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Trans Failsafe Prog


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25 replies to this topic

#1 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 28 October 2012 - 01:20 AM

Hi all.

I have a 535 E39 1997 auto (130K) and currenty experiencing a problem with transmission
Without any warning, one morning my wife experienced a problem where the R gear was working properly but when switching into D, the car would not move forward showing a "Trans Failsafe Prog" error.
3 days after, I tried myself to check the car and managed to make it drive but it looks as if it runs on a 3rd or 4th gear only.

PS
2 weeks before, my battery went flat when the alarm lights were left for a couple of hours by mistake.
The battery was charged with a small optimiser tool I have for my bike.

A mechanic I asked said without any hesitation that I need a new gearbox and proposed a second hand for around £1000.

Is it possible that I have a less serious problem or does it look like a gearbox failure problem.
Also, if I change it to manual, is it more cost efficient (thinking of this as getting a second hand auto again maybe a time bomd)

#2 ally

ally
  • LocationAberdeen
  • Current Car:E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:07 AM

Welcome to the forum

It's more likely that you need a new battery

"TRANS FAILSAFE PROG" is one of the first things to come up with a duff battery, check the voltage before and after starting the car.

2003 E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

2006 Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 TDCI


#3 Tesla

Tesla
  • Current Car:e39 530i Sport Touring

Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

A poor battery is known to effect the gearbox. How old is the battery?

CURRENTLY BREAKING: 530i Sport Saloon (Titan Silver)

sig.jpg


#4 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:43 AM

Thank you Ally and Tesla.
The battery is 1 year old but got completely flat when we left the car on Alarms for several hours.
The battery was brought back to life with the OptiMate battery optimisation/charger.

I just connected the battery again to my OptiMate. I will leave it there for full charging and try again later tonight.
I will let you know.
If it is the battery I will replace it with a new within the week.

Fingers crossed and hoping for the best!!!

#5 themanstan

themanstan
  • LocationSandford-On-Thames
  • Occupation:Lab Management Boffin with a bit of safety thrown in
  • Current Car:Titan Silver 2003 BMW E39 530IA

Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:12 PM

Check your alternator isn't on its way out first. Battery might be good, but alternator may be failing to recharge it properly. Multimeter is all you need.
A fair few of us on here have had this.
Titanium Silver '03 E39 530i Sport
18" M Parallel Alloys, Steptronic, Black Montana Leather, Comms Pack, SatNav, TV, Privacy Glass, Auto-Dims, and now with Intravee II

#6 mcenroe

mcenroe
  • LocationEssex
  • Occupation:Plumber
  • Current Car:e39 2000 535i

Posted 28 October 2012 - 04:38 PM

A friend had this on a 535i 2002
Was the alternator

#7 ally

ally
  • LocationAberdeen
  • Current Car:E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:52 PM

If it's the alternator the battery light will be on

2003 E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

2006 Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 TDCI


#8 themanstan

themanstan
  • LocationSandford-On-Thames
  • Occupation:Lab Management Boffin with a bit of safety thrown in
  • Current Car:Titan Silver 2003 BMW E39 530IA

Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:19 PM

Only when the alternator fails completely. If it's partially charging the light stays out and you get the spurious errors you are seeing.
Titanium Silver '03 E39 530i Sport
18" M Parallel Alloys, Steptronic, Black Montana Leather, Comms Pack, SatNav, TV, Privacy Glass, Auto-Dims, and now with Intravee II

#9 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:03 PM

Thank you themanstan and mcenroe.
I will wait until the battery is recharged by the Optimate to see if this changes anything.
I will check the alternator with a multimeter afterwards and let you know.

#10 kenny

kenny
  • LocationDerby
  • Current Car:E39 540i auto LPG

Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:37 PM

I would check that your optimate is good enough to charge this size battery, i use it on my R1 but not on my car.

#11 themanstan

themanstan
  • LocationSandford-On-Thames
  • Occupation:Lab Management Boffin with a bit of safety thrown in
  • Current Car:Titan Silver 2003 BMW E39 530IA

Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:18 AM

From a previous post on what to expectto see.

You should be getting at least 14.5v at the battery with the motor running if you were getting say 13.80 -14v, i would say the alternator is past it. The battery takes a pounding when this happens as it has to act as more of a reserve and although it may perform well,its general health may be poor.
On a e39 (and e32/34)with all its electrical systems,an half a volt drop in output will cause odd things to happen as what the generator can produce the battery takes it, leaving systems to run 'lean' so to speak and causing errors to appear/disappear
If this is your symptom suspect the rectifier pack in the alternator and in the short term,perhaps a battery.


