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      10-23-2016, 11:05 AM   #1
fmugur
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Transfer case experts - code 54c4 calibration faulty - HELP

Guys, I need help on this one. I tried everything I could think of. A couple of weeks ago I got an 328xi 2008 with a few VTG codes. I took out the electric motor to check the worm gear. The worm gear was already replaced by the PO and he had the problem fixed for a while but I got the car with the VTG errors and I also found almost no oil in the TC.

I filled it with new oil and I put the actuator back in the TC and tried to clear the codes. No luck. I took the motor out of the TC again and this time I ran the calibration to see if the motor moves and it did. I put it back in and ran the calibration again. I believe, because I ran it with the motor out of the TC the angles were messed up.
After I put it back in I could hear the motor trying to determine the ends of the moving range (calibration). Unfortunately, judging by the noise that was coming out during calibration, that the worm gear wasn't strong enough under load and it was skipping. After the unsuccessful calibration the same noise with skipping was coming out right before or after starting the car. After a while it stopped doing this at start. I tried with GT1 the calibration by selecting Replaced actuator or Transfer Case or Resistor but the calibrations finished with problems which means it was not possible.
I went ahead and changed the motor with a good used one and all the other codes went away but 54c4 - calibration faulty keeps coming up and certainly all the lights on the cluster.
My understanding is that the calibration fails if the motor does more/less rotation than VTG expects which could point to a mechanical problem. When I had the motor out I could reach in the transfer case and I was able move the gear that the motor would.
I thought at some point that the actuator fuse is out but I watched the current with GT1 at start and it changes.
I also tried ISTA and the same results.

What else should I try? What does all this lead to?

It might be the clutches. Any tests I can run to confirm this? Does the calibration procedure detect the thickness of the clutches pack?

Could be the lack of oil that lead to the clutches premature wear?

Very appreciated any tips on narrowing down this issue.
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      10-25-2016, 12:25 AM   #2
ucdbiendog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmugur View Post
Guys, I need help on this one. I tried everything I could think of. A couple of weeks ago I got an 328xi 2008 with a few VTG codes. I took out the electric motor to check the worm gear. The worm gear was already replaced by the PO and he had the problem fixed for a while but I got the car with the VTG errors and I also found almost no oil in the TC.

I filled it with new oil and I put the actuator back in the TC and tried to clear the codes. No luck. I took the motor out of the TC again and this time I ran the calibration to see if the motor moves and it did. I put it back in and ran the calibration again. I believe, because I ran it with the motor out of the TC the angles were messed up.
After I put it back in I could hear the motor trying to determine the ends of the moving range (calibration). Unfortunately, judging by the noise that was coming out during calibration, that the worm gear wasn't strong enough under load and it was skipping. After the unsuccessful calibration the same noise with skipping was coming out right before or after starting the car. After a while it stopped doing this at start. I tried with GT1 the calibration by selecting Replaced actuator or Transfer Case or Resistor but the calibrations finished with problems which means it was not possible.
I went ahead and changed the motor with a good used one and all the other codes went away but 54c4 - calibration faulty keeps coming up and certainly all the lights on the cluster.
My understanding is that the calibration fails if the motor does more/less rotation than VTG expects which could point to a mechanical problem. When I had the motor out I could reach in the transfer case and I was able move the gear that the motor would.
I thought at some point that the actuator fuse is out but I watched the current with GT1 at start and it changes.
I also tried ISTA and the same results.

What else should I try? What does all this lead to?

It might be the clutches. Any tests I can run to confirm this? Does the calibration procedure detect the thickness of the clutches pack?

Could be the lack of oil that lead to the clutches premature wear?

