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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-29-2007, 11:24 AM
knight0311 knight0311 is offline
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Tranny Problems

I just purchased my first bmw and i love it!!! its an automatic but i got an awesome deal on it. the transmission however seems to get stuck in gear (in 3rd) when im driving and it wont shift. i took it to a transmission shop and they looked it over for 2 days and found nothing. about 2 hours later it happened again. the gear light in the instrument panel comes on but i dont know what that means. i was wondering if anyone else has had this problem.
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2007, 11:29 AM
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huh huh huh... you said "tranny"
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2007, 12:03 PM
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Yes Philip, "tranny" is common abbreviation for transmission.......nothing to see here.

Anyway, Knight, the gear light basically just means that there is some sort of problem with your transmission. I believe that light actually may have something to do with the Transmission Control Module, but I don't know off the top of my head. Also, I think if its stuck in third then it means that the failsafe mode is activated, basically just to keep your tranny from dying more.

How many miles on the car? I hate to break the news, but the transmission is made by GM. It may very well be a gonner.
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  #4  
Old 09-29-2007, 09:23 PM
Riick Riick is offline
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^^^^^So True

I'd try changing out the filter and fluid.
If no joy from that, then the fact that it IS a GM trans (made in France)
can be considered a plus.

I have the GM part number somewhere, pretty easy to find.
It's a very common trans, suprisingly strong actually, and used in a number of
US cars,.... but the electronic controls are BMW specific.
There's no reason you couldn't buy correct rebuilt GM trans, and swap in the BMW
control module, at which point your cost will be MUCH chaper than a rebuilt
"BMW" transmission.
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2007, 09:31 PM
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excessive slip? what vehicle year make and model again? i have never had a vehicle stuck on third.I believe fourth is the failsafe,but im not to argue. when you drained it what was the old fluid like? any metal flakes? could be as simple as the neutral safety switch or gear position.someone may have spilled a drink down there.Try shifting it manually to see if any changes in behavior occurs.Look at the button,if any (the A or M) those can cause some problems too that confuses the crap out of the module bringing the CAN bus communication down.
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Old 09-30-2007, 01:32 AM
knight0311 knight0311 is offline
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THe fluid was changfed at the shop. as to what it looked like i have no clue. but the transmission shifts fine as long as i am shifting it as if it were a manual transmission. it is like it doesnt know that it can shift into 4th. it is wierd. if i leave the vehicle off for a while and then start it it is fine. but after five minutes or so the problem returns.
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  #7  
Old 09-30-2007, 05:48 AM
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Hmmm....this sounds more like an electrical control issue, rather than a mechenical issue, from what you have said.

When you manually put the car in drive (as tho its a manual) does the car drive OK, change back through the gears then, whats it do.

I DONT KNOW if this applies to BMW's but many years ago, I had a
97 Misubishi Pajero, and it did a similar thing, to tell the truth, what you have described was almost the same.

What it turned out to be, was a eletronic control switch that told the car the transmission could go into over drive.

You would drive it in "D" for drive, and would not change up into top gear, take it back a gear (nothing would happen as you were still in 3rd gear), then place it back in "D" and it would change into top gear. It would change back by itself, as it is supposed to do when going back through the gears, but then you would have to do the same 'proceedure' again to get it in top gear.

As I said, Im not sure if the BMW has a similar switch or controler, but would be worth looking into as I am sure the Auto tranny is electonic controlled.

Hope this helps

Cone
XXX
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2007, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knight0311 View Post
THe fluid was changfed at the shop. as to what it looked like i have no clue. but the transmission shifts fine as long as i am shifting it as if it were a manual transmission. it is like it doesnt know that it can shift into 4th. it is wierd. if i leave the vehicle off for a while and then start it it is fine. but after five minutes or so the problem returns.

Sounds to me like your trans selector switch is faulty thinking "D" is third gear.Do you have a switch with the letters "A" and "M" on she shifter panel? If so make sure it works by pushing the "M" and drive manually,then switch to "A" and leave the selector in "D".When using a BMW Diagnostic tester and the switch "status" is checked,I can almost guarantee that it will not display "D" but rather "?".Take it back to the trans shop and have them look into it.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2007, 03:34 AM
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BMW_Tech, your answers are very clinical
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:36 AM
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my apologies sir.
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  #11  
Old 10-02-2007, 03:41 AM
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Hey mate, is not a criticism at all
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2007, 02:56 PM
spoddy spoddy is offline
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hey bmw_tech

you know quite a lot about automatics, wonder if you could give me your opinions on this problem.

i have a 320i 1994 4 door saloon. no mods just standard car.
when i put car into D car only moves with slight rev, doesn't move off on its on with no foot on gas.
it does move off itself when in R, and when foot on gas quite quickly.

car is very sluggish driving off, can take 5 seconds to get up to 30 plus mph, not recommended trying to get away quickly at lights or roundabouts, so currently not a getaway car lol.

once past 20 car accelerates ok, not massively fast but gets up to 60mph without any problems. no jumping through gears, so smooth don't even notice a gear change at all, just the roar when putting your foot down.

