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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 11-13-2013, 07:28 PM
JLove JLove is offline
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Exclamation 335i Lemon- Two new transmissions in one month!

Hello all,
Could use some help on our current situation. We purchased a 2011 335i less than a year ago and within the past month they have replaced the transmission not once, but twice! This car is under 24k miles might I add. Three times now I have brought it into BMW with issues of downshifting between first and third gear, the car lunges forward feeling like the transmission is going to fall out.
First time I brought it in they "could not replicate the issue", second time they replaced the transmission and this week I got a call stating they replaced the transmission again. Our service advisor has told me both times that "this is very unusual", yet I believe there is a bigger issue at hand that is causing this to happen. Aside from that, looking at re-sale value, anyone in their right mind is going to question a car that has 2 new transmissions on a Carfax report.
I have researched what qualifies a car to be deemed as a lemon in Texas, and the qualifications are:
-The same problem or nonconformity continues after four or more repair attempts.
-The problems presents a safety hazard, and you made two repair attempts within the 12 months or 12,000 miles following the date of original delivery and another two attempts in the following 12,000 miles or 12 months.
-The car must be out of service for at least 30 days in the first two years it is owned. But if the mechanic or dealer provides you with a comparable car during the time yours is being repaired, those days aren't counted (thus the courtesy actually makes it harder for you to file under the Lemon Law).
I have searched the forums on similar issues and I haven't ran across any posts on problems similar to this. I need to request my service records from BMW but I don't believe we are at 30 days for repairs as of yet, and this avenue might be void considering BMW has always given us a loaner vehicle. Though we have brought it in for this issue 3 times, they have not repaired this issue three times, granted they have replaced the transmission twice. We may have even brought it in a 4th time for this issue in the past (I will need to check my service records), but I know nothing was replaced/repaired.
Does anyone have any thoughts/words of wisdom on this? Does this qualify as a lemon? Not sure what to do from here/how to go about pursuing this.
Thanks so much!
Jessica
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2013, 08:10 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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The problem that you may have in Texas is that Lemon Law remedy (repurchase) applies only to the initial retail purchaser. You will need to discuss the matter with an attorney in Texas who practices lemon law to determine if you have a case or not.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2013, 08:16 PM
sptt144 sptt144 is offline
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Knowing cars and having replaced a couple transmissions myself with expert help, makes me think it is not the transmission but something sending the signal to the transmission. Generally you throw a new transmission in and you are good to go. There are speed sensors and software that send signals to it to tell it when to shift. Could be a fault in those. BMW doesn't crack open the transmissions to see what the issue is. Easier for them to just put another one in but now they will have some wood to chop.

Good news is that you are under warranty and worst case scenario will get another new transmission. Shouldn't hurt your resale and may help since there will be less miles on the transmission once they figure it out and recorded through BMW.

Enjoy the loaner and rack the miles up on that for now. Let us know what ends up happening.
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2013, 08:53 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by sptt144 View Post
Knowing cars and having replaced a couple transmissions myself with expert help, makes me think it is not the transmission but something sending the signal to the transmission. Generally you throw a new transmission in and you are good to go. There are speed sensors and software that send signals to it to tell it when to shift. Could be a fault in those. BMW doesn't crack open the transmissions to see what the issue is. Easier for them to just put another one in but now they will have some wood to chop.

Good news is that you are under warranty and worst case scenario will get another new transmission. Shouldn't hurt your resale and may help since there will be less miles on the transmission once they figure it out and recorded through BMW.

Enjoy the loaner and rack the miles up on that for now. Let us know what ends up happening.

Modern transmissions just do whatever they're told by an exterior powertrain control module. When the first transmission was diagnosed as bad I would have deferred to their diagnostics. They've got it there and have the ability to do hands on diagnostics.
When the second one failed in the same manner I'm thinking...misdiagnosed, the problem isn't the transmission, it's the computer telling it what to do. They are messing around with the symptom and not the cause.
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:19 AM
JLove JLove is offline
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That's exactly what my fiancÚ says. He's always thought there has been underlying problems with the computer, but the only things we can show a valid issue with when bringing it in is the transmission so that is what they replace.
There is obviously something else going on causing this to happen.

So based on all of this, what would you recommend telling BMW on fixing the cause of the problem and not the symptom, as you put it DSXMachina?

