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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 06-11-2015, 09:40 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Long Distance Transmission Diagnosis

Hi Everyone!

I'm normally an e39 guy, but a fellow near me is selling a 1993 e34 Touring for $600. I haven't been able to sit in it yet, but he tells me he's getting rid of it because the automatic transmission isn't working. By that, he says that when you go to put it into gear, nothing happens at all. It just acts like it's still in neutral.

Two quick questions as i decide whether i want this car for a summertime fix-up project:

1. Did they put the GM transmission or the ZF transmission in the 1993 528it? I'm having trouble finding that in searches.

2. Is the "no gears at all" symptom an indication of an electrical problem (at least the threads that I've read make it seem that way)? Or can that be a more serious electrical problem?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2015, 03:08 PM
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MeNoo MeNoo is offline
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The shift linkage could be broken... (The shaft that connects shifter to trans)
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2015, 03:15 PM
ThoreauHD ThoreauHD is offline
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Long Distance Transmission Diagnosis

If the car was free, I may pursue it. I think the ZF transmission is in that model. You can't buy that cold. You need a mechanic to look at it. It could tag on an extra 3k in parts/labor if it's truly gone **** up. It could be a linkage or it could be worse. Have to determine empirically before purchase.

Last edited by ThoreauHD; 06-11-2015 at 03:16 PM.
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2015, 05:01 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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So, after searching around, it looks like the GM transmission came with the 525 cars. And there are some available nearby me for less than $400. But we all know that a used tranny is a crap shoot. I would be spending my time +$400 to swap a tranny if it's the worst case scenario.

That being said, are there any telltale signs i should look for that will help me understand if it's an electrical or mechanical failure?
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  #5  
Old 06-12-2015, 02:05 AM
paul1733 paul1733 is offline
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If the car is in good condition overall bar the transmission, get it.
The 3 problems with no drive or movement are:
ATF fluid low
Selector lever linkage misadjusted or broken like MeNoo said
Sticking pressure valves, faulty AFM pump or a broken gear in shaft. This can be tested.
Also may not have a drive shaft or to quote the simpsons mr plow episode "PUT IT IN H".
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  #6  
Old 06-12-2015, 04:40 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Any one of a heap of faults. Is this a long term purchase? The value of any car is 1) in the body and 2) the interior. If this is a car you would want to keep and 1 & 2 are ok to your standards then buy it. Engines and gearboxes are throw away. You can't throw away a bad body and keep the car.
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I've just changed my wiper blades and now my reverse lights don't work. Should I change my fuel pump relay?
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  #7  
Old 06-12-2015, 07:05 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWFatherFigure View Post
Any one of a heap of faults. Is this a long term purchase? The value of any car is 1) in the body and 2) the interior. If this is a car you would want to keep and 1 & 2 are ok to your standards then buy it. Engines and gearboxes are throw away. You can't throw away a bad body and keep the car.
Good questions. I'm looking at this as a summer project. If i can get it running for $1,000 including purchase price, then I will keep it. If I can get it running, I will probably own it till I get bored and then sell or trade it. this will not be a primary driver. If it doesn't want to run again, then i will probably part it out.

The body is in good shape (No rust). the interior is in good shape (no tears). It's parked among a bunch of other project cars (classic doge power wagon, old jeeps, and ancient amercian wagons). It's really the odd bird of the bunch. The seller traded something else for it, but i don't think he has enough interest to get the transmission working again. He just wants it gone before the paint starts to fade more than it has. He's go not shortage of projects to fund right now.
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2015, 07:07 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul1733 View Post
Sticking pressure valves, faulty AFM pump or a broken gear in shaft. This can be tested.

Also may not have a drive shaft or to quote the simpsons mr plow episode "PUT IT IN H".
Any links on where I can see how to test those issues?

Epic Simpsons quote!
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2015, 09:28 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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My cars tend to be long term purchases I hate to sell. For me buy, fix and keep. Only you know what you want. If it is not that special - ignore it and find a runner. The touring is rare (at least it is out here) so if I found one at that price it is a no brainer for me.
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I've just changed my wiper blades and now my reverse lights don't work. Should I change my fuel pump relay?
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  #10  
Old 06-12-2015, 09:57 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Yeah, they are getting rare out here, too. There are lot of fixer uppers, but most people want twice this much for cars with blown headgaskets. I bought myself an e39 a year ago, but my wife promptly claimed it as hers. This wagon would be mine, and then I will determine if we really need to be a two BMW wagon family. If not, I might trade it for something else down the line. For now though, $600 is very low to get into a car that is not a rust bucket. I might go for it.
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  #11  
Old 06-12-2015, 11:57 AM
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Go for it.

Non rust in ANY car is insanity in my area.
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2015, 01:43 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Go for it. If it turns out to be $$ to fix, keep it for a few years to reduce the cost/year. (and enjoy!!)
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Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
I've just changed my wiper blades and now my reverse lights don't work. Should I change my fuel pump relay?
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2015, 06:54 AM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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Go for it. If you can drive a manual trans car, forget the auto and drop a 5 spd manual in it.
You will not regret it whatsoever
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2015, 10:57 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Update: I went to see the car the other day and I bought it for a project. I will bring it home after the 4th Of July Holiday.

