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Discussion Starter #1
I was heading out of town for some hill country fun when RCOD showed up to put a damper on my day. I'm starting this thread primarily for the benefit of the community, as well as to request advice (particularly once I am able to provide codes). As far as I am aware, the car has relatively low miles to be experiencing a trans malfunction.

The good news is that I broke down within ten minutes of the house and directly across from one of the better BBQ restaurants in the area. I will start doing research and provide codes as soon as they are available.
 

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I was heading out of town for some hill country fun when RCOD showed up to put a damper on my day. I'm starting this thread primarily for the benefit of the community, as well as to request advice (particularly once I am able to provide codes). As far as I am aware, the car has relatively low miles to be experiencing a trans malfunction.

The good news is that I broke down within ten minutes of the house and directly across from one of the better BBQ restaurants in the area. I will start doing research and provide codes as soon as they are available.
Is there a leak?

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After some preliminary research, I decided I should provide some clarification and detail as to the circumstances and my car's initial symptoms, primarily so I don't forget as time progresses (as I am prone to do).

Startup was normal, including hearing the SMG pump prime as per normal. Pump sounded healthy as usual, and ran the typical 3-5 seconds to build pressure. I was driving in residential neighborhood conditions/speeds at the time the malfunction occurred, roughly 15 minutes after startup. As I was coming to a stop at a stop sign, I received both the yellow AND red cogs (red came first, as I recall). I activated the hazards and attempted to execute a 3-point 180-degree turn. The clutch engagement was extremely harsh, as if the clutch was being dropped. The engine stalled when I attempted to reverse. I selected Neutral and some fellow motorists assisted me in pushing her into a nearby parking lot. I restarted the car and selected 1st, and the error messages returned right away, accompanied by the very harsh clutch engagement. I selected Neutral again and shut the engine off.

I enlisted the help of a relative to escort me home, following me as I drove in 1st gear all the way (I wanted to minimize shifts so as to preserve what might be a limited resource of hydraulic pressure in the accumulator, in order to make sure I could still select Neutral when I arrived home). Once home and after verifying the car was in neutral, I shut it off and pushed it into the garage.

Upon returning to the car maybe 15 minutes later, I was greeted by the customary whine of the SMG motor priming away as per usual. I hooked it back up to the battery tender and left for my mini-vacation in my '98 Regal GS daily driver, feeling a little deflated for sure. Fault codes / updates to follow.
 

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Sounds like a failing slave cylinder but could also be a PLCD sensor issue. Codes should paint a better picture. I recommend you take note of all the codes that appear when you do the scan, then clear them all and start the car as you normally would, try and shift it to see what happens...if red/yellow cog comes on again, turn off the car and re-scan the codes to see which codes persist.


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Discussion Starter #6
Quick update: based on my research and the shop's diagnosis, it appears to be the PLCD sensor. According to the shop, the following codes are present:

4FA0 - SMG: Clutch (activation, position deviation)
510D - SMG: PLCD sensor, clutch position
510E - SMG: PLCD sensor, clutch position, redundant

No other codes are present. They are wanting around $1,400.00 to do the job. I priced it out against another reputable shop, and they were about the same. I'd say both shops are top notch, with the one I have the car at having the edge in terms of specializing in BMW and having excellent ratings, while the other shop has been around since the 70's and has made their reputation doing top notch work on all kinds of European cars. I'm going to go ahead and have the first shop swap the PLCD sensor and perform the adaptations.

If anyone thinks we have it wrong, please let me know ASAP. Otherwise, see y'all on the other side!
 

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Quick update: based on my research and the shop's diagnosis, it appears to be the PLCD sensor. According to the shop, the following codes are present:

4FA0 - SMG: Clutch (activation, position deviation)
510D - SMG: PLCD sensor, clutch position
510E - SMG: PLCD sensor, clutch position, redundant

No other codes are present. They are wanting around $1,400.00 to do the job. I priced it out against another reputable shop, and they were about the same. I'd say both shops are top notch, with the one I have the car at having the edge in terms of specializing in BMW and having excellent ratings, while the other shop has been around since the 70's and has made their reputation doing top notch work on all kinds of European cars. I'm going to go ahead and have the first shop swap the PLCD sensor and perform the adaptations.

If anyone thinks we have it wrong, please let me know ASAP. Otherwise, see y'all on the other side!
Thats sounds about right for a diagnosis but code 4FA0 is usually accompanied by a failing slave cylinder. $1400 is a lot of money for replacing a sensor that is fairly easy to change once it can be accessed. Is the sensor price included? I would ask them to also change the slave cylinder.


