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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, new here. Just finished my first post in the introduction forum. I bought my first BMW. 2006 530i Auto with 160k. Yes I know it's alot for these cars, but it doesn't bother me. Im good with cars, i have built drag and drift cars, as well as owning my own business. However they have all been american only cars, and primarily old muscle cars. Though this may only help some with BMW, i highly understand how things work so I am hoping it will aid me in owning this cars as well as future BMWs.

Here are the issues.

-hard/jerky shifting

-when i put it in reverse, it goes in reverse, however sometimes when cold, after I back up 2 feet it will stop moving as quickly and reverse very slowly. The gas pedal will have no affect on it.

-when I am driving more aggresively it will go into "safe mode" and tell me acceleration may be reduced.

-when i come around a corner quickly and stomp on the gas, sometimes it just doesnt do anything for 3 seconds, and then will get up and go. (this happened again today, but I wasnt going around a corner, i gave it about half throttle and the car just stopped accelerating, and wouldnt do anything for a few seconds. The RPM's werent rising either so I know the trans is not slipping.

These are the issues, in my head alot of this would lead to some kind of transmission failure or valve body issue, but because these cars are so computer oriented I figure before I throw money at it, I seek advice. In past experience, these issues also could imitate a bad torque converter.

I have researched a lot about these transmissions, seems they can be interesting. Some people tell me all I will probably have to do is have the trans re flashed. I have heard valve body, and I have heard rebuild the trans.

The car still drives very nicely, shifts well in higher gears and drives on the freeway great.

If the car needs a transmission, so be it. I am okay with it.

What does everyone think, and thanks in advance!
 

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E60 Fanatic
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I do not know why but the 2006 530i transmission is cursed. I do not know why, BMW plant must have had a bad time manufacturing specifically the 2006 530i.

Pulling up results on Google you see way too transmission replacements on SPECIFICALLY the 2006 530i. I had mine replaced since it out-right failed on me. You might want to take it to a transmission specialist who is experienced with BMW's to get their further diagnostic. As people on here have many different experiences. If you're getting the transmission fail-safe things may be going under soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Let me add something. This has happened twice now. Leaving a stop sign, both times I was turning left, not that it matters. I went to accelerate fairly moderately, and the car acted like the pedal was on the floor. Wot. And wouldn't stop till it hit 7k rpms and shifted. Nothing was stopping it. I completely had my foot off the gas pedal. Finally once it stopped this behavior I was already at 50mph. Could be seriously dangerous if cars were in the way. Both times the car was fairly cold. And ironically I was in the same spot each time haha.
 

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Have you checked for error codes using a BMW code reader? Also if you haven't read, So You Just Bought a e60, sticky at the top of the page, read it. Great reading there as well as a good section on the ZF transmissions. These are sufisticated cars and are heavily computer driven. My 05 e60 carries 37 CPUs.

Pull your codes and get a much better feel for whats going on...
 

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Let me add something. This has happened twice now. Leaving a stop sign, both times I was turning left, not that it matters. I went to accelerate fairly moderately, and the car acted like the pedal was on the floor. Wot. And wouldn't stop till it hit 7k rpms and shifted. Nothing was stopping it. I completely had my foot off the gas pedal. Finally once it stopped this behavior I was already at 50mph. Could be seriously dangerous if cars were in the way. Both times the car was fairly cold. And ironically I was in the same spot each time haha.
The car accelerating madly with your foot off the skinny pedal is probably not the transmission. I would look at the sensor that handles the accelerator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here with an update from today. I had the early part of the day off so I decided to take the car to the local track. It was a strange random thought, but I was actually very surprised. Yesterday I cleaned the MAF sensor, unplugged the battery for "reset" reasons, did the gas pedal on the floor thing. Pretty much every "reset" procedure I have read about. Drove the car to the track and it performed surprisingly well. In "D" mode, it shifted flawlessly everytime shifting up and down. In "DS" the car was fantastic, no issues whatsoever, and even shifting the car manually, it went through all gears without any problems at all. Once I realized I wasn't finding any issues, i started getting very aggressive with the car. Had the throttle on the floor the whole time shifting as quickly as I possible could and the car, gave me zero problems. Let me just say, I am absolutely shocked for being a first time BMW owner at the true engineering in the suspension and braking this car has to offer. I realize I am comparing it to what i am used to, heavy muscle cars etc, but I also have experience tracking similar cars to this BMW. The braking power is fantastic for a stock car with 160k on it. The handling and suspension when I am sliding around a corner is absolutely wonderful, something I would pay thousands to achieve in my previous builds. Though this car isn't "fast" I was happily impressed at what I was feeling from a fairly heavy 530i sedan. It brought a few smiles to my face. These cars are truly a piece of art.


