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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

View Poll Results: How many miles on your transmission before repairs or replacement needed?
50,000 to 100,000...transmission repaired/replaced. 144 7.78%
50,000 to 100,000...no problems!!! 621 33.53%
100,001 to 125,000...transmission repaired/replaced. 109 5.89%
100,001 to 125,000...no problems!!! 329 17.76%
125,001 to 150,000...transmission repaired/replaced. 80 4.32%
125,001 to 150,000...no problems!!! 220 11.88%
150,001 to 175,000 or more...tranny repaired/replaced. 53 2.86%
150,001 to 175,000 or more...no problems!!! 296 15.98%
Voters: 1852. You may not vote on this poll

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  #451  
Old 05-17-2013, 06:09 AM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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Location: Red Sox Nation
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: e46
How many miles on AUTOMATIC transmission before failure? (or no problems at all

2003 325i sedan with Zf transmission. No issues until 103585 miles. Now I have a used one pulled from a wrecked Z3 with 20-something thousand miles. (Poor 'guy' was in a wreck this spring.) my original was slipping, codes 31, 35, 36. Thank you TorqueWrench for and excellent how-to post on filter/ fluid change, unfortunately it did not save my day even though the dealer tech did note on the write up, transmission appears service with new fluid, screen, and at proper level. It was the only happy moment of my ordeal.

--roger


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  #452  
Old 05-26-2013, 10:15 PM
rogermielke rogermielke is offline
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Location: california
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 323i
2000 323i

I have 166k and auto tranny runs great. Have never touched it. I want to dump it before it does.
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  #453  
Old 05-27-2013, 06:59 AM
fb88 fb88 is offline
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Location: NJ
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 625
Mein Auto: 2014 X1 xDrive28i
They need another voting choice of 175,001 to 250,000 miles for you soon.
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  #454  
Old 05-29-2013, 04:22 PM
tedpre tedpre is offline
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Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: 2003 325i and 1990 525i
I have a 2003 325i and after 146K miles my transmission shaft seal broke off and leaks all over my driveway.. I think the reason being that I did not replace the Transmission fluids which I was worried when milleage reached 100K. But the damm steaker at the bottom of the transmmision said "sealed" Lifetime fluids don't remove... and no drain plug that I saw at that time...So I left the trans. fluid dirty for another 47K miles before it gave up on me. Bad calls on my part I should have not pay attention to the sticker...

Last edited by tedpre; 05-29-2013 at 04:24 PM.
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  #455  
Old 05-29-2013, 07:16 PM
fb88 fb88 is offline
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Location: NJ
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 625
Mein Auto: 2014 X1 xDrive28i
So what was needed to fix your situation and how much did it cost?
How would replacing the fluid help with the seal? 10 years is about its lifetime...
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  #456  
Old 06-02-2013, 06:12 PM
pspressart pspressart is offline
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Location: florida
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: 2011 335i coupe
I had a 2002 325xi with AT. At 23k i got that "gear"symbol and my tranny went into limp mode. It was replaced by dealer (no cost to me) and the replacement worked flawlessly until i traded it in last week for a 2011 335i coupe.
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  #457  
Old 06-06-2013, 12:59 PM
slowlanemcvane slowlanemcvane is offline
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Location: Tacoma
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: E46 325i
Rapidly approaching 190K, no issues, no slippage. Prior owner reported no issues, either, and since purchasing the car I've put 40,000 on the clock. I'm pretty gentle with the transmission, though.
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  #458  
Old 06-14-2013, 02:04 PM
Augster Augster is offline
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Mein Auto: M1A1 Abrams
Transmission suddenly slipped while taking an on-ramp, the Traction Control warning light flashed for a few moments, then the transmission warning light came on. I was able to maintain a cruise speed of 70MPH on the freeway but the moment I tried to accelerate, the tranny slipped and RPM shot up. The moment I got off the freeway and came to a stop, the transmission would not engage, neither forward nor reverse. Shutting down completely (removed key) and restarting did not clear light nor engage transmission: dead on the scene. 96,606 on the clock. Was heading to the local BMW dealer for continued troubleshooting of my SES Light and was only two blocks away, but had to have it towed.

Will report back the results once the dealer figures it out...

