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BMW X3 07-09 Automatic Transmission Problems

pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
This issue has its own thread on bimmerfest.com. IMO it is important enough to have its own thread here. I wish there had been one that showed how big an issue it is for those who have the problem.

Those whose cars do not have this issue apparently think the rest of us are bad drivers, whiners or nuts. I can assure them that, while I may be all of these, I also have a car that has the worst road jostling I have ever experienced.

I am not talking about the handling which is great or the power which is super. I am talking about the transmission that you can feel moving through the lower gears HARD. It causes (I now believe) the car to jiggle and bounce and bounce and bounce some more at low speeds. Up/down, side to side, front to back, this car does it all. The rocking pony at the supermarket has nothing on this car.

Some people think that it also causes a hesitation in acceleration which is a problem when merging or turning in front of oncoming traffic. It has apparently been 3 years give or take since this problem surfaced in the 07's.

It is now 2009 and what appears to be the same problem is showing up in brand new cars. What the heck? Luxury brand? Customer service? Performance?

What?

What about a permanent fix?

I read that it is the GM6 AT which is apparently also in some of the 3 series sedans and the GMC Acadia which also exhibit the same symptoms. I don't know but I will take their word for it.

Comments

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,468
    Ah yes, the continued pummeling of a deceased equine species.
    :P

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • All caps are from the site. These are all filed under the 2007 although there are some 2008s in here.

    "2007 BMW X3 (BUILD DATE 09/06) TRANSMISSION PROBLEM, POTENTIALLY VERY DANGEROUS (DEADLY). VEHICLE SURGES, LAGS, HESITATES, CAN'T FIND GEAR, RED LINES, FAILS TO RESPOND TO ACCELERATOR. FIRST THREE SERVICE DEPARTMENT VISITS, NO ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO REPAIR. 4TH VISIT = SOFTWARE UPGRADE. PROBLEM NOT FIXED. *TR

    "THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION DOES NOT APPROPRIATELY RESPOND TO DRIVER INPUT, VARIOUSLY DISPLAYING HESITATION OF UP TO 3 SECONDS, ABRUPT UPSHIFTS AND DOWNSHIFTS, AND OCCASIONAL STALLS. IT IS SO UNPREDICTABLE THAT ONE AVOIDS PULLING INTO TRAFFIC, OR TURNING LEFT ACROSS INCOMING TRAFFIC. NOT AN ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE. THIS IS A BMW X3 2008 MODEL. *TR"

    "VEHICLE TRANSMISSION HESITATES TO SHIFT FROM 1ST TO 2ND, MAKING IT DANGEROUS TO PULL OUT INTO TRAFFIC. VEHICLE ALSO HAS DIFFICULTY SHIFTING INTO REVERSE, CAUSING IT TO ROLL FORWARD WHEN THE BRAKE IS RELEASED."

    2007 BMW X3 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION: HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING TO BMW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM SINCE SPRING OF 2007. THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN IN THE SHOP MORE THAN A MONTH (TOTAL FROM NUMEROUS VISITS). AT A STOP LIGHT THE TRANSMISSION WILL OCCASIONALLY SURGE & IF NOT FOR FOOT FIRMLY ON THE BRAKE THAT SURGE WOULD THROW ME INTO THE CAR AHEAD. IT HAS SURGED WHEN PARKING ALMOST RAMMING ME INTO THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. I ALMOST WENT THROUGH A FILE CABINET AND INTO THE WALL IN MY GARAGE YESTERDAY. HESITATES WHEN CHANGING LANES & THROUGH INTERSECTIONS. I'VE ALMOST BEEN HIT NUMEROUS TIMES. ALMOST RAMMED FROM THE REAR AT 70MPH ON THE FREEWAY WHEN TRANSMISSION HESITATED & WOULDN'T ACCELERATE. THE ENGINE WILL REV AND THE TRANSMISSION WON'T KICK IN FOR A FEW SECONDS. THEN THE CAR TAKES OFF LIKE A ROCKET. THIS VEHICLE WITH THIS PARTICULAR TRANSMISSION IS DANGEROUS. I'VE BEEN TRYING INCESSANTLY TO GET BMW TO HELP ME FOR WELL OVER A YEAR. ALL LEVELS SAY THEY WILL HELP BUT IT NEVER HAPPENS SHORT OF A TRANSMISSION REPROGRAMMING WHICH DOESN'T ELIMINATE THE PROBLEM...AND THEY KNOW IT. BMW STATES THE "VEHICLE IS OPERATING AS DESIGNED". WHAT A STUNNING ADMISSION! THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM AND QUITE EASY TO VERIFY. SERVICE MANAGERS ADMIT THE PROBLEM TOO...AND BMW IS SAYING THEY DESIGNED THE VEHICLE THIS WAY??? WHO HAS TO DIE IN AN ACCIDENT BEFORE THIS IS TAKEN CARE OF? BMW HAD A REGIONAL TECH ENGINEER EVALUATE MY VEHICLE. HE SAYS IT'S "OPERATING AS DESIGNED". HE ALSO SAID THERE ARE NO 'FAULTS'. A SERVICE MGR ONCE TOLD ME THAT 'FAULTS' DON'T ALWAYS REGISTER IN THE COMPUTER SO HAVING 'NO FAULTS' ISN'T UNUSUAL. BY THE WAY, BMW HAD ME TAKE THE CAR IN TO GET REPROGRAMMED SHORTLY "BEFORE" THAT REGIONAL TECH DID HIS EVALUATION. YES, THEY REPROGRAMMED IT "THEN" SENT HIM IN! NOTHING WAS FOUND? GO FIGURE! WHAT COULD I DO? IT'S A LEASED VEHICLE. I COULDN'T JUST SELL IT OR TAKE IT BACK TO THE DEALER. WHY DO THEY REFUSE TO HELP ME WHEN IT WOULD COST NEXT TO NOTHING. THEY LOVE MY $$$. *TR
  • So the BMW design team designed in a ride this rocky and bouncy and hard shifting for what reason?

