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BMWsad
02-07-2007, 09:14 AM
I WAS a happy 2000 BMW 323i owner. Car 7 yrs old, 54 thous. mi., mint condition, no problems.
THEN I read on a BMW forum the alarming number of catastrophic transmission failures occurring on the automatics for the '00-'02 models (also the govt. recall website). I then did some research.
The reverse gear goes out with no warning. No dealer or trans shop will fix the trans.
These failures start at around 40,000 mi.
SOLUTION: Replace the automatic transmission.
COST: $5,000 ..... IF you can find the transmission.
Often you have to find one in a junk yard. I understand this failure happens so often there is a shortage of transmissions. So your car sits at the dealer for weeks, maybe months waiting for the $5K reconditioned trans to show up. How long will the new one last?
BMW will not back up this trans, does not even acknowledge there is a problem. Basically stonewalling the situation.
My car is fine now...so what do I do? Go buy another BMW? (I do love the way they drive). Wait for the trans to go out and be stranded for a good while?

Do any of you have a feel for what percent of 3 series have had this failure? If it were 1 in 20 (5%) I'd keep the car. If it were 30%, well, that's unacceptable to keep the car.

AzNMpower32
02-07-2007, 09:44 AM
Change the ATF fluid maybe?

Most BMWs don't have long-lasting automatic transmissions like some Toyotas.........for most of the 3-series they used a GM-sourced automatic gearbox.

BMWsad
02-07-2007, 09:51 AM
You may be right. A trans fluid change may prevent the problem. BMW says change at 100K miles. Too long in my opinion. I have 54K miles...I wonder if the damage is done already.
Some owners with only 40K miles have reported this failure.

Zzero_CoooL
02-07-2007, 04:24 PM
My Tranny dropped at 126K, The NO REVERSE ISSUE.... I got lucky because it was still fully covered under the dealer warranty. But, When I made mention of this happening to a lot of these transmissions they acted like it was so rare and one in a thousand. They replaced the bad with a new unit, Which they had to order. End the long run I was only down about a week.

The invoice was nearly 10K, Seemed a little stout in my opinion..

But luckily I am good to go again... :thumbup:

cimbali
02-08-2007, 06:32 AM
My Tranny dropped at 126K, The NO REVERSE ISSUE.... I got lucky because it was still fully covered under the dealer warranty. But, When I made mention of this happening to a lot of these transmissions they acted like it was so rare and one in a thousand. They replaced the bad with a new unit, Which they had to order. End the long run I was only down about a week.

The invoice was nearly 10K, Seemed a little stout in my opinion..

But luckily I am good to go again... :thumbup:

Did you change the fluid at 100k?

Zzero_CoooL
02-08-2007, 06:54 AM
BMW Would not change, Because they stated it was LIFE TIME....... In fact, They have even told me to never change it in this New Unit......

I don't understand why they refuse to change the fluid since them of all people knows it will help this problem. :thumbdwn:

XiDude
02-08-2007, 08:48 AM
Is anyone aware of similar issues with the 5-speed manual transmissions? I think my 2002 330xi transmission is also beginning to have problems. I've only got 48K miles on the car.

KrisL
02-08-2007, 08:56 AM
Is anyone aware of similar issues with the 5-speed manual transmissions? I think my 2002 330xi transmission is also beginning to have problems. I've only got 48K miles on the car.


Manuals are rock solid. Have you ever changed your fluid? I recommend it...

E60orBust
02-08-2007, 10:59 AM
Related to oil changes, I've always done 1 year or the next 6000 miles. What's the interval for ATF fluid in X years or Y miles?

juanchi29
02-08-2007, 11:07 AM
lol why does everybody think the manual transmission's cant go bad?? i know from experience that they can, i was one of those dudes who thaught a tranny problem could not occur to me cuz i had a stick lamo i was wrong my tranny went on me twice the first i was abusing the car alot it was a nissan they can take abuse. the second time i treated that tranny like a baby new clutch checked the oil drove ot soft all the time all my cars been stick before my 323ci so i know how to drive stick good. oh and the first time i almost forgot i changed the tranny fluid right after like 5days i heard bang boom....of course everybody told me i shouldent have chnage the fluid car had to many miles already so changing the fluid can be horrible, i've heard of these hapening to many peoole so dont be so sure changing the fluid is the way to go. also dont think cuz you have a stick that your tranny wont die cuz it can!!!...good day.

chuck92103
02-08-2007, 11:14 AM
The only widespread tranny failures are documented with recalls by the FEDs. No BMW's on the list. Mostly Toyotas/Lexus and Honda/Acura from around 2000-2004.