UPDATE: The main cause for the warning light was due to complete failure of the inlet transmission cooler line, so in essence, it wasn't the transmission itself going bad. Car was driven approximately 5 minutes/5 miles after losing all transmission fluid and there is some residual "burning" smell from the transmission. Dealer wants $1,300 to replace oil cooler, ruptured line, and filling with ATF. If after these repairs transmission exhibits signs of failure, full replacement of transmission by dealer would be $6,500. Going to replace the cooler and line myself plus transmission filter and oil change for $309.34 (using Valvoline MaxLife) and hope for the best...
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2008 335i Sport Sedan AT

Last edited by Augster; 06-17-2013 at 05:40 PM.
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  #459  
Old 06-15-2013, 09:37 PM
SilverBulletE46 SilverBulletE46 is offline
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Location: Kansas City Metro
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 52
Mein Auto: E46 325ci M package
Re: How many miles on AUTOMATIC transmission before failure? (or no problems at all?)

If you maintain and service it regularly it can last all l the way to 300+k just depends

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  #460  
Old 07-04-2013, 03:55 PM
paulsullivan67 paulsullivan67 is offline
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Location: Chico
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2006 330i
173,000 and still eating asphalt.
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  #461  
Old 07-09-2013, 04:54 PM
Dragon88 Dragon88 is offline
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Location: Indiana
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 325i
146,xxx and not a problem so far!
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In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
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  #462  
Old 08-15-2013, 02:57 PM
ninjavirus ninjavirus is offline
new to the BMW game:)
Location: central texas
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 04 330 ci
2004 330ci 103,000 miles just bought it, shifts strong no vibrations or sounds at all. fluids never changed 2 bmw dealerships told me do not change and 2 high performance shops (with a retired bmw tec in the back who came out and talked to me.) begged me NOT to ever change it ever! so after trying to find a shop that would change it i realize now not to just my 2 cents great thread idea by the OP
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  #463  
Old 08-15-2013, 03:26 PM
Tmack04 Tmack04 is offline
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Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 330i
My '01 330i tranny finally lost reverse at just over 225k. It was never serviced and actually still ran great with no reverse. I actually ran it another 5k miles before I got it fixed. A part of the reverse drum broke off an I think this would have happenned regardless of regular service. I had it rebuilt and it runs great but the tranny shop owner suggested to bring it in at 25k intervals for service. He also said that after 75k or so miles with no service he would NOT recommend doing anything to it as you're very likely to do more harm than good. By the way, he showed me the new reverse drum and it has been slightly redesigned and "beefed up" in the area that it broke.
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  #464  
Old 08-15-2013, 08:18 PM
fb88 fb88 is offline
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Location: NJ
 
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Posts: 625
Mein Auto: 2014 X1 xDrive28i
How much did it cost to replace the reverse drum? and what is the tranny shop going to do for the 25k interval?
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  #465  
Old 08-16-2013, 06:36 AM
Tmack04 Tmack04 is offline
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Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 330i
$3100 to do a complete rebuild, including rebuilding the torque converter. Honestly I didn't ask about the service at 25k intervals. I got 225k without service and like I said before, the tranny ran great up until losing reverse. I may just run it as I don't put many miles on it anymore so it will likely never see 300k.
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  #466  
Old 08-26-2013, 04:28 PM
Handsome Kev Handsome Kev is offline
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Location: NYC/VA
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2000 328ci
Just hit 200,000 this morning
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  #467  
Old 08-27-2013, 08:33 AM
Mike8812 Mike8812 is offline
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Location: Flint, MI
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: E46 325i 2001
Mine has 176XXX and no problems. never been repaired or fluid changed.
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  #468  
Old 08-29-2013, 08:23 PM
EWeis EWeis is offline
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Location: Ohio
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: 1999 328i
Re: How many miles on AUTOMATIC transmission before failure? (or no problems at all?)

My 1999 sedan has 166k. I've replaced the fluid and filter twice the Redline.
The only problem is that every once in a while it pukes fluid presumably out of the blow off hole...or whatever it's called. It only does it when i'm parked uphill and then go into reverse. Weird ...

