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M50 Auto not going into gear

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Hello,

 

I need some help with my M50 Auto. It's a '95. I picked it up and did a 180 mile drive home, went to put it in reverse, did a bit of reversing then when it went back into drive the shifter cable snapped. I was able to get it home as it was still in drive and when it was on my drive thats where I discovered the snapped cable on the lever. I've since replaced the cable (£120 from BMW) but it's still not shifting into gear. The fork on the side of the gearbox moves okay, but when I try to move it into gear nothing happens. 

 

I've had the car scanned and it's not showing any faults for the gearbox.

 

I'm so confused, I can't even get it off of my drive as it's facing the house and I can't get reverse. It's in park/neutral..

 

p.s. not posted here in a while as I've only recently got back into an E34

 

Thanks so much

 

Alex

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It is very likely you have the ZF A5S310Z gearbox but put your VIN number in realoem just to be sure.

 

Did you adjust the new cable? If not, you need to push the lever on the side of the gearbox as far forward as it will go. Then do the same with the lever inside the car (Park). Adjust the cable as you would a bicycle brake cable using the two nuts either side of the bracket attached to the gearbox. If you have already done that, the likely cause is a broken manual shift valve.

 

Unfortunately, you are going to have to drain the ATF and drop the pan for that. If/when you do drop the pan, you may well find a bit of the broken valve in it. You can probably get away with fitting a new valve without dropping the whole valve body which is like a big sandwich. The valve lives in the bottom front half but if you take the screws out, the top slice may move and you wont get them back in again. So you just use some long screws to hold it in place. The ZF part number will be 1056 327 173 and you should be able to get one for about £20. It is on the right side of the pic below and slides backwards and forwards in that gap. The end of the valve hooks onto the arm inside the gearbox. The arm is a mirror of the one outside and is shown in the pic on the left. If you miss that step, the gearbox will not work  

 

 

S7004001.JPG

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15 minutes ago, whiskychaser said:

 

 

if I had that issue on the internals of the gearbox, would the bit on the side of the gearbox move? and would that issue not come up with a diagnostic scan?

 

I'll try the adjustment in a moment and let you know 

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Yes, the lever would move normally on the outside of the gearbox. It's purpose is to engage the parking lock via the rod on the right of the pic. And move the manual valve. But if the valve is broken, it will not be allowing ATF to be diverted to give you drive. It will not show up on any scan because it is a simple manual valve and there is no monitoring of its position. Was it hard to move the lever inside the car before the cable broke?

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It was stiff but it shifted absolutely fine.

 

Just trying the adjustment now, it seems to either have neutral or crawl/creep but won't go into reverse.

 

I didn't struggle at all to change gear in the car before it was broken, the shifter was stiff but thats about it. went into every gear fine. The rod that attaches to the side of the shifter had snapped

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Easiest way to check if it will get reverse is have the back wheels off the ground and firmly on stands. Get someone to put their foot firmly on the brake. With the engine running and the cable disconnected at the gearbox end, push the lever on the gearbox fully forward to park. Do the same with the lever inside the car. Then move the lever on the gearbox back one click and at the same time, move the lever inside the car to R. If the rear wheels move, just leave it like that and take it off the stands. Check if it now moves under its own steam. If the valve is broken, the rear wheels may not turn at all. If the car moves, your cable adjustment is probably way out. There is another cause of no reverse but let's not go there right now 

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Got the sump off the gearbox, I can't quite believe how you did it but that manual rod thing has snapped. Plastic piece of sh*t.

 

So I've replaced the cable and ill pick up a spare part. Can that rod be replaced without the gearbox needing to be removed? I have some pics of the exact bits you sent me and I can see where it's snapped off. I've drained the gearbox of fluid and it's empty atm so I'm going to refill it when the new bit is in.

