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Daveyboy20

530d auto box upgrades?

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I have a 2003 530d with 230k on it. It's starting to show signs of the gearbox giving up. I'm not willing to spend more than the car's worth to change parts that may or may not fix it so I'm planning on driving it until it gives up then just putting a 2nd hand box on it and hope for the best. However - I'd like to replace it with a stronger one if possible, as I've read that these GM boxes are at their limits at standard torque figures. Is there a box from another bmw that's a straight swap and stronger? I'd love to chip it in the future but there's no point if I'm running one of these 'not fit for purpose' gearboxes!

Edited by Daveyboy20

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1 hour ago, Daveyboy20 said:

I have a 2003 530d with 230k on it. It's starting to show signs of the gearbox giving up. I'm not willing to spend more than the car's worth to change parts that may or may not fix it so I'm planning on driving it until it gives up then just putting a 2nd hand box on it and hope for the best. However - I'd like to replace it with a stronger one if possible, as I've read that these GM boxes are at their limits at standard torque figures. Is there a box from another bmw that's a straight swap and stronger? I'd love to chip it in the future but there's no point if I'm running one of these 'not fit for purpose' gearboxes!

 

Ask this in the E39 tech section pal :) It'll just get lost in here with it being general chat

 

@535i Andrew - can you move this thread pal? :) 

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22 minutes ago, 535i Andrew said:

Assuming its an E39 due to reference to GM boxes.

 

03 530D pal :)  E60s came in 2004, didn't they?! :? 

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Transmissions will either be a ZF, or GM, depending on the car model, even if it is a transmission from the same model, forget, repeat, forget about it being a straight swap unless the part numbers on the transmission plate match exactly, you run the risk of it not working, after loads of work fitting/marrying it up.

Even within the same model there were changes to the transmission depending on the year it rolled of the production line.

Daft idea pal, forget it.

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5 hours ago, Steve van hool said:

Transmissions will either be a ZF, or GM, depending on the car model, even if it is a transmission from the same model, forget, repeat, forget about it being a straight swap unless the part numbers on the transmission plate match exactly, you run the risk of it not working, after loads of work fitting/marrying it up.

Even within the same model there were changes to the transmission depending on the year it rolled of the production line.

Daft idea pal, forget it.

Well, that's disappointing to hear. I'm guessing people don't really modify these 530d's judging by the fact the gearboxes are so rubbish. I guess I'll fit a 2nd hand replacement and cross my fingers. 

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9 minutes ago, Daveyboy20 said:

Well, that's disappointing to hear. I'm guessing people don't really modify these 530d's judging by the fact the gearboxes are so rubbish. I guess I'll fit a 2nd hand replacement and cross my fingers. 


From memory plenty of folk have mapped their 530Ds & got good results... Use the search function & Google and see what they bring up :) 

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1 hour ago, Clavurion said:

So what are the actual symptoms? Has it ever had oil changes or other maintenance in its life?

This. You need a full flush and you won't believe the difference it makes. After full flush reset adaptations. Try Dartford Transmissions. 

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6 hours ago, Clavurion said:

So what are the actual symptoms? Has it ever had oil changes or other maintenance in its life?

Unfortunately, the previous owner told me he had loads of history and will send it to me but has never managed it. So basically I have no idea. It' clearly been looked after though. It has 4 Pirellis on it and the displays have all their pixels. It doesn't drop any fluids at all and there are no knocks and bumps. It's had a suspension overall from the looks of things. The interior is in great condition as well. It drives and brakes straight with no wobbles or vibrations at all. It's a dream other than this issue. 

 

Symptoms are that if I accelerate briskly and back off it will go into a higher gear for cruising with a bit of a bump. Also, at the weekend it did the cattle gridding thing going into 1st as I was braking. Strangely, since that, the first symptom seems to have improved a bit but it might be in my head. In normal driving it's fine. 

Edited by Daveyboy20

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4 hours ago, dmarkovina1 said:

This. You need a full flush and you won't believe the difference it makes. After full flush reset adaptations. Try Dartford Transmissions. 

I'm on the Wirral so that's a bit of a trek! I don't want throw good money after bad having had a bad experience with my previous car. It was a Lexus LS400 in wonderful condition. Had it nearly 3 years and spent £800 quid getting the belts and waterpump changed only for a pulley to shear 5 months later and write the car off. I feel that if I'd left it alone it'd still be going. Hence, I'm wondering if I should just drive this until it leaves me stranded and then get a 2nd hand box on it. I'd hate to pay for a flush and change and then have the symptoms remain or the box blow a week later. 

