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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi again.

I have a another question in regards my new aquisition -

I've noticed that the last two mornings, the auto seems to stick in its gears for a while before changing.
Once the engine has just a little warmth (only about 1/4mile of driving) there's no problem and it doesn't happen again through the day even if the car isn't used for some 10 hours or so.

Is this a trait of the auto in a E34, or is it an indication of a problem?

We're in our summer now and overnight doesn't drop below about 24 degrees C (74 degrees F).
Oil level is okay - oil colour is a touch dark but I've seen much worse.
The auto behaves perfectly in all other respects. Changes are great - quick and smooth. Reverse selects with little delay.

best regards.
 

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Well, without sounding pedantic, i would definately change the autobox oil. It should be a nice red colour. Any dirt in the oil can affect its hydraulic performance that it relies heavily on. I recommend changing this. Also, clean the oil pan and replace auto oil filter while you are there. This is one of the least expensive things you can do, and my bet is that it will make things a lot better for you.

Due to the complexity of the autoboxes, this kind of problem can be anything from brakebands, valve blocks, torque converter, oil leaks etc... If changing the oil doesnt have any effect, then my guess is that it could be brake bands, this would cause the oil to go dark, some gearboxes do have a brakeband adjusters on them, im not sure about your autobox, i will have to look into it for you. But my advice to you now, is to change the oil mate. :thumbsup
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, without sounding pedantic, i would definately change the autobox oil. It should be a nice red colour. Any dirt in the oil can affect its hydraulic performance that it relies heavily on. I recommend changing this. Also, clean the oil pan and replace auto oil filter while you are there. This is one of the least expensive things you can do, and my bet is that it will make things a lot better for you.

Due to the complexity of the autoboxes, this kind of problem can be anything from brakebands, valve blocks, torque converter, oil leaks etc... If changing the oil doesnt have any effect, then my guess is that it could be brake bands, this would cause the oil to go dark, some gearboxes do have a brakeband adjusters on them, im not sure about your autobox, i will have to look into it for you. But my advice to you now, is to change the oil mate. :thumbsup
Its on my list of things to do having just aquired the car and not knowing its full service history.
To be clear about the oil - its not dark at all. Its still got a very red look to it and just has maybe a touch of the "brightness" of new oil knocked off it. But its by no means dirty.
Thats what prompted me to ask this forum if it might be a trait of the box rather than a fault before I go into panic mode about expensive overhauls.

Once the first 1/2 kilometre is done, the auto behaves beautifully.
So I'm hoping your right in that a good service will fix it all up.

If the valves remain a little sticky when cold oil, hasanyone tried or can recommend an additive?
I usually stay away from them, but then on older cars they might be useful if recommended by a reliable source.

I've had the car 4 days now.
Its had a wheel alignment to straighten the wheel and check for any accident damage in the past.
Its been to the trimmer to get a couple little things fixed I couldn't do myself.
On monday its booked for an air con service and gas. This last week has been high 30's and the weekend is scheduled for 44 degrees C (111 F) so the air con gets the priority!

So I'm working through my list reasonably quickly and will add in the auto.
 

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i have heard good things about 'auto rx' flush. Type it into your search engine, there are plenty of reviews...

I am not aware of any electrical issues that may cause your gearbox to perform not so good for the first few minutes of use, though i could be wrong.
Changing the oil is worth doing as a matter of precaution anyway, at least then you can check that off, and monitor it, it maybe, just due to the age of the gearbox, and just something that you may have to live with. They are reliable gearboxs and, if in the unlikely event that you gearbox is faulty, then it maybe easier and cheaper to get a replacement from a scrapyard, rather than swallow the expensive overhaul, but that is obviously up to you, good luck :thumbsup
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Mighty5.

My cars booked in for a complete auto service this wednesday. The owner has suggested that the seals have become hardened over time and he has a treatment that softens them again.

Other than that, he asked if the engine is performing properly (which it seems to be) as this could be affecting the auto-trans changes as well.