 

Thank you so much for your freakily accurate diagnosis haha

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You don't even need to remove the valve body let alone the gearbox. You should be able to reach all you need with just the pan and filter removed. Check out page 22 here:

https://www.thectsc.com/images/pdf/5HP18.pdf

You just need to drop part 50.010 which is the lower front part of the VB to replace the valve. But as I mentioned before, you need to put some long screws in so the top section does not move. It is no big deal if it does. It just means dropping the VB using a trolley jack - you will not be able to hold the weight up. The VB screws are an odd size. IIRC, they are T27 but can soon check. They are not super tight but don't even think of using anything other than the correct bit. The valve only fits one way. Just make sure it is seated properly and slides in and out smoothly. And that you hook the end up to the lever inside the gearbox. Once it is back in, just make sure it is still sliding smoothly. Fit the filter and refill with ATF. Filling procedure is also in the file in the link 

The manual valve breaking used to be rare but is becoming more common. The good news is that it is nothing more serious :)

 

PS. Just checked. Memory has not failed me :) You do need a T27 bit

 

Edited by whiskychaser

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On 29/02/2020 at 15:56, whiskychaser said:

It is very likely you have the ZF A5S310Z gearbox but put your VIN number in realoem just to be sure.

 

Did you adjust the new cable? If not, you need to push the lever on the side of the gearbox as far forward as it will go. Then do the same with the lever inside the car (Park). Adjust the cable as you would a bicycle brake cable using the two nuts either side of the bracket attached to the gearbox. If you have already done that, the likely cause is a broken manual shift valve.

 

Unfortunately, you are going to have to drain the ATF and drop the pan for that. If/when you do drop the pan, you may well find a bit of the broken valve in it. You can probably get away with fitting a new valve without dropping the whole valve body which is like a big sandwich. The valve lives in the bottom front half but if you take the screws out, the top slice may move and you wont get them back in again. So you just use some long screws to hold it in place. The ZF part number will be 1056 327 173 and you should be able to get one for about £20. It is on the right side of the pic below and slides backwards and forwards in that gap. The end of the valve hooks onto the arm inside the gearbox. The arm is a mirror of the one outside and is shown in the pic on the left. If you miss that step, the gearbox will not work  

 

 

S7004001.JPG


I’ve just has this on my 520. Stuck in neutral. 

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35 minutes ago, coupe king said:


I’ve just has this on my 520. Stuck in neutral. 

That is a coincidence. Hope you got it sorted

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Went to an E36 breakers today and found another 5HP18 to take some bits out of. The one I took out of my car was plastic and the one it's been replaced with is metal, matches the part number you supplied and it was only a tenner!

 

Install was extremely easy, the filter in my pan was from 1995 so thats another thing on the list for me to replace.

 

One question I do have, I was only able to get hold of Dexron II to refill the gearbox, do I need to flush it out and replace it with III or is it okay for now?

 

I also noticed my prop donut was shafted so more bits to sort out!

 

Thanks again mate, really really appreciate it

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Good to hear you managed to change the manual valve. It may have been a bit fiddly getting it to fit in the 'slide' in the valve body and hook it up to the arm inside the gearbox at the same time. But it is very difficult to get it wrong :) 

 

Surprised you can actually buy Dexron II any more. Pretty sure that was the spec when they were first made, so you should be OK anyway. 99.9% sure your car takes Dexron but double check the plate on the gearbox. It is on the driver's side just above the pan line. The exhaust will be in the way if you have the car on the ground. But you will see it easily enough with a mirror from the passenger side. It should have a black background. If it is green, it doesn't take Dexron.

 

If/when you come to replace the donut, have a back wheel off the ground. That way, you can spin the wheel with your foot to turn the prop so you can get at the bolts. You will probably have to put it in park to stop it moving as the bolts will be really tight. When installing the new one, don't be tempted to tighten up using the bolt head. It might be easier to get at the bolt head but you risk damaging your new donut if you do. So hold the bolt head and tighten the nuts

 

HTH

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