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  1. #1
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    Steptronic shifting

    I have a 1999 540iT with Steptronic Auto, and when I move the shift lever from normal over to Sport, the engine revs don't change up......there is no differance with the transmission. The box will still shift up and down from 1st to 5th and back, but no change from sport to normal.
    The car only gets 22 mpg on the freeway, so I think it is always in sport mode.
    Two things......can someone with a 540iT please tell me what road speed they are traveling at when the revs are 3000 in both sport and normal.........and also, can anyone suggest what may be wrong to cause the trans not to shift from Sport to normal and back


  2. #2
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    What you've described sounds normal. > > >

    For the most part, switching between normal mode and Sport mode just changes the shift points; it doesn't instantly create a downshift resulting in higher RPM. At lower speeds (<40) it can cause a downshift depending on speed, throttle position, and heaven knows what else feeds into the algorithm but even then it's not "automatic."

    How long have you owned your 540i? Has something actually changed or is this all about your expectations of what 'should' be happening when moving between normal and Sport?



    Filehorse
    Knoxville, TN
    BMWCCA #407627

    2002 525i Steptronic Sport/Premium | Build Date: 05/02
    81,000 Ultimate Driving miles
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    2001 E46 325i (Jet Black) Forced Retirement 6/28/09

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  3. #3
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    With my 200 540i sport, going to sport...

    mode does 3 things immediately. 1. if driving down the road in 5th gear, move it to sport and it immediately drops to 4th and holds that until down shift is needed. 2. from a dead stop, instead of starting out in 2nd gear (normal mode) it starts out in 1st gear. 3. It holds the gear longer until upsift at light throttle load. In sport mode, it raises the shift points to redline at WOT and it will hold gears in spirited driving ie: if hussling thru corners and it is in 2nd gear and you need to slow to clip an apex, it will hold 2nd gear thru the apex and let the engine go to redline at WOT before upshifting; this unsettles the car less and allows you to come off a corner hard and not hunt for the correct gears. This will happen in any gear. IMO, the shifts in sport mode are still slow, not lightning quick or firm like my 87 535 was in sport mode. I guess they have the slow shift with slight power loss during the shifts to keep the tranny alive. It is uncanny how the algorithym controls the tranny in sport mode; I don't think I could do it better if I tried to do it manually. Besides, it would be a waste of time since the shifts do not happen immediately in manual mode.Fritracer
    Cincinnati, OH
    2000 540ia Sport Package 9/99 Silver/Black
    1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 420 stroker w/6 Pak 430 HP,
    510 lbft torque

  4. #4
    change, & gear holds occur. Eurodavid
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    +1 to what Filehorse & Frit said: just shiftpoints


  5. #5
    ExAlfa
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    +1, but with Dinan software some changes happen

    My shifts are pretty quick, and downshifts seem to take place with off-throttle. A call to Dinan Tech informed that the trans can handle rowing through the gears if desired. If I recall correctly the owners manual suggests driving in Sport mode for most driving and then use D when on the highway. I shift into D once I hit highway speed. Otherwise it is in 4S.

  6. #6
    Craig in Canada
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    Also changes shift pressure (more)

    After doing an AT pan drop, cleanup, filter change, and fluid replacement with Amsoil ATF (instead of Esso LT71141) on my dad's 2002 540iA it was finally behaving properly and better than when almost new.

    It was hard to tell with all of the goofy things it was doing before the change but after the change it was clear as day that shift pressure is higher in sport mode. In D while driving normally shifts were heard and not felt. In S while driving normally shifts were heard, felt, and noticeably quicker. If you turn up the wick a little in sport mode it's more willing to wind out more but 1/ until you've trained it and 2/ unless you drive a little spirited you might not notice much difference in S.

    Honestly, S is probably better for the transmission because slip=wear to the clutches.

    A 525 will have a different transmission than a 540 and may have different programming as well.

  7. #7
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    Whatever BMW did with the steptronic it is magic

    There’s more than just stirring the box going on.

    I like the holding of 2nd gear in start/stop traffic (once I read the owner's manual and knew what it was doing) and then there's the torque converter clutch and labyrinth of hydraulic valves. And the self adapting changes as well .... bloody good auto transmissions.