Very appreciated any tips on narrowing down this issue.
I had a similar issue. the needle bearings in my clutch pack got flattened (how i have no idea) which allowed the clutch gear travel than it should have, so it spun around, never to be contacted by the actuator pinion again. so check that the gear for the clutch is actually in a spot that will mesh with the teeth of the actuator pinion. in my case, needed a new transfer case. there are clutch kits but they are the same price as a used t-case with low miles.
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      10-25-2016, 01:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucdbiendog View Post
I had a similar issue. the needle bearings in my clutch pack got flattened (how i have no idea) which allowed the clutch gear travel than it should have, so it spun around, never to be contacted by the actuator pinion again. so check that the gear for the clutch is actually in a spot that will mesh with the teeth of the actuator pinion. in my case, needed a new transfer case. there are clutch kits but they are the same price as a used t-case with low miles.
Oh thanks. So the gear inside was moving but had a play that allowed the gear to stay away and not engage with the teeth from the pinion?
Can I detect this play if I remove the actuator and reach inside the TC for the gear? Is it noticeable or I would need to remove the TC from the car and open it up? If I remove it I will go with a used one anyway but I will try to understand the issue.
Last time I moved the gear in the TC through the actuator hole, I didn't pay attention to any play. All I know was that I could move the gear easily up and down.

Here are some VTG data I captured with GT1 and I ran the same tests on my X5. On the X5 when I go to the servomotor and run to Actuate it I could hear the motor moving up and down full range.
On the e90, when I do the same thing, I hear a try and then it chokes and returns an ECU error and the light come back on.

If I have the same problem as you did would this be happening?

Can the following data give more clues on what is happening inside the TC?


VTG ___________________X5__________________e90

Gearbox
Integrator 1_______________34.50_______________0
Integrator 2_______________250.90______________0
Integrator 3_______________124470_____________10
Integrator LT1_____________232.30______________110.20
Integrator LT2_____________1716.90_____________1200.70
Integrator LT3_____________124470______________179690
Transmission status_________Initialization 1
Gearbox condition ___________No fault____________Clutch completely shut down


Clutch
Nominal clutch torque______________0______________0
Actual clutch torque_______________0______________2559
Plate integrator 1 _________________5.01____________0
Plate integrator 2 _________________0.23____________0
Plate integrator 3 _________________0.01____________0
Oxygen sensor integrator over time 1____93.06 _______30.38
Oxygen sensor integrator over time 2_____7.04 ________0.54
Oxygen sensor integrator over time 3_____0.10 ________0.12

Last edited by fmugur; 10-25-2016 at 01:40 AM.
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      10-25-2016, 10:47 PM   #4
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the mechanic i used to diagnose the issue was able to feel this with the t-case in the car. i know because i drove it home while i waited for the new t-case to arrive. i can take a picture of the internals to show how it fails if that will help. i still have my old one :P
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      10-27-2016, 08:58 PM   #5
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I replaced the transfer case and I was able to calibrate it without issues. So, my problem was in the transfer case. I will open it and I will post what I find.
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      10-28-2016, 04:27 PM   #6
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Here is what I found in the transfer case. There is something disintegrated but what is it? It's metal, it doesn't look like clutch plate. The clutch pack seems alright although I haven't taken it apart yet.






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      10-29-2016, 07:45 PM   #7
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thats a needle bearing from the clutch pack. thats the same failure i had. heres a video explaining how that causes it to fail (aside from having metal bits floating around in there :P):
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      10-30-2016, 07:51 PM   #8
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Thanks. That's exactly what happens on mine however, the needle bearing might be good in my case.
I believe you are referring to number 11 in the diagram below, right?



Mine looks like that:


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      10-31-2016, 12:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmugur View Post
Thanks. That's exactly what happens on mine however, the needle bearing might be good in my case.
I believe you are referring to number 11 in the diagram below, right?



