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Old 06-08-2015, 02:37 PM   #1
Sweetness
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ZF 5HP19 Torque Converter Failure w/ Symptoms

One man's loss is another's man's gain.

Posting this thread for informational purposes, as well as possibly receiving some feedback for both I and future viewers with this problem.

So here it goes-

Got back from the BMW Dealership this morning. Unlike some fanatics, the one nearest me treats me exceptionally well and values having me around. I often get free parts/oil as well as getting free diagnosis service most times because I have developed a strong rapport with the mechanic and always request him along with his service adviser. With that being said, I trust their diagnosis and value their help.

Although the E46 is the kingpin of strange noises being able to be easily identified, I began to document a noise for the past two years that gave no conclusive evidence. It started as a galloping noise, with a deep throaty thud...and turned into an engine gurgle when I started to accelerate. Those threads are documented below.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...711&highlight=

I originally thought it was a clogged Cat. Converter, however, emissions came back squeaky clean. I then checked for exhaust leaks- nada. The exhaust leak was thought to be the original issue more often that not. I replaced my exhaust from the manifold back with a Magnaflow setup and the noise still remained. So I lived with the noise and knew that DIY-OEM refurbished headers would be a purchase soon enough, and should eliminate it. I didn't make it that far...

This past week- the car started gurgling and surging worse, although it really was a regular week of laid back driving, it started sounding like a lawnmower. A key noise that also popped up was a grinding noise similar to that of a cordless drill overtorquing a screw, when the car coasted downhill. Switching gears via tiptronics did nothing but slow or hurry the noise. The big noise the car made was when it idled, and makes this horrendous metallic knocking which made it sound like a rod-knock. I captured a video of it.

So I took it to the dealership this morning, already thinking a new car or car lease is in the works- and found out that it wasn't engine nor exhaust related, but was coming from the bell housing area. Stethoscope confirmed via underneath car with a lift. Also, the view port on the bell housing shows a wobbly torque converter when it spun, and did not spin truly on an axis. So, I am stuck with a bad torque converter.

I changed my transmission fluid correctly to spec ~20,000 miles ago.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...751&highlight=

My car is meticulously maintained and I don't beat it up too much on the road.

With that, I need your help.

Would I need to replace the whole transmission?
Where would I source the torque converter only?
What are the costs associated with the project?
At 160,000 miles, is it worth doing the project, or should I get a used car or lease?

Any help is appreciated!

Last edited by Sweetness; 06-08-2015 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:06 PM   #2
jjrichar
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Dropping the TX and changing the TC is not a big job. TCs can be bought from numerous places, generally as a rebuilt unit.

The problem you have is that small bits of metal will have worn off and flowed back to the rest of the TX. Having had a good look at the TX, the return oil flow from the TC will go back to the pan. Small pieces of ferrous metal will stick to the magnets, and anything significant will get stuck in the filter. Anything that gets through this into the valve body will get caught in the valve body screen. If the TX is shifting fine now, it should be OK.

If this was my car, this is what I would do:

1. Drain oil from pan, remove pan and filter. Clean magnets, replace filter and fit pan. This will get most of the oil from the pump and transmission body. The valve body wills still have oil in it, but it won't be much. If you are worried about the valve body, you can remove it and rebuild it for very little cost, maybe $100, assuming you do the work yourself. It's not hard, just a little time consuming.
2. Drop the TX and replace the TC.
3. Fill with oil. It now should have about 95% new oil in it. Any residual pieces of metal will get caught in the filter or stick to the magnets.

Doing this will give you pretty much a brand new gearbox.

My belief is a car that has been car of that age, if serviced well, will last a lot, lot longer. My car is of similar age, and goes like it's new. I plan to be driving it for many years into the future.

Link to info on the TX below.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=928248
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:18 PM   #3
BaliDawg
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I recently got a quote for a remanufactured torque converter for my E39 and saved the email, posted below for your reference.

-----------------------------------

Thank you for your Quick Quotation request www.torqueconverter1.com!
Most dependable REMANUFACTURED torque converter you can buy at factory direct price!

