BimmerFest BMW Forum banner

failed transmission safe mode

12280 17
oh man... i have the worst luck with 540's man... i'm driving on the highway, let go of the gas to change lanes, hit the gas again to pass the car, and bam, a big jerk and the c ar goes into a transmission failed safe mode or some crap, i thought it was some fluke, so i took it to the dealership and they said the same thing, they just cleared the error code for me, and now i'm driving again and it does it again, it's a constant thing now, the transmission is not shifting smoothly at all, you can feel a jerk after each gear shift, anyone ever had a simliar problem or recommend something for me? if so please help, thanks.
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Has the fluid and filter ever been replaced in the car? If not I would do so then have the code cleared and give that a try.
Poolman
mine has never gone into fail safe mode but my auto transmission jerks after each shift what could this be?
When I changed out my fluid and filter I noticed that the filter was like a thick layer of fiber that was indeed queit filthy. I had no problems with the way the tranny was working other than it took a couple of seconds to engage when shifting from reverse to forward gears. After the change though everything was smooth and quick again. I don't know what would happen if that filter was so clogged that it didn't let enough fluid thru in the requiered amounts-it may make the shift changes feel jerky. It's cheap enough to do if you diy, I'd try that before going off on a new tranny though.
Poolman
you can either ask the stealer (very few indy shops are capable of doing it) to reprogram the transmission software or, its a internal failure and you need to rebuild the tranny.

oh man... i have the worst luck with 540's man... i'm driving on the highway, let go of the gas to change lanes, hit the gas again to pass the car, and bam, a big jerk and the c ar goes into a transmission failed safe mode or some crap, i thought it was some fluke, so i took it to the dealership and they said the same thing, they just cleared the error code for me, and now i'm driving again and it does it again, it's a constant thing now, the transmission is not shifting smoothly at all, you can feel a jerk after each gear shift, anyone ever had a simliar problem or recommend something for me? if so please help, thanks.
I had a similar event happen in my 530 and it turned out to be a bad alternator. The dealer replaced the battery and the alternator under warranty and it never happened again.

If you think you had back luck, this happened to me on the DAY I BOUGHT the CPO car. Fortunately, it was still under the regular warranty so everything was covered 100%.
did you have any error codes ? Sadly, I just got the message yesterday ... Trans Failsafe Prog ... Totally sucks ... My situation I was up a steep incline .. rolled backwards ... and then could really move forward ... shut the car down and restarted ... Able to get up the steep incline and got home ...

Are you still have the issue ? how many miles do you have on your vehicle?
oh man... i have the worst luck with 540's man... i'm driving on the highway, let go of the gas to change lanes, hit the gas again to pass the car, and bam, a big jerk and the c ar goes into a transmission failed safe mode or some crap, i thought it was some fluke, so i took it to the dealership and they said the same thing, they just cleared the error code for me, and now i'm driving again and it does it again, it's a constant thing now, the transmission is not shifting smoothly at all, you can feel a jerk after each gear shift, anyone ever had a simliar problem or recommend something for me? if so please help, thanks.
I had a similar event happen in my 530 and it turned out to be a bad alternator. The dealer replaced the battery and the alternator under warranty and it never happened again.

If you think you had back luck, this happened to me on the DAY I BOUGHT the CPO car. Fortunately, it was still under the regular warranty so everything was covered 100%.[/QUOTE

Happened to me a couple weeks ago ...battery light came on too though, so I knew immediately that my alternator was toast. Headed straight to the dealer, and car crapped out one mile away...AAA flat bed got me in the rest of the way. New alternator and all is well again.
my alternator seems to be working just just, when i got the code error, it says incorrect gear ratio.
madunix: Sounds like you have something else wrong (not the alternator) but I think the point we're all making is that the same response "Trans Failsafe Mode" is a reaction to anything where the car thinks it's better off restricting resources to allow you to limp the vehicle to a safe place. In my case it was the alternator, in your case, it could be something in the transmission. Either way it's a specific response to a known condition that BMW thinks should be addressed and the car is trying to protect itself from being damaged further or leaving you stranded.

