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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. 146 7.79%
50,000 to 100,000...no problems!!! 624 33.32%
100,001 to 125,000...transmission repaired/replaced. 109 5.82%
100,001 to 125,000...no problems!!! 330 17.62%
125,001 to 150,000...transmission repaired/replaced. 81 4.32%
125,001 to 150,000...no problems!!! 224 11.96%
150,001 to 175,000 or more...tranny repaired/replaced. 54 2.88%
150,001 to 175,000 or more...no problems!!! 305 16.28%
Voters: 1873. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51  
Old 07-02-2008, 06:36 PM
mford mford is offline
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When should you change trani fluid or should you?
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  #52  
Old 07-11-2008, 11:15 PM
ventsyv ventsyv is offline
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When I bought my car, the transmission pan was dented, so I changed it and changed the fluid & filter as well. That was around 40K. The fluid was clean, and had a nice color. The car has 50K now and no problems so far. I hope it will be at least past 100K if I need any repairs.

BTW, changing clutch is not much cheaper either.
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  #53  
Old 08-09-2008, 11:30 PM
hurls hurls is offline
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Had my 2000 323iT ZF auto rebuilt due to failure of reverse gear earlier this year, at about 72k miles
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  #54  
Old 08-15-2008, 07:59 PM
vsorlie vsorlie is offline
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Auto Trans Fluid Change

I bought an '04 325xiT auto with 38,000 miles on it. I don't follow BMW's maintenance schedule, so one of my first mods was get the ATF changed. I use AMSOIL synthetics exclusively, and the AMSOIL ATF product meets all of BMW's auto trans fluid specs. I plan to change this fluid at 50k intervals. I also changed gear lube in both differentials with 75W-90 Severe Gear. AMSOIL makes many engine oils that work great - I like the 5W-40 European Formula and Signature Series 0W-30 at 7500 mile intervals. Oil is good for longer, but filter is not, IMHO.
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  #55  
Old 08-22-2008, 12:18 AM
DCE6 DCE6 is offline
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I am running right at 145,000 and not one problem to date.
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  #56  
Old 08-22-2008, 03:53 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCE6 View Post
I am running right at 145,000 and not one problem to date.
Change tranny fluid? If so, when?
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  #57  
Old 08-22-2008, 05:42 PM
e46CabrioMadman e46CabrioMadman is offline
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is there anyway to know if a tranny has been replaced/rebuilt
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  #58  
Old 08-24-2008, 02:11 PM
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samplemaven samplemaven is offline
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We're getting a good response on this poll so far...thanks to everyone who has taken the time to participate in the poll or write about their experiences.

To date, 78.15% of responders have had no problems with their automatic transmissions from 0-175,000 miles. I don't know if that's really a number we should be happy with or not, but it is a lot better than I had thought it could be after reading about the problems associated with this transmission.

Hopefully the poll will continue to have good participation and we can read about more experiences with this tranny.

Thanks to the moderators for making this poll a sticky!
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Last edited by samplemaven; 08-25-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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  #59  
Old 08-26-2008, 09:42 AM
Bking Bking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcrofford View Post
At about 125,000 I lost reverse. This I later tearned to be a common problem with the ZF 5HP19 (steptronic transmission) My local tranny guy said it would cost about 2500.00 to repair. The problem being a broken reverse band. BMW doesnt repair the problem but they will replace the transmission for around 6000.00. I can buy another 2000 BMW 323i with reverse and comparable mileage to mine for......about 6000.00 I still like my car but Im afraid I have to say I no longer love it.

Everything I have read on here indicates its the GM transmissions that have the "no reverse" problem. How many had this problem on the ZF? Where is a link to the ZF no reverse issue?

My 2002 330i actually says to change the fluid at 100k in the owners manual.

I just did it at 95k, the fluid was not that bad but wish I had done it at 60-70k since these things are like gold, not easily repaired etc.
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  #60  
Old 09-10-2008, 06:48 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bking View Post
Everything I have read on here indicates its the GM transmissions that have the "no reverse" problem. How many had this problem on the ZF? Where is a link to the ZF no reverse issue?

My 2002 330i actually says to change the fluid at 100k in the owners manual.

I just did it at 95k, the fluid was not that bad but wish I had done it at 60-70k since these things are like gold, not easily repaired etc.
Guess I'll mention I just changed my fluid two weeks ago (154k miles). I was plagued with an (!) light every couple of days and limp mode. I changed the fluid and am happy to report no issues so far......
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  #61  
Old 09-10-2008, 11:46 PM
biazhan biazhan is offline
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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
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  #62  
Old 09-10-2008, 11:50 PM
biazhan biazhan is offline
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oh its automatic and manual . the rpm mostly moves up and down with the noise and viberation when its on auto mode in manual mode its ok but you could see it moving if you dont press the gas. above 2 on the rpm thing.
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  #63  
Old 09-17-2008, 08:26 PM
DM3MD DM3MD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bking View Post
Everything I have read on here indicates its the GM transmissions that have the "no reverse" problem. How many had this problem on the ZF? Where is a link to the ZF no reverse issue?

