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I have a 1997 528i automatic and recently manual downshifts to 2nd or 3rd to slow down going downhill using engine braking have stopped working. Downshifting to 1st gear still works but of course the RPM in 1st gear is too high for normal driving speed downhill. When you shift down to 3rd or 2nd, the car acts like you have shifted to neutral and just accelerates downhill with the engine RPM fixed at about 900RPM. 2nd or 3rd gear won't engage when selected manually. In normal flat or uphill driving in Drive using the gas it seems to shift normally. I changed the fluid 6 months ago and its been driving fine. There are no error codes or warning lights showing up on my diagnostic tool or dash. Anyone have any ideas what could be going on? I live on a steep hill and using only brakes to go down is very hard on the brakes. I need to get this attended to as its potentially dangerous.

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Yeah, normally a very slight nugde on the brakes should make the transmission shift down, mine does that and its very nice.
 

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Seems like transmission maintenance is in order. Btw how is it potentially hazardous to use brakes when going down a hill? You're not driving a loaded semi. Use the brakes for what they are designed to do (stop the car). It's funny how people think engine breaking is good for slowing down the car when it's actually bad (trying to maintain a certain speed is fine but it sounds like you're over using it). Brake pads and rotors are specifically designed for one and only one thing. Use them. They are also cheaper than a transmisson
 
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