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Steve, BMW Expert
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 25413
Experience:  BMW Expert
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I have a 1997 bmw 528i auto, total mileage 51000. For some

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I have a 1997 bmw 528i auto, total mileage 51000. For some time now, in 'D' mode the gearbox change sticks in gear, changes up erratically and NEVER goes into 5th gear. Switching to Tiptronic mode the gears work fine. I have had a specialist gearbox company (Bristol Transmissions) try to rebuild the box (they had the car for a year in total) and change fluids etc. etc. They could not get it to function properly and, in all fairness, refused to charge me anything except the fluids as they were ashamed they could not fix the problem. Is there a cheaper solution than a new gearbox as the car is currently worth very little. Thank you, Roger

what faults are stored in the car's computer?

what warning lights are on the dash?

what exactly did the transmission shop do to try and fix it?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I had another german car expert in Keynsham look at the car and he seemed to indicate a problem with the electronic chip but that the only solution is a new gearbox at about £1500. No warning lights are on. As to the exact details of what the transmission specialist did, I just don't know. They simply said they were rebuilding the box or rather building a new box from scratch. I am a total amateur at mechanics and have no idea what they actually did.

what "elecronic chip" are they referring to? that doesnt really have a definition...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm sorry, I just don't know. They simply referred to the 'electronic chip controlling the gear changes' and that this was a well known fault with BMW 5 series models 1996 to 1998.

I have found the Bristol Transmissions invoice and they charged for :-

1. Remove and install transmission - 3 hours.

2. Recondition ZF5HP18 auto transmission and torque converter.

3.Supply and fit oil cooler assembly, transmission ecu, gear lever assembly and throttle body.

Hope this helps but if not then I guess we had better call it a day.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

A quick follow up - perhaps the guys who said 'chip' meant 'ecu' and were simplifying it for me - just a thought.


I will provide an honest answer. I trust this will be appreciated. Please remember that a low rating PUNISHES me for being honest and that I receive nothing for my time until a positive rating is clicked.
a faulty transmission computer can cause this, but it is not a common fault. this is not even part of the transmission, so would not require a new transmission.
a faulty temp sensor inside the transmission can also cause this, but again not common. this would not require a new transmission.
a failure of the transmission to receive speed info from the abs system can also cause this and is more common. this again is not part of the transmission
if the box has been rebuilt twice I would suggest the issue lies elsewhere.
Please let me know if you have further questions. Please do not forget to click a positive rating as this is the only way I receive credit for my answer, thank you. Best wishes with your vehicle.
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