I think the dealer is being lazy and there is some root cause for this occurrence that needs to be uncovered.
=/ this is unfair to me,lol after i spend all my money fixing the car up with body parts, i get this crap, man...
I am having the exact same symptoms and have a brand new battery. I am off to AutoZone to have the alternator tested. Might be that as my car was dead 2 days ago and the problem is much worse in the morning (cold) or out to lunch (cold) and seems to go away as the car gets all warmed up or I shift the auto in manual mode.
OK - here is an update on my condition. Took my car to AutoZone to have the new battery checked and the alternator checked. Still planning on re-checking the tranny fluid level too but this was an easy place to start.

First the battery. It was very low despite being charged all night. It read "charge and retest". It did fine under load.

Then the alternator. Got in and held 2000 RPMs. I was 100% prepared for it to be bad. Guess what - it tested OK. I don't know how long this thing will last but that was some good news. During the test the tech noticed as the revs fell to idle the voltage dropped too. He then suspected the battery was bad. We grabbed a new one and then retested and sure enough the voltage remained constant and didn't drop off with load. Kept the new battery and drove around. Didn't seem to be any problems with shifting. No mystery lights coming on.

Next day - fire up the car and drive off. It is wet from rain and a LOT warmer then usual but the car behaved 100% better. The car always seems to be perfect in manual shifting mode - it is just when in normal driving mode when I head out in the morning that it seems to loose power upshifting, hunt for the right gear (feels like slipping clutch) and then bangs into gear sending the car forward.

I will keep testing but maybe this was an electrical gremlin. I will still use the Bentley to recheck my fluid level on the rack this weekend as well.
Matteni

you have all the threads covered ... too funny .. you are the man!
Two things to consider...one is that the voltage regulators in alternators can fail when the get hot, then return to normal when cold. Was you car hot, and fully up to operating temp? So it can test fine when cold, or not fully warmed up, but fails at higher operating temp. Also, are you sure you don't have a drain on your battery somewhere? Perhaps the common "final stage resistor" that causes the a/c fan to cycle on an off a few minutes after shut down?

What caused your last battery to fail? Was it old?
OK - here is an update on my condition. Took my car to AutoZone to have the new battery checked and the alternator checked. Still planning on re-checking the tranny fluid level too but this was an easy place to start.

First the battery. It was very low despite being charged all night. It read "charge and retest". It did fine under load.

Then the alternator. Got in and held 2000 RPMs. I was 100% prepared for it to be bad. Guess what - it tested OK. I don't know how long this thing will last but that was some good news. During the test the tech noticed as the revs fell to idle the voltage dropped too. He then suspected the battery was bad. We grabbed a new one and then retested and sure enough the voltage remained constant and didn't drop off with load. Kept the new battery and drove around. Didn't seem to be any problems with shifting. No mystery lights coming on.

Next day - fire up the car and drive off. It is wet from rain and a LOT warmer then usual but the car behaved 100% better. The car always seems to be perfect in manual shifting mode - it is just when in normal driving mode when I head out in the morning that it seems to loose power upshifting, hunt for the right gear (feels like slipping clutch) and then bangs into gear sending the car forward.

I will keep testing but maybe this was an electrical gremlin. I will still use the Bentley to recheck my fluid level on the rack this weekend as well.
In my case it was having problems when cold, not hot. When I tested the car it was near operating temperature. The first battery went from age. I am replacing the FSU (call it preventive but I believe mine is bad). Should get it this week. Right now all is good. Haven't taken in out in the rain and sleet - good night to stay in.
Two things to consider...one is that the voltage regulators in alternators can fail when the get hot, then return to normal when cold. Was you car hot, and fully up to operating temp? So it can test fine when cold, or not fully warmed up, but fails at higher operating temp. Also, are you sure you don't have a drain on your battery somewhere? Perhaps the common "final stage resistor" that causes the a/c fan to cycle on an off a few minutes after shut down?

What caused your last battery to fail? Was it old?
I have a new battery in my 323 and still goes into limp mode, reprogram the computer and all and even checked with the delearship and an independent mechanic and both recommended replacing the transmission, the guy at the delearship went ahead and even suggested getting rid off the car !!!!
Just food for though...
Good Luck
1995 740il

Good Day,
New comer to the forum-
Just replaced the fuel pump
started car and trans fail safe program showed .
charged battery from reading it might help-
checked fuses -
Taking in to shop later for reading of codes-
20500 on car
last trans service 2013
It ran fine before repair ??
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top