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hard to shift to second gear

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by csxander, Dec 17, 2009.

    csxander guest

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    Now that the cold weather has arrived here in VA my 6 speed manual tranny in a 2003 540i has become difficult to shift into second gear. Is it time to replace the fluid and if so what should I use. Thanks for any advice.

    c019740 guest

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    Mine is the same way- will be interested to hear what the situation is. Once I drive and shift a few times it gets to normal.
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    Dmarque

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    Funny.....I live in Michigan with a 2003 540 M-Sport 6 speed......not a problem. Colder here in Michigan by more than 20º!

    c019740 guest

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    How many miles do you have on the car? I've got about 87K miles. The existing lubricant is supposed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle but I never believe what BMW says about that.

    M3Driver guest

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    Have you tried a fluid change (I agree with you on the BMW Lifetime BS) and see if that helped? Couldn't hurt...

    Arash2002tii guest

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    Try changing the fluid, I recommend Redline MTL

    csxander guest

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    I have 75,000 miles. I just purchased it in August 09 with 72,000.
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    tiFreak

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    I read somewhere that it's supposed to last the lifetime of the transmission, which is supposedly 100k, so I call marketing BS ;)
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    az3579

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    A transmission will have a harder time getting into gear when it's cold and the lubrication isn't flowing well enough yet. I believed this to be the case with almost all cars, but apparentely some of your younger E39's don't have this issue. I definitely have to baby mine in the 1st-2nd shift when it's cold, but my car's a lot older than yours as well so that may be anothe reason.

    The fluid change is definitely something to look into, however. I believe the old-school maintenance schedule called for 30,000 mile transmission (and diff) oil changes.
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    Dmarque

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    Well, as I have been driving 5 series Bimmers year round since 1980 in the heavily snowed area of Michigan I've never experienced any reluctance of any of my cars to get into second. All cars have been manual transmission......no special winter preparation is ever done.
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    MGarrison

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    Balky 2nd gears when cold seems to be a not-uncommon bugaboo of at least earlier BMW's; the typical solution to this was to change transmission fluid to Redline MTL. http://www.redlineoil.com/product.aspx?pid=45&pcid=7

    However, the page description says BMW's prior to 1993 and no explanation of why. If 1993 is when BMW started with 'lifetime fill' transmission fluids, that could be why, but I don't know for sure. I would recommend you find what is recommended for your car, and compare the specs to the MTL just to make sure the MTL meets or exceeds those specs. Unless you have a BMW indy shop with which to discuss the issue, perhaps call Bavarian Autosport and see if they have some insight. There might be some reason why Redline MTL might not work with your transmission, which is what you need to find out - otherwise, presumably MTL would be fine; I've found it to work well through Ohio winters. In the meantime, try to be deliberate, careful, and not shift into 2nd gear too quickly when things are cold (make sure you're depressing the clutch pedal fully). If you go for a fast shift to 2nd when cold, you'll probably get it scrunching every time.
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    johnstern

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    I see I'm late to this discussion but I have 3 e39 manuals (a 1999 and 2 2000s) and I have used MTL with excellent results in all cars. We bought my wife's wagon with 52K and changed all fluids then. It now has 76K and all's well. Actually, I'll change the trans and diff fluids again at the next oil change-"old school maintenance."

    kearnsclan guest

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    540i Second gear shifting improved

    I have the same problem with my 2001 540i 6sp going into 2nd gear when cold. The gear oil was changed at 55k miles and now has 84k miles on it. Recenlty got MTL-2 oil from Rocky Mountain European Auto Parts and changed out the gear oil.

    WOW !!! shifts like butter, even when cold here in North Georgia. Thanks to all who suggested a gear oil change. Really makes a difference in shifting.

    BTW.. gear oil capacity is 1.75 Liters.

    Hope this helps..

    Cheers

    Colt45acp guest

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    FWIW - I live in NoVA and use Royal Purple. Got it from amazon.com. Night and day difference. The PO was very good about changing fluids every 24K. It was just time for a change.

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