The battery was dead flat from sitting about 6 months and the gas was going bad. We poured a few gallons of fresh stuff into the tank, hooked up some jumper cables, and the thing fired right up. What a great engine. No strange noises, idles smoothly, revs nicely. The exhaust smelled like hell from the old gas, but what can you expect, right?
The interior is in surpisingly good condition for the age, save for some sags in the headliner.
I did not try the sunroof, but there were no signs of leaks.
AC blows cold
One spot of rust about the size of a nickel on the rear driver's door.
Here's the deal with the transmission: When you take it out of Park, you can hear the engine change RPM ever so slightly. Maybe 100 RPM. But there is zero motion at the wheels in any gear. You can rev the engine, but it doesn't try to move. The is the 4l30e transmission from GM.

I've been researching like crazy, but found very little information on this type of problem. I'm even reading into the Isuzu forums, because they got a slightly different version of this same transmission.

If you know if any links, or have any suggestions, please feel free. I'm trying to come up with a strategy to attack this thing when it gets here.

Here's what I have so far:
  1. Drop in battery from my e39 528it - then test operation
  2. Check fluid level and top off -- then test operation
  3. Test voltatage at solenoid connectors
  4. Drain fluid, replace filter, remove and test solenoids -- then test operation
Any other suggestions?

Other areas that I've been warned could cause this syptom:
1. bad pump (how can I test that without removing?)
2. Bad torque converter (any way to test without removing?)
3. Broken pawl spring (oh joy!)
4. Valve body needs to be rebuilt (any way to test that?)

Last edited by hans747; 06-24-2015 at 10:58 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-10-2015, 06:22 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Well, I did it! Wish me luck.
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2015, 06:40 PM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Torque converter test: 1) Satrt the car. 2) Set the 'E'brake and clamp down on the foot brake. 3) Select D. 3) Floor the gas. More than about 1800 RPM then either the fluid is way low or the TC is toast. DO NOT CONDUCT THIS TEST FOR MORE THAN 10 SECONDS!!!!!
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Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
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Previous:
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I've just changed my wiper blades and now my reverse lights don't work. Should I change my fuel pump relay?

Last edited by BMWFatherFigure; 07-12-2015 at 01:28 AM.
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  #17  
Old 07-11-2015, 09:21 PM
capricornbmw capricornbmw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWFatherFigure View Post
Torque converter test: 1) Satrt the car. 2) Select D. 3) Floor the gas. More than about 1800 RPM then either the fluid is way low or the TC is toast. DO NOT CONDUCT THIS TEST FOR MORE THAN 10 SECONDS!!!!!

You forgot : Keep the handbrake up and step on the brake pedal hard. Critical oversight.

You'll get to some kind of 'biting point', where the note of the engine clearly changes due to stress on the transmission, and the rpm will not want to go higher, and the rpm where this is happens should not be as high as 1800 as FF has point out.

Please google and youtube for more info on this. And don't worry, its safe, you can do it a few times to get familiar with the threshold point, but not more than 5 seconds each time, then give it 30 seconds at neutral to er recompose itself. lol
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  #18  
Old 07-12-2015, 01:31 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Thanks CcBMW. Oversight on my part. I have edited my post. Thanks again. +1 on 30 seconds between tests. That allows fluid to be changed in the TC and get to the trans cooler. Cooking the fluid is well possible and a very bad idea.
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Current:
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Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
I've just changed my wiper blades and now my reverse lights don't work. Should I change my fuel pump relay?
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  #19  
Old 07-12-2015, 04:22 AM
capricornbmw capricornbmw is offline
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My biting point is around 1100-1200 rpm....just checked. Depending on the NM rating of your torque convertor, this figure will be different so don't take my number as the correct one.
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  #20  
Old 07-12-2015, 01:06 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Hmm... Bentley manual quotes a higher number. Will have to look it up later.
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  #21  
Old 07-12-2015, 10:22 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Hey guys, I managed to clean and photograph one of the ID tags on my transmission. Is this one of the 310r models?
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  #22  
Old 07-13-2015, 08:11 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Update: Just opened up the tranny pan drains. It's not new fluid, but I've seen worse. Doesn't smell burnt.

Is it normal for about 1 gallon of fluid to come out via the drainplugs? Granted, the car has ben sitting.
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  #23  
Old 07-16-2015, 06:41 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Diagnosis Complete!!!

The inside of the tranny pan looks like this:


Case closed. Time for a new/different transmission!

I will start weighing my options. You can read about that in my other thread.
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  #24  
Old 07-16-2015, 10:26 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is online now
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Dayuuum, that's terrible. Sorry bout the find. Is that a magnet covered in shavings and chit bottom center?
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  #25  
Old 07-16-2015, 10:48 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEinstein View Post
Dayuuum, that's terrible. Sorry bout the find. Is that a magnet covered in shavings and chit bottom center?
Yeah, it looks like a Muppet's anus, but that's all the metal shavings stuck to the magnet. But this should be a warning to everyone with an automatic: there were a lot of fine shavings floating around at the bottom of the pan. Clearly, this magnet had been maxed out, and it couldn't keep catching the debris, so the metal just kept circulating through the transmission.

Drop your pans, people!
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