--- Over 3,069 customers FEEDBACK with 99% Satisfaction -

- NO CORE RETURN REQUIRED -
- 1 YEAR WARRANTY -


***************** HERE IS YOUR QUOTE ****************
*** This quote expires in 7 days from e-mail date ***


Vehicle: 02 BMW 530i 3.0L ZF5HP19 **upgraded seal**

Your torque converter price is $279 + Free S&H.
Our Part # ZF34B

Most orders shipped within 24 hours (Mon-Sat) after confirmed checkout.
It will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail 2-3 days service or UPS Ground depend on the size of your converter.
The tracking # will be email to you once shipped. Continental US delivery time is approx. 2-3 days.

- S&H based on domestic US only -


************************ ORDER INSTRUCTION ***********************

For any reason you are having trouble checking out, please email/call us for invoice.

California Resident: Add 8.75% sales tax to torque converter price (exclude S&H)

When you are ready to order, go to www.torqueconverter1.com --> Buy Now Section -->
and put "Part Number (Quoted)" and your "Vehicle Information" and click "Buy Now" button.

On next page, please put "Total Price including SHIPPING fee" at "Item Price" section on the Left Screen
and Click "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" on Right Screen to checkout (or log in to your Paypal account).

- Pay with Visa, M/C, AMEX, Discover, Check Visa - M/C, you do NOT need Paypal account to pay -

Please check our product warranty info: http://www.torqueconverter1.com/About_Us.html


************************************************************ ******

See most recent (over 3,069) CUSTOMERS FEEDBACK with 99% Satisfaction: www.torqueconverter1.com

Our company has been in remanufacturing torque converter business for over 27 years and currently
serving over 100+ transmission shops in Southern California on daily basis.
Now, you can enjoy direct factory prices on over 500 types of torque converters.

If you have any question, please email me or call (562) 644-1534 Johnny *Pacific Standard Time.

Sincerely,

Johnny
Torco Enterprise Inc.
333 W. 130th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90061
Tel: (562) 644-1534
www.torqueconverter1.com
Email: johnny@torqueconverter1.com
__________________
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Last edited by BaliDawg; 06-08-2015 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:52 PM   #4
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5 or 6 speed swap
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:13 PM   #5
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I am going to guess that the bearing spun and dislodged itself from the transmission because of the wobble.

Need some basic cleaning and bearing replacement. Well worth it if you want to keep your car.

.
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:08 PM   #6
Sweetness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjrichar View Post
Dropping the TX and changing the TC is not a big job. TCs can be bought from numerous places, generally as a rebuilt unit.

The problem you have is that small bits of metal will have worn off and flowed back to the rest of the TX. Having had a good look at the TX, the return oil flow from the TC will go back to the pan. Small pieces of ferrous metal will stick to the magnets, and anything significant will get stuck in the filter. Anything that gets through this into the valve body will get caught in the valve body screen. If the TX is shifting fine now, it should be OK.

If this was my car, this is what I would do:

1. Drain oil from pan, remove pan and filter. Clean magnets, replace filter and fit pan. This will get most of the oil from the pump and transmission body. The valve body wills still have oil in it, but it won't be much. If you are worried about the valve body, you can remove it and rebuild it for very little cost, maybe $100, assuming you do the work yourself. It's not hard, just a little time consuming.
2. Drop the TX and replace the TC.
3. Fill with oil. It now should have about 95% new oil in it. Any residual pieces of metal will get caught in the filter or stick to the magnets.

Doing this will give you pretty much a brand new gearbox.

My belief is a car that has been car of that age, if serviced well, will last a lot, lot longer. My car is of similar age, and goes like it's new. I plan to be driving it for many years into the future.

Link to info on the TX below.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=928248
Before looking at this thread, I figured this would be my option. Replaced the fluid about 2 years ago, so I know this time around should be a total overhaul and will have about 100% new fluid! Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaliDawg View Post
I recently got a quote for a remanufactured torque converter for my E39 and saved the email, posted below for your reference.

-----------------------------------

Thank you for your Quick Quotation request www.torqueconverter1.com!
Most dependable REMANUFACTURED torque converter you can buy at factory direct price!

