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BMW 5-Series Transmission Questions

My 1987 535is has an automatic transmission. Some type of intermittent electrical problem causes the transmission to always remain in 3rd gear (no shifting whatsoever) whenever this small warning light appears under the speedometer. When the light is on, it stays in 3rd gear continually. When the light is off, the transmission works fine. Anyone else out there ever experience this? If so, what's the solution? Thanks!


  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Some type of intermittent electrical problem causes the transmission to always remain in 3rd gear (no shifting whatsoever) whenever this small warning light appears under the speedometer.

    When the AT warning light is illuminated it means that your transmission has gone into "limp home" mode. The problem could be caused by any number of things. Your best bet is to find a good independent BMW tech who really knows the ZF 4HP22 autobox.
  • It seems that you are experience with older model BMW's. I just recently purchased a 1985 BMW 535i that came without a owner's manual. The small computer-like device to the right of my dashboard does not display the correct date, time, etc. I am unfamiliar with this device and cannot find an owner's manual anywhere. Can you tell me how to set the date, time, or generally how to work this device? Also, there is a button label 'code'. How am I to find out what the code to my BMW is? And what does this 'code' button do?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Since this discussion is about transmission issues, let's continue here:
  • Hi, I changed the transmission on my 97 528i and didn't put enough tranny fluid I drove it for a little bit and now it seems to be stuck in first gear or it would act like its in neutral. The reverse seems to work fine. Can anyone please tell me what mechanism I would need to replace to fix this problem. Thanks
  • The transmission--you broke this one, too!
  • carnutfancarnutfan Posts: 16
    Can anyone tell me how to reprogram my auto transmission to shift faster? The car really slows down from 1rst to 2nd gear. you have to mash the pedal down hard to get it to respond.
  • sixpaqssixpaqs Posts: 21
    Wow. Blast from the past! With that code button, you set a code to engage the ignition kill switch. If the code light is on, the car will not start. You will have to enter whatever code you set to disable the kill switch and start the car. I remember my dad's 635 had this, and we used to play jokes on him all the time. I thought he drove his horrible lemon. I don't remember the exact sequence you used to activate this. I think you used to hit code, and you would get 4 dashes. Then you entered the code you wanted, and pressed the code button. A light on the button would light up. To start the car, you had to turn the key, then either enter the code, or press the code button and enter the code, and then try to start the car. It was something like that.
  • whitel80whitel80 Posts: 1
    We have a 1992 Sedan, 252i. Sometimes the words "Trans Program" appear in the computer window, and the car is very slow to start up from a stop light. (My husband says it stays in 3rd gear.) The gears 1,2, and 3 help somewhat, but the only way we have found to get it back to the regular automatic transmission is to turn the car off, then restart it about 10 seconds later. It has been taken to a BMW mechanic several times to fix this problem, but the problem always comes back. What do we do? And does anyone else have this problem?
  • :confuse: i've recently bought a 1990 535i se i've had the car just over a week it has almost 170,000 miles on the clock, but for some reason the car will now not move when in drive and under acceloration! :sick: it starts to creep slowly in drive without hitting the accelorator but there's no respnoce as all when i toutch the accelorator. any one else had this problem ? and if so how did you sort it out. cheers.
  • I have a 95 530i with trans program popping up on the dash how can i fix this problem. I'm a single parent and cant afford to spend a lot of money please help.
  • Currently my bimmer is showing an issue with the ABS & ATC in the gauge box. At the same time on occassion the car shifts slowly & often the RPM throttles to 4-5 before shifting. Its an automatic, I usually drop the gear to 3 and back-up and it forces a response. I know the ABS & traction are related to set sensors being dirty ect.. but the shifting has me concerned, I hope someone can advise before I take further steps. Milage 150K.

    Please help?
  • reallycoolreallycool Posts: 1
    I'm having the same problem. Any suggestions?
  • jpayanjpayan Posts: 1
    I recently change the flexible diveshaft coupling of my 1988 bwm 535is. because it was rip and it was hitting the driveshaft tunnel when I put the car on drive on a hard start. Now that the new part is installed it is doing the same thing. Could it be a motor mount or transmission mount that it makes the driveshaft diviate from its track?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    The problem most likely was-and is-the center driveshaft bearing, though it wouldn't hurt to inspect the motor and tranny mounts as well.

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

  • mojrmojr Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 525i and my reverse lights and signal lights don't work, I already checked all fuses and relays... they're Ok. I wonder if anybody else out there have experienced any similar problems??? The car discharged the battery I already bought a new one, I measured 13.5 Volts at the battery so the charge system is Ok
    Any ideas would be appreciated especially now in this economy?? I like my car so much and don't want to sell it either. Thanks for your help and have a nice day....
  • My car (53k miles) just has the red warning light comes on with the message "Gear can be engaged w/o depressing the brake. Drive moderately! Have he system checked by the mechanics..." How serious is this problem? What cause it and what we should do to fix it?

    Also, another yellow warning light comes on "Braking/driving stab. Brake and drive control system malfunciton! Reduced braking and driving stability. Avoid hard braking". Any information is really appreciated.
  • bmw5sinbmw5sin Posts: 1
    hi, i've got the same message "gear can be engaged w/o depressing the brake. Drive moderately" Hv you got your problem solved? I've got the message dignosed and for the result as "electronic pressure control valve 2". Workshops has asked to either overhauled the gearbox, or changed transmission oil and see if it works. One said to change the pressure control valve and transmission oil will do.
    Automatic gear change is locked now at 2 or 3 shift. There is no lost of power on the gear shift. What shoudl we do from
  • Unfortunately my car just passed the factory warranty period (4yr/50kmiles) by 1 month (53k miles now). So I need to find out some help to pay for the repair now before I take my car to the dealers yet. The dealer asks for $140 for diagnostic fee which includes using machines to read the error code. Repair cost is based on the diag results.
    The car still runs ok. The warning lights just come and go. Transmission is ok. Brake still works; probably ABS is disabled.
    Any one to help?
  • HI There, I am wondering if you ever reached a solution to the problem with the ATC/ABS warning lights. I am having the same exact problem with my 03 530i. Mine shifts just fine but the lights are a real pattern to it.
  • The problem just went away after a few months. I did not take it to any dealers or shops for repair at all. It could be some things that I did such as disconnecting the battery, etc. unknowingly.
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