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  #469  
Old 09-10-2013, 09:12 AM
AppPro AppPro is offline
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Location: Florida
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: E46 325i
Just went past 200,000 last week. Had the oil changed while out of town with a fram filter(?). Oh well. Now when 1st gear winds out...there in a dub, dub, dub dub sound like something is skipping, then again when second gear winds out, its the same sound. Now i'm at 201997. My mechanic says to bring it in.

2004 325i
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  #470  
Old 09-13-2013, 07:15 AM
aln662 aln662 is offline
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Location: fife scotland
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: bmw e46
Quote:
Originally Posted by biazhan View Post
hello to every one. I just bought a 320i 2001 and i have problem with RPM its not stable it moves up and down at certain speed 40 - 50 and 75-100 and there is a noise with viberation from the back of the car when ever the RMP start moving up and down that noise accurs.i took to BMW dealer they said its the software .they upgrade the computer software. but didnt help. they are telling me all kind of problem but they are not sure what is the reall problem . they say its the tranny but they are not sure.i took to another garage they say its the low load. and they dont know what couses the low load. its seems to be very unique problem no body ever had that problem .i need help on this. pls let me know if you ever had such problem thanks
i have same problem at the moment anyone help
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  #471  
Old 09-26-2013, 02:40 PM
3x3-ZHP 3x3-ZHP is offline
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Location: California
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 330 ZHP
Just bought a 2005 330i with 135,000 miles on it. No service history to speak of. It drove great at first but after only a week or so I noticed that it had what I guess is called a "hard downshift" when coming to a complete stop, not all the time, but consistently enough to be an annoyance, and a worry as to long term problems.

I did a lot of asking around, including finally becoming a member here to research the issue. I discovered there is obviously a lot of controversy regarding appropriate maintenance procedures and particularly what should or should not be done if the transmission has mileage on it and is acting less than perfect but not so bad as to be in drivable. Some say drain and replace fluid and filter, others say don't touch it, still others reluctantly say drain/replace half, drive a good while, then repeat.

In any case, it was time for my daughter to go back to school in San Francisco. Not the easiest locale on auto transmissions. By an odd chance, within a month, the car developed a bad electric fuel pump that needed replacing. In talking with mechanic there about the transmission, they were of the "it's got too many miles on it, leave it alone til it breaks" group. However, they agreed that the fluid should be checked and if showing noticeable degradation then perhaps change it. They also checked the dealer service system to see if there was any notation that a computer program update had been done. Turned out the fluid was reasonably good but a pint or so low and the update had not been done. After doing both, my daughter now reports that the shifting problem is gone, everything going very smooth.

Comments on the software upgrade? Is that legitimate? My mechanic here in SoCal had checked for needed software updates earlier but admitted not typically checking for transmission updates. If this is a commonly needed update, depending on manufacture date etc, does this apply to later models? We have an E90 328iA that sure could use a better shift program.

I'd appreciate any feedback on either car.
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  #472  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:34 PM
Minsicomm Minsicomm is offline
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Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: Audi Q7
We no longer own the e46, but this past May when we traded it in, it had 220K + miles on it, not a single issue. Most reliable car I have ever been around. It was my wife's, and she wanted a change (we got a 135i). If it was mine, I would have kept it until it died.
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  #473  
Old 10-12-2013, 02:47 PM
GeorgeBush234 GeorgeBush234 is offline
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Location: Mexico
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 180
Mein Auto: Passat
Augster When changing transmission fluid always follow your transmission manufacturer intervals.
and check your radiator hoses. The coolant and trans fluid mix together and youll have an ovehaul each time.
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  #474  
Old 10-24-2013, 08:35 AM
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JayKayo JayKayo is offline
The UltimatE46 Enthusiast
Location: SoCal
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 312
Mein Auto: 2005 330Ci ZHP
2005 330Ci ZHP
Bought last year at around 75,000 miles, now it's past 105,000.
Only thing done so far was replacement of wear and tear parts such as the belts/pulleys, rotors and pads, trans lines, DISA or VANOS or both actually.
Oil changes every 5,000 miles.
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  #475  
Old 10-28-2013, 03:42 AM
batboy batboy is offline
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Location: australia
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 330i
It's your car and regular transmission fluid changes are vital for longevity the more frequent the better take it to a transmission specialist for a service because an ordinary mechanic might not do it properly. hope this helps batboy
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