However, tranny's fail from time to time. Some at 1k miles, some at 200k miles. Take care of your car and hope for the best.

KrisL
02-08-2007, 11:18 AM
lol why does everybody think the manual transmission's cant go bad??

Nobody said that.

Anything and everything can have a failure.

mesier1111
02-08-2007, 01:32 PM
A car, and everything in a car, is mechanical and thus can break. I always go with extended warranties, and never hold a car beyond its warranty, its the only way to ensure you never get hit with a 5K bill for a new trans or anything else for that matter. That being said, I have enough friends who are mechanics that say after a certain mileage after 60k (however, they don't agree on the number) changing the trans fluid is worse than leaving the old stuff in.

If you are really worried, trade in your car now on a 2007, or used 2006. Good luck!!!!

silverbimmer3
02-08-2007, 01:41 PM
Manuals are rock solid. Have you ever changed your fluid? I recommend it...

Hi Kris,

My '99 323i (auto, 126,000 miles!!! hooray!!! ) transmission has some issues between 4th and 5th gear.

For example, I am entering a high way from a ramp, when the speed and RPM reach the point for the transmission to shift from 4th to 5th, the transmission sticks to 4th gear and does not engage 5th gear; then after a short while (seconds, maybe) the car's computer will trigger the transmission warning light (!), cuz it thinks the transmission failed to engage 5th gear (which is true), THEN TRANSMISSION IS LOCKED TO 4TH GEAR UNLESS I PULL OVER AND TURN OFF ENGINE FOR 15 SECONDS.

The above problem has been there for over a year, in addition to that, the transmission always respond 2 or 3 seconds slower than expected, whenever i shift from N to D or N to R.

Kris, in your opinion, what is wrong with the tranny? Do think this is sth that can be fixed by changing the fluid?

Thanks! Really appreciate it! you are someone reliable for constructive opinion.

KrisL
02-08-2007, 01:46 PM
Kris, in your opinion, what is wrong with the tranny? Do think this is sth that can be fixed by changing the fluid?

Thanks! Really appreciate it! you are someone reliable for constructive opinion.


:) I don't see how changing the fluid would hurt. The worst thing that would happen is nothing, and the best thing would be it fixing your problem. Can't go wrong with those odds, especially if you tackle the problem yourself. Torquewrench wrote an awesome how-to here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166135


As you see, these trannys tend to be problematic.... if the fluid doesn't help, well... a manual tranny swap sounds appropriate :p.

silverbimmer3
02-08-2007, 01:53 PM
:) I don't see how changing the fluid would hurt. The worst thing that would happen is nothing, and the best thing would be it fixing your problem. Can't go wrong with those odds, especially if you tackle the problem yourself. Torquewrench wrote an awesome how-to here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166135


As you see, these trannys tend to be problematic.... if the fluid doesn't help, well... a manual tranny swap sounds appropriate :p.

THAT IS ABSOLUTELY HELPFUL!!!

Have a good one, Kris.

AzNMpower32
02-08-2007, 09:56 PM
As you see, these trannys tend to be problematic.... if the fluid doesn't help, well... a manual tranny swap sounds appropriate :p.
It's BMWs way of scolding you for not buying a proper manual :D (jk)

KrisL
02-08-2007, 10:17 PM
It's BMWs way of scolding you for not buying a proper manual :D (jk)


Who you tellin AzNMautomatic

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

silverbimmer3
02-09-2007, 12:37 PM
:) I don't see how changing the fluid would hurt. The worst thing that would happen is nothing, and the best thing would be it fixing your problem. Can't go wrong with those odds, especially if you tackle the problem yourself. Torquewrench wrote an awesome how-to here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166135

Hi Kris, I called the auto shop about the transmission fluid change... According to their opinion, changing the fluids may make the transmission even worse (?!) I really don't understand why they have such thoughts. Is it possible they think transmission fluid change is too complicated to do, so nobody wants to do it????:dunno: Thanks!!!!

KrisL
02-09-2007, 12:50 PM
Hi Kris, I called the auto shop about the transmission fluid change... According to their opinion, changing the fluids may make the transmission even worse (?!) I really don't understand why they have such thoughts. Is it possible they think transmission fluid change is too complicated to do, so nobody wants to do it????:dunno: Thanks!!!!


I'll admit, I've seen a post or two about fluid changes making things worse, but have yet to see any empirical evidence that makes me believe it could happen.

It's certainly not complicated.

I dunno man :).

silverbimmer3
02-09-2007, 01:02 PM
Got it! I will give it a shot if I can get all the tools and parts; or I will pay the auto shop to do it. I will then post the result here!

Have a good weekend!