--- Over 3,069 customers FEEDBACK with 99% Satisfaction -

- NO CORE RETURN REQUIRED -
- 1 YEAR WARRANTY -


***************** HERE IS YOUR QUOTE ****************
*** This quote expires in 7 days from e-mail date ***


Vehicle: 02 BMW 530i 3.0L ZF5HP19 **upgraded seal**

Your torque converter price is $279 + Free S&H.
Our Part # ZF34B

Most orders shipped within 24 hours (Mon-Sat) after confirmed checkout.
It will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail 2-3 days service or UPS Ground depend on the size of your converter.
The tracking # will be email to you once shipped. Continental US delivery time is approx. 2-3 days.

- S&H based on domestic US only -


************************ ORDER INSTRUCTION ***********************

For any reason you are having trouble checking out, please email/call us for invoice.

California Resident: Add 8.75% sales tax to torque converter price (exclude S&H)

When you are ready to order, go to www.torqueconverter1.com --> Buy Now Section -->
and put "Part Number (Quoted)" and your "Vehicle Information" and click "Buy Now" button.

On next page, please put "Total Price including SHIPPING fee" at "Item Price" section on the Left Screen
and Click "Pay with Debit or Credit Card" on Right Screen to checkout (or log in to your Paypal account).

- Pay with Visa, M/C, AMEX, Discover, Check Visa - M/C, you do NOT need Paypal account to pay -

Please check our product warranty info: http://www.torqueconverter1.com/About_Us.html


************************************************************ ******

See most recent (over 3,069) CUSTOMERS FEEDBACK with 99% Satisfaction: www.torqueconverter1.com

Our company has been in remanufacturing torque converter business for over 27 years and currently
serving over 100+ transmission shops in Southern California on daily basis.
Now, you can enjoy direct factory prices on over 500 types of torque converters.

If you have any question, please email me or call (562) 644-1534 Johnny *Pacific Standard Time.

Sincerely,

Johnny
Torco Enterprise Inc.
333 W. 130th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90061
Tel: (562) 644-1534
www.torqueconverter1.com
Email: johnny@torqueconverter1.com
Thank you sir! I was seeing prices around there and was wondering what the most reputable source would be from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
5 or 6 speed swap
Was thinking this but after looking at Cranium's thread, it's a lot more pricey in labor and would take double the time!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
I am going to guess that the bearing spun and dislodged itself from the transmission because of the wobble.

Need some basic cleaning and bearing replacement. Well worth it if you want to keep your car.

.
Sounds great!
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:22 PM   #7
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I would get it replaced, I got mine replaced on my last E46 and it was around $1600 parts/labor from a ZF authorized shop which was way less than i expected. I would change the rear main seal while you're at it. I think there is another leaky point where the wires go into the gearbox too that's a pain to replace with out removing the transmission but IDK about that really.

Last edited by nbesheer; 06-13-2015 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Price edit
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:45 PM   #8
armykyle1
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I would definitely check the fluid, replace the filters and replace the TC. If you like your car, there's no reason not to do this.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:10 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Sweetness;16657087]:Was thinking this but after looking at Cranium's thread, it's a lot more pricey in labor and would take double the time!
QUOTE]

The 5 speed swap is a lot cheaper then a 6 speed. If you were to do it 5 speed would be the way to go. Eh its some labor but it will totally change your car.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbesheer View Post
I would get it replaced, I got mine replaced on my last E46 and it was around $500 parts/labor from a ZF authorized shop which was way less than i expected. I would change the rear main seal while you're at it. I think there is another leaky point where the wires go into the gearbox too that's a pain to replace with out removing the transmission but IDK about that really.
That is an exceptional price if that's the case. I heard that ZF certified shops are really moderate with pricing. A big thank you for reminding me about the rear main seal, I didn't even think about that. What is required to replace the gasket there? As in labor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by armykyle1 View Post
I would definitely check the fluid, replace the filters and replace the TC. If you like your car, there's no reason not to do this.
I agree. Just a matter of not having much cash at the moment.

