From a parked stop sometimes when I put the gear shift in D1 (auto) the car would shift into M1 (manual) and get stuck there. Also sometimes if I took a hard turn left it would drop into M1 and not shift out. You obviously can’t drive the car stuck in M1. This happened so many times that I learned how to get back into D drive. I might have to stop and put the car in reverse or restart a couple of times. Nobody else could drive the car comfortably.
One day when the issue occurred my friend and I attached a scanner to the car and no faults were read. This meant that the software was doing what it was supposed to do. I don’t like the shift paddles so have never used them. When I started to play with the paddles to see if I could use them to shift back to D1, I quickly learned that the right paddle had a broken spring and was not moving to a neutral position. Then the Aha moment occurred…in other words it was often making a connection and sending a signal to shift.
I had taken the car to a BMW specialist and asked numerous people for advice. Everyone said I would have to replace the mechatronic unit. New cost $4,000 plus labor. The cure? I found a used Z4 steering wheel with the paddles intact ($150). My friend Ty Ramos and I installed the used paddles and problem solved. I have driven the car many hours and miles since then and there has been no problem encountered.
~ R. Bruce McCrary
Bruce McCrary has been a BMW CCA member since 2018 and is active with the FSC Chapter. He resides in Tampa, Fl