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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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 06-03-2016, 06:15 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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Jatco a5s 300j

My 328i has a jape see tranny in it and it still won't change up from 2nd gear and the manual side won't change up either but rev works it's mind bloggling can anybody shine some light on this as I'm at wits end
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2016, 08:42 AM
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jkmeisl jkmeisl is offline
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the Japanese model e36 had a transmission built by JatCo (japan automatic transmission company) the company is no longer in business and parts are no longer available.
these transmission typicaly lasted 100,000kms in rare cases I've seen one up to 160,000 kms in a 320i. they are horrible transmissions and the problem your having is a sign the transmission is done for.

so your options are to find another japanese model e36 with a good transmission (unlikely) or swap in a manual transmission from a local car. (lots of work and modification)

I have a japan model myself and I'll tell ya they are unique in a bad way, japan had a law back in the 90's that every car imported into the country had to 30% built in japan, so bmw shipped the parts over there and they were assembled using japanese wiring harnesses (differente then euro or US wiring) and switches. as well the headlights and transmission was japan model specific.

they are good cars if you know what your dealing with and make the correct modifications.

I bought another japan model e36 for parts just in case. its a safe guard because the dealership and any other parts source will not be able to supply the japan specific parts.

good luck and sorry to hear about the problem.
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Last edited by jkmeisl; 06-03-2016 at 08:44 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2016, 09:14 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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BMW list parts for it I've got the filter just waiting for the speed changing solinoid would a diagnostic tool find the problem with the tranie it's driving me up the wall
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2016, 09:16 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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Would another auto transmission fit into it
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2016, 09:40 AM
Henry525 Henry525 is offline
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Originally Posted by jkmeisl View Post
these transmission typicaly lasted 100,000kms in rare cases I've seen one up to 160,000 kms in a 320i. they are horrible transmissions and the problem your having is a sign the transmission is done for.
.

BMW would not outsource anything to a japanese company that would not meet or nearly meet ZF's standards for a transmission. A bmw transmission that is toast at 60k-100k miles has clearly been severely abused. Transmissions last from 250k-300k miles, especially if you scrupulously stick to fully synthetic transmission fluid and change your oil on time, and switch to high mileage transmission fluid if your gear shifts begin to slip and your solenoids etc test out fine.

And fully half of all non-oil transmission problems, are valve body issues (the rest are clutch issues). Valve body issues are fixable for the advanced diyer.

OP, if your transmission fluid is good (need not be new), test all the solenoids and speed sensors through the tcm's (transmission control modules) harness connector. Get the settings by downloading your transmission's ETM. Search for it - its out there. Your issue actually sounds like a pressure control solenoid fault, or severely clogged oil passages in the valve body. The VBK retails for around $200 and is usually a very good investment especially if your transmission is at a relatively low mileage. Of course, you can just drop it an give it a good clean. There are a few good youtube videos about this.

Check out the web for any peculiarities specific to your transmission. You might have that.

Took a second look at your first post. Dude, you got a transmission range switch problem. Its not transmitting the command to switch gears when you move the lever. Most likely that, especially if all your solenoids and speed sensors' resistances check out fine when you test through the harness. Its a $40 part, and can be swapped in 30 minutes, can be reliably purchased used, but before that take a look at your existing one and see if its something you can clear up or clean up.

Last edited by Henry525; 06-14-2016 at 12:01 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2016, 09:41 AM
Henry525 Henry525 is offline
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Originally Posted by david studdly View Post
BMW list parts for it I've got the filter just waiting for the speed changing solinoid would a diagnostic tool find the problem with the tranie it's driving me up the wall
Please do write in proper english, with proper punctuation, grammar, etc. Don't text here. You wouldn't like to be at the receiving end of that, so follow the golden rule. You are saving yourself $190/hr in diagnostic costs so help us out.

Last edited by Henry525; 06-03-2016 at 09:48 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2016, 11:01 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry525 View Post
BMW would not outsource anything to a japanese company that would not meet or nearly meet ZF's standards for a transmission. A bmw transmission that is toast at 60k-100k miles has clearly been severely abused. Transmissions last from 250k-300k miles, especially if you scrupulously stick to fully synthetic transmission fluid and change your oil on time, and switch to high mileage transmission fluid if your gear shifts begin to slip and your solenoids etc test out fine.

