Transmission in emergency mode

Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 BMW 528
  • 2.8L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 124,000 MILES
About 5 weeks I had a voltage regulator fail on my car, wouldn't recharge my battery out of nowhere at all, had to get jump started 3 times to get home, and every time the battery got low the car went into emergency mode. Well I replaced the alternator and I've got great voltage, yet the transmission is still in emergency mode. The previous owner told me same thing happened to her like 5 years ago, and a mechanic reset something? I need to know the fix !
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Friday, January 24th, 2020 AT 9:12 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
Unfortunately these BMW's are sensitive to this. More than likely there is an issue which will have codes in the system, or the control module does need to just be "reset." It is kind of like restarting your computer when it has a glitch but unfortunately it has to be done with a scan tool.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/reduced-power-limp-mode

Let's check for codes and go from there. If no codes, then we need to have the controller reset. You will need a scan tool capable of doing this.
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Saturday, January 25th, 2020 AT 3:02 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
I went to AutoZone as soon as I installed the alternator and it was still messing up in Emergency mode. I had them run the computer for codes. I have two popping up one has to do with the intake and another anti-lock. I know it's not anything to do with the transmission. So I guess I'll have to find a way to have my control module reset. Can any mechanic do this? I live in a rural area I don't think my mechanics here know what a BMW is, lol.
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Saturday, January 25th, 2020 AT 4:00 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Also I'm not in reduced power mode, only emergency mode.
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Saturday, January 25th, 2020 AT 4:03 PM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
Since you have codes we should probably address those because depending on the actual code it can force it into this mode. It is not just a transmission issue that cause it. Basically it sees an issue so it puts in it this mode to protect the engine and/or transmission.

What are your actual codes and we can see what's going on?
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Saturday, January 25th, 2020 AT 5:04 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Long story short, the MAF sensor and the alternator plug got swapped, somehow my voltage was okay and the car still ran this way. Darn plugs are identical, and they each reach something there not suppose better than where they belong. Problem is fixed!
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 AT 3:26 PM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
Thanks for the update. I am sure that will help others because I did t know the plugs were the same. Normally they do t do that for this exact reason.

Thanks for using 2CarPros
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Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 AT 11:46 AM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
I don't horse around in this thing and I've checked my fluid it's nice and full without being over full, and it looks good. Anyway the car from drive is shifting down into second without any warning, on the display dash it'll tell me it's downshifted, and if I go down to 2nd gear and put it back in drive it'll act normal again. Seems to be 100% random, not on corners turns takeoffs or brakes, just randomly while I'm driving. Sometimes when it shifts down to 2nd it won't come out unless I put it into neutral, and when I do that the display for the gear that I'm in just says s, instead of n for neutral. It says s in front of 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Guessing some kind of sport or select shift. This has been going on for a few days now. Just today it went into emergency mode again, but nothing like a battery or alternator are related this time.
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Saturday, February 15th, 2020 AT 1:03 PM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
Do we know if there are codes? This sounds like a transmission code so I am just surprised you didn't have any prior and would be just as surprised if there are no codes this time.
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Saturday, February 15th, 2020 AT 2:08 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Not a single code, or error. Fluids good, wires and fuses are good, voltage is good, I've got no idea.
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Sunday, February 16th, 2020 AT 5:35 AM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Also, it pulled back out of emergency mode somehow but is still shifting weird.
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Sunday, February 16th, 2020 AT 5:36 AM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
Sounds like we either have an internal transmission issue or control issue.

Is there any chance that you have replaced one or two tires recently? The reason is, your transmission control looks at wheel speed to determine the curve recognition shifting. If one of these is off, it could cause the trans to shift and put itself into emergency mode. Basically it is seeing something wrong which is why it is doing that. The shifting erratically may be a symptom of this.

Take a look at all this info that goes through the control system.
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Sunday, February 16th, 2020 AT 6:08 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
I did put on two used tires, just one size apart. But that was weeks ago, and I've had no issue before all this.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 AT 6:36 AM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Out of all the driving conditions, driving perfectly, steady and slow is when it wants to shift weird.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 AT 6:39 AM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
This morning specifically, it started doing this stuff again. Normally I can drive around in the morning without issue, so just sitting in my parking lot, changing gears it just wants to go to second gear.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 AT 6:57 AM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
So you had no shifting issues before you changed two of the tires to a different size? I understand it didn't do anything for a couple weeks but this doesn't mean it is not the tires. The transmission looks at each individual wheel speed and adjusts shifting.

We need to monitor wheel speeds with a scan tool to verify this. However, I would look to getting all the tires the same circumference.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Update: it was either because the engine coolant was a half gallon low, or that my oil was 1/4 quart over full. No idea which one it could be. But I've run around constantly since yesterday maybe 150 miles, no issues! When I fixed all fluid levels. So oil and or antifreeze play a role in shifting erratically.
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Friday, February 21st, 2020 AT 6:30 AM
Tiny
MLONG98
  • MEMBER
Correct, no issues.
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Friday, February 21st, 2020 AT 12:24 PM
Tiny
KENNY K
  • EXPERT
I would not have taken you in that direction but it is a BMW so I guess that makes sense.

Thanks for the info. I will make sure I tell people to check fluid levels on these from now on when they have these odd issues.

Thanks for the info.
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Friday, February 21st, 2020 AT 4:43 PM

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