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Thread: E34 540i transmission stuck in D - solved

  1. #1
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    E34 540i transmission stuck in D - solved

    Hi, I have a problem with my 94 e34 540i. The shifter on my automatic transmission gets stucked in D after the car warms up. It moves freely when the car is just started in the morning o after you ride it, but when you ride the car normally and want to park it, you can't move the lever to P or any other gear.
    Any ideas on what that is? some one told me it must be time to flush the transmission, change the filter and put new oil in it.
    What do you think?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'd think the cable that operates the gear selector is binding, Not sure why heat would effect this. I doubt it is an internal issue and while a oil change(NOT FLUSH)is always a good idea it won't cure your shifter issue.
    You'll need to disconnect the shift cable at the trans and check for movement.

    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

  3. #3
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    It could also be the manual shift valve
    I have read now already several threads about this on US forums and also on German forums, where this problem occured on E36E34 with 5HP18 and E32/E34 with 5HP30, here copied for info, so this basically refers to all 5HP, apparently later they changed the material:
    I have a 525i 1993, start notice that after driving for 30 min the shifter became hard when I went to park or drive, I decide to change the trans oil in a service shop. Same day I took it from the garage I tried to park at home and again the shifter didnt let me to shift to P. Then I push it and suddenly the shifter went back and forward easily but none gear works. The mechanic went home and told me that the shifter cable was the problem, change it but still the same, no gears working... Again back to the service shop, they found that the manual valve of the body valve was broken (ZF part 1056-327-173), change it for a second hand part and still with the problem. Now the mechanic said that must find a new manual valve to replace it. Notice when the trans is cold I can use the shifter without problems and the car and gears drives well...until it became hot. I already bought the ZF manual valve but before install it I need an advice because I feel that something is wrong with the temperature of the transmission.
    -----------------------
    The manual valve on the 5HP series is known stick and then break. It only costs about 12 so I am not sure why anyone would fit a used one. Fit the new one and make sure the end is hooked up correctly. If you don't, you will get a box full of nothing
    -------------------------
    Thanks Wiskeychaser, the mechanic just found this piece and installed without notice ...well here is imposible to get one of these parts but finally got it on internet, hope this will be the reason why the shifter get stick..let you know.
    -----------------------------
    When I got my 1994 530it earlier this year, the shifter was definitely difficult to move. It finally just snapped the head off. I tried to fix it, with an obvious failure. The dirty ATF had made it brittle. $16 later, I had a brand new one in the mail. Haven't had an issue since. If the car sits for a long time or has the same fluid in certain climates, the end of the plunger swells. I actually sanded the original one down and polished it but it still managed to break. The new one works flawlessly.
    ---------------------------
    I just read about a similar case on a German Forum, E36 M3 3.0 with 5HP18. Completely broken, apparently in older 5HP18 and 19 this part was made out of a kind of 'plastic'. It started with heavy shifting and then the part cpl. broke into 2 pieces, one part was falling out after he removed the trans pan, rest sticks in valve body.
    Selector Valve http://www.thectsc.com/products/sele...alve-84-3.html 5HP18-5HP18A-5HP19-5HP19FL-5HP19FLA-5HP19HLA-5HP24-5HP24A-5HP30 Price: $18.50 Product ID : 1056 327 173 01

    ZF5HP18, Valve, Manual (1993-Up) (1056-327-173) https://cobratransmission.com/index....1497_1558_2387

    this part is also included in a new 5HP30 Valve Body Kit - 5HP30VBK http://www.zftranspart.com/index.php...t_version=true

    manual shift valve broken
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by shogun; 05-20-2020 at 08:50 AM.
    Shogun tricks and tips for the E32 series are HERE!

  4. #4
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    Sounds just like the OP's issue. Who knew? Note to file.

    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

  5. #5
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    thanks all for your replies! it really helps! Yes Shogun, that is exactly what is happening to my car. Do you know where that valve goes? I assume it is something internal in the transmission? where can I find the plate of my transmission to know the exact model of it?
    Thanks again!!