Also, regarding the Lemon response, we are the first registered owners of the car so I think we are okay there. The car was originally owned by BMW prior to our purchase, the salesman said it was a car driven by an employee at their corporate headquarters...who knows.
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2013, 05:28 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLove View Post
That's exactly what my fiancÚ says. He's always thought there has been underlying problems with the computer, but the only things we can show a valid issue with when bringing it in is the transmission so that is what they replace.
There is obviously something else going on causing this to happen.

So based on all of this, what would you recommend telling BMW on fixing the cause of the problem and not the symptom, as you put it DSXMachina?

Also, regarding the Lemon response, we are the first registered owners of the car so I think we are okay there. The car was originally owned by BMW prior to our purchase, the salesman said it was a car driven by an employee at their corporate headquarters...who knows.
It's very unlikely you'd have three (the original, the first replacement, and now the second replacement) bad transmissions. One doesn't need to be a mechanic to conclude it's not the transmission but something else (whether it be a computer causing the transmission to incorrectly operate or something else causing the transmission to fail). Explain this to them and see what they have to say. If they're unwilling / unable to understand take it to a different dealer.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:38 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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well at least they are replacing the transmission at their expense, most complain on here they cant get them to replace it under warranty. Second, they dont know how to diagnose problems anymore, all they do is hook a computer to the car and read codes, so unless the computer list another code besides "transmission" they dont know what to do but keep replacing the transmission

so are you saying after 2 replacements is still does the same thing?
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2013, 07:40 AM
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need4speed need4speed is offline
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2 in one month? That has got to be a record. Good luck getting this fixed. N4S
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2013, 07:43 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post

Modern transmissions just do whatever they're told by an exterior powertrain control module. When the first transmission was diagnosed as bad I would have deferred to their diagnostics. They've got it there and have the ability to do hands on diagnostics.
When the second one failed in the same manner I'm thinking...misdiagnosed, the problem isn't the transmission, it's the computer telling it what to do. They are messing around with the symptom and not the cause.

+1 on that....the mechanics of a Steptronic ain't complicated, and easily fixed. No conception at all why BMW opted not to do any work on 'em - leads to what you've been presented with. Possible contractural obligation with ZF, though they seem to do the same with GM transmissions.

Weird!
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:56 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by need4speed View Post
2 in one month? That has got to be a record.
Probably not.

If you replace a transmission with a defective one it will usually fail quickly. Thus two transmissions in succession.

Whether you prefer an auto or manual trans for subjective reasons there is no doubt that the complexity of automatic transmissions is a good reason to avoid them.

Go to a transmission shop and see how many manual transmission cars are on the lift. Also when manual transmissions go bad they usually don't just quit, leaving you stranded as automatics often do.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:18 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Probably not.

If you replace a transmission with a defective one it will usually fail quickly. Thus two transmissions in succession.

Whether you prefer an auto or manual trans for subjective reasons there is no doubt that the complexity of automatic transmissions is a good reason to avoid them.

Go to a transmission shop and see how many manual transmission cars are on the lift. Also when manual transmissions go bad they usually don't just quit, leaving you stranded as automatics often do.
Do you have an statistics on this? In all the automatic transmission issues I've read about I can't recall a single instance where it left someone stranded. Not saying it doesn't happen but in my, admittedly small "experience", that's not the case.
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2013, 08:23 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
+1 on that....the mechanics of a Steptronic ain't complicated, and easily fixed. No conception at all why BMW opted not to do any work on 'em - leads to what you've been presented with. Possible contractural obligation with ZF, though they seem to do the same with GM transmissions.

Weird!
Probably for the same reason electronic parts are swapped with new ones and the bad ones are sent back to the factory for repair: It's faster and more cost effective.
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2013, 08:38 AM
surfcity335i surfcity335i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
+1 on that....the mechanics of a Steptronic ain't complicated, and easily fixed. No conception at all why BMW opted not to do any work on 'em - leads to what you've been presented with. Possible contractural obligation with ZF, though they seem to do the same with GM transmissions.

Weird!
Honestly, we are all better off with the dealers just installing a factory reman than having a tech (who would probably only fix a unit or two per month) rooting around in there.

