. I don't know if the indy has cleared that error. But now, INPA and the indy couldn't read any codes related to 4by4 and engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
Try this:
Before attempting the hard brake and stall, put the tranny in Manual mode and force the gear into higher, so the current gear would show on dash.
As the vehicle slows down (not during hard breaking at least) the current gear should instantly show on dash.
Should I brake slightly to slow down the car or let it slide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
If you somehow attach your smartphone and point to the dash display, start recording a video and attempt the 10, 20 or how many times it takes to stall, you will be able to see what gear is engaged when engine stalls.
Recording video is a good idea. I'll buy a smartphone stand to do this.

Thank you for suggestions, I'll update what I find out.

Last edited by alextoqiang; 07-23-2014 at 11:53 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2014, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
Should I brake slightly to slow down the car or let it slide?
Brake hard as to reproduce the engine stalling. Taking a video would help you view in slow motion what happened - it may be hard to see in real time what gear was showing during engine stalling.

When slowing down in Manual mode in my vehicle, current gear instantly shows on dash when I feel tranny downshift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
Recording video is a good idea. I'll buy a smartphone stand to do this.
.
Doubt you need a stand - just tape it or hold in your hand. All you care about to see is what gear was showing during the engine stalling (record RPM and gear #).

QUESTION TO EXPERTS:
How is gear downshift happening in X5s? Is it an electronic process (i.e. vehicle watches speed, forces the gear downshift electronically) or is it a hydraulic/mechanical process (i.e. transmission senses speed lowering, a high gear becomes "too much" and transmission naturally slips to a lower gear).
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:31 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
Brake hard as to reproduce the engine stalling. Taking a video would help you view in slow motion what happened - it may be hard to see in real time what gear was showing during engine stalling.

When slowing down in Manual mode in my vehicle, current gear instantly shows on dash when I feel tranny downshift.


Doubt you need a stand - just tape it or hold in your hand. All you care about to see is what gear was showing during the engine stalling (record RPM and gear #).
Just had a few tries (about 10) on my way and back to lunch. Using manual mode and pretty hard brake at gear 5, slowing down from 50mph to 0. Haven't reproduced the issue. The car slowed down very smoothly and finally stopped at gear 2. I'll try a few more times when traffic is low. As when I brake, I need to look if any car is behind me to avoid being rear-ended.

I found some BMW recalls for the stalling issue for some other models, which are pretty new models (unfortunately not including mine). Those recalls say that some loose bolt may cause a stall or loss of power. Now I doubt if my car has the same as theirs.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:47 PM
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Be careful out there - find an empty parking lot and really give it a try. Good luck
Once you have a baseline, attempt to reproduce the problem by hard braking in Neutral gear. That would establish or rule out the gear choking the engine.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:00 PM
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I would check the state/level of transmission oil, or maybe even change it. It's a good idea anyways.
Also, search for "transmission solenoid" on this forum and web. Lots of issues with transmissions get resolved by replacing a solenoid (s). I am no expert in this - just thinking logically.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
QUESTION TO EXPERTS:
How is gear downshift happening in X5s? Is it an electronic process (i.e. vehicle watches speed, forces the gear downshift electronically) or is it a hydraulic/mechanical process (i.e. transmission senses speed lowering, a high gear becomes "too much" and transmission naturally slips to a lower gear).
Going to answer my own question.
This document states:
Hydraulic Transmission vs. Electro-hydraulic Transmission
In 1986 BMW introduced their first EH (Electro-Hydraulic) transmission into production vehicles.

Quote:
EH controlled transmissions allow for optimized shift points by closely monitoring changing
conditions. Engine speed, road speed and throttle angle are some of the inputs that are
monitored by the TCM to determine optimal shift points. The TCM will then process this
information and control shift point via electronic solenoids mounted on the valve body
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:36 PM
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serge1 serge1 is offline
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Your vehicle transmission part # is this: GA6HP26Z
According to this document (link) page 10,
Quote:
Torque Converter Clutch
Since the efficiency of the torque converter at coupling speed is approximately 1.1 to 1, fuel
economy is compromised. To offset this a torque converter clutch was added on EH controlled
transmissions. The torque converter clutch locks the turbine to the converter housing.
This creates a mechanical coupling with a ratio of 1:1. This can only be achieved at
higher engine speeds, the torque converter clutch must be disengaged at low engine
speeds to prevent stalling
.
Quote:
There are two methods for controlling the torque converter clutch on BMW transmissions:

