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Thread: 1994 BMW530i Problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    383

    Default 1994 BMW530i Problems

    Recently I bought a 1994 530i and absolutely love the car. About a week ago my car started acting strange though. When I accelerate from a stop it seems like my car skips across the gears and when it finally catches one it lurches forward. For this particular situation, it always seems to skip twice before finally starts to move (downshifting from 3rd?). Since about a week or two after I got the car it started leaking an oily substance. I know this is not oil because of the watery composition of it, not thick like oil. I believe the source of this is where the transmission is connected to the radiator; the bottom pipe going into the radiator? Seeing as this has been leaking for about 3-4 weeks, could this be part of the problem?

    Another problem, which only happened this morning (38F outside), was when I started my car it seemed to start fine but then it acted like it was going to turn off before it picked up strong again. As I mentioned, this has only happened once but I hardly think the cold weather caused this since it has been cold every morning for a week.

    Here are a few details about the car:
    • Engine has 140K miles on it, body has 200k (engine replaced in 1998)
    • All fluids seem to be full (except whatever is leaking)
    • Transmission was drained of fluid and had fluids replaced by Seller of car.
    • Automatic 5 spd transmission

    As a side note, I do plan on taking it to a mechanic to find the leak but would be helpful to get him to take care of everything at once.

    Hopefully this all made sense and maybe someone can shed some light on one or both of these problems.

    Thanks in advance,
    Patrick

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Norcross, GA
    Posts
    239

    Default

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new e34.

    I have seen that strange behavior while starting in cold weather in my car too and I think it is normal. When you start it cold your DME will initially give more fuel and car will rev inbetween 750rpm to 1000rpm. At one point DME will try to reduce the rpm to normall 550. DME corrects its decision if the engine is going to die. I think it is just a trial and error method tried by DME based on some input. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Did you figure out which fluids are leaking?

    Arun

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    383

    Default

    No, I am still unable to locate the source of the leak. The only way i can think to describe where I believe the leak is comming from is the lower pipe in the radiator on the drivers side. You can see that there is fluid around the bolt and in the bottom of the engine compartment on the driver's side. Also, when I look under the car, again on the driver's side, the whole side is covered with this same fluid. I will see if I can manage to take a couple of good pictures of these locations later today.

    Thanks again for the help

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    West Palm Beach, South Florida
    Posts
    1,011

    Default

    Well, welcome to the board, and I'm glad you like the car.

    Unfortunately, thats probably about the happiest thing I've got to tell you...

    Now, call me , but I usually expect the worst out of someone trying to sell a used car. To me, it seems like the trans started having problems with the PO, so they took it somewhere and were probably told that it would be very expensive to fix. So....they changed the fluid hoping that it would mask the symptoms for awhile and sold it. At least thats what I see, but I'm usually a pessimist about used cars. No offense if you bought it from a relative or something.

    I don't really know why I told you this, because it doesn't help your problem. There has been some debate about wether or not you should change the transmission fluid at all in an automatic, but since I have a manual, I don't really read those discussions. I'll leave that to someone else.
    93 525i / 01 330Ci / 98 Camry / 91 Volvo 240 / 99 Jeep GC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    811

    Default

    Could you give some more details please? What color is the fluid? ( putting white paper under the leak helps here). Does it turn to "soap" when you hose off the driveway? (coolant does this). What exactly does the fluid feel like? Does the trans have trouble finding reverse, then slam into gear? Symptoms occors more cold,warm,hot? A nice pic of the affected area would be nice.
    Check your power steering fluid lvl, the cooler is in the same area your are describing and it provides your power brakes. Please desrcibe side with left and right not driver or passenger, if you are USA, drivers side is left.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Meridian, ID
    Posts
    371

    Default

    Some 530's had lifetime fluid trans and some used Dex II. You need to get that thing to an expert ASAP. If it is a valve body issue, it can be repaired. If it is leaking someplace, you should see red fluid if it is DEX. I think the BMW lifetime is not red but can't say for sure. You certainly need to know what is leaking. There is no dipstick on your transmission so you need to know if it is full of fluid. Not full, could cause a host of symptoms.

