Question about BMW X5 Series

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BMW X5 Trans Fail Safe Program,

My Bmw x5 2001 Display shows Trans Fail Safe Mode, Truck drives verry sluggish up until around 45+ mph.. then it picks up speed and drives normal. Reverse is fine, seems to be an electrical or sensor issue because it just came out of nowhere. Not sure what to do, Hoping the trans is not shot!! anyone have any answers. I had a similar problem but I have a manual transmission and there was nothing wrong with the trans. Before this happened the engine warning light came on. The dealer diagnosed that the Lambda probe was shot & needed to be replaced. I did not do this as the part was not in stock. This caused a problem with the engine and is presently being repaired at a dealer. Will post result soon.

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  • Anonymous May 11, 2009

    I have roughly the same problem. What I've been told is that there is a commo problem with the engine computer, so the car thinks it's in second gear. With my car it's intermittent, that is, at first in the morning it runs normally but then all the gauges go out (no Tachometer, speedometer, temp, etc). It runs great from about 20-45 mph. Apparently the computer is kaput. Not a cheap replacement unless you go used.

  • greg benton May 11, 2010

    if the transmission is sluggish until about 45mph, it sounds like it is in failsafe for sure. It should have a fault stored in the DME or EGS control units. If there are faults stored what are they?

  • Rodney Macaraeg Jan 07, 2012

    I have the same issue on my 2001 x5, the engine would start and sounds like no problem, but the transmission wouldn't engage. What was the final outcome? How much did it cost you to fix it? I just need to know if worthed to spend the money. Your response wil be very helpful. Thanks

  • pnbrown5
    pnbrown5 Aug 16, 2012

    My x5 has just started with this problem....I attempt to turn it over and it just clicks like its a flat battery, however the 'failsafe trans' message appears. I jump-started it and it was fine for a couple of days but now its gone again.....help?

  • mustafa Apr 12, 2013

    i have a trans.failsafe.prog what can i do?

  • TCBMWX5 Sep 15, 2013

    I REPLACE 3 SENSORS CAM CRANKS AND AN OTHER THAT GOES ON THE HEAD 3.0 BMW X5

  • karl chapman
    karl chapman Oct 31, 2013

    Hi just seen your message on the fore room. I have a 2002 bmw x5 4.4 and the transmision failed to, bmw wont sort it but they should by law, mine has 70,000 miles on but bmw said not enough people have complained. I have now gone to watch dog and to trade and standards. They just dont want to put it on recall as it will cost thousands, regards karl we need as many numbers to give to bmw so customer service can call, if we get enough then they will have to fix them all. Please email me antiquesworld@outlook.com

  • TCBMWX5 Nov 01, 2013

    best shot go to a bmw shop ask for a complite scan including transmission it can be many things on my bmw x5 the proble was the alternator was charching 17 computer will go crazy put a new alternator no more trans fail and check engine gone runs like new now

  • William Willcocks
    William Willcocks Nov 07, 2016

    I have a 2001 bmw x6 4.4 and i have just had a brand new battery put on and all was working ok till last night then wouldnt start it said trans failsafe prog i move gears from P to N then it struck up.

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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

Posted on Jan 22, 2010

  • hopkins5019 Nov 23, 2010

    I did what GOLDENAPONTE suggested and that seemed to work MY 2002 X5 COULD GO INTO REVERSE AND FORWARD bu goingforard THE GEARS WERE NOT CHANGING. I could go into reverse but going forward was very sluggish. I turned the key to position number 2 and held down the gas pedal for 30 seconds. I released the gas pedal and pressed the brake pedal for 10 seconds, cranked up the engne and it seems to be OK. I drove it and the gears are changing!

  • James Duke
    James Duke Oct 22, 2014

    My transmission is getting wrecked, even right after I get it repaired. I am wrecking all of my gears in my car, and I think I'm going to ruin my car. I think that I may need to change the transmission fluid. http://www.nytransmission.com/transmissi...

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Make Sure The Problem is Real First

I have a 2002 X5 and get this message ("Trans.Fail Safe Prog.") about once a week. The message, however, is bogus. My Baby drives the same as before, happily shifting through all 5 gears (I count them!). As it is mentioned in the Owner's Manual, stopping the car later when it is convenient and safe to do so, turning the ignition off, waiting for a short time (30 seconds works for me), and then restarting the engine removes the message from the display, every time. I am thinking that any such message and procedure included in the Owner's Manual obviously cannot be anything serious. So, please make sure the problem is real!


Posted on Feb 08, 2010

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I just went through this with my '01 X5. The transmission needs to be changed. I ended up getting a rebuilt one from a company in Arizona called Jasper. The trans was just over $4,000 with the labor to change it in the $1200.00 range, I had the rear main crankshaft seal changed and some coolant seal changed at the same time as well since the trans has to be removed to do those anyway. Mileage on mine at the time was 98,000.
There was no warning or symptoms up until one time the trans had a loud clunk when shifting into drive (from full stop) then the trans fail-safe light, came on and the same as rajexc describes.
Since then two different BMW mechanics have told me that the "lifetime fluid" in the trans should be changed. There is a drain plug and it is not a huge deal. It is a little expensive, but cheaper than a new transmission.
FTjoe...based on the advice of my mechanic, you should change the fluid before the 100k mileage. If you wait until 100k, you might as well keep waiting until the trans fails, as changing it at that mileage may actually cause a problem. I know it sounds bogus, but that is the advice I was given. You should definitely get a professional opinion locally, but I was told the same thing by two different people that I think are credible.