And fully half of all non-oil transmission problems, are valve body issues (the rest are clutch issues). Valve body issues are fixable for the advanced diyer.

OP, if your transmission fluid is good (need not be new), test all the solenoids and speed sensors through the tcm's (transmission control modules) harness connector. Get the settings by downloading your transmission's ETM. Search for it - its out there. Your issue actually sounds like a pressure control solenoid fault, or severely clogged oil passages in the valve body. The VBK retails for around $200 and is usually a very good investment especially if your transmission is at a relatively low mileage. Of course, you can just drop it an give it a good clean. There are a few good youtube videos about this.

Check out the web for any peculiarities specific to your transmission. You might have that.

Took a second look at your first post. Dude, you got a transmission range switch problem. Its not transmitting the command to switch gears when you move the lever. Most likely that, especially if all your solenoids and speed sensors' resistances check out fine when you test through the harness. Its a $40 part, and can be swapped in 30 minutes, can be reliably purchased used, but before that take a look at your existing one and see if its something you can clear up or clean up.
Unfortunately only the M3 E36 got the ZF auto tranny. Everything else got a French GM unit. Around that same time BMW changed the auto trans fluid from a mileage based maintenance item to life time and took it off the maintenance list. The result is it's very common for the E36 auto trans to fail in the 100K-120K mileage range, with wear out of the clutch packs being the most common cause. Since only Japan got the Japanese built transmission, there's not been anything posted on it in this forum until now if memory serves me correctly, so unfortunately no historical info to share with the OP. There's not even any reference to it for parts on realoem or bmwfans.info, so not even anyway to point him to the parts diagrams.
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Last edited by dc_wright; 06-03-2016 at 11:03 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2016, 10:11 PM
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Daggerty Daggerty is offline
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It seems like he is stuck between a rock and a hard place, he might be better off doing a manual swap then spending hours researching and trying to find the correct trans, alone any info on it.
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2016, 10:55 PM
Al92525 Al92525 is offline
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Originally Posted by Daggerty View Post
It seems like he is stuck between a rock and a hard place, he might be better off doing a manual swap then spending hours researching and trying to find the correct trans, alone any info on it.

No he is not Daggerty. The Bentley manual, in fact, has a troubleshooting chart for automatic transmissions and the range switch fits the OP's symptoms. It is likely the transmission range switch here, as Henry observed.

The manual swap is not a cheap and simple thing. It costs the same in parts as getting a used transmission, but is far more complex in labour. That's hours and hours and hours and dollars there.

And Daggerty, the OP can just swap in a GM or other transmission also use in E36s and even E34s, if the bellhousing is the same. The long shaft will not need to be changed. The tcm will need to be switched but that's plug and play and costs a lousy $50.
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2016, 05:47 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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Thanks boys all your info I've read is much appreciated and if I can keep my lady all standard I've got her all up together now it's just the transmission now if I get any more problems with I'll check back for some more help and advice cheers boys
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  #11  
Old 06-04-2016, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Al92525 View Post
No he is not Daggerty. The Bentley manual, in fact, has a troubleshooting chart for automatic transmissions and the range switch fits the OP's symptoms. It is likely the transmission range switch here, as Henry observed.

The manual swap is not a cheap and simple thing. It costs the same in parts as getting a used transmission, but is far more complex in labour. That's hours and hours and hours and dollars there.

And Daggerty, the OP can just swap in a GM or other transmission also use in E36s and even E34s, if the bellhousing is the same. The long shaft will not need to be changed. The tcm will need to be switched but that's plug and play and costs a lousy $50.
My bad
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  #12  
Old 06-04-2016, 11:30 AM
Al92525 Al92525 is offline
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Originally Posted by david studdly View Post
Thanks boys all your info I've read is much appreciated and if I can keep my lady all standard I've got her all up together now it's just the transmission now if I get any more problems with I'll check back for some more help and advice cheers boys
Doesn't sound like he's doing any serious thinking about what he's read here. And he should be jumping for joy at the possibility that an expensive problem can be so easily fixed.