Just thought you might be interested.
 

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I see your in nice sunny Australia,I am sadly in snow covered england.My 94 tds does this when cold,it holds a gear a bit longer than it should and it will not take full power until engine has run for a while as per your car,about a 1/4 mile.This trait is considered by some to be part of the normal everyday running,ie the ecu has this programmed in so as to protect gearbox when cold.I can start my car and drive off and performance is sluggish to say the least,the first to second gear change is long and dragged out,almost as if the gearbox does not want to change gear,and as per yours the rest of the day the car performs fine.The colder the weather,minus 6 average here and the longer I need to drive before normal service is resumed.All normal though and no cause for concern although your 24deg night time temps may point to a sensor being faulty and giving ecu the wrong info,engine/sensors or maybe outside temp reading taken from obc temp sensor may be faulty.I do find if the engine is warmed before driving then it does not occur,this would point to engine temp having to reach a certain level before normal gearchange/engine power can be available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I originally started this thread asking if it was a trait or a fault because I remembered reading somewhere a few years back that some car manufacturers were doing this deliberately to assist a cold engine and gearbox to warm up quicker in cold weather.

And I didn't notice it happening on some of our recent really warm days/nights (26 - 38C), but since the days/nights have turned cooler (17 - 22C) its become quite obvious.

So this could be by design or it still could be the hardened seals.
Hopefully the service will pick it up if its a fault - complete flush with additive to soften the seals, new oil, filters and a clean pan.

The cars done 175,000klms (109,000 miles) which is low for a 16 year old car, so I'm hoping its just the seals and they can be conditioned.

I'll let you know.
best regards,
 

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Sorry, only just caught sight of your thread, A flush and an oil change will definately help...As much as BMW seal some of their more modern autoboxes, the oil will not last forever. Please do keep us posted, then if this does solve your problem the moderators can then set this title to 'fixed' so that other members can benefit..:thumbsup
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Serviced

Had the service yesterday.
Used a transmission specialist who also does light servicing, so had the engine oil and filters done as well, and asked for a general checkover.

He's happy with the automatic after inspecting and servicing it. He said it was exactly what he would have expected for an auto coming up for a normal service. He changed oil and filter and put in a Nulon additive to soften the seals up. He said it would take about two weeks to work so not to expect changes overnight.

Engine good, brakes good, no oil leaks anywhere, steering and suspension components all good - he thought it was a good buy.

So I can let you know for sure if the additive worked to fix the sticky changes in the next week or two.

best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, its been about 3 weeks and no change really.
It still holds on to 2nd gear in the mornings or if left for more than 8 hours (ie: cooled right off) for the first 5 minutes of driving, and from then on is okay.

However, now that I've had some longer time with the car I've also noticed that sometimes when hot it won't go into converter lockup.
Its only happened twice or so, and when it does go up through the gears and then stops in 4th, no amount of jigging the throttle will force it to change - it just does it when it wants to.

Most of the time it drives lke a gem.

So I'm starting to wonder if its the ECU for the tranny perhaps?
Do I get fault codes through the OBD plug or does the tranny have its own?
 

