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Discussion Starter #1
First of all hello! This is my first post, and I'm quite new to the whole Bmw scene..
Anywho, I have been driving my 2003 540i Auto around for about 4 months now.. I've had absolutely no problems at all until recently..
When I'm driving the automatic transmission in "manual" mode, it changes fine and it's smooth and all, but occasionally drops back a gear and then won't let me change up past the current gear it is in.. I can see the gear number on the cluster change up a gear, but then it drops back down to the previous number..

So for example, I'm driving along and shift from 3rd to 4th, it will drive in 4th for a tiny bit but then it will drop back to 3rd.. Still allowing me to change 1st, 2nd, 3rd.. But not letting me go into 4th or 5th..
It has also done this at separate times for both 2nd and 3rd gear..
Also I get zero warnings like fail safe mode or anything..

What I do at the moment is I pull the car over, disconnect the battery for 2 or 3 minutes and when I start it back up its fine.. For a few days, until I decide to use "manual" again..

Now I don't believe it is a fluid problem because I had the fluid replaced about 2 weeks ago.. Unless they didn't do it right or something but I have faith that that isn't the problem..

The whole fix with disconnecting the battery makes me think it's some sort of a computer problem..

Thanks a bunch dudes!!
 

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Was the correct ATF used, or just what the shop had on hand?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No the fluid was changed before the problem.. I got it changed because I thought it might be a bit old and on cold mornings it didn't like the old oil..

What are codes? I've had no warnings if that's what you mean..

It's possible but I don't know... I wasn't there and surely a mechanic knows what they're doing??
 

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No the fluid was changed before the problem.. I got it changed because I thought it might be a bit old and on cold mornings it didn't like the old oil..
So this could be your root cause. See below.

What are codes? I've had no warnings if that's what you mean..
You need a BMW scanner to read the modules. Something like Creator, inpa, and others. Do a forum search and plenty will pop up.

It's possible but I don't know... I wasn't there and surely a mechanic knows what they're doing??
was it a BMW specialist familiar with this transmission? Call them and ask the procedure they used. Don't tell them how (eg did you cycle the gears) just ask "how did you?"

Curious as well: was it a "drain and fill" or a "flush"?
 

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Never "flush" the transmission! Trans oil cooler OK but not the trans itself, it is better just to do a few drain and refill's if the fluid is that bad.

Was the filter changed? The wrong brand of filter could be causing the problem, some of them actually compress (the correct word eludes me at the moment) and restrict the flow. Restrictions in flow or high temperatures will typically force a downshift, but that should happen regardless of the shifting mode you are in although you have to be paying attention to the tach when you are not in manual mode (because the gear number won't be shown).

And +1 on all the above who said "fill procedure"!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Never "flush" the transmission! Trans oil cooler OK but not the trans itself, it is better just to do a few drain and refill's if the fluid is that bad.

Was the filter changed? The wrong brand of filter could be causing the problem, some of them actually compress (the correct word eludes me at the moment) and restrict the flow. Restrictions in flow or high temperatures will typically force a downshift, but that should happen regardless of the shifting mode you are in although you have to be paying attention to the tach when you are not in manual mode (because the gear number won't be shown).

And +1 on all the above who said "fill procedure"!
The problem only happens in manual, I can feel it occurr and it doesn't do it in drive or sport...
I'll have to call the mech and find out exactly what he did.. It cost about 260$ Au..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Also I just noticed, when I start the car and all the lights come on in the cluster, a yellow square and "inspection" is displayed for a bit longer but then disappears with the rest..
 

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Also I just noticed, when I start the car and all the lights come on in the cluster, a yellow square and "inspection" is displayed for a bit longer but then disappears with the rest..
But then it disappears and that whole area goes black..?
That is normal. The vehicle is stating it is time for inspection I or II. I don't have an Aussie manual but here is a US version. See page 84 Service Interval Display
http://www.e38.org/2003Manual-5Series.pdf#page84
 

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check voltage
check fluid level
check temp

Then save for a transmission job
locate a new transmission
and get ready
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Right, so just coincidence then?
What's should I do with the transmission? Just not drive it in manual an hope it doesn't catastrophically fail or should I take it to a Bmw service place and get it looked over?
 

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Coincidence for th Inspection light and your issues.

What you should do (and for now avoid manual mode):
1. Get a BMW specific scanner (if you don't have one)
2. Read the codes and report here. Also look at Transmission temp and other items.
3. Read up the DIYs on here. It may save you money. If you aren't willing or can't, find a good BMW specialist.
4. Find sir local members in your area, they can help. IIRC StRaNgEdAyS is another Aussie... And there are others.
 

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+1 on what TAB said (once again)

And for finding friendly local help by way of other bimmerfesters you can poke around in your local regional forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So, I was driving it today and I was going pretty hard. I have been avoiding any other mode other than drive. But after a bit, it started happening in drive.. Now after talking to some mates and what happened today, I'm convinced that the mech has used the wrong type of oil.. When I'm in sport or giving it some then the trans heats up and bam there's the problem..
Do I sound on course?
Also, how do you check the trans oil temp? Can you use the testing menu on the cluster?
 
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