Perhaps the workshop would be a better option for future transmission issues for him.
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2016, 07:48 PM
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MikeInValdosta MikeInValdosta is offline
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Originally Posted by Al92525 View Post
the OP can just swap in a GM or other transmission also use in E36s and even E34s, if the bellhousing is the same. The long shaft will not need to be changed. The tcm will need to be switched but that's plug and play and costs a lousy $50.
I was curious about this. I paid 1800 installed (and core exchange) with a lifetime warranty, would have been 1500 with no warranty.
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2016, 03:15 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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I haven't done any serious thinking your cheeky for saying that I've not been seriously thinking on my transmission problem if I don't know what to do I start to ask for help n advice and all I ****ing get is you type of people going on and on I've only asked for some help not for you to get bloody lippy
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2016, 05:23 AM
Al92525 Al92525 is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeInValdosta View Post
I was curious about this. I paid 1800 installed (and core exchange) with a lifetime warranty, would have been 1500 with no warranty.
What was wrong with your old transmission? What symptoms /patterns were you seeing ?

Last edited by Al92525; 06-08-2016 at 05:56 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2016, 05:57 AM
Al92525 Al92525 is offline
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Originally Posted by david studdly View Post
I haven't done any serious thinking your cheeky for saying that I've not been seriously thinking on my transmission problem if I don't know what to do I start to ask for help n advice and all I ****ing get is you type of people going on and on I've only asked for some help not for you to get bloody lippy

The transmission range switch on your car - is it fixed to the left of the valve body or the right ? Yours is a right hand drive vehicle, correct?
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  #17  
Old 06-09-2016, 05:25 AM
olivermarkd olivermarkd is offline
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Are you in limp mode? Is the transmission gear light lighting up (the gear with an exclaimation mark in the middle)?
I had 5 e36s, 4 with the jap tranny.. all had been in limp mode.. the problem was the TCM computer.. replaced it with a working one, problem fixed.. this is a very common problem with the jatco transmission of the e36s..
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  #18  
Old 06-09-2016, 05:35 AM
olivermarkd olivermarkd is offline
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  #19  
Old 06-09-2016, 07:05 AM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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It's in limp mode it's not changing up from second gear even manual side rev works and won't go any faster than 20mph it's a right hand drive I've got a new filter n gasket for the transmission and what is the TCM computer and no warning light is showing either
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:20 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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PLEASE use some punctuation.

TCM= Transmission Computer Module
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  #21  
Old 06-09-2016, 10:53 AM
Al92525 Al92525 is offline
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Originally Posted by david studdly View Post
It's in limp mode it's not changing up from second gear even manual side rev works and won't go any faster than 20mph it's a right hand drive I've got a new filter n gasket for the transmission and what is the TCM computer and no warning light is showing either

Mike ! Hey Mike ! I gotta question for you.

What is the water pump ?




Al

p.s. TCM = Transmission control module. TCU = transmission control unit. EGS = german for tcu. All those mean the same.

DME = digital motor electronics. ECU = engine control unit. ECM = engine control module. All these mean the same as well.
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  #22  
Old 06-12-2016, 12:13 PM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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Got no warning light on so I take it my transmission is not so bad is there anyway I can get another one or get mine repaired or remapped
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  #23  
Old 06-12-2016, 12:25 PM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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TCM I meant to say
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  #24  
Old 06-12-2016, 12:45 PM
Henry525 Henry525 is offline
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Originally Posted by Henry525 View Post

Took a second look at your first post. Dude, you got a transmission range switch problem. Its not transmitting the command to switch gears when you move the lever. Most likely that, especially if all your solenoids and speed sensors' resistances check out fine when you test through the harness. Its a $40 part, and can be swapped in 30 minutes, can be reliably purchased used, but before that take a look at your existing one and see if its something you can clear up or clean up.

Ahem.
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  #25  
Old 06-12-2016, 02:29 PM
david studdly david studdly is offline
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I'm not well up on auto transmissions mate I'm a panel beater and paint sprayer don't really do the mechanical side much more bodywork how do you test the harness dude I'm in England mate and there ain't many company's say they won't touch my e36 what tool would I want to test the harness on my transmission

Last edited by hornhospital; 06-14-2016 at 11:42 AM.
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