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XBimmers | BMW X3 Forum BMW X3 Forums | E83 (2003-2010) First Generation BMW X3 General Forum Fixed BMW triad of lights. However the rear wheels skid or lock up now.

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      12-22-2018, 02:12 PM   #1
TransferCaseActuator
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Fixed BMW triad of lights. However the rear wheels skid or lock up now.

I had BMW triad of lights for my 2008 X3. I replaced the transfer case servo motor's plastic gear that was chewed. BMW triad of lights went away.

However, now I noticed that if I accelerate or brake at low speeds with steering wheel turned left or right, then both or one of the rear wheels skid or lock up (ie I feel it by car jerking a little bit). This does not happen if I brake or accelerate in straight line.

I also replaced all 4 tires. The problem did not go away. Though Costco tire center recommended that I check alignment because tires were not evenly worn.

The questions I have:
1. Maybe this skidding/locking up is normal for bmw x3? I just did not pay enough attention before?
2. If it is not normal, then how to troubleshoot further?
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      12-23-2018, 02:51 PM   #2
CanadaeastKTM
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Likely not to do with tires and the transfer case itself. Try changing the fluid (use the dealer fluid only). Seems to have helped with mine had the same thing felt like square wheels on the rear at low speed turns/change of direction. Itís issues with the transfer case but fresh fluid seems to help.
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      12-23-2018, 04:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
Likely not to do with tires and the transfer case itself. Try changing the fluid (use the dealer fluid only). Seems to have helped with mine had the same thing felt like square wheels on the rear at low speed turns/change of direction. Itís issues with the transfer case but fresh fluid seems to help.
As per -
- did you have any codes indicating that transfer case fluid needs to be changed? Like "54c5 VTG Oil Wear"?

I agree that in my case most likely the issue is not caused by tires because the issue happened also with original tires.
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      12-23-2018, 08:38 PM   #4
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I changed mine yesterday, and donít want to jinx it but drove a few times already and itís not having those issues (for now). The very first drive after changing the fluid it sounded whiny and funny sounding but I think that was the adaptation to relearn the fluid level. So far so good since then.
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      12-24-2018, 02:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
I changed mine yesterday, and donít want to jinx it but drove a few times already and itís not having those issues (for now). The very first drive after changing the fluid it sounded whiny and funny sounding but I think that was the adaptation to relearn the fluid level. So far so good since then.
Cool, give me an update in few days if issue indeed went away. Will probably give a shot to replace fluid if it has a chance of solving the problem.

I saw that quite few folks are using Ravenol J1C1125 Transfer Case Fluid TF-0870 instead of OEM fluid (2x price difference and ships from Amazon quicker). Any idea if it would be just as good as OEM fluid?
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      12-24-2018, 08:59 AM   #6
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Oh sorry forgot to answer your question if I had codes, no I had no codes but just bought this car second hand they could have removed pins from the Speedo or pulled bulbs so wonít know if there are stored codes until I hook up an OBD.
So I read specifically that some folks had t-case issue after routine maintenance and used ravenol instead of the Power Devider TF0870. I went with the dealer fluid which wasnít Power Devider either they superseded with a new fluid but itís supposed to be exact same. So I went with the dealer fluid just to be on the safe side for the correct clutch additives and what not.
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      01-13-2019, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
Oh sorry forgot to answer your question if I had codes, no I had no codes but just bought this car second hand they could have removed pins from the Speedo or pulled bulbs so wonít know if there are stored codes until I hook up an OBD.
So I read specifically that some folks had t-case issue after routine maintenance and used ravenol instead of the Power Devider TF0870. I went with the dealer fluid which wasnít Power Devider either they superseded with a new fluid but itís supposed to be exact same. So I went with the dealer fluid just to be on the safe side for the correct clutch additives and what not.
I changed the transfer case fluid yesterday night. The good news is that issue has almost disappeared when I turn steering wheel ~90 degrees. However, when I turn 180 degrees or more, then there is still a little bit shuddering coming from rear.

So my followup questions are:
1. Did you have to put some miles on the car for the issue to go away completely?
2. Did you have to reset something in computer to let it know that there is new fluid inside now?
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      01-13-2019, 05:16 PM   #8
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So after changing the fluid the shutters went maybe 80% away. I did notice, I seem to get it more after a long drive or when car is fully up to temp from driving a while and then go somewhere with right turns like a parking lot.
Very slow speed tight turning.
But like I said improved 80% since fluid change.
I went to the nearby independent BMW specialist and he reset the transfer case oil adaptation, but canít really tell if improved any further.
Iím happy I did the fluid change because before that it was sounding really bad and felt like square back tires almost from all the chunking and clunking.
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      01-13-2019, 05:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
So after changing the fluid the shutters went maybe 80% away. I did notice, I seem to get it more after a long drive or when car is fully up to temp from driving a while and then go somewhere with right turns like a parking lot.
Very slow speed tight turning.
But like I said improved 80% since fluid change.
I went to the nearby independent BMW specialist and he reset the transfer case oil adaptation, but canít really tell if improved any further.
Iím happy I did the fluid change because before that it was sounding really bad and felt like square back tires almost from all the chunking and clunking.
I read on one forum that some BMW owners recommend to drive ~500 miles after first transfer case fluid replacement and then do another one.

The theory is that there is possibly some gunk left that is still preventing transfer case from operating 100% smoothly.