Mine looks like that:


Exactly, that is number 11. There is also a needle bearing between the clutch spreader arms and the clutch discs. See the attached pic of the crushed needle bearing as i was disassembling. #11 is all the way at the bottom in this picture, which was also still in tact for me.
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      10-31-2016, 12:32 PM   #10
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i don't recall if the two needle bearings were identical or not. they should carry the same thrust load, so it's peculiar in both our cases that the upper one failed first for both of us (as opposed to #11). Did you ever change your T-case fluid? if so, how did you reset calibrations? I changed my fluid at around 103k miles and did the rests myself with the BT tool, wondering if that had something to do with the failure. how many miles you have on your tcase? mine bit the dust at 124k.
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      10-31-2016, 04:31 PM   #11
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Transfer case parts list

Here is the internal pdf of transfer case rebuilder company with all parts,this should help if you decide to rebuild yours
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Last edited by frenchi; 10-31-2016 at 04:42 PM.
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      11-01-2016, 02:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucdbiendog View Post
i don't recall if the two needle bearings were identical or not. they should carry the same thrust load, so it's peculiar in both our cases that the upper one failed first for both of us (as opposed to #11). Did you ever change your T-case fluid? if so, how did you reset calibrations? I changed my fluid at around 103k miles and did the rests myself with the BT tool, wondering if that had something to do with the failure. how many miles you have on your tcase? mine bit the dust at 124k.
I found the second needle bearing in the clutch assembly and it looks good, needles still round and good shape.
The oil change can be done with GT1 or ISTA. I did it with both on the e90 and with GT1 on my X5s. There is an option for that in Service Functions.
In my case after the TC replacement, I did only the Repair service function for TC replacement which I believe takes care of the oil change. The PO had the actuator replaced around 150k km and he didn't torqued it properly and the TC oil leaked out through there. For the last 6 months the TC wasn't working for him due to the lack of oil or that bearing or whatever went bad because of that. I replaced that TC with a 100k km used one which looked very good inside and oil was very clean. So, I am good now but I just want to understand what went wrong in the old one and maybe others can benefit from this thread. I rebuild two X5 transmissions in the past and this TC looks pretty simple inside. I thought it would be easy to spot the problem but so far I cannot figure out where these metal pieces came from. It doesn't look like it is the same bearing you had problems with.
If you have GT1 I can walk you through the steps to do the service for oil change.
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      11-01-2016, 02:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchi View Post
Here is the internal pdf of transfer case rebuilder company with all parts,this should help if you decide to rebuild yours
Thanks. I will go through the diagram and hopefully I can spot what part is missing in my case.
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      11-01-2016, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmugur View Post
I found the second needle bearing in the clutch assembly and it looks good, needles still round and good shape.
The oil change can be done with GT1 or ISTA. I did it with both on the e90 and with GT1 on my X5s. There is an option for that in Service Functions.
In my case after the TC replacement, I did only the Repair service function for TC replacement which I believe takes care of the oil change. The PO had the actuator replaced around 150k km and he didn't torqued it properly and the TC oil leaked out through there. For the last 6 months the TC wasn't working for him due to the lack of oil or that bearing or whatever went bad because of that. I replaced that TC with a 100k km used one which looked very good inside and oil was very clean. So, I am good now but I just want to understand what went wrong in the old one and maybe others can benefit from this thread. I rebuild two X5 transmissions in the past and this TC looks pretty simple inside. I thought it would be easy to spot the problem but so far I cannot figure out where these metal pieces came from. It doesn't look like it is the same bearing you had problems with.
If you have GT1 I can walk you through the steps to do the service for oil change.
will be interested to see what you find since that isn't it. GT1 is the INPA cable yah? I do have that. If its not the INPA cable, i dont have it, and haven't heard of it.
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      11-01-2016, 05:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucdbiendog View Post
will be interested to see what you find since that isn't it. GT1 is the INPA cable yah? I do have that. If its not the INPA cable, i dont have it, and haven't heard of it.
That's the one. It depends where you bought it from but usually the cable comes with a package software as well that includes GT1 or DIS, SSS, INPA...
(GT1 is the name of the BMW system that runs DIS)
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      11-14-2016, 06:03 PM   #16
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Guys, give me a hand to figure out what was the part that was crashed. I compared with the diagram but I cannot find what is missing. Again, my e90 is running fine with the new transfer case but I am just curious what went wrong in it.