  6. #6
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    The trans sticker is at the lower part of the trans, just above the pan. E34 540 auto trans should be a ZF 5HP30, BMW calls it A5S560Z. It goes into the lower valve body, here you can see it http://www.unofficialbmw.com/images/BMW_A5S560Z.pdf
    You have to drop the trans pan and then remove the valve body, or at least remove the long bolts which hold the valve body on the trans, drop it a bit, secure it with straps that the VB does not drop down on the ground, then you can install/slide in a new one.
    http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/825438
    When you raise the VB, you have to ensure that the C shape in the end engages with the lever inside the box. Here a drawing from 4HP24, same procedure basically, see the red marks what has to match, he had probs to shift and found out that the valve was not correctly installed https://www.bilder-upload.eu/bild-b7...64215.jpg.html
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...th-Please-help

    7 MB for download http://www.bmwe34.net/E34main/Troubl...ch%20Guide.pdf from page 135 , on page 149 you see the valve installed in lower front valve body
    Last edited by shogun; 05-20-2019 at 08:07 AM.
    Shogun tricks and tips for the E32 series are HERE!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ross1 View Post
    Sounds just like the OP's issue. Who knew? Note to file.
    As Shogun says, it is becoming quite common. The first case I remember goes back a few years and was a guy in the UK. He had an E36 diesel with a 5HP18. IIRC, he knew the cable was not the problem but when he tried to move the lever on the side of the trans, he couldn't. So he hit it with a lump hammer! That certainly freed it off. But not surprisingly, he still couldn't get any gears New manual valve sorted it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskychaser View Post
    As Shogun says, it is becoming quite common. The first case I remember goes back a few years and was a guy in the UK. He had an E36 diesel with a 5HP18. IIRC, he knew the cable was not the problem but when he tried to move the lever on the side of the trans, he couldn't. So he hit it with a lump hammer! That certainly freed it off. But not surprisingly, he still couldn't get any gears New manual valve sorted it.
    Hammer, eh?
    I always though if a hammer doesn't work it is an electrical problem.
    So, what exactly is happening in there to cause this?

    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ross1 View Post
    Hammer, eh?
    I always though if a hammer doesn't work it is an electrical problem.

    This is just a theory. I suspect that the C shaped part of the valve gets worn and the valve then moves out of position slightly. Next time you move the lever, it doesn't engage properly. Instead, the cam rides right over the top of the valve, jamming it solid or breaking it. I have seen something similar on drum brakes where the cam has gone over the top

  10. #10
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    It is like the old material is 'swelling' over time, what I have read it is a kind of "plastic (composite) material". The new selector valve is made out of a different material.
    Similar things I know of the brake master on E32 750 and others, there are 4 seals inside and a bakelite ring, this bakelite material also enlarges/swells slightly over the years and then the brake is permanently stuck. Some people grind down such bakelite ring to normal size. Here a pic of the innards of a E32 750 brake master where you see the bakelite ring
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Shogun tricks and tips for the E32 series are HERE!

  11. #11
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    Well, today we changed the valve, the new one, as Shogun says, it is from a new material that wont swell over the years, so oil can flow freely. Also changed al the trans fluid and filter, and now my e34 is shifting way better, and of course, shifter problem solved! Thanks for the input, it was really helpful!

  12. #12
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    Great, thanks for the feedback.
    Believe it or not, here the next one, same problem, today solved , good pic where the friction marks were found https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/a...4&d=1558405177
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...5#post30264265
    Last edited by shogun; 05-27-2023 at 09:53 AM.
    Shogun tricks and tips for the E32 series are HERE!

  13. #13
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    I had this issue for a while after installing a used 5HP30 in my 740i and adding new fluid. The problem came and went with operating temperature fluctuations, and eventually went away altogether. It's been a couple of weeks now and all is good. If it ever comes back at least I know what to look for.
    I have wrenched on vehicles with:

    1 cylinder
    2 cylinders
    3 cylinders
    4 cylinders
    5 cylinders
    6 cylinders
    7 spoke wheels
    8 cylinders

  14. #14
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    Hi Shogun. My '93 525i has the same problem - I have the black label 5HP18. I can't seem to find the manual shift valve on realoem (even after reverse searching the part no.), is it possible that my transmission does not come with the valve? Could I be facing a different issue?