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My 94 tds again will do this sometimes,its nothing alarming.What is happening is you have probably been driving quite hard and using a lot of the engines power,the learning side of the gearbox ecu thinks ok he does not want to cruise around today so I will hold onto 4th gear a while longer.If you generally cruise around slow you will find that when you floor the car from a standstill it will pull away in 2nd,after some spirited driving for around ten minutes it realises you want to drive faster and will then use 1st to pull away.I am going to do a thread as a sticky for the e34 tds injector pump problems when I get time and that will include this as using vegetable oil or diesel veg mix gives different shift points as the ecu see's less throttle position due to the extra energy of the fuel mix used.The car if towing a heavy load will not shift up into 5th as easily as the ecu works out how hard the engine is working,ie When towing a large box trailor with mine it is reluctant to even hold 4th gear,add some veg oil to the diesel and the extra power from this mix means less throttle position on the pedal so the ecu computes from the road speed and pedal position that the engine is not working hard and allows it to change up a gear.My car does not have cruise control,but holding a steady cruise at any speed on motorways will see the box change down to 4th as the car goes uphill and then back into 5th as road levels out without the pedal moving.You may also find after bouts of cruising and then hard driving the box gets confused,start to drive hard and then when you decide to ease off a bit that say changes from 3rd to 4th feel slurred and take time almost as if the ecu was not sure to change gear or not as the sudden change in driving style confuses it.All normal though,and I must admit I was worried about mine when some days it did this kind of stuff when I first got it.I have had plenty of autobox cars over the years but none had done this suit your driving style operation.Have a slow cruise around for a while and you will find it uses 5th,then give it some hard work and you will feel the difference.Nothing wrong with it though :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My 94 tds again will do this sometimes,its nothing alarming.What is happening is you have probably been driving quite hard and using a lot of the engines power,the learning side of the gearbox ecu thinks ok he does not want to cruise around today so I will hold onto 4th gear a while longer.If you generally cruise around slow you will find that when you floor the car from a standstill it will pull away in 2nd,after some spirited driving for around ten minutes it realises you want to drive faster and will then use 1st to pull away.I am going to do a thread as a sticky for the e34 tds injector pump problems when I get time and that will include this as using vegetable oil or diesel veg mix gives different shift points as the ecu see's less throttle position due to the extra energy of the fuel mix used.The car if towing a heavy load will not shift up into 5th as easily as the ecu works out how hard the engine is working,ie When towing a large box trailor with mine it is reluctant to even hold 4th gear,add some veg oil to the diesel and the extra power from this mix means less throttle position on the pedal so the ecu computes from the road speed and pedal position that the engine is not working hard and allows it to change up a gear.My car does not have cruise control,but holding a steady cruise at any speed on motorways will see the box change down to 4th as the car goes uphill and then back into 5th as road levels out without the pedal moving.You may also find after bouts of cruising and then hard driving the box gets confused,start to drive hard and then when you decide to ease off a bit that say changes from 3rd to 4th feel slurred and take time almost as if the ecu was not sure to change gear or not as the sudden change in driving style confuses it.All normal though,and I must admit I was worried about mine when some days it did this kind of stuff when I first got it.I have had plenty of autobox cars over the years but none had done this suit your driving style operation.Have a slow cruise around for a while and you will find it uses 5th,then give it some hard work and you will feel the difference.Nothing wrong with it though :)
Thanks for that Doug1234.
Its only done it twice (not going into 5th) but I don't remember stiring it along enthusiastically beforehand.

I've actually been driving it pretty sedately because it has the most delightful exhaust low rumble that I enjoy hearing. If I get enthusiastic, it gets a touch barky.
Its a factory exhaust, so well done BMW.

I took it back to the auto trans specialist and told him the holding 2nd when cold hadn't improved and about the "new" problem of not going into 5th. He was a bit puzzled because he said they were not related problems.

I actually asked him if it was something the trans ECU had learnt, but he was pretty certain no.
He said it could be an electrical problem, but he doubted that as well. He knew the box by just looking at the gearstick and was pretty concerned it might be something majorish.

He's asked me to drop it in overnight and the next morning he'll hook it up to the test gear and go for a drive. He can do the BMW fault codes and also he has gear to see the ECU signals back and forth.
Then he says he can diagnose it better.

I read somewhere else in this forum that the valve body section can be removed seperately without having to take the entire box out and I was hoping that just the seals etc could be replaced this way. But when I mentioned this to him, he thought it was going to be more than that but wants to drive it before committing to anything more.

I've not used him before, but he specialises in the European auto's - BMW, SAAB, Audi, Volvo etc so until I get any warning signs that he might be just trying for work, I'll let him test it and stay with him.

Wish me luck.
 
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