Posted on May 05, 2009

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Changed trans fluid both filters and wont move whats the trick

Posted on Apr 04, 2011

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I have 01 x5 my trans fail safe progam light came on how do u fix problem without buying transmission

Posted on Oct 31, 2013

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Take a short trip to this website (www.x5world.com) and enter the "forums" section. you can then do a search (search function is at the bottom of the screen) on "trans fail safe" and read through some of the emails.

if you can't find anything in the search, then join and ask. i believe it is an early sign of eventual transmission failure but hard to say when. BMW says its lifetime fluid in the transmission. some have changed it themselves (on their own dime) at 100,000 miles and noticed an improvement. i only have 65,000 miles on mine and no issues yet, but i will change it at 100K miles.

Posted on Mar 06, 2009

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I had the same problem today.  I also have a BMW X5 2001.  I have about 145,000 miles on mine. Today, I was driving along at around 25 mph when I heard a pop sound and then the Trans. FailSafe Mode light came on and the car slugged along at 35 mph.  I stopped and turned off the engine.  When I turned it back on the warning light was gone.  
This is the third time in about 2 years (and 45,000 miles) this scenario has happened.  The mechanic told me about 2 years ago that it is early signs of transmission failure and that I should expect the transmission will fail sometime soon.  I'm going to keep going until it fails completely.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009

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I have a BMW x5 2001. I was working to fix a vacum leak. The engine was runnig at idle in Park when I heard a pop kinda loud. I did not know whay was it. Later I tried to drive and the fails safe trans came on. The car drives forward changing the gear kind like the sport mode. The problem is when it changes down to 2nd with a **** and the car feels like is breaking by it self. I tried to reset like Golden but mine did not work. I am disconecting the baterry terminals may be this will erase the memory. If is not going to work I am going to the dealer to see what kind a lies they will tell me, may be change the whole transmission.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010

  • parcescu Apr 04, 2011

    after many mecanics looked at it., I have changed the MASS air flow sensor and the light came off. The mention that Safe light wont go out no matter what.
    i hope this helps some body.

  • William Lopez
    William Lopez Mar 27, 2016

    Hi there did you ever fix this problem? If so what happend? Mine is doing exactly the same thing as you explained it

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X5 2002 3.0 The car had some problem driving at 75-80 mph tachometer not working for seconds and the mention trans fai saf pro light come on i plug in the scanner need it a air mass sensor order a cheap one on ebay it got worst put old one back, but yes my old one its bad one wire inside its missing fail old i order one from the dealer and see what happens tomorrow

Posted on Aug 21, 2013

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Help us how to solve a trans fail safe problem

Posted on Nov 28, 2015

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Check your battery. You can see actual voltage it puts out and what it holds with the car turned off using the onboard diagnotics menu. After replace the battery and having my DSC module rebuilt the message is gone. 2000 x5 4.4i

Posted on Jun 12, 2015

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Hope this will answer your question,If do pls click on helful botton and you can follow me at fixya,so I can answer your question faster.thanks.
BMW X5 Trans Fail Safe Program, - 1747737-l3yrohjhb50ijjwrt10tbj0x-5-0.jpg

Posted on Mar 10, 2015

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BMWs can be tricky. various sensors and a few vacuum lines. I have done a lot of reading up online and my BMW said
"trans program " and you can find a lot of things wrong with the computer ,, not the transmission. save yourself 5,000 dollars.
if you have the cash take it to a dealer (if you need the car)
always get a second opinion . they are costly but they know in most cases what's up.

Posted on Dec 03, 2014

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TWO WARNINGS: You MUST change your transmission oil about every 60000 miles. My tranny failed at 80,000 and the fluid was black.

BUT! here's the real problem but I don't think anyone realizes: The reason that the transmission fluid goes bad is that there is a valve in the cooling system just under the expansion tank that freezes closed, so the transmission oil cooks, turns black and kills your transmission! It's called an expansion tank thermostat and I found out about it by accident because my air conditioning stopped (due to a bad blower resistor).

You can get this part for under $40 on eBay and you might want to change the hoses while you're at it. I bought a used transmission for $2200 from LKM after my local transmission shop try to rebuild mine twice and failed. $1500 to put it in. :(

If you haven't checked your transmission oil in a while do it this week! And check that valve -- if your car is over 100k just replace it!

Posted on Sep 24, 2014

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Hey guys i had the same problem water got on the computer termial in the engine bay i spray some contact cleaner now she runs like the wind thanks MIKE

Posted on Nov 13, 2010

  • parcescu Jan 14, 2011

    where is located the computer terminal?

  • Jessie Solleza
    Jessie Solleza Dec 15, 2011

    Yes where's computer located

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SOURCE: BMW X5 Trans Fail Safe Program,

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.

Posted on Jan 28, 2009

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Jan 28, 2009 | 2002 BMW 5 Series

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