AzNMpower32
02-09-2007, 03:20 PM
Who you tellin AzNMautomatic

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Just a general comment, not directed at you.

See, someone in the family cannot, and refuses to learn, how to drive a stickshift, and always asks "why do I need to move my hands and feet constantly just to get moving and drive?". That person isn't me. :banghead:

davehayes2204
02-09-2007, 05:35 PM
how easy/pricey is a manual conversion from an auto? is it worth doing so? or is it better to sell up and by the manual you originaly wanted? ( by saying "you" i actualy meant "the manual I always wanted"!!)

magray99
03-21-2007, 04:19 PM
I too have the same issue, my BMW is a 2000 328I (bought brand new in August 1999 but now with 85K miles) and maintained at either the dealer or a BMW specialst. Recently the transmission would not go into reverse. I took it to my BMW mechanic and he told me I needed a new transmission. I did not ask the price as I knew it would be very expensive (probably between 5 to 7K to replace). The next day reverse started working again and it's been like that for the last month, some days reverse works and other days it doesn't.

I checked consumeraffairs.com and found quite a number of the same type of complaints. I posted my issue on that board and I also filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I recommend you do the same.

For me I will most likely trade the car in. Would love to trade it back to a BMW dealer but after this latest issue I will not be buying a BMW ever again. Great driving cars but very expensive to maintain. And this last issue (based on the number of complaints I have found on the internet) tells me this is not random but widespread and BMW has turned a deaf ear to it's customers.

v33_n0d3
03-21-2007, 04:29 PM
The automatic transmissions in the E46 bimmers are made by General Motors... go figure. While the GM tranny will not be nearly as solid as the manual tranny's made by BMW, they SHOULD last a decent amount of time if you take good care of it (ie. changing the fluid often, not thrashing it all the time with gear changes, having it checked out regularly).

alpinewhite325i
03-21-2007, 05:26 PM
The automatic transmissions in the E46 bimmers are made by General Motors... go figure. While the GM tranny will not be nearly as solid as the manual tranny's made by BMW, they SHOULD last a decent amount of time if you take good care of it (ie. changing the fluid often, not thrashing it all the time with gear changes, having it checked out regularly).
Agreed, however BMW doesn't make the manual tranny either.

The manufacturer is escaping me currently..........

Fast Bob
03-21-2007, 05:50 PM
Agreed, however BMW doesn't make the manual tranny either.

The manufacturer is escaping me currently..........

BMW outsources to (usually) ZF or Getrag for their manual trannies....both companies make trannies for many manufacturers. GM-made autos are usually better than average in durability.... of course, the ones used in Bimmers are spec`d to whatever BMW asks for....

crowz
03-22-2007, 12:57 AM
Mine seems alot more responsive since I changed my fluid recently. What came out looked like burnt motor oil. I ordered the filter kit for $99 and the replacement fluid from bavauto.com. Wasnt very difficult to change, took about 45 min total I guess.

Ive got over 246,000 miles on my 2000 323i automatic.

There are gm and zf automatics. The sticker on the bottom of the pan tells you which fluid to use.

For people having the no reverse at times I sugest changing the fluid NOW. Especially if the reverse went back to working. Its $225 so not a huge amount at all compared to the cost of replacing it or getting it rebuilt. Worth a try to say the least.

As for the trans's being impossible to get rebuilt. Not. There are tons of shops that will rebuild the auto's.

The gm trans is also used in cadillacs too.

Tipper21
03-22-2007, 07:50 AM
I'm another one who has had the reverse failure problem. My 2001 330Ci convert had 53,000 on the clock when I lost reverse with no warning. The repair was $4048 at one of the local BMW dealers and took about three days (no problem getting the replacement trans). Three days--not bad, I guess the mechanics are getting a lot of practice at replacing automatics.

I had a long correspondence with BMWNA but in the end they just blew me off. One of the local BMW club members runs an independent shop in the area and said the problem is caused by a large retaining C ring in the reverse gear cluster that breaks out of the groove it fits in. I think he said the edge of the groove breaks off. He could have repaired it cheaper but BMW says they quit repairing them in the local dealerships because of a high failure rate on those repairs so all shops use the rebuilt units. I also thought BMW might step up to the plate, admit a problem, and cover it but no such luck!!

BMW used both ZF and GM autos in these cars and I think mine was a ZF unit. By the way, the GM units are not made in the US but by a subsidiary in France (I think I got the right country). Don't know if these transmissions are used in any American GM cars.

