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BMW has been using electronically controlled automatic transmissions in most models since the late '80s. These transmission systems employ a transmission control unit which controls electrical solenoids to manipulate the various control and shift valves and functions in the transmission valve-body. When the transmission control unit detects a problem that it "thinks" could be damaging to the transmission or engine, it goes into a fail-safe or "limp" mode. In this mode, the transmission will function in reverse normally, but in forward it will operate in only one gear (whether you have the shifter in D, or any of the lower gears). This will typically be 3rd or 4th gear, depending on the model. It will start in this gear and stay in this gear with no shifting. You would experience this as sluggish acceleration and higher than normal engine speed at about 40-mph and above.
If you must drive the vehicle when the transmission is in the fail-safe mode, accelerate gently and keep the road speed lower than full highway speed.
Earlier models do not employ fault codes and must be diagnosed manually. Late models do employ fault codes and a diagnostic/scan machine can be used to check and read the faults to assist in diagnostics. Note that this is not your common OBD-II engine management fault code tool. This is what A BMW dealer or a properly equipped independent shop would have for full vehicle system diagnostics and coding operations.
the message "fail safe mode" is telling you that there is a fault in either the engine or gear box. In your case the problem is in the transmission. Run the fault codes and check for a torque converter servo/solenoid failure or a TCM problem. Check that there is oil in the transmission.
I believe fail safe mode is usually direct drive which in most 4 speed transmissions is third gear. As far as what could cause this could be many things, electrical, clutch leakage or transmission oil bypassing the clutch that the transmission wants to engage, clutch slippage which could be the friction disks in a certain clutch that don't have any friction material left on them. IE like a brake pad the friction material on the pad once it is gone the brakes don't operate very good you have metal to metal contact you need to change your brakes. same concept. Are their any codes? Did the check engine light or transmission light come on? If you have a light try and see what the light says by scanning the computer. this should give you a good place to start.
Check transmission fuse its the one labeled PRNDL or similar.Use a test light when you check it by the way.If the fuse is good then its probaly your ignition switch failed.If that fuse is bad or the ignition switch is not suppling power to that fuse your tack,speedo,and gear indicator wont work, and your transmission will go into a safe mode.Safe mode is just the transmission staying in 3rd gear all the time until you fix this.
when a car goes into fail safe or limp mode it is caused by an inportaint sensor the car needs to either run the motor or shift the trans..ikt then runs or operates on the driving info that the ecu has stored to be able to get it home or to a shop..youj will need to have a diagnostics ran on it and have the cars computer read to retrieve the code to idenify the problem and once the problem componet is replaced the car will automaticly return to normal operation
Sometimes.... Sometimes this will take care of some of those faults and codes, and it only takes a few minutes to do. I know your problem is not exact as this reset method says, but however you would be amazed on this fixes a lot of things, it like a cheap way to reset computer and fixes a lot of things back to default mode. Try it and let me know. Mike
IT'S VERY EASY TO RESET THE TRANSMISSION'S COMPUTER. HOLD GAS PEDAL DOWN. TURN THE KEY TO THE NUMBER TWO. CONTINUE TO HOLD THE GAS PEDAL DOWN FOR THIRTY SECONDS.RELEASE THE GAS PEDAL AND PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL FOR TEN SECONDS. NOW YOU CAN TURN THE VEHICLE ON. THAT SHOULD TAKE IT OUT OF SAFE MODE
IT'S VERY EASY TO RESET THE TRANSMISION'S COMPUTER. HOLD GAS PEDAL DOWN. TURN THE KEY TO THE NUMBER TWO. CONTINUE TO HOLD THE GAS PEDAL DOWN FOR THIRTY SECONDS.RELEASE THE GAS PEDAL AND PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL FOR TEN SECONDS. NOW YOU CAN TURN THE VEHICLE ON. THAT SHOULD TAKE IT OUT OF SAFE MODE
First check and make sure the fluid is full. The most likely cause is a failed solenoid pack. Circuit codes normally mean something electrical not mechanical has failed. The solenoid pack is on the outside of trans pretty easy to replace.
sometimes it will clear if you turn the X5 off and restart it. however, it could be an early indication that the tranny is about to expire. i have had it happen and it cleared with a power cycle, but also had friends where it cleared for a few weeks/months and returned. this time it was really the transmission that went bad. if you can't get it to clear, then i'd suggest taking it to the dealer and have them plug into it to have a better look.