Once I accumulate those 500 miles may give a shot again to replace fluid again.

In the meantime if you already have 500 miles and plan to do this experiment before me, then please post an update how it went.

Thanks!
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      01-25-2019, 01:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
So after changing the fluid the shutters went maybe 80% away. I did notice, I seem to get it more after a long drive or when car is fully up to temp from driving a while and then go somewhere with right turns like a parking lot.
Very slow speed tight turning.
But like I said improved 80% since fluid change.
I went to the nearby independent BMW specialist and he reset the transfer case oil adaptation, but canít really tell if improved any further.
Iím happy I did the fluid change because before that it was sounding really bad and felt like square back tires almost from all the chunking and clunking.
I just did transfer case adaption value recalibration with ISTA/D (AKA Rheingold) and it seems that any remaining rear jerking issue went away completely.

To do that I had to buy OBD2-style BMW specific scan tool from Amazon for $59.99. The seller did not include ISTA/D with the DVD that came with tool (DVD only had INPA that can't recalibrate transfer case adaptions). So I had to ask seller explicitly to provide ISTA/D download link, which he did.

I am wondering if perhaps your indy did not do a proper transfer case re-calibration? Or maybe, unfortunately, your transfer case is worn out completely...

P.S.1 I probably need to take car for a longer drive to be 100% sure that jerking issue is gone 100%.

P.S.2 I would not be surprised that transfer case was having all these issues because few years ago one tire got flat and was replaced with brand new, while remaining three were ~50% worn.
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      01-25-2019, 09:49 AM   #11
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Most Indy mechanics and even dealers don't reset the transfer case oil wear...because vehicle is our of warranty anyway
To test the t-case, you'll need at least 3 wheel rollers or heavy snow+ice. The idea is to make the vehicle deliberately lose traction and have the 4x4 light activate. Then you'll want to use INPA or ISTA to see if there is a transfer case malfunction code....if there is, you'll need a new one of you have stuttering/noise issues, etc.
To turn on t-case/off:

Last edited by frisbeeguy; 01-25-2019 at 12:59 PM..
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      02-01-2019, 11:17 AM   #12
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Yes Indy specifically reset it. No noticable difference.
Unfortunately the t-case is likely needing a rebuild since issues not fully resolved.
Seems to happen more when long drives and everything gets nice and hot, for example long highway drive then when you get off the Hwy and start doing some tighter turns in a parking lot or what not it still has intermittent chunking .
I knew this getting the car that e83 xdrive has issues just was hoping further down the line.
Iím working on finding a used t-case to rebuild in the meantime.
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      02-01-2019, 11:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
Yes Indy specifically reset it. No noticable difference.
Unfortunately the t-case is likely needing a rebuild since issues not fully resolved.
Seems to happen more when long drives and everything gets nice and hot, for example long highway drive then when you get off the Hwy and start doing some tighter turns in a parking lot or what not it still has intermittent chunking .
I knew this getting the car that e83 xdrive has issues just was hoping further down the line.
Iím working on finding a used t-case to rebuild in the meantime.
See this recent thread: https://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=91
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      02-06-2019, 04:38 PM   #14
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Transfer Case Oil

In my case I changed the tires (no difference to the shudder on turns at low speeds), Then I changed the transfer case oil. Immediately the shuddering reduced, and then after a day or two the car was shudder free.
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      02-16-2019, 01:01 PM   #15
CanadaeastKTM
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Same here, but question is for how long?
I also find those shutters come after a longer drive when itís been up to temp for longer period of time driving on the Hwy and then you go into parking lot and get the slow speed chunking and shutters.
I have a spare transfercase I bought off an 06 X3 auto that Iím going to rebuild (only whatís needed when I check and open it up, expecting to put seal kit, new chain, and replace any worn bearings. Will check clutch plate thicknesses but it even sure where to find the spec for checking whether in tolerance). Will swap the case and see if helps.
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      09-13-2019, 04:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaeastKTM View Post
Yes Indy specifically reset it. No noticable difference.
Unfortunately the t-case is likely needing a rebuild since issues not fully resolved.
Seems to happen more when long drives and everything gets nice and hot, for example long highway drive then when you get off the Hwy and start doing some tighter turns in a parking lot or what not it still has intermittent chunking .
I knew this getting the car that e83 xdrive has issues just was hoping further down the line.
I’m working on finding a used t-case to rebuild in the meantime.
Forgot to update about my latest findings...

After replacing the chewed black gear I had exactly the same symptoms - when engine reached operational temperatures, then on sharp, slow turns there was this chunking coming from rear. This issue never happened when engine was cold.

In my case the problem turned out to be that the white gear in transfer case actuator motor had a micro crack. My guess is that once transfer case actuator motor heats up from engine, then the white gear becomes softer and this crack in white gear suddenly decouples it from the black gear. Probably this caused occasional teeth skipping that was enough to kick xdrive out of sync.

As a quick hack, I epoxied together the black and white gears. The chunking went away completely. This quite reliably proves that there was decoupling between these two gears.

Then I bought brand new white gear and the chunking has not returned since then even with hot engine. Been around 1000 miles.

So the morale is - don't ignore the micro cracks on the white gear!!! It is better to replace both gears at the same time.

Last edited by TransferCaseActuator; 09-13-2019 at 04:55 PM..
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