My family has had five BMWs over the years and this is the second trans failure--the other was a 525 that had its automatic replaced at 36,000 miles. Lots of other maintenance issues as well. Sure like driving these cars but the cost and aggravation of ownership has really soured me on the company.

cimbali
03-22-2007, 08:38 AM
FYI - Below is an excerpt from a discussion on BMW transmission shift pressure control.

http://www.forparts.com/ICbmwtransmissiondiagnostics10.00.htm

"5hp30 PROBLEM AREAS
How glad I was the first time I saw a 5hp30 with the intermittent reverse gear failure, having seen the problem in print first. In this transmission, the problem is that the plastic ball in the valve body passes through the plate (see Figure 3; note arrow indicating normal position). This problem is solved by installing slightly larger balls. If I hadn***8217;t read about this problem numerous times through the aforementioned sources, there is a good chance we would have avoided the repair, or suggested a complete rebuilt unit.

Other known 5hp30 problems occur due to the plastic manual shift valves and system pressure valves. A kit is available from ZF that includes new valves, balls and specific springs. The original plastic pressure valves have been known to stick causing pressure spikes that pop clutch drum spot welds. Selector switch electrical control problems are also common here, as in all the late trannies.

I wanted to present certain scope patterns that would symbolize the points to be monitored, so I borrowed a ***8216;97 528 from a friend***8217;s inventory. Unfortunately, this 88-pin controller has a minimum of actual signals exchanged (See photo). Most of the information shared between controllers is sent in data packets and isn***8217;t analyzed repeatedly by each control unit any more. The pattern shown in Figure 4 is taken from the "CAN bus low" and represents the language of data transfer. The "CAN bus high" signal should be similar and is used by each controller to determine good data from bad data. Notice the time interval ***8212; about a thousand times faster than the actual signals that are being represented.

The last patterns (Figures 5 & 6) show the processed wheel speed signals from all four wheel speed sensors. The original AC signal has been transformed into a simple pulse by the ABS/ASC controller. These signals are used for curve recognition, which can be seen in the two patterns. The first is taken while driving straight through the parking lot. The second is taken in a full-lock turn at less than 10 mph. The channels are as such: #1 = left front wheel speed; #2 = right front wheel speed; #3 = left rear wheel speed; and #4 = right rear wheel speed."

323ivabeach
03-22-2007, 10:38 PM
Manuals are rock solid. Have you ever changed your fluid? I recommend it...
I personally, would never buy any automatic equipped car of any make.But I have to addmit I am no fan of the stock clutch.As soon as I have dealt with current necessities;I plan on upgrading the clutch and getting an LSD.But really,I know I'm not the only that feels this way about the stock clutch and it's fickle nature.

crowz
03-23-2007, 03:28 AM
Ive got 10 vehicles with automatics and 6 with manuals.

Of those one automatic failed and was replaced and 2 automatics I took apart and fixed various things on and they are doing fine.
2 manuals failed (not counting clutches) and were replaced. One is missing a gear but still works ok.

I trust the manuals more. But I find I like automatics at times over the manuals. Heavy traffic automatics rule and for some offroading with some of my trucks automatics rule.

I find that automatics are smoother having little or no vibration when your wanting to be lazy and pampered. But manuals are alot more fun when your wanting to have a blast.

Each has its place. Plus my wife doesnt tear up automatics. Manual trans in the hands of someone that has probs driving them can cause you some serious grief.

323ivabeach
03-23-2007, 11:18 AM
I'll admit, I've seen a post or two about fluid changes making things worse, but have yet to see any empirical evidence that makes me believe it could happen.

It's certainly not complicated.

I dunno man :).

In my experience with autos[Bronco,Intrepid,Firebird......all belonged to friends!] I found that you only want to replace half the fluid.Also,changing the tranny filter[which sometimes is a paper element] can work wonders!You see if you have a clogged filter,then the valve body has no pressure.An automatic runs off of hydraulic pressure.So drop the pan,check for excessive metal shavings, in the case that you have a lot, you might need a new one after all.If everything looks okay, swap in a new filter.

Lanc3r
03-23-2007, 11:21 AM
Ive got 10 vehicles with automatics and 6 with manuals.

Of those one automatic failed and was replaced and 2 automatics I took apart and fixed various things on and they are doing fine.
2 manuals failed (not counting clutches) and were replaced. One is missing a gear but still works ok.

I trust the manuals more. But I find I like automatics at times over the manuals. Heavy traffic automatics rule and for some offroading with some of my trucks automatics rule.

I find that automatics are smoother having little or no vibration when your wanting to be lazy and pampered. But manuals are alot more fun when your wanting to have a blast.

Each has its place. Plus my wife doesnt tear up automatics. Manual trans in the hands of someone that has probs driving them can cause you some serious grief.


