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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Short Version: I have the Trifecta / Triad + Airbag light on. The actuator gear change and TC oil change was done at 122K miles. No clicking from the TC currently.

Long Version: I have read many posts here and elsewhere, and like to get some guidance before I do something unnecessary or damage something.
At 122K miles I got the trifecta of lights and clicking from the transfer case. I changed the worn plastic gear for $20 from the actuator, and it was all fixed. I did not do any calibrations, but I don't think that is needed for just a gear change. I changed the TC oil at that time, and I think I used Lucas oil TC oil, not BMW DTF 1. At that time, the codes I got was:
5462/not present VTG Servomotor or coupling force too high

Now, at 144k miles, I get the trifecta plus the air bag light starting two weeks ago. At first they would come on after about 10 minutes of driving, then regularly after about 10 seconds of driving. No clicking from the actuator. Using my Foxwell reader, I get:
5463VTG Mech faulty
54C4VTG Calib Faulty
I changed the TC oil using DTF1. The oil that came out was rather black and stinky. Should it be for only 20k miles?
Using the foxwell reader I did the TC oil service reset, and at first I get an error, but then if I try again it says that it is successful, and the values are set to zero. Does this reset just reset a timer for an oil change, or does it do something physical?
After the oil change and a few drives around the block, the Trifecta / Triad + Airbag comes on right away when started (Bad!?) However, I only get one code related to the TC: (Good!?)
54C4VTG calibration faulty.
While poking around with the code reader, I can read the angle of the actuator as 27 degrees now, and it does not change as I drive. I think that is expected, because the lights mean i'm in a limp mode and there is no 4wd, therefore no angle change in the actuator. However, before the oil change, when the triad was on, I think it was 173 degrees. Does this mean anything?

When I try to run the actuator test with the code reader, I get ERROR_ECU_REJECTED. This tells me if I take off the actuator to make sure that it is moving, using the test, it won't work and will be a waste of time. Has anyone done the TC actuator test with a Foxwell reader? Perhaps I have an ECU problem?

With only a 54C4, do I need to do some calibration with the reader, or must this be a dealer or auto shop operation?
Is there some other next step that anyone would recommend?
 

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The fluid was filthy with all of your clutch pack material due to using the wrong fluid. 20-25k miles is the oil change frequency for the transfer case anyway, if you want a lifetime of trouble free operation. These cases take one fluid and one fluid only.

The TC oil service is simply a timer. I’m at 173k on the original gear and I’ve never touched the wear code.

The airbag light often points to a steering angle sensor issue, which itself could be due to a multitude of reasons.

I’d start by pulling the actuator to see if you got your money’s worth from a $20 plastic gear.



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$20? He must have overpaid. $8 for mine on eBay, a few years ago. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the help!

I removed the actuator and took it apart. The gear is in great shape. I applied 12V between pins 1 and 8 and it spun without issues. There was, however some dark TC oil in it. This does not seem good, but hard to imagine that this would be a reason for the problems I'm seeing. From what I remember last time, and from videos where people open these up, they are usually dry inside, with some grease near the worm gear.

I put it back together, and as before, the trifecta of lights comes on ~10 seconds after starting it. I have not checked the codes again yet, but I don't expect a change.
My possible next steps:
-look at issues with the speed sensor, as mentioned above.
-buy a new actuator and put it on, just in case that is the issue. Maybe after my back and neck recover from laying under it all afternoon.
Any further advise is much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I purchased a new actuator from Cobra and replaced the old one, since the oil on the inside of the actuator did not seem like a good thing.
I now get:
54c4VTG Calibration faulty
54c8VTG classification resistor
The last one is a new error.
After putting on the new actuator, when I run the actuator test via the foxwell device, I do hear noise from the case before the ECU erorr come up (progress?)
By running live tests on the resistor, I get:
Resistance present: G
Resistance Stored: G
Resistance calculated: C
Do I need to transfer the resistor from the old actuator to the new one?
The video in this link says maybe or not.
This discussion says likely not. Transfer Case Actuator- should I change resistor?

It looks like I need to calibrate the transfer case(?) Do I need to change the resistor to a 'C'? Maybe the old one was a 'c".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In case someone in the future comes across this:
I moved the original resistor to the new actuator. The resistor error disappeared.
I installed DSS and SSS software. Neither software was successful making the adaptations.
This thread notes that if the spline in the TC spins by hand, the TC is toast. Can anyone confirm this? transfer case removal 2007 x3
I took off the actuator, and the spline does spin by hand about 180 deg.
I am looking to consult a mechanic, and likely change the TC.
 

