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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 06-26-2011, 03:27 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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Strange Acceleration Issue

Recently I have noticed a strange acceleration issue with my car. If I put the petal to the floor, It accelerates normally until it reaches 55 mph at which time it continues to rev but it will not go any faster. This ONLY happens when the petal is pinned to the floor but does not do it under normal driving conditions. Anyone ever have this ever happen to them or know what it could be?

I initially thought that the engine was not getting enough fuel to support high rpm's so i changed out the fuel filter and ran some seafoam but the condition persisted. I have also dismissed the fuel issue because I attempted to floor it while coasting at 65 miles an hour and it takes off just as it should. The issue only happens at 55 mph under heavy acceleration and sometimes at low speeds when flooring it.
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:15 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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I should mention it is an automatics trans
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2011, 06:08 PM
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any codes?
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2011, 07:42 PM
Twin_AiTi Twin_AiTi is offline
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check gauge cluster and make sure its not beginning to fail. The only other thing that i can think of is maybe the DME is having retarded moment and thinks your speed limiter is at 55mph. But yea, if your not getting any codes its kinda up in the air.
maybe check the throttle cable, idk.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:08 AM
DenKare DenKare is offline
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your trans is slipping >.>
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denkare View Post
your trans is slipping >.>
+1
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:17 PM
Twin_AiTi Twin_AiTi is offline
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Why would the trans only slip at full throttle and stop at accelerating at 55mph. If the torque converter is going I would think it would happen whenever u went full throttle.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:01 PM
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In the case of your apparent transmission slipping, I would recommend a fluid and filter change as a first course of action. I would drop the pan, change the filter, refill, drive around the block and then just drain the fluid again (without removing the pan) and refill. This will get a higher percentage of fresh fluid in the transmission. Drive the car for a few hundred miles and see if things improve at all. If the slippage is due to poor fluid condition or a sticking valve in the valve body, the fresh fluid may show an improvement, over time. If you find that there is no improvement, you likely may have worn clutch packs and be in need of a rebuild.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin_AiTi View Post
Why would the trans only slip at full throttle and stop at accelerating at 55mph. If the torque converter is going I would think it would happen whenever u went full throttle.
True, but perhaps it hasn't gotten that bad yet. If the RPMs skyrocket but the vehicle speed does not increase accordingly, I'd vote for a slipping trans, too. Best to check your fluid level as step one.
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2011, 10:25 AM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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I really don't think its the transmission slipping but who knows. I think I'm just going to bring it to the dealer.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:26 AM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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and +1 on the torque converter. Thats what I think
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin_AiTi View Post
Why would the trans only slip at full throttle and stop at accelerating at 55mph. If the torque converter is going I would think it would happen whenever u went full throttle.
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Originally Posted by Landshark 328 View Post
and +1 on the torque converter. Thats what I think
Signs of a Bad Torque Converter

Proper transmission torque converter action is necessary for the adequate function and operation of a vehicle's transmission. There are a number of problems and issues that can develop with a transmission torque converter. What follows is a brief list of the most common signs of a bad transmission torque converter.

Transmission Gear Slippage

A bad torque converter will often cause transmission gears to slip out of place, especially under heavy acceleration. By altering the flow and pressure of circulating hydraulic transmission fluid, a bad torque converter can prevent optimal hydraulic transmission fluid flow, which can allow gears to slip.

Reduced Acceleration

Many times a vehicle that has a bad torque converter will seemingly lack engine power and/or acceleration power. Proper vehicle acceleration is influenced in part by the proper hydraulic function of a torque converter. A bad torque converter will often times prevent adequate transmission pressure from developing, which in turn reduces engine acceleration and power.

Hard Shifting

Hard shifting, which normally occurs when a transmission "slams" or "drops" into gear as opposed to shifting easily into gear, is a common symptom of a bad torque converter. Proper, consistent torque converter action, including proper hydraulic fluid pressurization, is mandatory for smooth transmission gear shifting. A bad torque converter lacks the ability to pressurize hydraulic fluid normally, which can result in hard shifting.

Transmission Surging

A vehicle that surges, or lunges, while being driven at a constant speed is oftentimes a vehicle that has a bad torque converter. This condition, which is normally caused by the erratic flow and pressurization of hydraulic transmission fluid within the torque converter, is a classic symptom of torque converter dysfunction.

Transmission Lag

Transmission lag is a condition where a vehicle's transmission takes a long time to build up sufficient transmission fluid pressure to affect vehicle movement. Transmission lag is most apparent in a vehicle starting out from a complete stop. A bad torque converter can lack sufficient converter and pump action to provide adequate hydraulic fluid pressure to affect normal vehicle take-offs.
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  #13  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:34 PM
Alpina B3 3.0 Alpina B3 3.0 is offline
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Hmm I'll have to check into that, I don't hve the same exact problem but sometimes when I down shift in 2nd then 1st at a light and then press the gaz it can take a couple seconds before I have power to the wheels again....what would be the first thing to check? Fluid levels? And how can you check those (I don't think theres any fluid gauge on the 94's.)
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  #14  
Old 07-05-2011, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpina B3 3.0 View Post
Hmm I'll have to check into that, I don't hve the same exact problem but sometimes when I down shift in 2nd then 1st at a light and then press the gaz it can take a couple seconds before I have power to the wheels again....what would be the first thing to check? Fluid levels? And how can you check those (I don't think theres any fluid gauge on the 94's.)
There are no transmission dipstick on E36 auto transmission. Here're some general instructions on what to do. Look at page 7 HERE! Also, here are some instructions on doing an automatic transmission fluid change for the E36 specifically HERE!

