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Trans failsafe mode lots of codes

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Hi can anyone help me with this. I bough an 05 BMW X5 for towing my horses around and I’ve had nothing but problems with it. Today my mechanic friend plugged it into his diagnostics computer and it came up with alsorts... can anyone tell me exactly what needs doing to my car. I know nothing about cars at all but I love it for towing so if it’s worth fixing I will. Il attach the images from the computer. Thanks 







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Hi, when ever I drive it on a hilly road it seems it knocks it into fail safe. It doesn’t like hills at all. Yet tows my horses with no problem what so ever. I visit my sister once a month and I have to go over the west penine moor. It’s that same road every time. No I can usually switch it off then back on and it’s fine but this time it remained in failsafe and I had to crawl it home. It drives lovely until I use this road. I cannot get my head around it so I took it to my mechanic who plugged it in an those codes are what came up

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Morning Emma

First how old is the battery ? Get it checked a lot of issues are caused by low or erratic voltages, you should be seeing 12.8 volts ignition off 14 + volts engine running. Your X5 should be charged from the charge points under the bonnet same with jump starting. Never jump or charge directly at the battery. 

So with either a fully charged battery or a new one in place reset all codes. The 3 Gearbox related codes are TCM, Transfer Box and Gear monitoring so before driving check the Transmission Fluid level (It is quite possible that your X5 has a good service history yet the transmission has never been serviced even though ZF who make it say service every 60 to 80k) This may well resolve the TCM and Gear Monitoring codes. If not a visit to a Transmission specialist will be needed.

Your transfer box code, first check the tyres, mismatched tyres will cause damage to the transfer box (this is true of all 4x4 transmissions) when the car is reversed on full lock is there a jumping jerking from the transmission? After it has been driven if you open the drivers window before turning off listen foe a clicking sound ? My guess would be tyre issues have any been changed recently? Check tyre pressures are all correct.

Glow plugs not an uncommon fault with all diesels a few years old, not essential if it is starting OK but as winter approaches worth changing all 6 and the Glowplug relay.

Steering Angle sensor reset by driving slowly forward turning lock to lock. ABS should reset with the steering angle sensor and fully charged battery.

Good advice from Richard. There was a BMW specialist in Oldham who was very active on the Forums a few years ago worth a check on Google

The X5 is a great tow car I brought ours to pull a horse trailer after selling our Horse Lorry, it's dragged 2 fat horses all over the place for the last ten years. Including Rivington when our Daughter lived at Blackrod.

Let us know how you get on




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Hi Emma

How recently did you buy  the car and where from? 15 years old so it's not surprising it's not perfect but if this is a recent purchase from a dealer, then was there / is there any sort of warranty? Hopefully GreyDog has given you his usual high standard of advice, but if any of these faults turn out to be major (particularly the Transfer Box issues), then you could be looking at bills which would be more than the value of the car.

Hope this helps



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Morning Emma

Don't be frightened of the transfer box it is as tough as old boots the common issue is the actuator gear and motor mounted on the side of the Transfer case. Inside it is the actuator gear it is made of a nylon material and the teeth strip. New improved gears are available and your mechanic friend should be able to change it easily, there are several you tube "how to's" that will help. 

I have just (yesterday, well it was raining) carried out this repair on a friends 2007 E70 He brought the transfer repair kit from Ebay for £18 delivered to remove the actuator clean it up, strip it change to drive gear and replace it took this old bloke 3 hours including coffee and cake stops. Problem fixed no lights all working as it should. The BMW Dealer quoted £1200 for the complete assembly plus Labour plus VAT all in around £2k. All work carried out in my garage at home on ramps.

Your mechanic friend must be younger and bendier than me so should be able to do it at least as quickly.

Good luck


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