    They designed in a gear shift that is this slow to accelerate for what reason? They designed in a gear shift that downshifts so hard it is as if the brakes were deployed for what reason?

    What possible reason would these be designed in? Why would people want this rocky a ride at low speeds over normal roads? Do people want their things to jump up into the air or their coffee to spill everywhere? Is there a purpose that this kind of thing serves?

    Is there some kind of a trade off between having such a rocky ride and something else that is desirable? If so, what do you get when you have to put up with this ride?

    The hard down shifting and loss of speed, the stuttering acceleration, the sudden surge of acceleration, the delay in acceleration are design features for what purpose? What function do they serve? They are not for comfort, handling, safety, reliability but just the reverse so what was the design idea behind them?

    Operating as designed? What?

    Do they actually mean to say: operating at some minimal standard we want our customers to accept and shut up about in a new $40K+ automobile?
  • From the NHTSA site. This failure appears to be in different cars in different model years. IIRC one post I read said that there were 140 complaints on the site regarding this issue but I haven't verified that.

    Here is a sample of the problem. The $2K repair cost appears to be on the low side.

    "2001 BMW 330I, 88,500 MILES. REVERSE FAILED COMPLETELY WITHOUT WARNING. THE CAR HAS THE ZF5HP19 TRANSMISSION WHICH SEEMS TO HAVE THE COMMON PROBLEM OF THE D-G CLUTCH DRUM FAILING. THE CAR WAS WELL MAINTAINED WITH NO SYMPTOMS LEADING UP TO THE FAILURE. MY MECHANIC REPLACED THE REVERSE DRUM AT A COST OF $2116.34. I HAVE A COPY OF THE SERVICE ORDER AND HAVE IN MY POSSESSION THE FAILED PART. *TR
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,468
    Welcome to last week. The well known reverse failure affects the ZF5HP19. It is not a GM transmission and has nothing to do with the shifting issues which affect some later X3s.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Same symptoms, different problems, different transmissions, still BMWs.

    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=706809

    "Here is why that's important: Automatic 323's are known to lose the reverse drum, that's a fact. Automatic 328s can lose reverse as well, that's a fact. But what's the crazy fact is that 328's with GM transmissions might not have actually lost the reverse drum! GM and ZF trannies both lose reverse gear but they do it in different ways. The drum failure is the common failure on the ZF transmissions. The symptoms of the 5L40E (GM tranny) are identical, you place the car in reverse and it revs up like in neutral and does not move. And that's the point of this thread. To show you what to do if you have a steptronic GM transmission.

    So GM trannies might not have lost the reverse drum? Then what is the problem you ask? There are things called solenoids in the pan of a transmission that control pressure allowing the transmission to engage gears. We all know that automatic transmissions in E46s are hydraulically driven correct? Well one of those solenoids can go bad, and guess which one? The reverse solenoid. The name which you should call it as is the "TCC and PWM solenoid"

    What happens: At any rate, what happens is when the car is cold, ect, this reverse solenoid has a mesh screen on it and build up can get on the screen causing it to not be able to control the pressure to the reverse gear. This in turn is when people notice the infamous "no-reverse." Thus, people with GM transmissions wont be able to engage reverse gear and they think that their reverse drum is to blame. This is not the case!"
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,468
    More proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • So here is an article talking about the no reverse problems in the ZF and GM transmissions in various BMW models. It goes on then to say this:

    "If you have an autobox, drive it gently. That would be my advice. If you are buying a BMW, consider a 5- or 6-speed instead of an automatic, particularly if you are buying a car without an extended warranty. If you have a newer automatic, consider an extended BMW warranty (not a 3rd party warranty, they are nearly worthless)."

    Since when did the hard-driving BMW become something only to be driven gently because BMW can't figure out how to make or OEM a proper automatic transmission?

    Rugged X5s and X3s that you have to pamper?

    What?

    :surprise:
  • Since I have a 2007 BMW X3 with all the same problems mentioned that I bought certified pre-owned, what are the legal ramifications of these problems? Do I have any recourse with BMW? The original factory warranty expires in April 2011 so I am trying to do anything I can before then. More importantly, it is very concerning that my car is unsafe to drive. If anyone has had success with this issue or can advise me, I would greatly appreciate it.
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    :mad:

    Our next car will be a Toyota or a Honda or maybe a Ford. I don't know but this BMW is so full of weird glitches that it is unnerving.

    Every new wrinkle is an anxiety-inducer. WTH? Really, does anyone need this kind of aggravation for a CAR?

    Who sources transmissions for BMW? Who designs the suspension? :sick:
  • I had the same issue with the transmission bucking etc., long story with more than one dealer involved.
    The car was under warranty and BMW admitted that there was an issue.
    Basically BMW said deal with it we will not fix it because this is normal for this car and it's not a life threatening issue.
    I got rid of it and I will NEVER buy another BMW.
    They lost a customer for life.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,468
    Another one post wonder.
    Why am I not surprised???

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,499
    You'd prefer that people continue to post about their issue day after day then? And you expect people to brag on their car in a "Problems" discussion?

    When people have a problem with a car they like to vent. And it's not like they just pick on BMW (last post).

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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