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E60orBust
01-23-2006, 08:59 PM
I've searched Google, fanatics and this forum and haven't found a thread that specifically focuses on BMW's transmission longevity. From what I have found so far, don't put stock in the 'life-time' classification of the transmission fluid (not that I would). The main discrepancy has been in mileage longevity. I have found some posts stating almost 200K miles on original fluid, and some saying their tranny crapped out at 17K. I even came across the fanatics thread where one owner swapped out their steptronic for a manual.
Some threads (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124413) I've found (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116360). The most disconcerting was this one (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79520)

My family is on the verge of buying either a ZHP coupe or an X3, but since I'm not the one footing the bill, manual transmission is out the door. So kindly post the following information regarding your BMWs, because if i can't convince otherwise, it's hello mopar :bawling:

Used or New: (purchased, not 'new to me')
Car Year:
Model: (ZHP too if applicable)
Transmission: (I know I said steptronic, but for the sake of being thorough)
Mileage:
Category: (Smooth::Rough::Ah Crap::Replaced)

Malibubimmer
01-23-2006, 10:51 PM
I've searched Google, fanatics and this forum and haven't found a thread that specifically focuses on BMW's transmission longevity. From what I have found so far, don't put stock in the 'life-time' classification of the transmission fluid (not that I would). The main discrepancy has been in mileage longevity. I have found some posts stating almost 200K miles on original fluid, and some saying their tranny crapped out at 17K. I even came across the fanatics thread where one owner swapped out their steptronic for a manual.
Some threads (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124413) I've found (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116360). The most disconcerting was this one (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79520)

My family is on the verge of buying either a ZHP coupe or an X3, but since I'm not the one footing the bill, manual transmission is out the door. So kindly post the following information regarding your BMWs, because if i can't convince otherwise, it's hello mopar :bawling:

Used or New: (purchased, not 'new to me')
Car Year:
Model: (ZHP too if applicable)
Transmission: (I know I said steptronic, but for the sake of being thorough)
Mileage:
Category: (Smooth::Rough::Ah Crap::Replaced)
You sure seem to be a worry wart. The "most disconcerting thread" you link to has nothing in it that would cause most people any concern. So, I don't get it. Do you run inside and cancel your picnic when a wispy cloud can be seen high in the sky? BMW's current transmissions are as reliable as anyone else's ("Oh, my God, they're only as reliable as all the others . . .!") and if you want to change the transmission fluid no one will be holding a gun to your head trying to talk you down. ("All right, e60orBust. Move away from that engine, slowly, and keep you hands where we can see them.")

I'd be more worried about the air in the tires becoming stale and causing the rubber to rot than trying to conjure up concerns over an automatic transmission. (If the air thing troubles you, remember you can always change the air, too.)

But if you need something to worry about, worry about gas prices.

iove75
01-23-2006, 10:59 PM
It's not a lifetime fluid per se. You are supposed to do the transmission service the same time as the spark plugs. My dealer printed out the key information that tracks the service interval and it had the transmission in parentheses next to the spark plug countdown interval. Well, that's for the 7 series anyway with the newer ZF tranny.

tierfreund
01-24-2006, 03:53 AM
... ("Oh, my God, they're only as reliable as all the others . . .!") and if you want to change the transmission fluid no one will be holding a gun to your head trying to talk you down. ("All right, e60orBust. Move away from that engine, slowly, and keep you hands where we can see them.")

I'd be more worried about the air in the tires becoming stale and causing the rubber to rot than trying to conjure up concerns over an automatic transmission. (If the air thing troubles you, remember you can always change the air, too.)

But if you need something to worry about, worry about gas prices.


:rofl: Very nicely put Malibu.

BTw. Arenīt many E46 setptronics actually made by GM?

E60orBust
01-24-2006, 05:44 AM
You sure seem to be a worry wart. The "most disconcerting thread" you link to has nothing in it that would cause most people any concern.

Pardon me if reading a post "I did a search and everyone says the Automatic transmission on the E46 will blow up around 75-100k miles" that gets the reply "BMW automatics aren't exactly the paragon of reliability" causes me concern when planning another purchase of a $45K+ vehicle and having two ($47 and $67) already in the garage that might have ticking time-bombs for transmissions.

We don't lease, finance our cars, buy used or CPO. We keep them long term, so a simple question of how many people have had problems, if any, with their automatics does not seem like a "worry wart" of a question. Thank you iove75 for being the only one (so far) to reply with something worthwhile.

GregE_325
01-24-2006, 06:08 AM
Pardon me if reading a post "I did a search and everyone says the Automatic transmission on the E46 will blow up around 75-100k miles" that gets the reply "BMW automatics aren't exactly the paragon of reliability" causes me concern when planning another purchase of a $45K+ vehicle and having two ($47 and $67) already in the garage that might have ticking time-bombs for transmissions.