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Discussion Starter #8
Thats sounds about right for a diagnosis but code 4FA0 is usually accompanied by a failing slave cylinder. $1400 is a lot of money for replacing a sensor that is fairly easy to change once it can be accessed. Is the sensor price included? I would ask them to also change the slave cylinder.


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Thank you very much for your input! JColley mentioned that 4FA0 often accompanies the other two codes with a failing PLCD in a 2016 post, see below:

510D and 510E are unmistakeable PLCD faults. The 4FA0 is because of the PLCD not reporting position properly (therefore deviation)

4f67 means the Indy tried to adapt the SMG per TIS when the pump was replaced and it wouldn't adapt.

Replace PLCD. Adapt SMG. Done...
/QUOTE]
 

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Yes I’m aware of JColley’s thread. I just changed my slave cylinder two months ago due to SMG not shifting and code 4FA0. You will also find a handful of threads showing the cause to be the salve cylinder or both slave and sensor. In my case I changed just the slave and kept the sensor, no issues ever since.

The point is you can go just with the sensor but since the shop will be working on the slave to change the sensor, might not be a bad idea to change both and forget about them moving fwd. It’s your call but that’s just my recommendation.



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$1,400 maybe slightly more than I would pay, but it is within couple hundred range of what indies here would charge, so I think the price is fair IF the sensor is included.
I'd definitely have them swap the slave as well at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The price does include parts, labor, adaptation, the works. I did see older posts of people having it done for around $1K, but that was a few years back, and I had read that prices for sensors for our cars have been increasing of late. The PLCD sensors seem to be running around $500 at present. I consider both of these shops to be top tier as far as workmanship is concerned, and they came within $50 of each others' quotes. It looks like dealers are charging $1,500 to $2,000 at present, and we all know how that goes.
 

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MSRP for the sensor is $590 (can be bought for $410 online). $1.4k still sounds high even paying full retail. On the other hand sounds low for pulling the trans. Ask if they are dropping the trans, and if they say yes ask why. Official instructions don't call for dropping the trans. https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/e60-m5-lim/repair-manuals/23-manual-gearbox/23-42-hydraulic-add-on-parts-smg/HPjY1s4

IF they drop the trans then go ahead and replace everything. You don't want to pay for labor twice. I've a list of stuff to do while in there, let us know what they're doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I will ask for a quote to replace the slave cylinder while they’re at it, and report back. I am just curious as to whether failure of the slave cylinder is more a function of usage, time, or both equally. The car only has 38K miles on it, but it’s a decade old. If I’m remembering correctly, the slave cylinder is an oleo-pneumatic (for lack of a better description) arrangement. I would think degradation of such a system would be primarily a function of operation, except for the fact that it relies on a gasket of some kind. I don’t know enough about such systems to know whether age or usage would be more detrimental. Does anyone know whether the slave cylinders seem to fail around a particular mileage, or whether their timelines for failure are more random like the PLCD issue?

Depending upon how much it adds to the cost it may be immaterial anyway, in which case I’ll go for it.
 

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I will ask for a quote to replace the slave cylinder while they’re at it, and report back. I am just curious as to whether failure of the slave cylinder is more a function of usage, time, or both equally. The car only has 38K miles on it, but it’s a decade old. If I’m remembering correctly, the slave cylinder is an oleo-pneumatic (for lack of a better description) arrangement. I would think degradation of such a system would be primarily a function of operation, except for the fact that it relies on a gasket of some kind. I don’t know enough about such systems to know whether age or usage would be more detrimental. Does anyone know whether the slave cylinders seem to fail around a particular mileage, or whether their timelines for failure are more random like the PLCD issue?

Depending upon how much it adds to the cost it may be immaterial anyway, in which case I’ll go for it.
To my knowledge they fail more as a function of usage but it depends on how you use it (soft setting vs hard shift settings). Even then slave cylinders can be hit or miss on when they fail.


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Wow, I wanted to reply and say that slave cylinders are not very expensive, but looked it up and it appears they went up in price as well. Looks like $475 is the best price online for an SMG slave.
WTF is going on with the E60/3 parts lately? I think I paid less than $300 for my slave less than a year ago. P/N 23017838938 just in case.
 

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Wow, I wanted to reply and say that slave cylinders are not very expensive, but looked it up and it appears they went up in price as well. Looks like $475 is the best price online for an SMG slave.
WTF is going on with the E60/3 parts lately? I think I paid less than $300 for my slave less than a year ago. P/N 23017838938 just in case.
eBay still has a couple listed at $300...not sure for how long though


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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks, y'all! (Yes, Texans say y'all all the time.) They are waiting on the PLCD to come in as of this morning, and I reminded them to give me a quote to replace the slave cylinder IF they are dropping the trans.
 
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