Whether they are complex or not is open to debate. I say they are. But what isn't really open to debate is the fact that you have to get everything just right in an auto trans or you will have chronic problems. The factory has supremely trained people who do nothing but rebuild these units every day all day. I'll take my chances with them over the dealer guy any day.
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2013, 08:38 AM
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Zeichen311 Zeichen311 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
No conception at all why BMW opted not to do any work on 'em ... Possible contractural obligation with ZF, though they seem to do the same with GM transmissions.
No, it's just economics. It's easier & more profitable to have a tech throw a new transmission into the car than to spend many hours on diagnosis and repair. The removed unit can then be remanufactured using cheaper labor--and more importantly, while the customer is not kept waiting for their car--and later returned to the supply chain as a replacement part.

It's a system that benefits everyone while the warranty is in force. After that, find a good transmission shop that can actually determine whether replacement or repair is the less costly option.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:39 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Do you have an statistics on this? In all the automatic transmission issues I've read about I can't recall a single instance where it left someone stranded. Not saying it doesn't happen but in my, admittedly small "experience", that's not the case.
A manual trans is just a box with two or three shafts, with gears, synchros and bearings on them. Hydraulic automatics are hideously complex in comparison ("manumatics" are a weird amalgam of the two) . Then there is the issue of control modules to tell the auto trans what to do. Manual transmissions don't have "control modules".

As far as being stranded by automatics goes I personally have been in two auto trans cars that just went into pseudo-neutral and needed to be towed away. One was our family car when I was a kid and we had to stay in a Holiday Inn in Albuquerque for three days while the thing was replaced.

I was in another car that would only go into reverse and the driver declined the option of driving eight miles home backwards.

Here is what Wikipedia says (I know that wikipedia isn't the greatest reference but it was easy to find),

Because manual transmissions are mechanically simpler, are more easily manufactured, and have fewer moving parts than automatic transmissions, they require less maintenance and are easier as well as cheaper to repair. Due to their mechanical simplicity, they often last longer than automatic transmissions when used by a skilled driver. Typically, there are no electrical components, pumps and cooling mechanisms (in the manual transmission), other than an internal switch to activate reversing lighting.





Perhaps DSX Machina can give his expert opinion on the relative longevity and durability as well as the cost and frequency of repairs of automatics vs manuals.

One of the reasons that I prefer manual transmissions is that I can repair them in my garage in a few hours in the unlikely event that there is a problem.

I am in the process of buying the parts to rebuild the transmission of my 2002 F150. It was abused by a previous young owner and makes a slight "chunk" sound if you hurry the 2-3 shift. It is in no danger of stranding me but it bugs the crap out of me. The rebuild kit, that includes all of the synchros, bearings and seals is around 250 bucks and it will probably take me about five to six hours to rebuild it.

Doing the same thing if my truck came with an automatic would be much more expensive and beyond my amateur mechanic abilities.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:37 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
A manual trans is just a box with two or three shafts, with gears, synchros and bearings on them. Hydraulic automatics are hideously complex in comparison ("manumatics" are a weird amalgam of the two) . Then there is the issue of control modules to tell the auto trans what to do. Manual transmissions don't have "control modules".

As far as being stranded by automatics goes I personally have been in two auto trans cars that just went into pseudo-neutral and needed to be towed away. One was our family car when I was a kid and we had to stay in a Holiday Inn in Albuquerque for three days while the thing was replaced.

I was in another car that would only go into reverse and the driver declined the option of driving eight miles home backwards.

Here is what Wikipedia says (I know that wikipedia isn't the greatest reference but it was easy to find),

Because manual transmissions are mechanically simpler, are more easily manufactured, and have fewer moving parts than automatic transmissions, they require less maintenance and are easier as well as cheaper to repair. Due to their mechanical simplicity, they often last longer than automatic transmissions when used by a skilled driver. Typically, there are no electrical components, pumps and cooling mechanisms (in the manual transmission), other than an internal switch to activate reversing lighting.





Perhaps DSX Machina can give his expert opinion on the relative longevity and durability as well as the cost and frequency of repairs of automatics vs manuals.

One of the reasons that I prefer manual transmissions is that I can repair them in my garage in a few hours in the unlikely event that there is a problem.

I am in the process of buying the parts to rebuild the transmission of my 2002 F150. It was abused by a previous young owner and makes a slight "chunk" sound if you hurry the 2-3 shift. It is in no danger of stranding me but it bugs the crap out of me. The rebuild kit, that includes all of the synchros, bearings and seals is around 250 bucks and it will probably take me about five to six hours to rebuild it.