Lets hope none are parked on the front lawn. :yikes: :stickpoke

crowz
03-23-2007, 12:41 PM
Nope, hidden in the back :)

But yep it does look like Ive got a used car lot in the back yard. I get great deals on buying cars, just cant sell them :(

crowz
03-23-2007, 12:43 PM
Oh just noticed you show a 63 Falcon in your mein auto thing. One of cars in question is a 1970 Falcon :)

Lanc3r
03-23-2007, 12:49 PM
Oh just noticed you show a 63 Falcon in your mein auto thing. One of cars in question is a 1970 Falcon :)

1970? Sure it's a Falcon? Ranchero Maybe...

crowz
03-23-2007, 01:10 PM
Mines the 4 door sedan model. 1970 is a split model year, first 1/2(what mine is) is the older look, 2nd 1/2 of the year is a huge car like.
1970 Ford Falcon
302 V8
528 positraction rear.
3 speed manual on the column
8 mpg:)
All factory. Grandfather special ordered the thing new.

SewerSideUp
03-23-2007, 03:25 PM
heres a good solution BUT it depends on your car, i have a 318i 1999 wich has a GM sourced tranny, it used to lockup on 2nd and 3rd when the RPM goes a bit higher than usual. . tried changing the TR switch (transmission range) but it didnt have the slightest effect, after a couple of months transmission fails!! so, what i did was buy a used transmission of an e36 318i (:yikes: not iS, and dont forget how many speeds "gears":yikes: ), take the guts out the old (e36) housing and stuff it in the e46 housing!!! and now it works like a charm!! but get a REALLY good mechanic to do the job and make sure its a late model e36. . good luck man!!:thumbup:

shadow 2
03-23-2007, 07:56 PM
I find this thread disturbing. I have an 02 325xi with auto and 43K miles. I have considered getting my tranny fluid and fiilter changed next week when I get an oil change. The tranny works fine now, but the car will be five years old in May. There is no consensus in this thread on what to do, and BMW apparently is staying mum. After reading this thread I have no more idea on what to do now than before I read it.

E60orBust
03-23-2007, 10:10 PM
323ivabeach said something about only changing half the ATF fluid.

Has anyone done (or would recommend) that Aamco Power purge gadget?

crowz
03-24-2007, 05:17 AM
I DONT recommend the flushing method and one thing I learned from knowing 3 aamco shop owners, if you go to aamco you will need a trans rebuild:)

Every aamco victum Ive met plus mr trans chain (which got me once) offers "we will fix it and only charge whats wrong" or we will install one of our pre done trans and only charge you what was wrong with your old one. I never go near one of these places anymore.

Shadow2 heres the easiest way to look at it. If you are worried about changing the fluid then change it. Its harmless to the car to have the fluid changed conventionally. Thats the dropping the pan, changing the filter, putting the pan back, topping it off with new fluid.

The reason I said conventionally is there is another method people mentioned called power flushing or flushing with the machine. This in my opinion ISNT safe and can lead to trans failure because it forces fluid thru fast enough to dislodge gasket parts and other trash that can clog stuff and cause pre mature failure. Some disagree with me Im sure saying its safe. But one thing they have to admit, traditional changes ARE safe and the power flush COULD be dangerous.

So if your not sure wether to change the fluid or not then just go with the safe normal filter and fluid change, cheap piece of mind insurance that way.

crowz
03-24-2007, 05:21 AM
Also if someone takes the bmw to a shop that isnt familar with bmw's per say. Print out one of the many do it yourself fluid change articals on the net and take it with you. The biggest thing thats different with the bmw is not having a dipstick to check the fluid, so you have to be a little more careful to make sure you get enough fluid back into it when refilling.

If the shop owner blows you off and doesnt want the info your offering?? Find another shop to do it :)

shadow 2
03-24-2007, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the input Crowz. I just got my car six months ago. Its in fine condition and covered by the extended factory warranty for another year. I did not plan to do the power flush, but as I plan to own this car for many years, it seems prudent to change the tranny fluid at least once every five years.

hmr
03-24-2007, 09:25 AM
...The invoice was nearly 10K, Seemed a little stout in my opinion...

You took that awfully well! Did you really pay that much for a new tranny job? That's nearly a third in value of a new 323i!

BTW, it's not too big of a deal to drop a transmission out of these cars and put a new one in.

