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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

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  #1  
Old 06-28-2012, 05:31 PM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Is it my Transmission or just a module

I hope I haven't lost my automatic transmission. Last night after a lot of stop and go driving on a very hot night. My drive train seemed to be slipping when coming to a complete stop (like a stop sign). I got home and let the car cool. Two hours later all seemed fine. Lots of driving this morning with no problems. I drove to work at 70 +/- no problems. Then had some errands to do after work in the heat. That is when the real trouble started. 1st the PRNDL display flickered then went dark. Then there was an audible metallic clicking from the shift handle. I could even feel the click vibrating when touching the shift handle. Then I got the Electronic Control Module Trouble light come on. (It returns after shutting down)Of course I am also now getting this slipping when coming to a complete stop.
Is this a complete Transmission failure? Or is there some electronic module that is faulting? Curiously enough when the Trouble Lamp came on the radio died! Is there some connection?
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2012, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kramerjb View Post
Curiously enough when the Trouble Lamp came on the radio died! Is there some connection?
[/B]
This may be a good thing. It could be that your battery is dying. These cars are so largely controlled by electronic gizmos that we have seen many a trans go nuts due to low voltage. Limp over to an auto parts store and have them test it (free service). You might be lucky.
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  #3  
Old 06-28-2012, 06:37 PM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Thanks Smlock

I see your back in Crimson Tide country. That would be great. This car is wearing me out. I read a great quote today "Nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW". Just last night I bought a new set of OEM Wheels because I had two bent rims. Maybe I will get lucky.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kramerjb View Post
I see your back in Crimson Tide country. That would be great. This car is wearing me out. I read a great quote today "Nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW". Just last night I bought a new set of OEM Wheels because I had two bent rims. Maybe I will get lucky.
We have seen it go both ways over the years. And yes I am in Crimson Tide country, in fact, today I drove through T-town on my way to an appointment and I stopped to say high to an old friend............Bryant-Denny Stadium. I said "see you in 64 days old friend". Of course, then I realized, we play Michigan in Arlington to open the season.....
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2012, 07:42 PM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Additional Data

Smlock, just like last night. I allow the car to completely cool. Everything works. Radio fine shifting fine, and no error code in the dash. I have to believe this is a heating and cooling issue. One piece of information I didnt give earlier (I didnt think it was relevant) The heater control valve is stuck partially open. I ordered a new one today. It seems like a simple R&R. Could this contribute to the symptoms?

Go Noles
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kramerjb View Post
Smlock, just like last night. I allow the car to completely cool. Everything works. Radio fine shifting fine, and no error code in the dash. I have to believe this is a heating and cooling issue. One piece of information I didnt give earlier (I didnt think it was relevant) The heater control valve is stuck partially open. I ordered a new one today. It seems like a simple R&R. Could this contribute to the symptoms?

Go Noles
These cars have rather weak cooling systems and anything that malfunctions can adversely affect the long term performance of components like an automatic trans; heat kills transmissions. The heater valve by itself may not be a real big problem, but radiator condition, fan clutch, aux. fan, trans cooler, thermostat, and water pump performance can make alot of difference. You need to make sure everything is in top condition.
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2012, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by kramerjb View Post
Smlock, just like last night. I allow the car to completely cool. Everything works. Radio fine shifting fine, and no error code in the dash. I have to believe this is a heating and cooling issue. One piece of information I didnt give earlier (I didnt think it was relevant) The heater control valve is stuck partially open. I ordered a new one today. It seems like a simple R&R. Could this contribute to the symptoms?

Go Noles
There is a transmission thermostat (automatic tranny, I assume) at the base of the expansion tank. That thermostat is what controls coolant to your transmission- not your engine. I have seen them in pieces when the expansion tank has been pulled....but sometimes I think getting the tank off is what honks them up....# 4 in link...however, you should go into limp mode if it fails as any over heat condition would be detected and limp mode would be set until tranny cools down, ignition also needs to be shut off for reset etc

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...41&hg=17&fg=05

Last edited by QAfred; 06-28-2012 at 09:28 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2012, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
There is a transmission thermostat (automatic tranny, I assume) at the base of the expansion tank. That thermostat is what controls coolant to your transmission- not your engine. I have seen them in pieces when the expansion tank has been pulled....but sometimes I think getting the tank off is what honks them up....# 4 in link...however, you should go into limp mode if it fails as any over heat condition would be detected and limp mode would be set until tranny cools down, ignition also needs to be shut off for reset etc

