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Matt, Engineer
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 21720
Experience:  Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering, worked 8 years as a Formula 1 engine engineer.
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I have a 2004 BMW 545i where it is stuck in neutral but when

Customer Question

Hey i have a 2004 BMW 545i where it is stuck in neutral but when car offf the ground and in the air all gears work
JA: How old is the transmission? Have you checked the brake switch?
Customer: The car has 118k miles
JA: Are you fixing your 545i yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: No didn't check brake switch I'm not fixing myself trying to gauge how much cost would be
JA: I'm not sure of the exact price, but there's only a $5 deposit. The rest of the price information will be on the page I send you to.
Customer: Deposit?
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not sure how this works
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.


the site takes a deposit from you at the beginning and this is held by the site until you rate my answer at which point the cash is split between the site and the expert

However you can keep asking questions on the same post as the process is supposed to a be a dialogue with information going back and forth to solve the problem

I'd 1st check the fluid level on the transmission is correct and the fluid is also in good condition

check its level with the gearbox warm and just after you've moved the selector through all the positions leaving it for a few seconds in each one and then back to park.

You can top up the box through the side fill port if required and make sure you use the correct oil for your car as the fluids are not all the same. Some manufacturers recommended a change of the type of fluid - Speak to the local dealer and parts dept - they will advise you on the updated fluid to use..

If that’s all OK then check all the electrical connections of the gearbox, remove each connector in turn and spray with contact cleaner. Check that the wiring to the gearbox is in good condition with no chafing or frayed wire

If this is OK then check the selector lever linkage / cable under the car for any broken parts and or missing bolts as if this is coming adrift then it can rub on the car body or just bind up

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Attached are some notes from the dealer after prelim check I believe they check fluids and relay pump
Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.


so reading the notes this looks to be an SMG ( automated manual) gearbox? so there's no clutch pedal but its otherwise a normal manual gearbox with the gear selection automated

as the transmission works OK with the wheels in the air I suspect that the clutch plate may be stuck onto the flywheel

now the normal 'fix' in this situation is to start the car with it in gear and drive the car up and down the road

usually the clutch will then let go with a 'bang' and the gearshift will be a bit rough for the next few hundred miles while it all beds in again

with this scenario I doubt that the electronics will allow you to start in gear and if the system doesn't see the correct input shaft speed it won't let the clutch out

so sorry to say I think the next option is to remove the transmission so the clutch plate can be prised off the flywheel and new parts fitted

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
How much would you esstimate this costs ?
Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.


Its about 5-6 hours to remove the transmission and then remove the old clutch plate and then fit new parts, clean it all up and refit the transmission

so say 6 hours albour plus $400 in parts for a new clutch plate and sundries

Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.


do you still need help?

Bear in mind that the site takes a deposit from you at the beginning and this is held by the site until you rate my answer at which point the cash is split between the site and the expert. I am only paid for my work on this question if you rate my answer, using the star system at the top of the screen. Please do not forget! Thank you

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yeah is there anything else u can think of that this may be ?
Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.

well the other possibility is that the hydraulic pump has failed so there's no effort available to push the clutch fully

however this normally flags up as a fault

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Do these lights mean anything ?
Expert:  Matt replied 7 months ago.


yes the ABS fault needs investigating but I doubt its related to the SMG issue as its a seperate system but its well worth getting the ABS code pulled off