[QUOTE=zander271;16657148]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetness View Post
:Was thinking this but after looking at Cranium's thread, it's a lot more pricey in labor and would take double the time!
QUOTE]

The 5 speed swap is a lot cheaper then a 6 speed. If you were to do it 5 speed would be the way to go. Eh its some labor but it will totally change your car.
I'll look more into it. I totally want a manual. Changes the car for sure. Drove an SMG for the first time last week and even that was a huge difference.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:00 PM   #11
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A question- I was thinking about swapping in a new transmission altogether to possibly save labor costs ahead of time and just have a newer piece of equipment in there that lasts longer.

Is a transmission plug-n-play?
Would I be able to switch to another transmission? Seems like all of them are better than the 5HP19.
Will everything bolt up directly?
Anything to look out for?

Last edited by Sweetness; 06-13-2015 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:32 PM   #12
nbesheer
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Dang I went back in my records for my previous car (2011) and it was actually 1,650 for the TC converter/fluid/gasket/filter service. I think i was remembering $500 as the price for the filter/gasket/and partial fluid exchange. as for the rear main seal I would imagine it's just pull the old one out with a pick and seat a new one in there. I've only done a rear seal on a 1983 nissan transmission so I'm not sure what carries over to an e46 haha. also does the transmission have a input shaft seal or something like that ?
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbesheer View Post
Dang I went back in my records for my previous car (2011) and it was actually 1,650 for the TC converter/fluid/gasket/filter service. I think i was remembering $500 as the price for the filter/gasket/and partial fluid exchange. as for the rear main seal I would imagine it's just pull the old one out with a pick and seat a new one in there. I've only done a rear seal on a 1983 nissan transmission so I'm not sure what carries over to an e46 haha. also does the transmission have a input shaft seal or something like that ?
It does. With that being said, I think it's safe to say I should just pickup a new transmission online if I can for that price. And then just pay to swap it.
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Old 06-14-2015, 03:29 AM   #14
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Just follow my sig for a sure cure to the ZF 5HP19 headache you're experiencing. I've been there, done that kind of thing.
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Old 06-14-2015, 06:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetness View Post
Was thinking this but after looking at Cranium's thread, it's a lot more pricey in labor and would take double the time!
I did the swap because I didn't want to put in another auto trans that would be prone to failure and I just wanted my car to be stick for the longest.
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Old 06-14-2015, 03:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
Just follow my sig for a sure cure to the ZF 5HP19 headache you're experiencing. I've been there, done that kind of thing.
You don't know how much I appreciate the craftsmanship of your thread. But $3,000 for a car that is worth that, explicitly, isn't the route for me. I'm looking to be under $1,000. Just graduated college here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
I did the swap because I didn't want to put in another auto trans that would be prone to failure and I just wanted my car to be stick for the longest.
Very true. You put a lot of work into it, and the swap was the finishing touch for all your hard work on this "project car". I just need a fix, not another project.
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Old 06-14-2015, 03:48 PM   #17
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The golden question I need answered is: Can I swap a GM AUTO for my ZF without coding or wiring? Does it bolt directly? ALSO, would the Z3 transmission fit?

Last edited by Sweetness; 06-14-2015 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-14-2015, 05:15 PM   #18
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From what I have read the answer is no.

As to your problem, I would highly recommend staying away from rebuilt units. I did a lot of research before replacing the TC in my ZF and I eventually just had a certified BMW and ZF trans shop replace it with an original ZF TC part for a total cost of $1650 out the door. Btw when my trans was dropped, the TC that failed with little mileage was a rebuilt unit the previous owner installed. Yet more proof to steer clear of rebuilt.

On the other hand, if you were thinking manual, now is the time to do it.
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Old 06-14-2015, 05:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCaLe39 View Post
...had a certified BMW and ZF trans shop replace it with an original ZF TC part for a total cost of $1650 out the door...
Which shop was this? I may want to use them one day. Thanks.
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Last edited by BaliDawg; 06-14-2015 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 06-14-2015, 05:53 PM   #20
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Dose Independent BMW shop in San Diego area.

Wife and I dropped the car off. Got a rental and spent the weekend in San Diego then drove the car home.
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