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#1 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 03:39 PM
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523i Auto Box - Problem Developing

Hello All,

I've been offered a 523i Auto but its current owner advised up front that there's an emergent problem to be solved. As I am completely lost with this car and auto boxes in particular, I'm hoping someone can advise.

First, it's an auto box with the telematic option, i.e. in addition to the fully auto option the gear lever can be flicked over to the left side and gears selected up or down by pushing the lever back or forward.

SYMPTOM of PROBLEM
When starting from zero speed and accelerating the car does not change up through the gears UNLESS you back off the throttle pedal slightly at each point.

The rest of the car is too good to miss at the price and it has done a very low mileage. BUT (BIG BUT) I don't want to take it on if this gearbox issue could turn into a massive headache and a hole the size of the Atlantic Ocean in my wallet.

Virtual six-packs of virtual beer go to the providers of the virtual diagnosis.
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#2 (permalink) Old 06-05-2012, 10:13 PM
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What year is it? Thats important

Start by getting a service history. See what has been done, and compare to a list of common problems to see what may fail in the future. I can provide you said list if i knew the model year.

Transmissions are extremley complicated and if one thing isnt working right then it throws the whole thing off. Get the OBD system scanned for codes first. Most auto parts stores do this for free, and not all transmission codes trigger a CEL. It could be something as little as a speed sensor or throttle position sensor going bad.

How low is the milage? Because BMW transmissions are supposed to last at least 100,000 miles before any issues.


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#3 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 01:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Vader View Post
What year is it? Thats important

Start by getting a service history. See what has been done, and compare to a list of common problems to see what may fail in the future. I can provide you said list if i knew the model year.

Transmissions are extremley complicated and if one thing isnt working right then it throws the whole thing off. Get the OBD system scanned for codes first. Most auto parts stores do this for free, and not all transmission codes trigger a CEL. It could be something as little as a speed sensor or throttle position sensor going bad.

How low is the milage? Because BMW transmissions are supposed to last at least 100,000 miles before any issues.
I believe it's a 2002 (Auto) with only 74K miles. Unused for about 18 months...just sitting on a driveway!

Can't get to it for a couple of days because of other commitments but will confirm as much as possible to you asap after that. There's no immediate rush.

I haven't got access to the relevant code scanner but will scrounge around. Can you recommend one that I could buy? I am new to BMWs but as you know I also bought the 325 tds (1996) recently and if I can get a daignostics scanner at a reasonable price and that works on both cars it might be a good investment. If you send over the "common faults" list it will be very useful.

Your point re the speed or the throttle position sensors seem to tie in with the fact that the mpg indicator didn't work when I started it up and drove it a short distance...but that could be a red herring and completely unrelated. That's where experience and knowledge count. Me...basic stuff only at this stage and electronics side of things is a bit of a challenge anyway.

Thanks matey. Your generosity is much appreciated.
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#4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 08:21 AM
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Does this issue only occur when you have the car in Sports mode (lever to left position) or when in drive as well. It may be that the car needs a good run to loosen everything up if its been sitting idle for a long time, or possibly fresh trans fluid and filter may help.


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#5 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 10:39 AM
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I haven't looked into code readers just yet, as most auto parts stores near me do it for free. I do plan on picking one up soon though. You don't new anything super fancy. Anything over $50 and under $200 should be sufficient. The one my local store uses not only tells you the code thrown, but a basic description of the code. You need a reader that can clear te codes as well.

Take a look at these:
edge motorworks - 5 Series 1995-2003 (E39 & M5)

www.540i6.com - Common Problems and Fixes

Bimmerfest - BMW Forums - View Single Post - E39 Common Problems


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#6 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 12:50 PM
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Lord Vader and Brettski

Thanks for the advice and info. Interesting that my local garage guru said consumer OBD diagnostic devices were a waste of time and that anything worthwhile costs UK 3.7K / US $ 5K !!! I'm wondering what magic is in the expensive version that isn't in the consumer units.

A big problem is that I can't legally take the car on the road because it has no tax disc and no current MOT (a compulsory certificate of basic roadworthiness/safety in the UK when the vehicle is more than 3 years old). In the UK the Police can confiscate your car and crush it for such a crime...a bit inequitable when you consider that if you defraud the public of /$ Billions your punishment could be a medal, elevation to the House of Lords and somehow that crime gets 'overlooked'....old story, I know. So, Lord Vader, how did you earn your title? ;0)

Brettski, you could be right about it needing a good burst of freedom to loosen it up but the owner said the problem was occurring before he stopped using it. He's not the type to drive 'adventurously' and he seldom used the manual mode. The problem only appears when in fully auto mode coz the car wasn't expected to change gear automatically when in manual mode.

Nuts are being scratched vigorously.

Thanks gentlemen.
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#7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 03:05 PM
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Who ever said a good OBD scanner costs $5,000 is either on some good drugs or a moron. The ones technicians use at the dealerships are only about $500 but their top of the line. Which is why you don't new anything that costs more then $200! The basic ones here are $69 at auto stores. I personally would get one in the $80-120 range.


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#8 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 04:42 PM
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Roger to that.

I think he was referring to some licensed BMW system that links back direct to BMW who provide real time updates as they become available.

Dunno about your location but the UK seems to be a place where rip-off seems to be the norm and it takes a lot of care to avoid it. It's like swimming with a badly bleeding cut in a small pool full of ravenous sharks and it's not getting better any time soon.

I have fired out inquiries to a couple of OBDII suppliers and am waiting for their replies.
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#9 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 05:14 PM
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I've been looking at the Peake Research OBDII Model: R5/FCX-3-U Universal (1987-2007). UK 145.

See: Peake Research Tool R5/FCX3-U BMW car code reader & service reset tool from Peake Research for BMWs

It's not too clear about whether it can clear the codes so I have asked them to clarify that point.
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#10 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 07:36 PM
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The Peak ones are excellent but note that the screen displays a 2 digit numerical code rather then the standard OBDII code which is something like P0215. The advantage is that it resets the oil service lights, but the CEL should clear when the codes are cleared.


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