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Wife's 2002 4.4i X5 with >50,000 miles. Took it to the local mechanic to replace a power steering hose. While there, he said we needed to replace the trans cooler. I usually take it to the stealer but figured it wasn't a big job and that he could handle it. We pick it up and drive it less than a block when we notice there is defintitely something wrong- it goes into limp mode and won't shift properly. Take it back and they can't find anything wrong. Drive it for the week end and it gets worse. Take it back to the mechanic who takes it down to the stealer where they read the codes- nothing much show except for one trans glitch over 15,000 miles ago. Mechanic says there' nothing wrong and that I should have not problem driving it to Arizona for a river trip. Daughter drives it around for one day and it is completely lunched. Mechanic says he put in all the right fluids and the stealer just says I need a new trans to the tune of $7K. Any ideas out there? I've asked BMW Murray to determine the cause of the failure. Valvoline and BMW agree that the fluid the mechanic used was up to BMW spec. HELP!!!!:dunno:
 

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Which local shop?

Fluid type should not be the problem. That would not cause such a quick and dramatic failure. Simply changing fluid should not hurt anything. But, a very improper fluid level, clogged filter, or some other major mechanical screw up might do this.

I assume trans fluid was changed from your post. I also assume the X5 is auto trans. On my previous Audis, (ZF transmissions like most BMWs) filling the trans fluid after a change was very complicated. It required a lift, running the car through the gears while filling, and an overnight stay at the shop to fill when cold. In the Audi's case, simply filling the trans fluid without all this stuff would fool you into thinking the fluid was full when it was not. Perhaps this is the case with your car.
 

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No words of wisdom, but comments...

What was wrong with the tranny cooler? How often was the fluid changed?

You can get muck distributed around the autotrans lubrication system and sometimes a 'traumatic event' will flush that out and it causes failures in the solenoids. So changing out the cooler might have introduced some dirt, or disturbed dirt, that has now hosed one of the hydraulic circuits.

I would suggest a very drastic 'multiple flush and cleaning' as a 'last resort'. OF COURSE BMW will not 'recognize' this as a viable action... but it's worked for me.

(I've never lost money on an extended warranty...never...)

A

PS What's the buzz on autos over at X5World.com?
 

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Auto tranny failure is the nightmare scenario for X5 owners, and yes $7K seems about right for the job, unless you can find one out of a salvage yard. Do some reading at X5world.com on tranny failures, but reading your post, I'd find some way to get the shop to take some responsibility, but imo, that's going to be tough to do.

My 03 4.4i has 34K miles. I am still debating whether to have the fluid serviced, or to just leave it.
 

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Auto tranny failure is the nightmare scenario for......

My 03 4.4i has 34K miles. I am still debating whether to have the fluid serviced, or to just leave it.
No X5 specifc advise, but I am a TOTAL believer in fluid changes/flushes for auto trans in general.

People will change synthetic motor oil every 5k miles, yet let their tranny go 40-50k!

New fluid cannot hurt, and- IMHO- will always extend the tranny service life.

A 'flush' in which all the old fluid is passively removed and replaced with fresh is best.

FUnny, but some marques (ie Acura) have a 'policy' that "flushes are always bad"... but a flush done right it fine. If the flush allows the fluid to move the way it normally would (ie not reverse) and doesn't involve solvents or pressure, it should be fine.

20k intervals on my MDX. 165k miles. Notorious for trans issues.

A
 

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While I also subscribe to this (all my trannys/diffs get new fluid every 30K), but I have heard the OPs story a few times too many. The tranny imo has a useful expected life of about 80-90K miles, so is it worth the risk of someone screwing it up at 30K-40K? How much longer will it actually last then? All unknown. OTOH, a tranny that is leading a not so hard life and is working fine, maybe the best course is to let it be.
 
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