    Makes me think I'll have to try the dual-clutch manuals - software is the key and better than my foot and arm work.

  8. #8
    Rich 5
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    Thanks Fitracer

    Fitracer, thanks a lot for this detailed description of how your car works. I understand that each computer 'learns and modifys' a little, so different cars may be slightly different.
    I though that nothing was different when I moved from normal to Sport, but my 540 act like yours in some ways, and unlike it in others.
    My other car is a 1997 840Ci, and it behaves very much like your car in all respects, and feeling the difference between my two makes the 540 seem like it isn't working.
    While cruising in 5th, I shift into sport, and the revs don't go up, and it doesn't go to 4th gear. And when I come to a stop, it feels like it downshifts to 1st before it stops. But I don't see it in the 'gear position' light, and it doesn't feel like it pulls away in 1st. It does shift at a higher point, and it does tend to hold onto a gear much longer when needed.
    So maybe it needs to re-learn? I have disconnected the battery overnight to send the computer back to factory settings, but this shifting aspect doesn't change.
    I do like this box holding a gear longer, and shifting higher, but wish it would shift down to 4th when I go to sport.......like your car and my 840.
    Thanks again for your input, and also thanks from the others who added their thoughts. Reading through them all, seems to send the message that the computer has quite a range for what it can do.
    I know that some of the 'very knowledgeable' BMW technicians can manipulate the settings to change a lot, using their black control box......wish I knew one in my Phoenix area. Thanks again to all.

  9. #9
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    Re: Thanks Fitracer

    Rich,
    If you want to see if it is starting out in 1st in sport mode, count the number of shift after moving from a stop. If you count 3, that would be 4th gear, 4 would be 5th. If you count 4 shifts, drop it into 4th and see if it downshifts. If you count three, slide the shifter to normal and see if it up shifts to 5th. As far as the downshift to 1st when coming to a stop, it does this and in my car it is very noticable; almost like I hit the brakes hard.
    Also in sport mode, I have heard that it changes the fuel and spark curve in the engine mamagement computer. Don't know how true this is but my car feels a lot stronger in sport mode. I would love to get some Dinan software, but man, those prices are hard to swallow right now.Fritracer
    Cincinnati, OH
    2000 540ia Sport Package 9/99 Silver/Black
    1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 420 stroker w/6 Pak 430 HP,
    510 lbft torque

  10. #10
    Miniron
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    Steptronic driving style/traffic adaptions.

    These are reset to the default settings every time the ignition is turned off. They are not permanent.

    RonR
    99528iT M52TU

  11. #11
    Bla
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    Dinan Software Sale... check website

    There have be recent sales on Dinan chips/software at the Dinan website. You may want to check. If no current sale, give them a call and ask if there's another sale coming up.

  12. #12
    Blaumax
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    Dinan Software Sale... check website

    There have be recent sales on Dinan chips/software at the Dinan website. You may want to check. If no current sale, give them a call and ask if there's another sale coming up.

  13. #13
    Rich 5
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    Re: Thanks Fitracer

    well.....after reading your two emails, and paying more attention when driving, I have to say that my car seems to behave exactly like yours EXCEPT that it doesn't automatically shift fron 5th to 4th when I shift from normal to Sport; and this is what was confusing me at the start of this whole mission.
    In Sport, the trans holds the revs longer.....3300 instead of 2700.....and if I stand on it, the box holds each gear up to the Red-line, and the car does drive in a more spirited way.

  14. #14
    Rich 5
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    Re: Also changes shift pressure (more)

    I agree with you about the fluid and filter change.
    I also have a 1997 840Ci and over the years I have heard a lot of stories about the VooDoo of changing the BMW Auto oil.....people say it messes everything up........what a load of Bo***cks. Its just another transmission and if the job is done properly, then the oil & filter change is good for it.

    After changing the oil and filter in my 540, (the oil that came out was defiantly a lot worse than the new....had 82,000 miles)the trans was very well behaved....fixed harsh sudden downshifts for one.

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