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The fluid was filthy with all of your clutch pack material due to using the wrong fluid.
Quoting for emphasis....

you want to make sure you havent ruined it first. IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The saga continues.
I took the X3 to a nearby transmission shop. They had a mini and a bmw being worked on, so I thought they should be fine.
The spent 4 days, swapped the TC with a used one, then could not get it to program. Same error code, 54c4, same lights on the dash. They gave up and told me to come and get it. I now have a "new to me" TC installed on the vehicle, my old TC in a cardboard box, a brand new actuator on the vehicle, and my old actuator also in the box in the back of the X3.
My theory:
-The "new to me" TC on the vehicle is ok, they just are incompetent at finding the issue and or programming.
-The issue is now something else, TC computer perhaps?
I plan to take the actuator off and confirm that the spline does not spin easily, and try to program it myself and see what happens, then look at the computer, and then look for a new shop. Any advice?
 

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I saw this in the E90 forum the other day, if you feel like getting creative.

Transfer Case Malfunction Solved: 5F3A, 53FC


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I checked the TC I have on the bench, and the TC on the vehicle that the transmission shop put on the vehicle. Both spin pretty easily by hand. Bad news, based on my Bimmerfest and youtube research.

Now having two transfer cases, one on the X3 and one on the bench, I opened one up to look at rebuilding it. Would anyone confirm that this can not be rebuilt without a new case? An aluminum slug that sheered of of the housing came out as I opened it up. Two images are attached that show the slug in place where it should be, and one with it removed, showing where it sheered. This slug holds the oil pump in place and keeps it from rotating, it appears. Also shown is the oil pump, in many pieces. The plastic needle bearing from the shaft is the only other obviously damaged part. The clutch plates are likely bad also. Chain status uncertain.
1030384


1030385


1030386


1030387


Rebuilding one of my TCs will be about $500 in parts, per cobra transmission. Buying at rebuilt TC will be ~$1100 from www.tcbmwx5.com. Any recommendations of a better place to get one?

It appears that if I want to fix vehicle this myself, I need to take the other TC off of the vehicle and try to rebuild that one. Anyone able to comment and confirm or advise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
SOLVED!

I purchased a rebuilt transfer case, and took it to a mechanic that I trust (but is much further away) and he installed it. No lights. It looks like the oil change TC procedure cleared the TC calibration error codes.

For future readers, yes, you can get the triad, and an airbag light, and it is all due to the transfer case problem (although this seems less common than just having the triad). All lights are out now, and error codes cleared. The oil pump exploding, as I had, seems rare.
 

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Hello,

I am having exactly the same issue, 54C4 Calibration fault. Motor moves when powered but I can not get it calibrated.

I am also able to move the TC by hand 180 degrees, is this supposed to be normal?

I am afraid that the solution is to change the TC.

Thanks in advance

Enviado desde mi Mi 9T mediante Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello,

I am having exactly the same issue, 54C4 Calibration fault. Motor moves when powered but I can not get it calibrated.

I am also able to move the TC by hand 180 degrees, is this supposed to be normal?

I am afraid that the solution is to change the TC.

Thanks in advance

Enviado desde mi Mi 9T mediante Tapatalk
Yes, from what I read and experienced, if you can spin the TC actuator spline by hand, it is dead. The rebuilt one I bought could only be spun with pliers.

My x3 has been driving well for the last 3 months since putting in the rebuilt TC. Also, fill it with the BMW brand fluid.
Thanks
 

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Indeed, I repaired the broken bearing and installed new clutch discs and no errors now.
As I did it myself it was a cheap fix compared to a garage...
Thanks for the help!

Enviado desde mi Mi 9T mediante Tapatalk
 

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Indeed, I repaired the broken bearing and installed new clutch discs and no errors now.
As I did it myself it was a cheap fix compared to a garage...
Thanks for the help!

Enviado desde mi Mi 9T mediante Tapatalk
Yeah - the guys sellling the $1500 'rebuilt' ones dont really want to discuss what they do. Probably just the $150 for clutch discs and seals. For $400, you can all the parts and do this yourself and know its done right.
 

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Yes, from what I read and experienced, if you can spin the TC actuator spline by hand, it is dead. The rebuilt one I bought could only be spun with pliers.

My x3 has been driving well for the last 3 months since putting in the rebuilt TC. Also, fill it with the BMW brand fluid.
Thanks

Hi I have the same set of lights as you did. Did you have any problems while sharp turning at low speeds as I do? Thing is the car behaves this way even with TC feed switch disconnected and at idle transmission (N).

Thanks.
 
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