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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 01-03-2011, 07:19 AM
robant251 robant251 is offline
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Location: United Kingdom
 
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Mein Auto: E36 328i Cabriolet
Unhappy Automatic gearbox problem

At the end of last summer I purchased a 1998 E36 328i automatic convertible in excellent condition with 69K miles supported by FSH. Lately I find that when accelerating from rest with the gearbox in ''sport'' mode the first upward gear change is very fierce. Subsequent gearchanges are OK and the problem does not occur in ''economy'' mode. My after-market service manual mentions the possibilty of low oil level but that this can only be checked and, if necessary, topped up by a main dealer. Is low oil level a likely cause and is it true that I cannot replenish the oil myself ? ( We have recently had a spell of sub-zero weather but surely that cannot have any bearing can it ?)
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2011, 11:02 AM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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If you are doing this in the cold are you letting the car and transmission fluid heat up first? Also, first thing to check would be the trans fluid level, and the last time the fluid was changed. But it looks like you already looked into that, but I am not sure how to access the transmission fluid in one of these.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2011, 12:41 PM
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It's a real pain in the ass, but here's a link: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...Fluid_Auto.htm
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  #4  
Old 01-03-2011, 12:48 PM
westfield westfield is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 325
Yes it is a real pain the arse to change the fluid that 's why I paid about 100 US for a competent shop to change if for me. Some things are not worth doing it yourself..These guys had the car up on a lift, dropped the pans, changed the filter and fluid and ran the fluid up to the proper temp as they did it...
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2011, 01:57 PM
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cj.surr cj.surr is offline
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Location: Ithaca, NY
 
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You wouldn't really need a shop to top off the fluid, you would just need a cheap hand pump and tools to get the car off the ground. A change of the fluid and filter is possible to do yourself, I actually plan on doing it this weekend. 100 bucks sounds like a very fair price for the job though, the mechanics that I talked to wanted $175+.

By the way, did the fluid change solve the problem?
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Last edited by cj.surr; 01-03-2011 at 02:38 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2011, 07:24 AM
westfield westfield is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 325
I thought 100 was a great price to. I had them change the fluid on my 95 325 vert because my garage was all cluttered and I really did not want to mess with it. I took it to this shop in San Antonio and I was impressed as they told me how they would do it, why it needed to be run to a certain temperature. For 100 bucks or so, they'll do it every 25,000 miles for me. I know there is a lot of automatic bashing on these BMW forums but if you maintain your auto tranny and not beat it you will be fine.
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2011, 11:45 AM
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cj.surr cj.surr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westfield View Post
I thought 100 was a great price to. I had them change the fluid on my 95 325 vert because my garage was all cluttered and I really did not want to mess with it. I took it to this shop in San Antonio and I was impressed as they told me how they would do it, why it needed to be run to a certain temperature. For 100 bucks or so, they'll do it every 25,000 miles for me. I know there is a lot of automatic bashing on these BMW forums but if you maintain your auto tranny and not beat it you will be fine.
I don't think the bashing automatic transmissions on this forum is because of the quality, but more of driver preference. My auto has almost 200k on it, and it's still running.
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:06 PM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
I don't think the bashing automatic transmissions on this forum is because of the quality, but more of driver preference. My auto has almost 200k on it, and it's still running.
True dat! I have 204.5k miles and it still feels strong!
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:26 PM
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TnT817 TnT817 is offline
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My "parts" car has 240k miles with an auto tranny
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2011, 01:43 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
I don't think the bashing automatic transmissions on this forum is because of the quality, but more of driver preference. My auto has almost 200k on it, and it's still running.
It's for both reasons. True, manual transmissions really do wake up E36s (so there is the driver preference), but the auto boxes also have a pretty terrible failure rate.
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2011, 08:30 PM
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cj.surr cj.surr is offline
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Location: Ithaca, NY
 
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I finished changing the fluid and filter, but I haven't gotten to drive it yet because of all the snow over here. Just shifting through the gears in the driveway felt a lot smoother, though. No more jerking.
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