Back to Library >
ti icon


Our Cars: 2005 BMW 650i

1 week ago

not bookmarked


Richard Bremner | Journalist


7 June 2024

Denial – I was immersing myself in a pool of it. My ageing BMW 650i was issuing faint signals of trouble, and I was trying not to notice them. Just occasionally, its driveline was thumping with the shift of a gear. Not often, and usually only when it was changing down through the lowest three. More noticeable, when the engine was fired from cold, was the apparent reluctance of the gearbox’s torque converter to generate some drive from the get-go.

There’d be a pause followed by a jerk, the scale of said jerk dictated by how far you’d sunk the throttle in an effort to encourage things. I soon learned not to apply more revs if a wince-worthy thud was to be avoided. Still, this troubling behaviour didn’t emerge every time, or even most of the time. So I was still swimming in that pool.

Another reason for taking the course of denial was the preventive maintenance I’d done not long after I bought the car in March 2022, the six-speed automatic’s oil flushed out and renewed. Although this BMW’s ZF 6HP26 gearbox is supposedly sealed for life, I’d read that it’s wise to renew the oil at 60,000 miles, a distance this £5500, 55,000-mile BMW was now bearing down upon. And flushed? That’s because merely draining the oil leaves around 60 per cent of it behind. To extract the rest it must be forced out under pressure. Not a cheap exercise at £398, courtesy of the Mercury Car Centre in Brentwood, much of that figure for oil, but one supposedly reducing the likelihood of gearbox failure.

Start your 30-day free trial to continue reading this article.

Begin free trial

Already subscribed? Click here to log in.