FAQ: Steptronic Reverse to Forward Engagement Problem

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#21
i325xi said:
2005 325XI sliptronic QUESTION
I am in the proccess of buying a new 2005 325XI . I read with horrow about the transmission problems in 2003-4 models. To buy a new car only to have them rip the trannie out? Am I crazy? Does anyone know if the problem occurs in the 2005 models, or has it been solved?
Quick responce will be quickly apprecciated:) HELP!!!
I325xi ... we can only speculate by virtue of the fact that there has been almost no activity on these boards with regards to this specific problem that it has been resolved. However, you are in a tough position as there is no way to know for sure. If there were still a problem, it is highly unlikely that the dealer will be up front with you about it. In addition, the problem is much more evident in the colder weather. One would hope that it has been resolved. You'll have to make your own decision.
 
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#23
No prob's in 05's.

My 04 had problems from day one w/euro delivery. Tried east coast dealer (alabama) with software upgrade, lasted one day. Tried west coast dealer (Concord, CA) last month and they did software upgrade... no problems in 40? days... temps in 30's lately. Outstanding!
Oh, car was manufactured in Oct, 03 and picked up in Munich in Nov, 03. When software patch was loaded, odometer just went over 10,000 miles.
 
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#24
Latest on my Tranny

So ... I have had a replacement tranny in my car for almost a year now. I always felt it was an improvement, but never thought it was behaving the way a tranny really should on coldstart. Of course, the problem (for me at least) goes away during the warm weather. At my 15K check, having heard about the new sw fix, I asked for it to be installed.

Now that the weather has gotten colder, I can honestly say I've had a chance to test it with a REAL coldstart. And believe it or not, the sw fix has made more of an improvement than replacement of the tranny did. I now engage into "D", and without pressing the accelerator, I get slight forward movement of about 5 mph(this wasn't happening even with the replacement tranny prior to the sw fix). If I press the accelerator, I then see the rpms go from about 800 to about 1000-1100 before I get more than 5mph. This seems much closer to normal and to what I am used to.

For those who already got replacement trannys, you may wish to consider getting the sw fix also.
 
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#25
My car has done the same thing occasionally, from reverse to D it sometimes takes about 3 seconds before it engages. In addition to that, when I use the sport program as I try to stop and it starts downshifting, there is a Bang noise a bit loud coming from under my car. It usually happens when it shifts from 3rd to second gear. Is this normal?? Any ideas? [scratch]
 
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#26
The bang is definitely not normal, it's interesting that it only happens in sport mode. I would get it looked at, is your warranty still active?
 
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#27
Thank for your comment . My warranty is good til the end of september. I have asked the dealer a few times but they don't seem to see anything wrong with it [:(] Everytime I ask for something I have to leave them my car for a couple of days. I go get it and all I get to hear from them is, " there was nothing wrong with it." [?|] Extremely confussed.
 
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#28
My 4 month-old X3 just had a software upload early this week. Guess what happened! I felt like the old lady with the 400 hp Black Cadillac 04' hit me from the back, when I was slowing down my car from 5 mph to a complete stop (after driven for 45 mins). Almost got out & yelled at the nice lady! Found out that it happened at least once a week and it was my car. Dang! Finally got a Bypass Surgery to clear up something in X's mind. Fat! I guess. MRI???
 
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Bmw 325i 7803

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#29
Huh, Stitch you lost me halfway through.... Thou must dumb down the medical lingo to the level where all of us simple-minded BMW enthusiasts can fairly comprehend what your saying.
 
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#30
Bugs in the software

Bmw 325i 7803 said:
Huh, Stitch you lost me halfway through.... Thou must dumb down the medical lingo to the level where all of us simple-minded BMW enthusiasts can fairly comprehend what your saying.
Sorry. Got you lost! I always treat my BMW like a buddy with personality. Here is my 1st post. I listen to them tell a lot. When I take good care of them, they take good care of me.

Stitch said:
I strongly believe that every car has its own personality. It is upto you to communicate with your buddy by listening to him.

When 2 dedicated individuals commited together to act as one, the sky is the limit. As the propeller is rotating in the blue and white segments of the sky, circling around by a black band with the initial of Bayerische Motoren Werke -- BMW on the top. It is more than the badge that takes me (us) high above the sky! That's why I only drive BMW, since I learnt how to drive.
Guess this time is some bugs in the software again!
 
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#31
the software fix boosts the line pressure that way it will not slip as much when the tranny is cold. that is al it seemed to need becasue we have done thousands of them.
 
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#33
wildjon323ci said:
so what do i need to do replace the tranny or do the software up grade? because i totally lose reverse
Get it checked out at your dealer. I was one of the original people that experienced the problem back in 2004. Losing reverse was NOT one of the symptoms. Sounds like it could be a different problem.
 

Yellow

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#34
(COLOR=yellow)xxx(/COLOR)

Dear Kirby..