We don't lease, finance our cars, buy used or CPO. We keep them long term, so a simple question of how many people have had problems, if any, with their automatics does not seem like a "worry wart" of a question. Thank you iove75 for being the only one (so far) to reply with something worthwhile.


Conventional wisdom is that the automatic transmissions start to go in the 100k-120k mile range. Based on my experience in my last E46 when the transmission starting slipping around 115k miles, this assessment doesn't appear to be too far off the mark.

It should be noted, however, that regular transmission fluid changes will result in a longer lifespan. Going easy on it seems to help as well. But each car is different, and some transmissions will fail earlier and some will fail much later.

It's probably best not to be too concerned about this though. Life is too short to worry about what might happen. Just enjoy the cars! :thumbup:

Regards,

Greg

GJR
01-24-2006, 08:50 AM
Used auto transmissions with low mileage can be found for relatively low prices (check out car-part.com). Clutch replacements on manual transmission cars are expensive also, so it's not that big of a difference in the end.

Bart001
01-24-2006, 11:38 AM
All transmissions are "ticking time bombs." All cars are "ticking time bombs." You, too, are closer to your death with each beat of your heart.

Now go out and drive and enjoy yourself! :thumbup:

(No, BMW Steptronics are not known to be less reliable than your average run-of-the-mill automatics. Yes, from 80,000 - 200,000 miles, the repair cost for a manual should be lower than for an automatic if you drive reasonably.)

LA525iT
01-24-2006, 12:01 PM
My last automatic car (a Camry) was at about 117,000 miles when I sold it. I sold it because I knew that the trannie was living on borrowed time. Automatics just dont last forever, they eventually need to rebuilt/replaced -- doesnt matter if its a Toyota or a BMW.

chuck92103
01-24-2006, 12:08 PM
If you are worried about the potential of having to spend $3-5k for a new transmission at some point in your life,

you can always get rid of you car, and buy another $50k car, and not have to worry about the $3-5k.

The additional expense of $45k should give you piece of mind.

or if you prefer, give me the $45k and I will guarantee your transmission. :wave:

akhbhaat
01-24-2006, 01:43 PM
Automatics tend to fail in the 100-150,000 mile range, depending upon how the car was driven - regardless of manufacturer. Fact of life. Many BMW automatics are driven a bit harder and start to go right around 100k.

Regarding the "lifetime" oil, here are some interesting links to peruse:

http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=1064342
http://forums.audiworld.com/a8/msgs/22083.phtml

hmc
01-24-2006, 01:43 PM
If you are worried about the potential of having to spend $3-5k for a new transmission at some point in your life,

you can always get rid of you car, and buy another $50k car, and not have to worry about the $3-5k.

The additional expense of $45k should give you piece of mind.

or if you prefer, give me the $45k and I will guarantee your transmission. :wave:

Sounds like you never need a new car. You can always fix your car cost effectively.

akhbhaat
01-24-2006, 01:54 PM
Sounds like you never need a new car. You can always fix your car cost effectively.You can keep any car on the road indefinitely so long as parts are available.

Based on my current repair expenses for two years post-warranty (and assuming the usual gamut of replacements when the car really starts to age - new radiator, alternator, PS pump, A/C condensor, etc), I could probably keep this car on the road for at least another 15 years before I had spent as much as it would cost to buy a new 325i. Give or take a couple years.

We're emotional creatures, however. We grow tired of our toys and want something new every three or four years...the car industry thrives on this fact.

E60orBust
01-24-2006, 02:20 PM
or if you prefer, give me the $45k and I will guarantee your transmission. :wave:

Does that mean you are offering to be the engine for my jinrikisha (ricksha)? :rofl:

chuck92103
01-24-2006, 02:22 PM
Does that mean you are offering to be the engine for my jinrikisha (ricksha)? :rofl:

:tsk:

andy_thomas
01-24-2006, 03:01 PM
Automatics tend to fail in the 100-150,000 mile range, depending upon how the car was driven - regardless of manufacturer. Fact of life. Many BMW automatics are driven a bit harder and start to go right around 100k.

My old E36 coupe had a GM 4-speeder, and shifted as smoothly and as smartly as new when I sold at 82,000 miles and 8 years of age. It had just had its third fluid change, and despite plenty of hard use I had no reason to suspect it would give up in the next 80,000 miles. Also, a 1988 735iA fitted with the accursed ZF 4-speeder went all the way to 178,000 miles before throwing in the towel. Again, lots of heavy use, but lots of TLC, too.

akhbhaat
01-24-2006, 03:15 PM
My old E36 coupe had a GM 4-speeder, and shifted as smoothly and as smartly as new when I sold at 82,000 miles and 8 years of age. It had just had its third fluid change, and despite plenty of hard use I had no reason to suspect it would give up in the next 80,000 miles. Also, a 1988 735iA fitted with the accursed ZF 4-speeder went all the way to 178,000 miles before throwing in the towel. Again, lots of heavy use, but lots of TLC, too.That just demonstrates the value of preventative maintenance. :)