On my way home, I decided to take the scenic route home, Driving somewhat aggressively manually shifting it did go into it's safe mode twice. I thought it was strange that it wasnt when I was giving it everything I had bouncing it off the rev limiter several times at the track.

I am excited for my code reader to get here and get the codes for the car and go from here. But I wanted to give you guys an update on where I am at with the car.

On a side note, there is a beautiful v10 M5 at a local dealership near me with 45k on it. It has me drooling all over myself everytime I drive by it. I may end up trading in my car for the M5 before it gets out of my grasp. We will see what happens.
 

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Thoughts:

Replace the fluid and filter first. Probably never been done, and that's a good place to begin. The ctsc.com has a good price on the ZF fluid, and there's been a discussion of compatible alternatives on here for even less per liter. Parts & kits available there, too.

The code reader should give you some tips on the condition of the tranny. Clutch pak errors mean new steels etc. If the mecha is a problem, you buy a rebuilt & tested one at valvebodyxpress.com. I haven't priced them, but I hear they're pretty good.

Thanks for the good words on BMW's. Hope yours treats you well. As you'll find out, if you can do your own work and keep a sharp eye out for quality parts, it doesn't cost all that much to own one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I appreciate your reply, I share very similar thoughts as you do. I agree, I am sure the fluid has never been changed. I was going back and forth and whether or not to change the fluid, because of what I have read and with so many miles on the car a fluid change making the transmission worse then it already is. But at the same time, my transmission is not operating correctly at the moment anyways so I dont have much to lose. I have been going back and forth between doing a transmission flush, or replacing the valve body which would therefore also include a transmission flush. I would prefer to do it once and am worried after a flush I would be replacing the valvebody regardless. Also, I am kinda excited (as weird as it sounds), about something on the car being in need of replace so I can actually get my feet wet with working on the car. At this point, I am going to wait till I can get the codes, and go from there. I think that is my best decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, New problem. I got the stuff to change the fluid. The car is sitting till my next day off. However, the car is stuck in the transmission safe mode. I have tried different resets that I have found on the forum. Turning off the car and firing it back up does nothing. Unplugged the battery, and still nothing. Which confuses me, unplugging the battery should work unless unplugging the ground isn't enough for the car to erase its memory. Is there something else on these cars that I am unaware of, or should I just try leaving the battery unplugged for several hours. Thing is, once I get the fluid changed I guarantee it will still be in its safe mode so I need to figure this out. I have also read a lot of people experience my same issues and it ends of being a bad battery throwing the trans into a safe mode. Eeek.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Unplugging the battery for 5 hours did not fix the issue. Does anyone know how to clear this so that when I change the fluid I am able to go through my gears and see it the problem is fixed.
 

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MBTransmission Service
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Okay, New problem. I got the stuff to change the fluid. The car is sitting till my next day off. However, the car is stuck in the transmission safe mode. I have tried different resets that I have found on the forum. Turning off the car and firing it back up does nothing. Unplugged the battery, and still nothing. Which confuses me, unplugging the battery should work unless unplugging the ground isn't enough for the car to erase its memory. Is there something else on these cars that I am unaware of, or should I just try leaving the battery unplugged for several hours. Thing is, once I get the fluid changed I guarantee it will still be in its safe mode so I need to figure this out. I have also read a lot of people experience my same issues and it ends of being a bad battery throwing the trans into a safe mode. Eeek.
Hi Blacklist.
A scanner can clear the codes/'check engine'/safe mode for you, but of course, doesn't correct the problem.
ZF transmission service/repair/modification is our expertise, we would be glad to help.
A standard rebuild will replace the wear parts, but most transmission repair shops put the same valve body back in, and 90+% of the time, in ZF's, that's were the issue is. You almost certainly do not need a full rebuild with only 160K, just a reconditioned valve body.