Here are some pics. I know it's not easy to spot a missing part by looking at these pictures but let's see if you can spot anything wrong.

To me it does look like there was a niddle bearing that was crashed but it doesn't seem to be #11 in the diagram. Mine is fine.

















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      11-14-2016, 06:31 PM   #17
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how many total needles bearings did you see on that axis? there should be three: item #11 between the gear and the housing, a needle bearing between the gear and the spreaders, and a needle bearing between the spreaders and the clutch pack. on mine it was the latter that was crushed. the other two were in tact. i think i may have forgot about the middle one in my prior post. the pic of the disintegrated part looks like needle bearing parts.
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      11-16-2016, 12:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucdbiendog View Post
how many total needles bearings did you see on that axis? there should be three: item #11 between the gear and the housing, a needle bearing between the gear and the spreaders, and a needle bearing between the spreaders and the clutch pack. on mine it was the latter that was crushed. the other two were in tact. i think i may have forgot about the middle one in my prior post. the pic of the disintegrated part looks like needle bearing parts.
Bingo! I only found two: the one in the picture #11 and the one in the clutch pack which I believe is the one crashed in your case. Where was the third one suppose to be? I cannot find all these three in the diagram. Can you point the parts that this bearing supposed to be in between in the diagram?
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      11-16-2016, 11:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmugur View Post
Bingo! I only found two: the one in the picture #11 and the one in the clutch pack which I believe is the one crashed in your case. Where was the third one suppose to be? I cannot find all these three in the diagram. Can you point the parts that this bearing supposed to be in between in the diagram?
sweet then thats the problem. See pictures below. First picture shows where my crushed bearing was, between the spreaders and clutch. second picture shows good bearing between spreaders and gear. last picture shows bearing between gear and housing.
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      11-21-2016, 05:52 PM   #20
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Oh man!!! I don't know what I was thinking. It seems like the same bearing failed on mine as it did in yours. That's probably the weakest point in this transfer case.
That's left from the bearing:






Now, I cannot find the part in the diagram nor on cobratransmission site. Should I assume this bearing is not sold separately? The only option I see is to buy the ATC300 Sprocket Assembly.

What did you do with your TC? Did you fix it?

On the other hand, as you can see neither, the spreaders nor the clutch casing surfaces is smooth enough for a needle bearing.
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      11-21-2016, 06:05 PM   #21
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yeah in your last two pictures you can see some of the bearing material fused to the raceway on the sprocket and clutch plate. those surfaces should be super smooth. mine looked a little worse than yours do, but definitely evidence that yours was the same as mine. I swapped in a used transfer case from a junk yard, picked it up on ebay. still have my old one. in theory i could rebuild it, but as far as i can tell the only way to do that is to buy the entire clutch assembly, which is ~$300 on ebay, or the one you linked (i'm guessing the one you linked is more reputable). I'm just not sure what i could then sell my transfer case for to justify the rebuild cost and time. so really i have it sitting in my garage for s**ts and giggles, and comes in handy for stuff like this.

it's very interesting that we had the same failure. how many miles were on your t-case? (mine was about 120k miles) did you ever change the fluid and/or reset the calibrations? i have this nagging thought that resetting the calibrations with the BT tool caused the actuator to overload the clutch plate, basically crushing this bearing.
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      11-21-2016, 10:11 PM   #22
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It might be a design flaw though. Both bearing supposed to get the same load I believe but somehow only one got crushed while the other is intact. The clutch plates supposed to wear out before any bearing would crash.
I bought the car with the TC defective and my understanding from the previous owner is that the TC stopped working around 170k km which is just above 100k miles. No iol changes on this TC.
I might find that needle bearing at transmission parts shop somewhere but do you know if it's exactly the same as the other side bearing? I can give it a try if that's the case.
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