Titanium Silver '03 E39 530i Sport
18" M Parallel Alloys, Steptronic, Black Montana Leather, Comms Pack, SatNav, TV, Privacy Glass, Auto-Dims, and now with Intravee II

#12 coupe king

coupe king
  • LocationAberdeen

Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:04 PM

Could also be a battery drain associated with a dodgy earth.
My money is on the battery though, it was in my case.
Posted Image

#13 mcenroe

mcenroe
  • LocationEssex
  • Occupation:Plumber
  • Current Car:e39 2000 535i

Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:13 PM

Yes sure to be Battery. Or. alternator

#14 mcenroe

mcenroe
  • LocationEssex
  • Occupation:Plumber
  • Current Car:e39 2000 535i

Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:15 PM

You can see the voltage it's charging at via the hidden menu
If you have high obc
I'm not sure if 1997 cars have this ??

#15 coupe king

coupe king
  • LocationAberdeen

Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:32 PM

You can see the voltage it's charging at via the hidden menu
If you have high obc
I'm not sure if 1997 cars have this ??


Hidden menu? :shock: How do you get in to that then :mrgreen:
Posted Image

#16 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:10 AM

After leaving the battery charging with the OptiMate charger, the battery was showing 0V on the car and the battery is now completely flat which was not the case before i take the battery out.

I will be replacing the battery tomorrow and hope that this will fix my problem with the gearbox as well.

Thank you all for your advice so far.

#17 Tesla

Tesla
  • Current Car:e39 530i Sport Touring

Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:45 AM

Is that charger a motorbike battery charger?

If so, you need something a bit more manly for the BMW's battery.

Edited by Tesla, 30 October 2012 - 07:45 AM.

CURRENTLY BREAKING: 530i Sport Saloon (Titan Silver)

sig.jpg


#18 ally

ally
  • LocationAberdeen
  • Current Car:E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:02 AM

Once you get your new battery, still keep an eye on the voltages before and after starting.


2003 E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

2006 Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 TDCI


#19 Machinehead

Machinehead
  • LocationWiltshire
  • Occupation:Pensions SSAS Technical Specialist
  • Current Car:E39 528iA Touring

Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:13 PM

You can see the voltage it's charging at via the hidden menu
If you have high obc
I'm not sure if 1997 cars have this ??

This is possible, but the voltage shown on the dash on mine is lower then the voltage shown on a multimeter direct connected to the battery, by 0.7v on mine so I wouldn't rely on this value for diagnostic purposes!
Because life's too short not to............

Silver '99 E39 528i SE Auto Touring
previously Diamond Black '93 E34 525i Auto Saloon
and Honda Fireblade for some fun!

Posted Image

#20 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:45 PM

after installing the new battery the starter does not start the engine. it turns around but does not hook to start the engine. i am wondering if the computer does not allow the car to start to avoid further damage. i am looking for a bmw garage with computer disgmostics to investigate. i found a good deal via service4service.co.uk with free recovery and delivery and 60 pounds diagnostics for the car.

#21 ally

ally
  • LocationAberdeen
  • Current Car:E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:28 AM

Maybe obvious, but is the battery the correct size, correct cranking amps etc?

2003 E39 530i Sport Aegean Blue Edition

2006 Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 TDCI


#22 themanstan

themanstan
  • LocationSandford-On-Thames
  • Occupation:Lab Management Boffin with a bit of safety thrown in
  • Current Car:Titan Silver 2003 BMW E39 530IA

Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:59 PM

If you try jump starting with this battery in place, does the car start. Then once running check with the multimeter and see what you get.
Titanium Silver '03 E39 530i Sport
18" M Parallel Alloys, Steptronic, Black Montana Leather, Comms Pack, SatNav, TV, Privacy Glass, Auto-Dims, and now with Intravee II

#23 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:55 PM

the rac recovered the vehicle which was said to have the engine flooded with fuel and they also topped up the engine oil with 2 litres. the gearbox momentarily worked on the drive gear. after an hour when my wife tried to move the car, the gearbox was not working and rac was called again. the car is now at service and they will be running diagnostics. i will update the forum when i have the results.

#24 Allanw

Allanw
  • LocationWhangarei, New Zealand
  • Occupation:Clinical Engineering / Biomedical Tech
  • Current Car:01 525i 5speed

Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:03 PM

It's not the car ecu doing it - it would stop the starter winding at all. Sounds like a starter bendix issue.

Allan
Whangarei, New Zealand
Duct Tape can't fix stupid, but it can MUFFLE the sound.


#25 KGOMO

KGOMO
  • Current Car:BMW 535 E39 Auto

Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:16 AM

Turns out that the gearbox needs to be replaced.
Found a 2nd hand gearbox on 247spares.co.uk with 90day warrantee for £185 including vat and delivery.
The service require 5 hours labor at £300 + VAT (£450) + £100-150 for oil/filters

Total £785. Is this reasonable?

#26 WEZ E39

WEZ E39
  • LocationEast Sussex by the sea.
  • Current Car:530i Sport

Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:12 AM

My car is in for a gearbox at the moment.Did look at the 2nd hand box route and was told about the same money as you but i decided as i am keeping the car i am having my box reconditioned.Depending on what they find i am looking at £750 upwards but will know my box is good for another 100k plus.
530i Sport




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