(The throttle response issue is separate, engine mechanic can help you with that.)

As far as the transmission issues, if I understand you correctly:
1) Hard/jerky shifts.
2) Aggressive driving -> "Safe Mode"
3) Highway driving/higher gears -> OK

What is the exact month and date of manufacture? (You can find that inside the driver side door)

You most likely do not need a full rebuild, and a complete fluid flush would be a waste of money. From what you have indicated, and from our extensive experience with these units, I am almost certain the the issue is in the valve body. Since you have stated that you work on your cars, we can provide you with a working unit that you can install yourself and we will provide technical assistance via telephone for you to do the swap, then just send us your old unit back. You will need a few quarts after opening unit to replace valve body, but most of the fluid will remain, just top off with a few quarts and you'll be good to go.

Regards,
-T
 

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Howdy,

Check out this post, almost everything you want to know about the ZF transmission valve body aka Mechtronics Unit...

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=812677&highlight=mechtronics

I have had the 2-1 Shift down problem with my '06 530i and then I got the error that states my transmission can be shifted into gear without pressing the brake.
If you do a search (Upper right on the previous page that lists all of the posts) you will see numerous posts about BMW Transmission problems.

Bottom line is that it all comes down to removing the Mechtronics unit aka valve body
and replacing the 8 solenoids and a seal.
If you really want to get into the valve body you can actually separate it and replace the tiny "O" rings inside.
Replace a seal at the electrical connection to Mechtronics unit put on a new transmission pan with filter and fill with fresh fluid.
Solenoids at CSI is about $450.00, Fluid and pan $500.00 so for about $1,000.00 you can do it.
This repairs 99% of BMW transmission problems.

I have discovered here and elsewhere that the BMW ZF transmissions main body is built like a tank and rarely is a transmission problem related to gears or anything other than the valve body.

I have a local Independent BMW / Audi Etc repair facility that told me they will do this repair for about $1300.00 and that yes they do it a lot and it is my valve body.

Good luck with yours,

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have read about doing it this way as well instead of replacing the entire unit. Just wasn't sure if I was convinced. I ordered the pan and the fluid and they are here sitting in my living room. At this point I need to figure out which route I'm going with the mechatronics. I think you guys have convinced me to do it this way especially sense it will be cheaper, I can do it myself and afterwards should have a transmission that will perform as it is supposed to.
 

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MBTransmission Service
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Howdy,

Check out this post, almost everything you want to know about the ZF transmission valve body aka Mechtronics Unit...

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=812677&highlight=mechtronics

I have had the 2-1 Shift down problem with my '06 530i and then I got the error that states my transmission can be shifted into gear without pressing the brake.
If you do a search (Upper right on the previous page that lists all of the posts) you will see numerous posts about BMW Transmission problems.

Bottom line is that it all comes down to removing the Mechtronics unit aka valve body
and replacing the 8 solenoids and a seal.
If you really want to get into the valve body you can actually separate it and replace the tiny "O" rings inside.
Replace a seal at the electrical connection to Mechtronics unit put on a new transmission pan with filter and fill with fresh fluid.
Solenoids at CSI is about $450.00, Fluid and pan $500.00 so for about $1,000.00 you can do it.
This repairs 99% of BMW transmission problems.

I have discovered here and elsewhere that the BMW ZF transmissions main body is built like a tank and rarely is a transmission problem related to gears or anything other than the valve body.

I have a local Independent BMW / Audi Etc repair facility that told me they will do this repair for about $1300.00 and that yes they do it a lot and it is my valve body.

Good luck with yours,

Bud
Generally speaking, I can agree with what Bud says.
However, sometimes there are some other issues.
He described some of what we have to do when we rebuild a valve body, but of course, the Devil is in the details.
Our valve bodies include the solenoids and have some proprietary improvements to address the design issues that cause these failures.
Regards,
-T
 
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