My 2002 330i actually says to change the fluid at 100k in the owners manual.

I just did it at 95k, the fluid was not that bad but wish I had done it at 60-70k since these things are like gold, not easily repaired etc.
I think you have it reversed. The ZF trans (www.noreverse.org) are the ones plagued with the reverse drum failing. The GM's don't appear to be having this issue. From what I've read on this board, the GM's may have software glitches and what not, but certainly not the major failures like losing reverse.

The only thing that seems to be the major argument (whichever trans you have) is when/if you should change the trans. fluid at all. BMW really screwed people up with the "lifetime" terminology. Is it the lifetime of the car OR the lifetime of the component? (rhetoric question). And, we don't have (and maybe never will) enough data to compare people who have changed the trans. fluid and experienced problems because of it versus those who changed it and haven't.

A new poll, anyone?

Changed...no problems
Changed...problems

Last edited by DM3MD; 09-17-2008 at 08:29 PM.
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  #64  
Old 09-19-2008, 08:42 AM
Valsun Valsun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKNGOOD View Post
Well I'm at 96,000 and a CEL came on = P0741 Torque Converter Stuff Off.

They (Dealership) replaced the Torque Convertor and changes the transmission fluid and filter all under warranty. (3rd party Warranty with autobroker.com)

Interesting Note: They stated that the transmission fluid was deteriorating - so what does that say about their "Lifetime Transmission" Fluid theory.

This would be it's first transmission oil/filter change at 96K. Car has been maintain since day one because I have both the extended maintanence warranty and extended service warranty until 100,000 miles.
HI! I wanted to get your feedback, I have a 2005 auto 325ci and am at 45k, I wanted to ask you if you think it is wise for me to get the extended warranty up to 100k and how much that would cost on average?

Is it worth for me to buy the warranty, if they say these cars are great with no problems(usually) til 9ok?
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  #65  
Old 09-27-2008, 03:01 PM
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QuantumJump QuantumJump is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iskoos View Post
Would love to chance the fluid but I don't know if I already past the no return point(I guess I did). I also read stories on how the working tranny stops working after a fluid change.
I believe in preventative maintenance up to a point. Do you know how I would feel if something goes wrong on working tranny after a fluid change??? Ouch!... I can here people saying "Why did you touch it if it was working???"
I read many threads about it here and found out that the concensus is to change the fluid at every 30k miles or do not mess with it at all. But when is the no-return point for every 30k-miles change? I couldn't find that out...

Oh no, transmission fluids....I'm scared Sounds like my experience!

I had a Talon TSI (manual) back in '90 and at less then 1,000km (problem from the start), I had an issue with the car "clumping" going into 1st (obvious issue...to all except the dealer) when it was cold, so they (the dealer) decided to change my fluid (bad mistake), after changing out the fluid, my tranny was 1000 times worse (now to be honest, I don't think it was the fluid being changed that caused the problem, but the couple of dozen small parts and springs that left with the fluid), eventually (like within two weeks) they stated there was an issue, which required the replacement of over 100 parts to be changed out (hmm...lots of parts changed out for a tranny with no problem), and things went from bad to worse, the clumping was more pronounced, and within weeks the whole tranny "melted/seized" (looked like a dali painting, melted gears that looked like dali's melted clocks) they said I abused it (yeah, I drove the car).

They finally decided to change it out (a seized tranny doesn't work well, trust me). After they replaced the tranny, it ran flawlessly, and for the 190,000+km I never changed the fluid, It would go into gear 'smooth as butta".

Usually, if there is an issue with the transmission fluid, it is a result of an issue with the transmission. 'Dirty' fluid like those containing metal filings, chunks of steel, little gears and springs(or containing maraca material as I like to call it) or viscosity issues (like fluid taken to abnormally high temperatures) is a symptom of a problem , not the problem. Changing fluids may only postpone the full blown onset of a problem.

If one is under warranty, best to try and get the problem out at the start, then attempt to postpone it, until it is no longer under warranty (that is the job of a dealer).

