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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I own a 1994 M Reg BMW 525 TD, recently in the cold weather it has been developing a few problems. Today while visiting a relative we went back out to the car and found a puddle of what appears to be power steering fluid however the reservoir appears to be as full as when last checked.

Whats happening is when I'm driving a long, if i come to a junction or slow down then accelerate the car will rev to anything like 4,500 rpm and a few seconds later the tyres will kick in and wheel spin (if i dont expect it to happen of course as i can ease off and it wont spin as bad).

Its only developed since last Monday, in the real bad ice and snow it was driving fine but the last few days its done it occasionally every now and again but now today it appears to be happening all the time. While driving earlier the Economy and Drive light changed to a cog with exclamation mark.

I realise that there is fluid for the gearbox but cant find a dipstick anywhere, can anyone point me in the right direction or does anybody know of any parts that may be at fault or any checks I can do to find the fault?

I would be most greatful of any help.

Thanks, Steve.
 

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All auotboxes should have a dipstick protuding in the engine bay. Not sure of you exact set up, but I'm certain you will have one. They are usually not very long like the engine oil ones and as a result may be sat lower beneath a pipe etc that could be hiding it. Its always attached to the gearbox, so just look for any tubes attached to your box from the engine bay.

The first thing to do is to check the oil (drive the car until warm around a couple of blocks etc, park up, select each of gears in turn and then pull out the dipstick).

Is there any strange noise from the gearbox?
Is there any any jerkiness between gear selections?
When stationary at the lights, does the torque converter appear to operate normally?

The light that you state which has come on, is most likely a gearbox fault light. I would certainly visit any reasonable independant/backstreet garage that can read your fault codes and perhaps pinpoint the fault.
 

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I would do as DSK has suggested, Though i will add that i had an automatic ford a few years ago, and the front seal had gone on the gearbox causing the fluid to leak on the torque converter, causing exactly the same problem as you,.. revs would build and then wheelspin. Eventually it dumped all the fluid over the road and that was the end of that really, i got a new front seal. If that is your problem, it is'nt the end of the world, but it will be a labour intensive job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I've looked for the dipstick but obviously missed it so will try and get out shorting to take another look.

One thing I have found tho is a rather largeish bolt in the engine bay, well a friend did, they said it looks alot like the bolts holding the gearbox to the engine but we cant be sure because the weathers too bad to jack it up. I'm hoping its not from the engine but I am going to try and get it to a garage but again the roads can be rather naff round here at the moment.

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've just had another look and cant seem to find any dipstick yet but its obviously late and dark. However I did find a bolt on the gearbox that has been replaced so I guess its possible that the bolt I found could have been dumped there by a previous owner after a repair.
 

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Thanks guys, I've looked for the dipstick but obviously missed it so will try and get out shorting to take another look.

One thing I have found tho is a rather largeish bolt in the engine bay, well a friend did, they said it looks alot like the bolts holding the gearbox to the engine but we cant be sure because the weathers too bad to jack it up. I'm hoping its not from the engine but I am going to try and get it to a garage but again the roads can be rather naff round here at the moment.

Steve.
Maybe, a lot of the time though mechanics may replace a bolt for a new one when working on certain components, it is possible that it was accidentally left there.

Can you see a drip (with the engine running) underneath the car?

The dipstick should be located close to the bulkhead on the left hand side...:thumbsup
 

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I think you will find your box does not have a dipstick,(sealed for life box) although you can drain and replace fluid.Make sure you have correct type of fluid to put in it,and do a search on the net for pro's and con's of fluid change versus top up with new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah i've had another look and with research in Google i guessed it was sealed.

Most auto cars i've had usually have a gearbox radiator, do you think a leak on the rad could cause a loss of performance? It now looses power whenever you put your foot down and theres a lot of fluid sprayed around the near side of the engine bay where i believe both the power steering tank is and where the rad connections are.

Thanks, Steve.
 

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Yours being a td I presume it will be the same setup as my 94 tds,there is no gearbox rad as such,what mine has is a steel tube with a few bends in it so it has about three runs of the pipe exposed to oncoming airflow through bumper,you will find it behind the bottom intake on bumper,the one behind top grill (small rad) is the engine oil cooler.These steel pipes are known to corrode and leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi,

I've attached a picture of a radiator kit that I found on eBay for a E39 BMW. Obviously it may be different but by the bendy pipe for the gearbox would this by any chance be like the pipe on this picture towards the top that just goes in and comes back out without going through anything?

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, most of the fluid appears to on the near side where the connections would be on that rad. I did find a rag rapped around one of the pipes under the ATF tank as well which seemed to be soaking in fluid so im guessing its a couple of leaking pipes in the engine bay.

I'll try to wash the engine bay out tomorrow without damaging anything and try to locate the leaks. Hopefully thats all it is as ive seen big puddles the other day near the near side fog lamp so fingers crossed :)

I'll let you know how I get on.
 

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http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do I have just checked on realoem,my tds uses a bendy pipe,your td appears to have a small rad instead of the bendy pipe,this may be because the tds has an intercooler and hence no room to fit one,put the year of your car in and the rest of info it needs then once you 'browse parts' select 'radiator'
 

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The td uses the rad behind front grill for gearbox cooling,the tds uses this for engine oil cooling.I expected it to have bendy pipe same as mine for gearbox oil cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just had a quick look at the car, cant really see the cooling pipe as it appears to go in front of the radiator and by looking through one of the holes in the body work (if it is the coil i am looking) then the coil is very brown, rusty and corroded. It also appears to be damp so I'm guessing then that may be the leak.

I'm going to try get the front off the grill tomorrow and inspect the pipework a bit closer.
 

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http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=HA82&mospid=47378&btnr=17_0109&hg=17&fg=05 This link is for the 525td non intercooler equipped engined car (different from the TDS) .Is your car a TD as in post title or a TDS ??..The link pipe to rad helps cool the autobox fluid and to bring it up to temperature quicker from cold using heat transfer from the engine coolant,years ago this would have been the only cooling the autobox fluid would have,nowadays the autobox has its own cooling rad as well,this is to stop overheating during say heavy towing etc/to keep autobox fluid at a constant temperature,plus stopping excess heat from gearbox being passed into engine cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Taken the bumper off the car today, the oil cooler is rusted in a number of places so the problem solved. £50 from a used spares company so guess that wouldnt be too bad of value.

Im not sure if im correct but i believe the gearbox oil has a filter, is this correct? If so do you recommend replacing this while im at it incase rust has got into the oil? Also does anyone know where I can get a new filter kit?
 
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