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2002 325xi Unable to engage manual transmission

I have a 2002 325xi 5 speed manual with 111K miles on it.

Outside Temp 34 degrees F

I was able to pull out of the driveway and drive down the road for about 4 miles and then as I was shifting into 4th gear the temp was displayed in the info box as +37 and the car would not move forward. (was not able to engage into 4th gear or any gear.

I pulled into a parking lot and went through all the gears but none would engage. No noise was heard from the transmission.

I depressed the clutch, put into first gear, let out the clutch and gave it gas but got no movement at all. Repeated for all gears including Reverse.

The car drove fine the other day, The service light is on and I got the following codes the other day from Pep Boys:


Any thoughts as to causes? Solutions?

This is not a transmission problem, and instead it appears that the problem lies in the engine and the emissions controls. The codes that you posted indicate a problem with the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF), as well as problems with the O2 sensors.

You might want to start with the simplest solution, of cleaning the MAF.
If that does not get you going, I suggest that you have the car towed to a mechanic who specializes in Beemers, or at least in foreign cars in general, as the electronics of a BMW may make this more complex than it would be with an American car.

This all started a week back in which we were getting mis fire codes. We cleaned the MAF had the codes reset and everything was clear for about 12 hours - when the temp dropped the service light came back on. Took it up to Pep Boys and got the 3 codes in the original posting.

As this is my first BMW so I am not clear as to how I was able to engage the gears and drive for a little while and then all of sudden I was no longer able to engage the gears. The car starts, sounds fine.

Is this just a way of the car telling me that - No you can not drive me until you get the MAF fix, I will start for you but that is about it -


The issue occurred in the following manner:

  1. Driving in 5th gear
  2. In the info window +37 degrees started to flash
  3. Then unable to accelerate

Pulled over to a lot, put into first gear, let out clutch, applied gas engine rev but no forward motion nor odd sounds - such as syncos etc.

There appear to be a couple of distinct things going on here.

If the gear shift feels normal, and you put the car in gear and it does not move forward, then something in the drive train has failed, such as the clutch or the rubber guibo in the drive shaft.

Before buying a mass airflow sensor, make sure that there are no cracks in the air tubing between the mass airflow sensor and the throttle. If the rubber hood that goes over the throttle body has not yet been replaced, I can pretty much promise you that it is cracked and leaking.

So the underlying question is: Will issues with the MAF cause the issue that I am facing - ability to shift gears with no issues but not able to move - basically get power to either the front or rear wheels as this is a Xi model?

Have sent the car off to the shop - first time with the shop so we will have to see. Gave a price range of $100 to $1200 (clutch kit).

Its in the shop so this may be a little late, but did the clutch pedal feel normal? Did it have the normal free play and did it feel like it had an engagement point as you lifted your foot? Was it suddenly a lot easier to press down than normal?

I think your problems are unrelated and linking the codes to this “won’t engage” is getting you confused.

My guess is either the clutch master cylinder, or clutch slave cylinder has failed. This means the clutch isn’t working. You won’t be able to get the transmission to engage a gear with the motor running since the sychro’s won’t let that happen.

The temp guage has nothing to do with the clutch, so another “clue” that is unrelated to the problem.

Thanks all - The shop reports that the clutch is shot - so they are now in the process of replacing it. (It is a DIY but I am to old and don’t have the time or the transmission jack to deal with it) I will rate the shop once job is done. They give me a final price of $1650 = parts + labor + towing. Parts are 450$, Labor 1100$ says the job would take 12 hours - to me that seems high but my understanding is that there is a book which tells shops how long the job should take and that is what the charge regardless if it only takes them 4 hours to do. Like to get a hold of that book.

The 4 wheel drive adds a couple of hours at least to the job. It is a mighty tight fit under there so lots of things have to come apart in order to get to what you need to work on.

That makes sense. Very different to how clean the underbelly of my 68 mustang is.

How is the BMW running ?

Why are you reviving old threads ?