I had same problem with you but my car is SMG 325i yr03. i cant shift into reverse
gear. i sent my car to our authorize workshop. They said my problem due to 'acuater' hydraulic unit which engage the gear.

My question?

1. Is that is a common problem for SMG car??
2. I made to understand the price is expensive. What is the price of that unit down there?

Thanks

Yellow
KUL/MY [???1] [???1]




Kirby said:
BMWBoard.com Steptronic Reverse to Forward engagement problem (aka Sliptronic) FAQ

This FAQ may be reproduced or reposted provided that the content is not modified, added to or deleted in any way. The information provided has not been reviewed by or endorsed by BMW North America.

Copyright 2004 BMWBoard.com


What is the purpose of this FAQ?
The purpose of this FAQ is to provide basic, factual information about the Sliptronic problem and to provide individuals that experience the problem with knowledge to help them decide on how to address and resolve the problem. All information provided is current as of April 2004.

Who compiled this FAQ?
The FAQ has been compiled from various posts by BMWBoard members who have experienced the problem, own or have ordered a car that may develop the problem, or have an interest in providing helpful information.

What is the Sliptronic automatic transmission engagement problem?
Sliptronic occurs when the vehicle has been unused for a period of around 12 to 24 hours or more. When the vehicle is started and , backed up for a short distance, and shifted into drive, the transmission fails to immediately engage. The engine will rev to anywhere between 1500 and 4000 rpm. It may slip for several seconds up to 30 or 40 seconds. It will then engage and drive normally. The problem usually will not repeat until the vehicle has cooled down and is not used for 12 to 24 hours or more.

When was the problem identified by owners?
On the BMWBoard, owners first started reporting the problem in the summer of 2003.

What model and year of vehicles are affected?
Based on current information, certain 3 series and X5 models. BMW uses two manufacturers of Steptronic transmissions – GM (General Motors) and European manufacturer ZF. The problem has been isolated to a transmission design manufactured by GM. Some reports say that the transmissions were manufactured in France, but there is no BMW official confirmation of this information.

The problem appears to affect the following vehicles with GM transmissions. Note that the dates such as ‘03/’04 refer to model year. Some ’03 model year cars were built in 2002:
'03/'04(up to 11/03) E46 with M54 and GM5 Trans. 325iA, 325XiA, 330XiA, and from 03/03 325A/330A Coupe, Convertible, '03/04 (up to 12/03) E53 X5 3.0 with GM5 Trans.

Be aware that this information was posted by a BMWBoard member and has not been confirmed. Therefore, it should be used as a guideline only.

How many vehicles are affected?
There has been speculation about the number of vehicles affected but there is no firm information.

How can I reproduce the problem?
1. Allow the vehicle to sit unused for at least 24 hours.
2. Start the vehicle.
3. Immediately shift to reverse.
4. Backup 30 to 50 feet.
5. Immediately shift to D (not sport mode or M1)
6. Step on the gas pedal normally.

What has BMW said about the problem?
BMW has acknowledged the problem and has issued a TIS Bulletin. The following information was posted by a BMWBoard member and has not been confirmed. Therefore, it should be used as a guideline only.

=====================================================
BMW TIS 24 07 03 Dated Feb 2004:

Situation:
Customer may complain of a delayed P to D (2 to 30 seconds) during the first cold start in the morning.

Cause:
Unfavorable tolerances of C1 clutch housing causing internal transmission pressure leak after extended overnight parking

Correction:
On a customer complaint basis only after verifying the above situation, replace the transmission with the improved unit.
=====================================================

You can get a copy of the bulletin at http://www.bmwtis.com . BMW charges a subscription fee of $25.

Is this telling me that they are replacing my transmission with a new one?
No. The TIS as posted by a BMWBoard member refers to the problem as “Unfavorable tolerances of C1 clutch housing…” and states “…replace the transmission with the improved unit.”

Many owners have had remanufactured transmissions installed. According to multiple reports, this is a used transmission housing with all new components inside. All owners were told that the remanufactured transmission carries a full warranty.

Some owners have had a new clutch pack installed into the existing transmission by a GM technician at the BMW dealer. All owners were told that this replacement carries a full warranty.

Early attempts to fix the problem used only a software patch. By all accounts, the software patch alone did not solve the problem. However, software updates have been installed in conjunction with a new transmission or clutch.

I don’t think it’s right that a new BMW should have a remanufactured transmission or clutch pack installed!
As far as anyone can determine, BMW meets all legal warranty obligations with this solution. A later section of this FAQ provides information on other possible actions.

Has the transmission replacement really fixed the problem?
July 2003 through November or December 2003 can best be described as a troubleshooting period. Work performed by BMW did not fix the problem. It appears that sometime in November or December the source of the problem was correctly identified and the problem was resolved. The exact time frame is unknown.