What are other people paying for "new" auto transmissions?

im
03-24-2007, 11:49 AM
e46 owner automatic, have notice a shift delay from cold start.. car responds as if in neutral for about 3 seconds and then engages..runs great after this one time delay...occurs only if car is not used for about 24 hours...we now just warm up the car for about 10 seconds after start and everything is fine.
This is a florida car, my licensed mechanic checked fluid..ok...
the other shade tree mechanic tells me there are seals inside the transmission that maintain a certain level of oil pressure and that at times they leak internally..cause no loss of fluid.. and cause the loss of pressure after parked for a while..says not worth fixing at this point???
seals are cheap but labor $$ 2003 325i auto with 54,000 miles..thinking about monitoring things for now.

crowz
03-24-2007, 03:20 PM
Several of the post Ive read about people changing their fluids for the first time commented that it fixed the delay taking gear in the mornings for them.

Mine didnt really have all that much of a delay before changing but it is faster about engaging after changing the fluid.

Also you said they checked the fluid and its "ok". If its low on fluid it will cause delays taking gear if its cold outside and if its low enough it will drive fine but cause it not to take gear at all if cold outside. Also if its low it will cause the trans warning light to light up after taking curves real fast :)
Cold for me was anything under 40 degrees F.

I know all of the symptoms listed above from experience. Mine was 4 quarts low when I got it. Previous owner had run off the road and popped a trans line loose. Body shop replaced the nose piece and the radiator. Didnt put any fluid back in it because they couldnt find the "dipstick" and it drove ok so it must not of lost much fluid was what they figured.
Joy Joy....
Luckily I put 2 and 2 together from symptoms and topped it off with 4 quarts of fluid. Waited a few months then did the full change with filter and fluid.

It DID delay taking gear before topping off the fluid. But after topping it off it took gear fine. But it was even faster about it after the filter change.

Bobk528
03-25-2007, 08:31 PM
I find this thread disturbing. I have an 02 325xi with auto and 43K miles. I have considered getting my tranny fluid and fiilter changed next week when I get an oil change. The tranny works fine now, but the car will be five years old in May. There is no consensus in this thread on what to do, and BMW apparently is staying mum. After reading this thread I have no more idea on what to do now than before I read it.

I own a 2002 330Xi with an automatic transmission and 52,000 miles on it. I plan to change the transmission fluid and filter this summer. Last week, I had the control arm bushings, serpentine belts, front brake discs, parking shoes and thermostat housing replaced by an independent BMW mechanic and when I asked about replacing the automatic transmission fluid, he told me that it would be a good idea to replace the transmission fluid and filter since it has 50k miles. This advice is consistent with the BavAuto.com newsletter, http://www.bavauto.com/newsletter/2006_n206_newsletter.pdf.

If you happen to dive in before me, please report your findings and cost of this preventive maintenance effort. Thanks.

Rick Lee
03-25-2007, 09:20 PM
I'm doing my 60k service in two weeks and am really wrestling with whether or not to touch the tranny fluid. Mine is automatic. My concern is 1) getting the right amount of fluid back into the tranny and 2) using something other than the Esso OEM stuff that's so crazy expensive and hard to find. What to do?

crowz
03-25-2007, 09:29 PM
I know the Esso is outragous but if it was me Id go with it.

Mine uses the Texaco stuff thats 1/2 the price per liter yours will be but I dont think using other stuff is a good idea. I tried redline D4 when I topped mine off before the fluid change. The D4 slipped some under heavy accel during shifting. After doing the filter change and filling it back up with just Texaco stuff like it came with the slipping went away.

One way of looking at it, you risk nothing by putting what it came with back in there at least:)

As for the filling it fully up. Only way to be sure is do it yourself, short of that, read the how to's just like you were going to do it yourself so you know EXACTLY how its suposed to be done. Then stand there and watch the mechanic do it to make sure they do it right :)

cdebnil
03-25-2007, 09:46 PM
My Tranny dropped at 126K, The NO REVERSE ISSUE.... I got lucky because it was still fully covered under the dealer warranty.
But luckily I am good to go again... :thumbup:

Zzero, I'm worried about stuff happing to my car once I reach 100k...I plan on keeping her as long as possible. I have a CPO warranty and was wonder how you got a dealer warranty after 100k and how much it cost. Thanks!

Rick Lee
03-26-2007, 08:12 AM
I never take any car to a mechanic for non-warranty stuff. DIY all the way. So how can I be sure my car uses the Esso or something cheaper? I think mine was built in early 2003.

crowz
03-26-2007, 11:34 AM
The only true way to know for SURE what is in your car is to read the label on the bottom of the trans pan. But Im betting its the esso stuff with it being a 2003.

ATLBMW
03-27-2007, 12:02 PM
tansmissions are stupidly designed hense they fail randomly. metal filing build up in the base of the tranny and become loose when you change the fuid late. so chunks of metal filings get between the geers and boom.

crowz
03-27-2007, 12:42 PM
Changing to fluid doesnt cause stuff to come lose and run thru the trans. Your suposed to wash out the pan anyway when you change your fluid.

