Question about 2002 BMW 5 Series

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Transmission is in safe mode

I have a 1995 BMW 318ti with 52,000 miles on it. All the miles were put on in Hawaii, which has a lot of hills and steep mountains. I was driving up a hill, about three miles long and pretty steep, like I have many times before. I put the car in second gear manually, to stay with traffic, until I reached the top of the mountain, then I put the car in drive. The car was running fine like usual, until I had to hit the brakes pretty hard to get stopped for a traffic light at the bottom of the mountain. As I was slowing to a stop and the car was downshifting, I noticed it downshifted harder than normal. I then took off from the light and made it about 100 feet when the "CHECK ENGINE" light came on, and then the Transmission light came on about five seconds later. I pulled over as soon as I could, (about 500 feet) and shut the car off to check the fluids. I let the car cool off for a few minutes and started it up to take off when I noticed the car would barely move. I got the Owner's Manual out of the glove box and found out that when the transmission light comes on while the car is in motion, it automatically shifts into Fourth gear, so that's why it would hardly move from take off. I then shut the car off again for a few more minutes, then started it up and took off and it worked like it always has, like nothing ever happened. I took care of some business and left the car parked for about 45 minutes. I started it up and it worked fine the whole way home(about twenty miles). I took it for a short drive and almost immediately the lights came back on and it automatically went into fourth gear again. I've tried it a couple of times since then and the lights automatically come on and it goes right to fourth. It just starting doing it and I've never had any problems with the car except for changing an alternator. Other than that, the car's been great. Any information anyone can give me would be much appreciated and very helpful. I'm going to put it on the lift tomorrow and check the fluid in the tranny, and see what the code is that was set off.

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Hi, 99% of the time it's corrosion buildup on the connection at the sensor(a sensor in the tranny) since it's somewhat exposed to road grime, moisture, etc... Whenever the sensors' current is fluctuating or disconncted or interupted the trans will always go to "limp mode".. ALSO,

I found a TSB that may help you on whats going on ...

Automatic Transmission 24 02 00
Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Service Engineering April, 2002
This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. 24 02 00 December 2001
E36/7, E39, E46, E53 with GM5; "Hard" or "No-shift" with FC 50, 52, 53, or 55 in TCM MODEL
E36/7 (Z3) with M54 and GM5 from 06/00
E39 with M52TU & M54 and GM5 from 09/99 up to 03/01
E46, 323i (sedan/coupe/convertible/sport wagon) with M52TU & GM5 from 05/98 up to 03/00
E46, 328i (sedan/coupe) with M52TU & GM5 from 05/98 up to 06/00
E46, 325iTA (sport wagon) with M54 & GM5 from 08/00 up to 03/01
E46, xi (all wheel drive, sedan/sport wagon) with M54 & GM5 from 08/00
E53 with M54 & GM5 from 04/00 SITUATION
Customer may complain of "hard" or "no shift", and one of the following "Gear Error" fault codes will be stored in the TMC: FC 50, 52, 53, 55. No other fault codes are present in the transmission control module. CAUSE
Valve body malfunction / sticking valves. CORRECTION
If fault code 50, 52, 53, or 55 is stored: Check the condition and level of the transmission fluid. If the trans fluid level/condition is OK, then exchange the valve body. 3. If the trans fluid condition/level is not OK, or if any other transmission related fault codes are stored (other than 50, 52, 53, or 55), contact the Technical Hotline for repair authorization.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009


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