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Old 01-27-2023, 12:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: Texas
Posts: 1
Zabaker94 is on a distinguished road
Unhappy The gift that keeps giving me more and more headaches

Roughly one week ago, my family purchased an e53 at an auction which they gifted me. This particular e53 is a 2005 4.4l with roughly 189K miles. Since having it, I have replaced the sunroof motor, replaced all of the washer pumps, replaced two door handles, replaced several fuses that honestly were probably fine, and other miscellaneous items.

Onto the bigger items. The “selflevel susp inact” message is on at all times. The “service engine soon” light is on intermittently. And, more often than not, the “trans failsafe prog” warning appears. Then disappears. The few times this has happened, you can tell that the transmission doesn’t shift out of the gear. This does not last long though and typically, the drive goes back to normal. Every now and again, when coming to an almost complete or complete stop then accelerating, there is a very harsh thump/kick that you can hear and feel. This is typically when the “trans failsafe prog” warning appears.

When driving earlier today, there were no issues whatsoever getting to my destination. While driving shortly thereafter though, I got the “trans failsafe prog” warning. I immediately noticed a difference this time around. I could tell immediately that I was in a low gear, the whining was very audible, and the RPMs remained high with no drop whatsoever unless I slowed down. I pulled over, turned the engine off, sat for five minutes, then restarted the engine. No warning however the same issue. I drove to my office which was only a short distance away. After several hours, I left to head home. Again, no warning but, same issues. I was, and am still able, to shift into reverse and drive and well, drive. There is no doubt in my mind that the transmission is not shifting past first and MAYBE second gear (I can’t feel the shifts like I could before). The RPMs remain high. No drops whatsoever unless I take my foot off of the gas or am slowing down. Even then though, the RPMs are steady. Never dropping down after revving up like you would typically expect. I did try to manually shift and though I can move to manual, I can only downshift. When I try to upshift, there is quite a bit of resistance. So much so that, though I can slightly move the gear knob, I can’t actually upshift.

I have read so many different articles with so many different solutions that at this point, I don’t know where I should begin. There are several people who have experienced similar issues but, not similar enough for me to be certain that their solution is the right solution. Again, no other lights besides the three mentioned above. There is some shaking when first starting the car and there is an oil leak which I am addressing, but nothing else I am aware of right off the bat. Do I need to replace the transmission fluid? Any assistance and/or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

#AmIInOverMyHead #AmIInsane

Last edited by Zabaker94; 01-27-2023 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 01-27-2023, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Northeast
Posts: 542
CapeX5 is on a distinguished road
You have a potential land mine on your hands. The N62 is one of the worst engines they every produced. If you are going to keep this car, which I would encourage you not to do, you need to get a scanner and find out what is going on. There are so many potential reasons you are having the multiple issues. IT could be simple as your MAF, but you are shooting blind without starting with a scan. And not a generic auto zone one. You have some time and major expense ahead of you.
Dave S.
2003 4.6is
2005 E53 4.4
2003 E39 Msport(a REAL ONE!)
1959 Fiat 600
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 1,018
Bdc101 is on a distinguished road
Step 1: https://www.amazon.com/FOXWELL-Autom.../dp/B019QCG5RE
2003 3.0 5MT Topasblau
Purchased in 2016 and surprisingly still running
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:56 PM
haigha's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Machine
Posts: 1,436
haigha is on a distinguished road
Has it been cool overnight when you have the trans failsafe message?

When that happened to me on my 04 4.4, it was because the transmission fluid was low, caused by a leak from the mechatronic sleeve (its o-rings flatten over time). This is made worse when the ATF is cold.

Edit: You can check for ATF leak by putting a piece of cardboard under the transmission pan, if it isn't obviously that it's leaking from there already. The mechatronic sleeve is above the pan towards the back of it.

Last edited by haigha; 01-28-2023 at 02:54 PM.
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e53, trans failsafe, trans failsafe prog, transmission

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