Anyways, 40,000km and no issue with the steptronic transmission
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  #66  
Old 09-28-2008, 12:22 AM
Rick Lee Rick Lee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsorlie View Post
I bought an '04 325xiT auto with 38,000 miles on it. I don't follow BMW's maintenance schedule, so one of my first mods was get the ATF changed. I use AMSOIL synthetics exclusively, and the AMSOIL ATF product meets all of BMW's auto trans fluid specs. I plan to change this fluid at 50k intervals. I also changed gear lube in both differentials with 75W-90 Severe Gear. AMSOIL makes many engine oils that work great - I like the 5W-40 European Formula and Signature Series 0W-30 at 7500 mile intervals. Oil is good for longer, but filter is not, IMHO.
You sound like my kinda maint. guy. I do everything twice as often as recommended on all my vehicles. But I am still torn about messing with my step. tranny. I have 77k miles and it's still under warranty for another 10.5 months. What to do?
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  #67  
Old 10-05-2008, 08:17 PM
meanshyguy meanshyguy is offline
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Hi, I'm getting a 2002 330i tomorrow with about 105k miles on it. Should I just look for one with less miles? I'm affraid the transmission is going to give me problems, it's an auto-manual. Any suggestions?
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  #68  
Old 10-31-2008, 08:18 PM
rwebbe rwebbe is offline
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Mein Auto: '02 330ci
Transmission '02 330ci

I drove the wonderful coupe delivered Spartenberg for 50K miles and became deranged when for like 4th time lacing on left door jamb fell off and about strangled me. Walked in to an Acura dealer and picked up a new TSX.07 loaded. Don't use it much due to many illnesses so it only reads about 9K at this time. Acura a fine car but not like the BMW. I purchased new a 1997 528, prior to the '02. The difference as I can best explain it is: You wear a BMW and drive an Acura. The BMW becomes a part of you. So while Acura never needs anything so far but one oil service for about 28 bucks, the BMW may cost more and give some agravation but at this point I would accept the agravation if I could get the BMW back. The way I look at it today is, I could have saved the 13K swap deal and had new shicks and later model suspension to give a better ride, redo the seat for comfort and still have a BMW. Lots of pro's and con's on the 2 models and if you are interested to know what they are, I will gladly answer. No flames please, as I paid for my dumb over rule of Intellect and judgement. Forgive mispelling or errors on this as I am undergoing process of Cataract stuff so am still half blind. No transmission or major mechanical problems.
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  #69  
Old 11-01-2008, 09:54 AM
itruns itruns is offline
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Mein Auto: E39, E46, E34, E36
My 2001 330i ZF step. w/124k miles shifted perfectly until the engine was pulled for a "sludge" problem....They didn't change the fluid, but right after the repair, when it shifted it felt like you were being hit by a truck. I thought they might have clogged up the valve body with 124k miles worth of sludge, so I had a pan drop & filter w/the correct Esso fluid... the old fluid looked like old burnt engine oil... no improvement... So the transmission was rebuilt, upgraded to current BMW spec's and a new torque converter.... The re-builder said it had a "patch rebuild" some time previously, and supposedly that is common when they are "repaired" under warranty. So I do not know when it originally failed. It may just be me, but it still doesn't feel 100% as good as it did before, but it does have a 2 year 24k mile warranty so I guess we will see.... Tranny rebuilds are one of the few things I don't do myself.... too many little parts to lose

As to transmission problems and BMW veres Toyota reliablity.... I've driven BMWs since the 2002 models in the mid 70's... own 4 of them currently.... Toyotas are not perfect, like any car they do break, but Toyotas on the whole are much more reliable.. Consumer reports rates Toyota/Lexus as number 1 in reliablity BMW as #19 out of 39.... you'll probably not guess number 39....
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  #70  
Old 11-01-2008, 10:29 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Originally Posted by itruns View Post
you'll probably not guess number 39....

Benz.
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  #71  
Old 11-02-2008, 05:50 PM
ChapJohn ChapJohn is offline
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Tranny Issues? Nope!

I have 119,000 on my 2000 328i. It still changes fine, but feels like it hesitates as it shifts into reverse or drive, when just starting out. I wonder if changing the original fluid out would help with that issue, or if it might just stop pulling at all?

Any thoughts?

jer
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  #72  
Old 11-05-2008, 03:07 PM
tedpre tedpre is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 325i and 1990 525i
Tranny fluid change

I thought you cannot change the tansmission fluid sincer there's no holes or filling holes to work with. I have the 2003 325I...is this true or not that you can not change the fluid??
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  #73  
Old 11-08-2008, 10:21 AM
korblood85 korblood85 is offline
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hi, i have a 2003 e39 520i and it has 65000mls, no problems yet,but saying that,friend of mine has a 02 e39 525i and the torque converter is gone!!! he covered 60000mls!!!
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  #74  
Old 11-12-2008, 07:06 AM
bknuklz14 bknuklz14 is offline
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Okay 2000 323i with 101000 lost reverse.... dnt got the money to fix rite now but is it safe to drive with out being found on the side of the highway..... need to make it to work to getmoney 2 fix
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  #75  
Old 11-13-2008, 07:43 AM
Willikj Willikj is offline
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Unhappy shaking BMW

I have a 325xi - after about 2hrs of driving I get a pronouced shake only during acceleration. Its not the tires or rims and its only when the car is hot from running on the hwy a couple of hundred KM's. Anyone ever had this problem - any ideas ? its a 2004 - 120,000km
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