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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-08-2012, 02:02 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 349
My Ride: 330 Ci convertible
Project 5HP19 Transmission: Selector Switch

Selector switch

Link to other parts of the project

On the side of the transmission is a large switch. This is what tells the car which gear has been selected. You may need to replace this if it fails, or if you are like me, you will want to pull it apart, find out what is wrong with it and fix it.

If it fails, you will get an OBD code saying that the switch is giving an invalid value, and the transmission will go into limp mode (stuck in 4th gear). Unfortunately I know this because my wifeís Audi (which has a 5HP19 transmission) had this issue. Fortunately for BMW owners, the switch is easily accessible from under the car. On the Audi itís a nightmare but thatís another story. I think Iíve mentioned before in other posts that the BMW is far easier to work on than the Audi, and a miles better car. Iíll mention it again. Our problem was fixed by having the engine off, but the ignition turned on, and then running the gear lever back and forth through all the gears over and over about a hundred times. The car hadnít been started for about 6 months (due to us living overseas) and I think some of the contacts maybe got some moisture in them and corroded a little. Who knows? It now works, and I didnít have to pay Audi $800 for a new switch, and about $1500 in labour to fix it. Did I also mention that Audi charge about twice as much for the same parts as BMW?

If you do have a problem with the switch, here are some photos that might help in pulling it apart and fixing it. Disconnect the gear select cable and then remove the switch. Unfortunately the switch is riveted together. Drill the rivet heads off, and then knock them out. To put it back together you can rivet it if you like, or do what I did. Get some small nuts/bolts and with a little loctite have it back like new. Donít worry about the heads of the bolts sticking out, there is plenty of room on each side of the switch for the other components that are around it.

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Old 07-08-2012, 03:58 AM   #2
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Cool post, thank you.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
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This has no relevance to my manual transmission.....nice writeup none the less
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:37 PM   #4
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Awesome detailed thread.
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Old 11-25-2015, 12:51 AM   #5
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This might interest some people who have the 5hp19 in their car.

Over the last couple of weeks, when starting the car for the first time in the morning I was getting the transmission cog light on the instrument console. INPA was telling me it was the selector switch.

I changed the selector switch over to the one that I had left over from the project (the one pictured above) and everything worked fine. The only thing that was different was that now the gear lever was slightly stiffer to move. You wouldn't notice the difference unless you had been driving the car every day for a long time.

I then rebuilt the switch that came from the car. When I pulled it apart, it was completely different inside. In an act of buffoonery I didn't take a photo of it, but this switch was simply an arm with four contacts attached, and a corresponding set of contacts they move against. The difference in design is such that the newer type switch (the one that came from my car) turns much more easily than the old style, which was causing the slight increase in stiffness. What I also noticed was that the wiper and contacts were covered in that white paste type grease that you always see on plastic parts. So I cleaned up the contacts and bent the wiper arm contacts slightly so they put a bit more force on the part they slide against. I then riveted it all back together again and installed it in the car.

I'm not 100% sure why, but now the car goes into gear so much better. Previously it would sometimes give a bit of a thunk when selecting D, and generally only on the first time I selected in the morning, and this is with a rebuilt valve body and new fluid throughout. Now it's like butter every time. I can only assume that when you move the gear shift, the TCM senses each of the gear selections and knows what's coming, and with the wipers all cleaned up, it does this better. I'm a bit amazed to be honest and I'm waiting for it to revert to old habits. In the meantime, I can't help but be amazed at the difference each time I select D.

Removing the switch, cleaning it up and putting it back on is about a 1 hr DIY. If I'd known it was going to make such a difference, I would have done it years ago.

Last edited by jjrichar; 11-25-2015 at 12:53 AM.
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