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      02-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
OneThreeFive
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Transmission Malfunction Warning

I am posting this on behalf of my brother and his fiancee. Back in Dec they purchased a 2009 535xi wagon as a company car. The car was purchased at a local used dealership and has 52k mileage on it. It has an original purchase date of October 2008 so just out of the warranty period on both fronts. Now onto the problems.

The car seems to have been cursed from the get go. We blew a tire on Christmas and naturally the car had wheel locks and no key in it. Once working through that debacle, the next major trip it went on an oil indicator warning appeared so they filled it initially with a quart on the way up to NYC. Since then I've changed the oil.

The car threw it's first Transmission Malfunction warning leaving the city at the end of the week. The car was then towed to a BMW specialist in the city for an initial review. Their recommendation was the change the tranny fluid since the car had sat for close to 10 months and presumably started/drive very little. If that doesn't fix it then it would require additional investigation. Pick up car, leaving city, same thing happens. They make the decision to continue driving back to VA this time. They take it to Sterling BMW and pay $135 for a diagnostic (out of warranty). The diagnostic comes back that it needs an entire new transmission to the tune of $8,500. BMW says it is so severe that they would not certify the car in this state for an extended warranty.

My brother then goes back to the used car dealership and gets the run around there. They attempt to contact BMW NA and BMW NA says there's nothing they can do. He then decides to take it to an INDY shop where my dad has had Volvo's serviced there for years thinking it is in need of a transmission. The guy there scans for codes, none, drives it home and around for a day/night and nothing obvious stands out in his review of everything under the hood. He says in good faith, he can't just swap the transmission for $6k, because nothing is suggesting it is needed.

When it occurs, the behavior is a loud clunk, essentially a downshift into lower gears and partial power/limp mode. Shutting the car off and back on, the car then runs fine with no warning present (and codes apparently). It has happened a total of about 10x in the first two months of ownership. Each time it is in the range of 40 - 70 MPH. Sometimes during acceleration, sometimes coasting at a speed in this range. The danger here is the potential of trailing vehicles to hit her when it occurs.

I have found other forums and threads from people with similar symptoms, but haven't found any ones which include the resolution of the issue. Given that there aren't present mechanical issues (violent shifts, issues with parking gear, etc), I am led to believe it is sensor/ECU related. I obviously don't know enough about all the electronics in play here. Has anyone had similar issues and could provide the fix that resolved the issue? Was it really a new transmission? Any info, input, advice, etc is appreciated.
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      02-11-2013, 08:16 PM   #2
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1) you might want to look at the crank sensor .Ive read on other forums that a bad crank sensor will throw a transmission malfuntion warning.... it could be the issue, ive read on other forums when the dealer was saying new transmission,, and it turned out to be the crank sensor

2) on my car a transmission malfuntion error would pop up and after restarting,, the car codes went away .. then back again..i dealt with that for weeks.. look into a alternator have it checked and your battery.. when ur alternator starts to go bad and stops charging for seconds at a time..and creates low voltage.. and the car gets really screwy... these cars are really power hungry and very sensitive to low voltage. Once i changed the alternator problem was solved... if u start getting more errors like ARS malfuntion,, dynamic drive malfuntion,, ABS malfuntion.. along with transmission malfuntion.. the alternator is the culprit... hope this helps you out and i think one of these two options,,, is probably ur solution to the problem

Last edited by H F; 02-11-2013 at 08:39 PM..
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      02-12-2013, 05:35 AM   #3
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when you went to the dealer did they note down any fault codes that were stored?
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      02-12-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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HF, thank you for the recommendations! I will start down the path to replacing the crank sensor, alternator and battery and will plan to report back the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWguyRY View Post
when you went to the dealer did they note down any fault codes that were stored?
They did not mention any fault codes in particular. The car not storing any fault codes when it occurs has proved to be a challenge in the diagnosis of the issue.
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      02-13-2013, 02:21 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=OneThreeFive;13467926]HF, thank you for the recommendations! I will start down the path to replacing the crank sensor, alternator and battery and will plan to report back the results

hope it will solve the problem...
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      01-16-2016, 07:52 AM   #6
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Transmission solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneThreeFive
HF, thank you for the recommendations! I will start down the path to replacing the crank sensor, alternator and battery and will plan to report back the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWguyRY View Post
when you went to the dealer did they note down any fault codes that were stored?
They did not mention any fault codes in particular. The car not storing any fault codes when it occurs has proved to be a challenge in the diagnosis of the issue.
I have the same exact issue. Did you ever resolve this?
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      Yesterday, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzles View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneThreeFive
HF, thank you for the recommendations! I will start down the path to replacing the crank sensor, alternator and battery and will plan to report back the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWguyRY View Post
when you went to the dealer did they note down any fault codes that were stored?
They did not mention any fault codes in particular. The car not storing any fault codes when it occurs has proved to be a challenge in the diagnosis of the issue.
I have the same exact issue. Did you ever resolve this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzles View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneThreeFive
HF, thank you for the recommendations! I will start down the path to replacing the crank sensor, alternator and battery and will plan to report back the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWguyRY View Post
when you went to the dealer did they note down any fault codes that were stored?
They did not mention any fault codes in particular. The car not storing any fault codes when it occurs has proved to be a challenge in the diagnosis of the issue.
I have the same exact issue. Did you ever resolve this?
Has changing the battery help
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