What does kill them is power flushing as that does dislodge and damage things. But normal changing is safe.

ncharath
06-11-2008, 02:54 PM
My transmission failed for the no reverse issue yesterday. I had 135K miles on the 2000 BMW 323i. Now, I have to look for a rebuild or used tranny. Frustrating, especially, when you pay so much for a car and especially when you consider that any given honda/toyota will have a tranny lasting 175K miles for most of them. It seems that 99-02 model 3-series has quite good percentage of tranny failure on the auto mode. http://www.noreverse.org

-ncharath
2000 323i 135K miles.

jsc
06-11-2008, 05:16 PM
My transmission failed for the no reverse issue yesterday. I had 135K miles on the 2000 BMW 323i. Now, I have to look for a rebuild or used tranny. Frustrating, especially, when you pay so much for a car and especially when you consider that any given honda/toyota will have a tranny lasting 175K miles for most of them. It seems that 99-02 model 3-series has quite good percentage of tranny failure on the auto mode. http://www.noreverse.org

-ncharath
2000 323i 135K miles.
Hondas and Acuras have not had the best set of automatic transmissions over the years, especially on the V6 engines: http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=92

vsonix
07-12-2009, 09:24 PM
Hi guys,

First post here and unfortunately it's to do with the Steptronic tranny...

After wanting a BMW for ages, three weeks ago we finally picked up a beautiful 2001 320i in very good condition for the right price, full BMW service history, invoices for every new part purchased (down to the wiper blades!) with under 100k genuine miles on the clock.

However, after a week of driving around (added about 250 miles on the clock), we have had issues with the transmission. Rather than the well-documented 'no reverse' issue, what has been happening is that the car stalls. It's only happened twice so far, but obviously in around three weeks of ownership, it's looking significant; however, I've seen no reference to this fault in any of the past service history notes.

The first time it happened, I wasn't in the car, but basically, after driving at a constant 60mph then slowing right down to turn off onto a side road, the engine stalled (therefore causing the power steering to shut off = control issues), the oil, battery, engine management and transmission lights all lit up. After turning the ignition off and restarting, the car continued as normal. We then took the car to our local BMW-approved indie mechanic who ran a bunch of diagnostics; apparently the gears slipped when downshifting from 5th which caused the shut-off. Despite servicing at least 50% of the BMs in our area and being aware of the known issues on E46s this was a new one for him, so he told us to keep an eye and let him know if it happened again. Two days ago the same thing happened, this time when I was in the car; only this time it was on an urban road at under 30mph, we had just run over a pretty big pothole, which may or may not be circumstantial. I have booked the car to go in for a proper checkup on Thursday, however, I'd like to know if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations or extra knowledge I can bring to the table when I can visit the shop. On both occasions the car was in 'D' mode and not 'M'.

Apart from this, everything works as it should, it's a great car and I love it to bits; but it's going to have to go if it means replacing the tranny at almost the same cost as what was paid for the car! Obviously the idea of sudden power loss and the resulting control issues if travelling at speed does not inspire confidence, so I'd like to get this one cleared up ASAP at minimum cost. Does anyone have any thoughts/input or similar experiences?

thanks!

Bucknekkid
07-12-2009, 09:28 PM
I have seen threads concerning the stall that you mention and noted it was not related to the tranny but to some other problem...Do a "Search" for stall or stalling and see what you come up with to help...

vsonix
07-12-2009, 09:31 PM
wow, thanks for the super-speedy reply mate! Will check it now :D

ThreeTwoFive
07-12-2009, 11:28 PM
I think the problem is a wee bit over rated...

Sharpies
01-07-2013, 06:42 AM
Hi Kris,

My '99 323i (auto, 126,000 miles!!! hooray!!! ) transmission has some issues between 4th and 5th gear.

For example, I am entering a high way from a ramp, when the speed and RPM reach the point for the transmission to shift from 4th to 5th, the transmission sticks to 4th gear and does not engage 5th gear; then after a short while (seconds, maybe) the car's computer will trigger the transmission warning light (!), cuz it thinks the transmission failed to engage 5th gear (which is true), THEN TRANSMISSION IS LOCKED TO 4TH GEAR UNLESS I PULL OVER AND TURN OFF ENGINE FOR 15 SECONDS.

The above problem has been there for over a year, in addition to that, the transmission always respond 2 or 3 seconds slower than expected, whenever i shift from N to D or N to R.

Kris, in your opinion, what is wrong with the tranny? Do think this is sth that can be fixed by changing the fluid?