  15. #15
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    ZF 5HP18 of course also has it, but not shown in the bmw etk as single item of the valve body. ZF part number is 1056 327 173 https://www.thectsc.com/products/sel...alve-84-3.html
    The 5HP18 valve body repair kit also includes it https://www.thectsc.com/products/val...18-162-18.html
    selector valve ZF1056 327 173 is used on 5HP18-5HP18A-5HP19-5HP19FL-5HP19FLA-5HP19HLA-5HP24-5HP24A-5HP30. https://www.transmissiondigest.com/1...manual-valves/
    quote: The customer complaint was that the vehicle would drive fine when cold, but the warmer the transmission got, the greater the effort to move the shifter. The shifter would get to a point that it would not move at all. At one point the shifter assembly broke because of the force applied to it. unquote
    Last edited by shogun; 05-27-2023 at 09:58 AM.
    Shogun tricks and tips for the E32 series are HERE!

  16. #16
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    5HP18valve.jpg

    For reference, the manual valve is ringed in the image above. It is the item on the right. The valve body has been removed in this image but with care you can get away with removing one lower section of the VB when replacing the valve. The other ring highlights the lug which the outer end of the valve must be hooked onto. If you fail to do that when reassembling, the trans will not work. But if you are not sure if the manual valve is at fault, maybe start by checking that the clutch cable is adjusted correctly and not broken?
    Last edited by whiskychaser; 05-28-2023 at 06:34 AM.

  17. #17
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    This is a very useful bit of info

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskychaser View Post
    5HP18valve.jpg

    For reference, the manual valve is ringed in the image above. It is the item on the right. The valve body has been removed in this image but with care you can get away with removing one lower section of the VB when replacing the valve. The other ring highlights the lug which the outer end of the valve must be hooked onto. If you fail to do that when reassembling, the trans will not work. But if you are not sure if the manual valve is at fault, maybe start by checking that the clutch cable is adjusted correctly and not broken?
    Like so many on here now my 5hp 18 suffered the usual shift valve failure, went from being so stiff to suddenly super smooth...Optimistically I thought it had sorted itself but no, the bakelite rod had snapped. Looking at your pic and write up it looks like the forward half of the VB can be lowered by removing the 18 or so small and large Torx heads and dropping it about 15mm allowing the broken rod to be removed and the new one slid in..Am I right? Am working under the car in a pit so access not bad , doing it in situ without removing the whole VB would save masses of time please..

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwacluver View Post
    Looking at your pic and write up it looks like the forward half of the VB can be lowered by removing the 18 or so small and large Torx heads and dropping it about 15mm ... doing it in situ without removing the whole VB would save masses of time
    Yes, you can replace the manual valve by removing the front lower section of the valve body only. But you have to be aware that some of the screws go through the duct plate and secure the front upper section too. If the top section moved, you would have to drop the whole VB to position it again so the screw holes would line up again. While I may have done this without the top section moving, one way of avoiding the risk is to use some threaded rod or long screws and replace a couple of screws temporarily. You can then drop the bottom section you want to remove while the part above the duct plate is secured. It is also worth punching holes in a piece of cardboard in the pattern of the VB (as you would when keeping a set of valves in order) and putting the screws in their respective positions. Some are M5, some are M6 and there are a number of different lengths. This will help prevent mixing them up. When assembling, make sure the outer end of the manual valve is in the recess in the side of the VB and don't forget to hook it up to the shift lever.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by whiskychaser; 08-05-2023 at 10:21 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskychaser View Post
    Yes, you can replace the manual valve by removing the front lower section of the valve body only. But you have to be aware that some of the screws go through the duct plate and secure the front upper section too. If the top section moved, you would have to drop the whole VB to position it again so the screw holes would line up again. While I may have done this without the top section moving, one way of avoiding the risk is to use some threaded rod or long screws and replace a couple of screws temporarily. You can then drop the bottom section you want to remove while the part above the duct plate is secured. It is also worth punching holes in a piece of cardboard in the pattern of the VB (as you would when keeping a set of valves in order) and putting the screws in their respective positions. Some are M5, some are M6 and there are a number of different lengths. This will help prevent mixing them up. When assembling, make sure the outer end of the manual valve is in the recess in the side of the VB and don't forget to hook it up to the shift lever.
    Thank you Whiskychaser, I appreciate the advise, especially with regard to preventing the the top section moving. I have a couple of long s/s 6mm machine screws I can thread in and slide the VB down squarely. I have spent a fair bit of time researching this problem, indeed I have spent more time at my screen than under the car. The original part is quite interesting, some folk reckon it to be bakelite but looking at the broken bits I have it certainly appears to be some sort of fibre based resin. Either way 30 years spent swimming in scolding ATF takes its toll. Anyways, I appreciate you taking the time to offer advise.

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