other problem is rev needle doesn't work so dunno what revs are when accelerating etc.

car jumps when put into D or R, i keep my foot on brake when changing but i think this is normal in autos.

i would like to know how other peoples autos drive, when they put their car into D or R does it feel like a slight 'bump'?

when car is warmed up its a bit better driving off and sometimes when you stop behind a car in D on flat ground, when you take your foot off of the brakes the car moves forward very slowly enough for you to know you are moving forward without any input from your foot if you understand.

when you put your foot down does your car take long to drive off and build up speed?

i am gonna get the fluid changed, but was wondering are there any other parts that may be worn and causing the slow response in driving off and when putting the car into D its just the car going into gear that causes the slight 'bump'.

you were saying about low fluid level, dunno what mine is but if its low the guy on pelican parts says the car would slop through the gears which it doesn't.

unless it is maybe sucking fluid through a dirty filter and when cold takes time to do this?
as i said no light on the dash to indicate a problem, what do you think?

thanks
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:00 PM
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We do not have that particular vehicle in the US market.I am pretty sure that the crappy automatic trans used are the same.We have had success resealing transmissions for complaints similar to what you had described.Mostly for US drivers,pendulum shifting is experienced.In your case however,I would personally opt to have a reman tranny installed.I do not care how good a trans rebuilder is.When I find myself in the middle of nowhere and the vehicle could not go forward,It is then too late to put the blame on myself."Value line" transmissions are now made affordable,comes with a peace of mind through factory.

First thing is first,before you give up on your trans.Check the fluid level first.If you have a dipstick on trans,even better.If not,a simple explanation is in order and they are as follows : technically,the level is checked at 30 deg. celsius. Thats two minutes after you run the vehicle. 1)Pull the "fill" plug located on the oil pan,if it starts to pour out and oil temperature is cool it is overfilled. 2)Having the correct fluid close by,start vehicle and turn on all loads including high beams to warm up oil temperature.Start filling the transmission with fluid until it starts to overflow.Allow another minute or so and let the fluid drain out of the fill plug as temperature rises.Reinstall the plug and take the vehicle for a test run.While all this was being done,you should be paying special attention to the quality of the oil thats inside your tranny.If it looks and smells burnt guess what,its burnt.
While the fluid was flowing,make sure there arent metal flakes draining off of the "fill" plug.And if the oil is too thick,I would be brave and service the trans by replacing the filter and the oil.I have prepared you already for a replacement,theres nothing wrong with attempt to prolong the life of it.Good luck,and theres no science to it.A sensible mind and common sense goes a very long way working on these vehicles,product knwledge is just an added bonus you may do without (a car is a car,requires fuel/air/spark to run).
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:37 AM
spoddy spoddy is offline
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is it really expensive for a reman transmission.
is reman the name of it, live in the north of ireland so dunno where i'd get one.

what is pendulum shifting?

only other option is to source a wrecked car of similar spec and that has lowish miles and tranny was working.

i wasn't feeling well today, so came home early from work, but when i drove off in the car,
it actually was pulling away a bit more sharpesh, not having to rev as much. also when stopping in D, it would move forward itself when brakes taken off.
so may be just gunk and thick oil, which sounds like a fluid problem to me so gonna get it changed, as i can not do any work to it myself, no facilities.

just gonna get mechanic to check it out, and like you say if the fluid is burnt then change it and filter.

does putting your lights on etc warm the car/fluid up quicker or do you mean warm up the engine quicker?
i always look after a car, check oil/coolant etc as you say prolongs the life of it etc.

thanks for your reply by the way.
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoddy View Post
is it really expensive for a reman transmission.
is reman the name of it, live in the north of ireland so dunno where i'd get one.

what is pendulum shifting?

only other option is to source a wrecked car of similar spec and that has lowish miles and tranny was working.

i wasn't feeling well today, so came home early from work, but when i drove off in the car,
it actually was pulling away a bit more sharpesh, not having to rev as much. also when stopping in D, it would move forward itself when brakes taken off.
so may be just gunk and thick oil, which sounds like a fluid problem to me so gonna get it changed, as i can not do any work to it myself, no facilities.

just gonna get mechanic to check it out, and like you say if the fluid is burnt then change it and filter.

does putting your lights on etc warm the car/fluid up quicker or do you mean warm up the engine quicker?
i always look after a car, check oil/coolant etc as you say prolongs the life of it etc.

thanks for your reply by the way.

Reman = Remanufactured/Factory rebuilt
Pendulum shifting = up/down/up/down/up/down

Turning on accessories raise the idle up,thus warms up the vehicle quicker.A much more ideal way as opposed to revving the engine up not sure wether theres enough oil pressure/crankcase vent working properly/oil condition and viscosity is okay.

Your situation sounds like a fluid issue.Worst case scenario,a bad torque converter.
I would suspect the torque converter before I can advise replacing the transmission.
A transmission shop should be able to check system pressure required to operate at normal operating temperature and compare when cold.
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