    Finally, once you get the trans sorted out, every 3 or 4 months, take the cover off the computers on the right side closest to the firewall (4 screws). The second computer from the firewall is the trans. It has a ZIF type of socket on the top. Remove the socket for about 5 minutes and replace. Replace lid. These trans have an adaptive feature that can drive you nuts. By doing this, you clear all the memory so it will function with more performance again. Especially true if your wife drives the car like a little old lady.
    Mike Holbrook
    Meridian, Idaho
    1992 535im, 17", Euro M5 Throwing Stars 8's & 9's, FK-451 235/45s & 255/40s, M5 Sway Bars 25/20, Conforti chip, Lowes Ram Air, glass sunroof

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Here is a somewhat better background on the car. I actually bought this car off ebay. It just so happens that the seller is located here in Atlanta so it worked out pretty well. So I go pick up the car and get the whole spill about what they have done to it, mostly replacing fluids. The guy even said that that was not really necessary but that they did it anyway. According to the carfax I ran before purchasing the car I found that it had been in and out of auctions but nothing serious about problems or anything.

    I took some pictures of various places under the hood to help you guys see what is going on. As you can see, i am dripping something red and it does not feel like motor oil, just like a lube or something. Anyway, I hope this helps and hopefully I can get this problem fixed pretty quick.

    Here is a link to the pictures.
    They have been scaled down to 320x240 for you downloading convenience but I can provide larger versions if necessary.

    Thanks for the input

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NSW, Australia
    Posts
    445

    Default Replace the trans fluid one more time

    Quote Originally Posted by pgrindstaff
    Here is a somewhat better background on the car. I actually bought this car off ebay. It just so happens that the seller is located here in Atlanta so it worked out pretty well. So I go pick up the car and get the whole spill about what they have done to it, mostly replacing fluids. The guy even said that that was not really necessary but that they did it anyway. According to the carfax I ran before purchasing the car I found that it had been in and out of auctions but nothing serious about problems or anything.

    I took some pictures of various places under the hood to help you guys see what is going on. As you can see, i am dripping something red and it does not feel like motor oil, just like a lube or something. Anyway, I hope this helps and hopefully I can get this problem fixed pretty quick.

    Here is a link to the pictures.
    They have been scaled down to 320x240 for you downloading convenience but I can provide larger versions if necessary.

    Thanks for the input
    Hi there, I think the person who carried out the fluid service on the tranny did not torque all necessary plugs and bolts as specified and maybe did not change the gasket. Get it to someone who knows what he is doing. All the best!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    811

    Default

    Thanks for the pics. the very first pic does seem to show a leak where the cooling line enters the radiator. here is where it can get a bit troubling since the previouse owner had the trans serviced and you don't know how it was done. There are 2 potential leaks at that spot, the fitting that is part of the radiator, or the fitting that is part of the line. I have seen the fitting at the radiator come loose during a service and I have seen them be loose from the factory on aftermarket parts. The fitting on the line is subject to alot of abuse by mechanics, this fitting needs to be properly aligned and properly torqued, it does not need to be very tight and it is common to see them over tightened and the fitting deformed.

    Place an oil pan under the leak and remove the line from the radiator, the best method but takes a small bit of practice, is to place a wrench on the line and give it a sharp snap pull(do not strike wrench) to break the nut free. If the fitting at the radiator loosens but the nut on the line does not, you will have to use 2 wrenchs and alot of care to not twist things. Pull the line up and hook it under something so it wont drip all over and let the cooler drain. Using a socket, gently loosen and then retighten the fitting on the radiator, remember its brass on plastic. Re-attach the line insuring the fitting is going straight in and gently tighten it while holding the line with your free hand in its proper place. If the sealing surfaces appeared to be damaged a small amount, snug the fitting up a bit and rotate the line back and forth to try to reform the metal a bit, doesnt always work, but it can. clean entire area with brake parts cleaner so its easy to spot a recuring leak.
    Now take your car to the dealer or BMW specialist that will make sure you have the proper parts and ask for a trans filter replacement and explaign your history. This is important because you dont know whether the trans pan was droped for service or if they did a flush with a machine at the lines.
    Either way, its a good bet your trans problem is related to fluid lvl, park the car and drive a rental until its fixed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,150

    Default Mike all e34 530's used dexron III not the lifetime magic fluid.

    That pic of the transmission cooler line is strange because the 530 had a separate transmission cooler in front of the radiator not part of the radiator like the one you show...This car is definitely a 530? Can you show a few pics of the engine and overall radiator Also the lines used an oring seal on them , so if they are leaking you'll need to replace the orings. Its not a flare fitting


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