As of the writing of this FAQ (April 2004), a number of transmissions and clutch packs have been replaced in January and February. Almost all owners who are reporting state that the problem appears to be solved. Some are reporting that they notice all-around improved transmission performance. There has been one owner on BMWBoard who continues to have problems. In this case, the owner indicated that additional non-transmission related problems developed after the replacement and suggested that the problems may be with the dealer’s work performance.

Are new cars that have been sitting on the lot being retrofitted if they have the bad transmission?
This is unknown.

Are brand new cars being produced at the factory since January shipping with new, corrected transmissions?
This is unknown. It up to the reader to decide whether BMW would continue to ship defective transmissions after identifying the problem. Refer to the dates referenced in the TIS.

Did BMW sell known defective cars? Don’t they have an obligation to new buyers and/or stop selling vehicles until the problem was corrected?
This FAQ is not intended to address legal or liability issues. A later section of this FAQ provides information on organizations to contact if you feel this situation occurred.

Are there any safety issues related to this problem?
There have been no reports of accidents, fires, injuries, etc. by BMWBoard members. The issue has been raised that while backing out into traffic, the transmission has slipped and created a potentially dangerous situation.

Has BMW issued a safety recall?
At this time BMW has not issued a safety recall. There are unconfirmed written and verbal reports that a voluntary safety recall is being considered by BMW.

I tried this and it did not occur! Does this mean I will never have the problem?
Some individuals report that the problem has occurred with a few hundred miles on the vehicle. Others have reported no problems until 1500 to 3000 miles. It is difficult to predict if or when a particular vehicle with the GM transmission will fail.

My car has the Sliptronic problem! What should I do?
This FAQ is not intended to recommend any single path to resolution of your problem. With that said, your FIRST step should be to contact your dealer and report the problem. Regardless of any other decisions you make or problems you do or don’t encounter, it is important that you report the problem with your local dealer so that it is on record.

Explain the problem clearly to the dealer and reference the TIS number. The dealer will have access to this information. Take a copy of this FAQ along as supporting documentation. Any further decisions should be based on the results of your particular situation and values.

I refuse to accept anything other than: a brand new transmission, a new car, a complete refund, a cancellation my pending order and get all of my deposit back, etc. My dealer worked on my car and it is worse than ever!
It is up to each person affected to decide what is acceptable or not acceptable for their own personal situation and values:

- You may be able to pursue the Lemon Law. Note that the specifics requirements for Lemon Law vary by state.
- You may be working with a less than competent dealer. Is there another dealer in the area?
- File complaints with local, state and federal agencies
- File a complaint with BMWNA.

The following resources have been suggested by BMWBoard members:

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/tsb/tsbsearch.cfm

You can register a complaint, search for previous complaints, investigations, bulletins and recalls. When performing your search the following criteria will be helpful:
Select "Search"
Select type of search "Vehicle"
Select "Year" 2004
Select "Make" BMW
Select "Model" 325 Ci
Select "Component" Auto-Transmission
Select "Document Search"

As of March 2004, there were a number of complaints and an investigation active, with supporting PDF documents online.

BMW North America
BMW of North America, LLC.
300 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677
Telephone : +1 201 307-4000
Telefax : +1 201 307-4095
Web sit : http://www.bmwusa.com

Chairman & CEO : Tom Purvis
Exec. V.P., Finance & CFO : Dr.Thomas Wittig
V.P., Marketing : James McDowell
V.P., Aftersales & Engineering : Hans Duenzl
V.P., Operations : Ed Robinson

Your state Consumer Protection Agency :
Example: New York - http://www.consumer.state.ny.us/

Lemon Law Information - useful information about the Lemon Law, note that it does promote services by legal firms specializing in Lemon Law litigation.
http://www.lemonlawamerica.com/

Your local Better Business Bureau
 
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#35
I have read about this problem with the SMG, it has happened to others. I do not know the cost of the repair.
 
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#36
1st post here for me, and what do I see at the top of the page?? The trans problem I had since the car was built for me in 2003. Yep, I went one year with a few different troubles with the trans and finally had it replaced the spring of 2004. That has stopped the reverse to forward problem but I still get the other troubles on occasion. The most annoying is when in D or Sport Drive and approaching a left turn. I can feel the car downshift and when I make the corner and accelerate, the car will not shift back up again. I will have to let off the accelerater pedal, coast, hit the pedal again, coast a second time and repaet this either 3 or four times. Of course the dealer can't duplicate the problem.
Anyway, how's it going, I'll be around looking for wheel/tire combo for my 325xi Sport Package. [:D]
 

tinfixer

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#38
Shifting from P to D 2004 325i

I just got a 2004 325i used. It is have the park to drive issue. Does anyone know what the latest fix is? If you don't get this problem fixed, or if the dealer can't fix it, will it lead to further transmission problems?
 
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#39
The latest fix that I know of is to have the transmission software updated at the dealer. If you don't get it fixed, I have no idea what the long term impact is.
 


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