A4S310/270R
...
A5S560Z, A5S440Z, A5S325Z, GA6HP26Z,A5S360/390R - These transmissions
use a gradual approach to TCC control. The TCC is gradually applied and released,
this method reduces the abrupt feel of the on/off type TCC. The TCC solenoid is
controlled by pulse width modulation. This allows fluid to be gradually introduced
and released to the TCC.
Quote:
The TCC is spring loaded to the engaged position. Pressurized fluid releases the TCC, when the pressurized fluid is released, the TCC is engaged. Depending on transmission application, the TCC can be engaged in 3rd, 4th or 5th gear. The TCC must be disengaged at low speeds to prevent stalling.

Last edited by serge1; 07-23-2014 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:49 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge1 View Post
Your vehicle transmission part # is this: GA6HP26Z
According to this document (link) page 10,
I do feel jerk sometimes on gear 2 when I accelerate. But it's being long time since I bought this car 2 year ago. I guess that jerk is the off-to-on shift of TCC.

So, I should check TCC status and change trans. fluid ?
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:20 PM
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Changing transmission fluid is the first what I would do in your shoes. Who really knows what state, quality or level it is?
Despite "lifetime" claim from BMW, it is a good idea to change transmission fluid every 60K miles. Plan to change on my vehicle at 65K (it's getting close).
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alextoqiang View Post
Why do you think it is a battery issue? When my car stalls, only engine is off. All electronic systems are on.

Also, are you sure shorting the positive and negative cable will not kill the battery? I would let the dealer to do this job.
I know this sounds crazy but look again at what you posted: engine stalled, yellow engine light, 4x4, and dynamic drive(or did you mean DSC?) malfunction. These are all touched or controlled by electricity or electronics. The modules sometimes get confused if they receive bad communications. This process "reboots" them to get them talking correctly again. You mentioned that you're frustrated with the cost of repairs, this is a cheap troubleshooting test. Two days ago I talked to someone in my building that got the power rear sunscreen in his E90 working again by doing this. Thats something I would have never suspected as a fix.

You're getting great advice here, I just offer that as a cheap, quick way to see if it's electronically related.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:17 PM
alextoqiang alextoqiang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HT417 View Post
I know this sounds crazy but look again at what you posted: engine stalled, yellow engine light, 4x4, and dynamic drive(or did you mean DSC?) malfunction. These are all touched or controlled by electricity or electronics. The modules sometimes get confused if they receive bad communications. This process "reboots" them to get them talking correctly again. You mentioned that you're frustrated with the cost of repairs, this is a cheap troubleshooting test. Two days ago I talked to someone in my building that got the power rear sunscreen in his E90 working again by doing this. Thats something I would have never suspected as a fix.

You're getting great advice here, I just offer that as a cheap, quick way to see if it's electronically related.

Just tried your method. Disconnected battery and connect the positive and negative for a while. After connected the battery and restarted the engine, the panel showed "AWD and DSC malfunction". (These are exactly the same two faults showed a month ago after I made a brake on highway) But when I just drove out of my garage (10 feets), these alarms turned off. I just drove around my home and had a few brakes, found nothing abnormal.

Does this finding narrow the culprit to battery or electronic connection?
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:32 PM
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Hard to say without reading and deciphering those errors. Definitely looks like an issue with transmission/drivetrain. Electric or mechanical - we can only guess.
"AWD and DSC malfunction" is a generic message for a hundred modules, components and sensors.
See if you can reproduce the "DSC malfunction" again by disconnecting battery and connecting negative and positive cables.
Again, we are looking to reproduce some consistency - any consistency, be it the errors, stalling, etc.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:58 PM
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As I understand it, AWD & DSC are typical faults shown immediately after reconnecting the battery. I hear they normally clear after a short drive once they've had a chance to readjust. It could be as serge1 is saying: the drivetrain/transmission. The torque converter does lock and unlock electronically, I believe. As he says, the codes will probably help everyone better target the problem.
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