Doing the same thing if my truck came with an automatic would be much more expensive and beyond my amateur mechanic abilities.
I did not see anything in the above which shows automatic transmissions often leave people stranded. I do not dispute automatic transmissions are more complex and as such are likely to fail more often than manuals. What I question is when they do fail do the often (this being the key word) leave people stranded. What I have read of automatic transmission failures falls along the lines of missing a gear, stuck in one gear, hard shifting, jerking, reduced power mode, etc. In every case the vehicle got them to where they needed to go even if it was under less than ideal conditions.
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:45 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLove View Post
Snip...

Also, regarding the Lemon response, we are the first registered owners of the car so I think we are okay there. The car was originally owned by BMW prior to our purchase, the salesman said it was a car driven by an employee at their corporate headquarters...who knows.
You need to get a read from an attorney who practices lemon law in Texas. If BMW NA was the initial 'owner' (does your sale contract identify the car as a new car?), then you may not qualify for Texas lemon law. Being the first to pay registration fees in and of itself is not necessarily determinative of whether the car was sold to you as a new car.
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:50 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post

Modern transmissions just do whatever they're told by an exterior powertrain control module. When the first transmission was diagnosed as bad I would have deferred to their diagnostics. They've got it there and have the ability to do hands on diagnostics.
When the second one failed in the same manner I'm thinking...misdiagnosed, the problem isn't the transmission, it's the computer telling it what to do. They are messing around with the symptom and not the cause.
Isn't a code returned? Or, some other way to determine that a control module has failed? Otherwise, how does the tech know what to do? Replace tranny twice and then replace a control module seems quite hap-hazard and not exactly guaranteed to get to a full resolution. What if the problem remains after replacing the control module? Do they just keep replacing things?
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:57 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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No, it's just economics. It's easier & more profitable to have a tech throw a new transmission into the car than to spend many hours on diagnosis and repair. The removed unit can then be remanufactured using cheaper labor--and more importantly, while the customer is not kept waiting for their car--and later returned to the supply chain as a replacement part.

It's a system that benefits everyone while the warranty is in force. After that, find a good transmission shop that can actually determine whether replacement or repair is the less costly option.
I suspect that repair is never going to be a less costly option. Labor rates being what they are, unless a repair involves a swap of something not internal to the tranny (fluid seal for example), replacement is more likely the outcome.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:01 PM
bmw_again bmw_again is offline
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Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
A manual trans is just a box with two or three shafts, with gears, synchros and bearings on them. Hydraulic automatics are hideously complex in comparison ("manumatics" are a weird amalgam of the two) . Then there is the issue of control modules to tell the auto trans what to do. Manual transmissions don't have "control modules".

As far as being stranded by automatics goes I personally have been in two auto trans cars that just went into pseudo-neutral and needed to be towed away. One was our family car when I was a kid and we had to stay in a Holiday Inn in Albuquerque for three days while the thing was replaced.

I was in another car that would only go into reverse and the driver declined the option of driving eight miles home backwards.

Here is what Wikipedia says (I know that wikipedia isn't the greatest reference but it was easy to find),

Because manual transmissions are mechanically simpler, are more easily manufactured, and have fewer moving parts than automatic transmissions, they require less maintenance and are easier as well as cheaper to repair. Due to their mechanical simplicity, they often last longer than automatic transmissions when used by a skilled driver. Typically, there are no electrical components, pumps and cooling mechanisms (in the manual transmission), other than an internal switch to activate reversing lighting.





Perhaps DSX Machina can give his expert opinion on the relative longevity and durability as well as the cost and frequency of repairs of automatics vs manuals.

One of the reasons that I prefer manual transmissions is that I can repair them in my garage in a few hours in the unlikely event that there is a problem.

I am in the process of buying the parts to rebuild the transmission of my 2002 F150. It was abused by a previous young owner and makes a slight "chunk" sound if you hurry the 2-3 shift. It is in no danger of stranding me but it bugs the crap out of me. The rebuild kit, that includes all of the synchros, bearings and seals is around 250 bucks and it will probably take me about five to six hours to rebuild it.

Doing the same thing if my truck came with an automatic would be much more expensive and beyond my amateur mechanic abilities.

I'm all for manual transmissions but they can also leave you stranded. In my case original clutch quit at 120k but I could still drive it and got it to the shop next day. Second time clutch quit at 155k or so (apparently the replacement was not good) and that time it left me stranded in the midst of a really bad rush hour traffic.