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...41&hg=17&fg=05
Good point. Didn't even think of this. The power of "WE" is better than me! Rock on Bimmerfest!
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2012, 01:48 PM
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The metallic clicking noise is probably the solenoid which locks the transmission selector in Park. You should be able to feel the click on the shifter when you put your foot on the brake pedal while in "P"ark. Electronics going bezerk due to failing battery isn't a bad thought ... I can't explain the issues you describe only while hot other than to say you might be looking at a multiple-problem situation coincidentally happening at the same time.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2012, 03:20 PM
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Heat kills batteries, so yours may be failing. Be sure to have it load tested, or if it is over 5 years old, just replace it. These cars do not like weak batteries, and you can kill the alternator, and chase all sorts of gremlins if yours is marginal.
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2012, 04:08 AM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Update - It was pretty clear to me that the issues were mounting up. Lots of Gremlins and the possibility of multiple problems. Time to go to the most respected German Auto Repair shop in the NoVA region. This after driving a cooled down car Fri morning that ran perfect. Just the night before (Trans slipping when stopping. Trans Warning Lamp On, Radio Failed, PRNDL Lights Out, Clicking heard and felt in shift knob and heater valve failure). German Auto Group has a great reputation. A few months back I wanted to swap Trans Fluid. But pretty much was told not to. (Not because it isnt a good idea. But because if it's never been done and shifting fine it is best to leave it alone) Plenty of posts in this forum describe problems after doing just that. Well GAG tech says looks in and reports my Fluid is a mess. But this is after a 15 min test drive with no issues. They ask to keep the car for three days and do a series of two partial flushes with a good warm up. Then a full fill and drain. He believe the basics of my Trans is fine and really thinks this can help. The car runs multiple codes in the history. But nothing that points at a direct resolution.
Then the bad luck happens...NoVA is hit with a freak storm Fri night. GAG as well as 2 million others are without power. Could be a week until they get it back.
BTW Thanks to all this forum is the best thing going.
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2012, 05:42 AM
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I'm sticking with bad battery. At least until it is properly ruled out.
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2012, 08:39 AM
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Weak/failing batteries are the number one cause of strange (and seemingly unrelated) problems in these cars.

Check your alternator for proper output as well.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2012, 12:31 PM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Update - My car has been in the shop since for 10 days now. There has been a lot to deal with here in NoVA between power outages and 105 deg. So here is the deal. The shop had trouble getting the car to repeat any of the issues I had saw. However they did look in the Trans and saw the fluid had pretty much come apart. They felt like a trans flush was a good idea. I was skeptical hesitant. There is a lot of evidence to show you don't open a trans that has never been opened. However at this point I felt that they were trustworthy. They have the best reputation in the DC area. Well didn't have it back 1 hour before new and old symptoms were occurring. Neutral Safety Switch failed, down shift from 2 to 1 sloppy, Trans lamp and check engine lamp both illuminate. But none of the other symptoms. Now we have good codes to read and persistent failures. Turns out that the Trans Control Module has failed. Tech is trying to find a used one. Says new ones are over 1K. Believes Trans is just fine. If he can find a used one, all other modules will have to have firmware updated. Then I should be good to go. BTW all other voltage checks and battery checks read out fine.
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  #15  
Old 10-06-2012, 09:54 AM
Peter's 525I Peter's 525I is offline
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???

so what happened?
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  #16  
Old 10-06-2012, 04:51 PM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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All Better

It took longer than I would have hoped and around $1200 But the car has been flawless. Trouble is we had to sneak up on the problem. Did the Trans Flush multiple drains and fills. Then replaced the Trans computer. I bought a used one from a reseller. The finally had to go back inside to replace the neutral safety switch. (Saved and reused the fluid) That all happened in June. Since then I picked up some wheels from an 09 put great tires on it and cleaned it up. One problem since was the fuel tank sensor threw a code. But basically at 126k it is running like a top. I do enjoy my daily commute to the Pentagon. Which is saying I drive in at 5am to beat the traffic.
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  #17  
Old 10-07-2012, 08:41 AM
Starless Starless is offline
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That shop is not that great after all. Sounds like they were just changing one part after another for you until the problem was resolved. I can do this in my garage myself. When/if I go to a "professional" mechanic I expect good diagnostics to be done. Unfortunately a lot of shops are just part changers, that's why I do not use them.
Glad your car is up and running though.
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  #18  
Old 10-07-2012, 11:49 AM
kramerjb kramerjb is offline
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Not to be argumentitive

But I am also pretty handy and until now have done all my own work on this vehicle. But while I agree it was a pain taking the car back in a couple of times GAG was great. They never double charged me for rework. Installed and upgraded AT Module for free. Saved my AT fluid when they had to back in to do. The only thing that cost me twice was dropping the pan twice.

So while I don't completely disagree. Overall I will continue to use GAG for work I cant or dont have time to do myself.
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