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1 hour ago, Daveyboy20 said:

I'm on the Wirral so that's a bit of a trek! I don't want throw good money after bad having had a bad experience with my previous car. It was a Lexus LS400 in wonderful condition. Had it nearly 3 years and spent £800 quid getting the belts and waterpump changed only for a pulley to shear 5 months later and write the car off. I feel that if I'd left it alone it'd still be going. Hence, I'm wondering if I should just drive this until it leaves me stranded and then get a 2nd hand box on it. I'd hate to pay for a flush and change and then have the symptoms remain or the box blow a week later. 

 

Chester Automatics at Deeside. I used them for gearbox servicing when I lived on the Wirral. Top blokes who really know their stuff.

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It's probably just really worn out at 230k miles, has there been any evidence of it having had a fluid and filter change? At that mileage it's done really well and way beyond any "lifetime" imagined by BMW.

 

Cattle grid symptom can be attributed to worn out torque converter.

 

Have you pulled any fault codes? Engine sensor faults can do strange things to the behaviour of transmissions.

 

The autobox in my E39 cost me £700 to fix 5 weeks into ownership at 46k miles when one of the solenoids failed. It was also serviced at that time and did nearly 50k more miles without fault until it went for my first E60.

 

15 hours ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

03 530D pal :)  E60s came in 2004, didn't they?! :? 

 

Weeeeeeellll put it this way.

 

DSC-0031.jpg

 

September 03 registered. ;)

Baked bean cans now. :(

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1 hour ago, Daveyboy20 said:

I feel that if I'd left it alone it'd still be going.


There is one school of thought that says once they get to a certain mileage it’s best to leave them alone. I can’t remember what that mileage is though, think it may be 100,000.

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1 hour ago, Daveyboy20 said:

I'm on the Wirral so that's a bit of a trek! I don't want throw good money after bad having had a bad experience with my previous car. It was a Lexus LS400 in wonderful condition. Had it nearly 3 years and spent £800 quid getting the belts and waterpump changed only for a pulley to shear 5 months later and write the car off. I feel that if I'd left it alone it'd still be going. Hence, I'm wondering if I should just drive this until it leaves me stranded and then get a 2nd hand box on it. I'd hate to pay for a flush and change and then have the symptoms remain or the box blow a week later. 

 

There's Preston Automatic Transmissions too; they used to be on here but don't really post any more. Speak to James through, certainly knows his stuff and Preston's only an easy 45 mins to an hour away :) 

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30 minutes ago, 535i Andrew said:

It's probably just really worn out at 230k miles, has there been any evidence of it having had a fluid and filter change? At that mileage it's done really well and way beyond any "lifetime" imagined by BMW.

 

Cattle grid symptom can be attributed to worn out torque converter.

 

Have you pulled any fault codes? Engine sensor faults can do strange things to the behaviour of transmissions.

 

The autobox in my E39 cost me £700 to fix 5 weeks into ownership at 46k miles when one of the solenoids failed. It was also serviced at that time and did nearly 50k more miles without fault until it went for my first E60.

 

 

Weeeeeeellll put it this way.

 

DSC-0031.jpg

 

September 03 registered. ;)

Baked bean cans now. :(

 

Ha; had no idea! Thought the very last E39s were 03/04 and the earliest E60s were 04 onwards! 

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23 minutes ago, Paddy O'Furniture said:


There is one school of thought that says once they get to a certain mileage it’s best to leave them alone. I can’t remember what that mileage is though, think it may be 100,000.

 

I would be tempted to agree on that one. 

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Mine is at 209k now, all works as should, never had fluid change done only topped up 800ml to have it on level and replaced leaking shift lever seal. And I will leave it this way. 

 

One thing I can suggest is make sure your tyres have the same radius, otherwise transmission will play up strangely.

I bought set of wheels, where two tyres with the same size written on side walls, but when actually compared next to each other there was over an inch difference. After fitting all four new tyres transmission was working like new, no more late shifts etc.

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On 1/22/2020 at 12:58 PM, Ray112 said:

Mine is at 209k now, all works as should, never had fluid change done only topped up 800ml to have it on level and replaced leaking shift lever seal. And I will leave it this way. 

 

One thing I can suggest is make sure your tyres have the same radius, otherwise transmission will play up strangely.

I bought set of wheels, where two tyres with the same size written on side walls, but when actually compared next to each other there was over an inch difference. After fitting all four new tyres transmission was working like new, no more late shifts etc.

Do you have to take out the plug to check the level? Where is the fill hole? Same one? 

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1 hour ago, Daveyboy20 said:

Do you have to take out the plug to check the level? Where is the fill hole? Same one? 

Yes you must take fill plug out. It's on left side of gearbox, the same style as drain plug, but it must be checked at some temperature, can't remember but I think it was 30°c. A lot of information about it on internet. Double check yourself mate.

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