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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 07-10-2007, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy e39 transmission problem

I'm new at this site and hoping someone could help me with my problem. I own 99 528I with 110K on it.

I was driving I66 some weeks back driving and battling with traffic. While I was driving, I suddenly heard a rather loud clunking sound from under the car and trans, ABS, and ASC lights came on. I immediately stop the car and waited for awhile reading the manual. I followed the manual and drove it back home driving stuck in 3rd gear. I called around differant trans shops hoping to get some answers, but all I got was to "bring it in. we'll take a look at it" I've surfed around different sites and found out that there is recall campaign on 528 regarding transmission. I called the dealer and asked, but my vehicle is not covered after a VIN check. Anyway, it's been almost a month since the car sitting on my driveway and I think it's time for a repair. Incedently, I time to time warm up the engine and when I do lights (mentioned above) would go out for many minutes, but come back on when the engine gets warmed up (temp gage reading norm) I even see some light smoke coming out from the engine bay. Now I don't even know if it is safe to drive even to the tech shop. FYI, I have not done any trans service ever since I bought it new. I could not find the dip stick for trans. How odd is that! Please any thoughts anyone?
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you see any fluid on the ground?
You really need to take it to your mechanic. It could be something minor to major... Check this link, very informative. Please let us know the outcome and good luck.

BMW Transmission Diagnostics from Continental Imports

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Old 07-11-2007, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Can someone direct me to a good technician in NOVA

Thanx Los. Well, I don't see any fluid leak on the ground, although I don't even know if there is any fluid to leak... Is there anyway to check the trans fluid level? Is there anyway to fill up the fluid? At least point me to a dip stick?

I was doing the routine engine warm up today and noticed that it wasn't showing any warning lights. I don't know what this means, but I really do need to take it to a repair shop, though I'm still in search of technician in NOVA (norther virginia). As soon as someone direct me to an honest and reputable tech in NOVA, I'll be on my way. Do send your inputs please. Do you think it's still OK to drive?

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Old 07-12-2007, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There is no dip stick on these cars.. Sucks, eh
Anyway, I would not drive the car if I were you. Transmissions on these cars are very expensive to fix depending on the problem. Find a place that works on European models, don't take it to any transmission shop. You said it was stuck in third gear, right? I would not drive it.. Maybe to the shop!
Once you find out the problem, ask the guy to give an estimate and a couple of days if possible to make up your mind depending on the cost.
The transmission is due for a fluid flush anyway. I paid $450 on my 840ci recently. Prices in Virginia might be cheaper.

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Old 07-13-2007, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not fun

The automatic transmission in my 1994 E34 525i went out at 145,000 miles. Same exact sympthoms as yours. None of the local bmw independent repair shops wanted to rebuild it; they only were willing to install a rebuilt tranny from BMW, which was about $2000 alone, plus the indys wanted about $1000 for r/r. I finally got a local transmission place that specialized in german cars to do it. When it was apart, they called me and asked me to visit. Between several of the gears, there are suppose to be plastic washers called thrust washers. Mine were gone, either having gotten brittle and breaking, or possibly melted.

Cost of rebuild, including several gears and one sensor was $2200, including labor.

By the way, now I drain and refill the automatic transmisson fluid (without removing the pan) every time I chg the engine oil.

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Old 07-17-2007, 08:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It may seem impossible to rebuild the automatic transmission of your car.I should suggest you can prefer selected BMW engine parts to rebuilt your tranny.
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd suggest Reese Sherbaf, corner of US 50 and Prosperity, right across the street from BMW of Fairfax. His shop is called the Fairfax Service Center. He's very good.
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