Don't believe BMW's claim on the transmission fluid being a "lifetime" oil. Because they won't listen to your complaints when you go back to them with a dead auto transmission at 100k miles. Change out your tranny oil & filter (for Auto Transmission) every 50k miles. Manual transmissions are easier to maintain, just drain and fill.
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2011, 05:08 PM
Alpina B3 3.0 Alpina B3 3.0 is offline
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I was actually going to do that! Just one little problem, what's the oil capacity of the transmission (my owner's manual is in japanese...I can only see numbers with signs!) If any one would be kind and give me the actual amount I'll glady do it myself! And thanks for the info!
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2011, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpina B3 3.0 View Post
I was actually going to do that! Just one little problem, what's the oil capacity of the transmission (my owner's manual is in japanese...I can only see numbers with signs!) If any one would be kind and give me the actual amount I'll glady do it myself! And thanks for the info!
The pelican parts link that I gave you should be very helpful. Navigate their site and browse through the many different varieties of items they have on sale. They should have ATF kits in stock and should say precisely how much fluid it has per bottle.
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  #17  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpina B3 3.0 View Post
Hmm I'll have to check into that, I don't hve the same exact problem but sometimes when I down shift in 2nd then 1st at a light and then press the gaz it can take a couple seconds before I have power to the wheels again....what would be the first thing to check? Fluid levels? And how can you check those (I don't think theres any fluid gauge on the 94's.)
Are you manually downshifting the automatic as you approach an intersection, slowing the car with the engine? Big no-no. You're killing the transmission. It was never intended to be treated like that. If you want to manually shift, get a manual transmission.
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:20 PM
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He has an Alpina with SMG and steering wheel mounted shifter buttons, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:41 PM
Alpina B3 3.0 Alpina B3 3.0 is offline
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Exact...I would never downshift with a normal auto transmission. Thanks I'll browse their site

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Old 07-19-2011, 01:23 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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As I said, My problem was not one with the transmission. I brought it to the dealer who verified this. The fluid was not burnt, it does not surge, and in general still goes smooth under normal conditions.The only problem occur when the petal is too the floor. The dealer also noted something that I did not, It does the hesitation in revving when you accelerate in idle.

As someone mentioned earlier, the mechanic thought it could be the DME limiter but he is not certain because it could be some other things too. The dealer told me to change it out would be 1200 dollars and I'm not spending that even if my car does still look spotless.

Anyone know anything about this? Can I get a DME limiter for cheaper or how to change it out? I am helpless when it comes to the computer side of things.

I can't believe nobody has had this problem before
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Last edited by Landshark 328; 07-19-2011 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:56 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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I also never mentioned that the secondary(downstream) O2 sensor tripped the check engine light.I'm changing that out this weekend but I'm not sure that that could contribute to this issue.

And I have been looking for DME's and the only thing I found from pelican is that I should buy a (Bosch Motronic MS41.1 [OBD-II]) for my 328is. I can't find any for sale anywhere or pricing other than the $1000 the dealer told me it would be
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:02 PM
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When it comes to DMEs, buying a used one is pretty much always the preferred (i.e. cost effective) route. I'd look online, and in scrap yards.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:03 PM
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Landshark, let me clarify, you said when you hit 55 at WOT the engine RPMs continue to go up indefinitely but the speed does not increase, right? But if you drive it gently it does let you get above 65?

A) If the RPMs increase, it's not a limiter problem. That's how the limiter functions is by cutting power so it's clearly not doing that.
B) It sounds like a torque converter lock-up issue. Perhaps it's not locking up at WOT, but when you drive it gently it lets it lock up and then you can drive as needed from there.

If I'm misunderstanding the symptoms please let me know.
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  #24  
Old 07-19-2011, 04:02 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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Yeah Phantom you have it just about right. Thing is, I have never really watched the rpm's because I was always afraid to do damage by continuing to push it to do something it clearly didn't want it to do.

At the 55 mph mark it seems like it is literally being held back. From research, I thought the torque converter was the problem, but the dealer did not say anything about that. I might have more of a chat with the mechanic when I pick it up tomorrow.

Another side note is that I remember this car acting like a rocket when I first bought it. Even though it has happened slowly over a 40k period, I feel that the performance has gradually been slipping (even though still decent). (car has 140k overall)


I could get to 120mph as long as I don't floor it
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Last edited by Landshark 328; 07-19-2011 at 04:04 PM.
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  #25  
Old 07-19-2011, 04:07 PM
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Really sounds like a torque converter issue to me.
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