Thanks! Really appreciate it! you are someone reliable for constructive opinion.


Hi this is what is happening to my car right now also..
Any solution? Or idea what had went wrong?

Thanks

Fast Bob
01-07-2013, 09:52 AM
Hi this is what is happening to my car right now also..
Any solution? Or idea what had went wrong?

Thanks

Did you read the Auto Trans Sticky Thread at the top of the E46 Forum page ?

hitbyastick
01-07-2013, 11:07 AM
The automatic transmissions in the E46 bimmers are made by General Motors... go figure. While the GM tranny will not be nearly as solid as the manual tranny's made by BMW, they SHOULD last a decent amount of time if you take good care of it (ie. changing the fluid often, not thrashing it all the time with gear changes, having it checked out regularly).

I kind of disagree with the insinuation that a GM automatic transmission is somehow inferior. BMW doesn't make its own gearboxes be they auto or manual. They subcontract them out to GM, ZF, or Getrag. Autos are made by GM & ZF. Manuals are made by ZF & Getrag. All of these transmissions are manufactured according to BMW's desires. So if you're looking to assign blame be sure to put it in the correct place.
That said GM transmissions can be super bulletproof or they can be less than bulletproof. BMW simply cheaped out on the spec with the autoboxes. ZF made autos fail with the same frequency, and unlike the GM-sourced automatics are extremely expensive to repair. GM trannies that have reverse drum failure can be repaired for around 2k from what I have read; just order a replacement reverse drum(which would be a superseded, updated part) and install.
Moral to the story- BMWs are better with manuals.

Fast Bob
01-07-2013, 12:23 PM
I kind of disagree with the insinuation that a GM automatic transmission is somehow inferior. BMW doesn't make its own gearboxes be they auto or manual. They subcontract them out to GM, ZF, or Getrag. Autos are made by GM & ZF. Manuals are made by ZF & Getrag. All of these transmissions are manufactured according to BMW's desires. So if you're looking to assign blame be sure to put it in the correct place.
That said GM transmissions can be super bulletproof or they can be less than bulletproof. BMW simply cheaped out on the spec with the autoboxes. ZF made autos fail with the same frequency, and unlike the GM-sourced automatics are extremely expensive to repair. GM trannies that have reverse drum failure can be repaired for around 2k from what I have read; just order a replacement reverse drum(which would be a superseded, updated part) and install.
Moral to the story- BMWs are better with manuals.

I agree with all of this....any old gearheads out there know that GM made plenty of bulletproof autos back in the day.....Hydramatics, Powerglides (still widely used by drag racers behind BIG horsepower engines), Turbo 350s and 400s, which did duty behind most of GM`s late-`60s muscle car lineup, all the way up to the current crop of 6-speed autos as used in Caddy`s CTS-V and Camaro`s LS-1, which are stout enough to survive behind 550 HP engines.

BMW provided the blueprints, GM built the Steptronics exactly to BMW specs....any weak spots can be attributed to the *design*, not the build quality.

Moral of the story ?

Buy a manual trans car.... :thumbup:

hitbyastick
01-07-2013, 03:42 PM
Really, the bottom ends on a straight 6 engine will tend to be very long-lived no matter who makes it, due to its inherent balance. That's why you have Mercedes that will run to 500k. BMW straight sixes have traditionally been robust in that regard, although my opinion of the M54 is that it's kind of fragile.
BMW wants you to buy another car from them in 3 years. And if you fight that paradigm, they want you to pay big money for parts & spend lots of time in their dealer service bays. That's how all automakers have been building them recently. Mercedes used to be very long-lived cars, with the price to match. Now they are made out of Tupperware just like the rest, and priced commensurate with the rest.

BMW has never been as long lived, yet have developed a reputation for strong bottom ends in their sixes.

It makes sense. BMW cannot rely on people trading their old cars in for new ones out of boredom alone. They must make it mechanically necessary for you to do so. Hence, their transmission designs. Fragile. Or perhaps a car with a drivetrain that could potentially last forever with proper maintenance would quite simply cost too much at today's pricing even for rich people, all things considered.

The reason they tell you not to change the fluid after 40k is that new fluid could potentially dislodge bits of varnish within the valve body, varnish that would normally only accumulate after a certain mileage. The valve body is like a very intricate and nebulous 3D maze or network of tiny passages, ball valves, check valves, springs, plungers, etc. Internal pressures are very important here. If anything foreign gets in there it affects function considerably.

I don't understand why it has to be such a black art to fix an automatic transmission. They basically all work on the same principle.

After 100k I might not change the fluid, but anytime before that I would.

It's still best to drive a manual. It's BMW after all, right?