Anyway, if you can rebuilt your transmissions yourself, I wouldn't call your mechanic abilities amateur!
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:34 PM
ArsenalEd ArsenalEd is offline
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I will just say from my 20 year experience of living here in Austin and driving my 4th BMW to date that I am not a fan of the BMW dealership here in Austin. I have had times where the service advisor and repair men seemed very clueless as to what I was asking or what was capable of being done to the car. I would be very adamant about what the issue is and make sure you speak to their senior or most seasoned advisor. There are also a handful of import shops in that NW area of Austin that can provide great service and insight as well outside of the dealership. My brother worked at Northwest Imports off of Pond Springs Rd. through high school and college with a very savvy staff.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:55 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Replacing the transmission vs doing extensive diagnosis is hugely expensive for BMW but not the dealership. I agree that this is a misdiagnosed issue and I would really be surprised if this one survives too. ZF transmissions are some of the best in the world and even your symptoms relate to more of a control/signal/sensor issue than that of a transmission that is failing.
I bet BMW NA will force the dealer to investigate if the same symptoms arrise again which I bet they will. I would also bet there is nothing wrong with any of these transmissions.

If it does happen again you will have your 4 times and should meet the lemoning law in Tx. Please let us know how it goes. Usually BMW dealerships are reluctant to swap a transmission in without diagnosis.

Off topic regarding auto vs manual transmissions the only times I have been stranded which has only been once was when the manual transmission clutch went out locking the transmission in gear with no clutch...
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:13 PM
twhisten twhisten is offline
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Before doing the attorney and lemon law option call BMWNA and tell them what is happening. Be nice, as being angry or loud will get you no where with them. Explain what is happening, and be sure to tell them that you DO NOT FEEL SAFE in this vehicle. They will ask you what you would like to see done. You can do the nice route and say whatever can be done or you can say that you would rather get a new vehicle if possible. Keep reminding them how you DO NOT FEEL SAFE in the car and don't feel comfortable driving it.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:59 AM
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It's going to be tough to make lemonade out of these lemons.
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2013, 02:36 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
A manual trans is just a box with two or three shafts, with gears, synchros and bearings on them. Hydraulic automatics are hideously complex in comparison ("manumatics" are a weird amalgam of the two) . Then there is the issue of control modules to tell the auto trans what to do. Manual transmissions don't have "control modules".

As far as being stranded by automatics goes I personally have been in two auto trans cars that just went into pseudo-neutral and needed to be towed away. One was our family car when I was a kid and we had to stay in a Holiday Inn in Albuquerque for three days while the thing was replaced.

I was in another car that would only go into reverse and the driver declined the option of driving eight miles home backwards.

Here is what Wikipedia says (I know that wikipedia isn't the greatest reference but it was easy to find),

Because manual transmissions are mechanically simpler, are more easily manufactured, and have fewer moving parts than automatic transmissions, they require less maintenance and are easier as well as cheaper to repair. Due to their mechanical simplicity, they often last longer than automatic transmissions when used by a skilled driver. Typically, there are no electrical components, pumps and cooling mechanisms (in the manual transmission), other than an internal switch to activate reversing lighting.





Perhaps DSX Machina can give his expert opinion on the relative longevity and durability as well as the cost and frequency of repairs of automatics vs manuals.

One of the reasons that I prefer manual transmissions is that I can repair them in my garage in a few hours in the unlikely event that there is a problem.

I am in the process of buying the parts to rebuild the transmission of my 2002 F150. It was abused by a previous young owner and makes a slight "chunk" sound if you hurry the 2-3 shift. It is in no danger of stranding me but it bugs the crap out of me. The rebuild kit, that includes all of the synchros, bearings and seals is around 250 bucks and it will probably take me about five to six hours to rebuild it.

Doing the same thing if my truck came with an automatic would be much more expensive and beyond my amateur mechanic abilities.

well if you keep driving it and a syncro drop out and gets wedged in the gears You too my friend will be, being towed to the house.

I have had both and last toyota I drove had 250,000 miles on an auto transmission and no problems, I have a triumph that I had the manual transmission rebuilt by a so called professional at 1500 bucks and it still pops out of second gear, so its not as easy as you make it sound rebuilding a manual.

automatics are just big hydrolic pumps with gears
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