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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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Old 08-27-2019, 01:35 PM
uff13 uff13 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 325i convertible
94 325i gearbox dash light on

My gearbox dash light comes on when I start the car. Then the gearbox dash light comes on and stays on. The car drives but no power and slow to get going. Is there some kind of easy fix before I end up taking it to my mechanic. I do a lot of the mechanical work myself when ever possible. I keep hearing about a cable on the shift linkage? Any ideas out there from another BMW enthusiast? Please help!!
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:57 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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The TCU (transmission computer) has put the car in "limp home" mode. You'll need to get the code(s) scanned to find out why. This is going to take a high-end engine and transmission scanner. A garden variety scanner like they use at the auto parts store is unlikely to read transmission codes.
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:10 PM
uff13 uff13 is offline
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Thanks for replying to me. Its my understanding that it could be anything from the battery to solenoids in the transmission that can be replaced. Sounds like you're saying that it could be something much worse. Its happened before but stopped for 6 months or so before the gear light come back on I know that I need a really good high end OBD 1 scanner...expensive to buy...any other little tricks to try before I go out of my mind with this car....put a lot of money in it and all I need is Transmission problems.

Last edited by uff13; 09-05-2019 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:27 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Unfortunately, the auto transmissions in these cars are not known for their robustness. That said, your issue could be minor, but it could also be major. Taking your car to a shop to scan the TCU and confirm a diagnosis will likely be less expensive than buying a scanner yourself. Go to a shop and get a diagnosis, then decide if it's something that you are able to fix yourself.

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Old 09-07-2019, 09:11 PM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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How many miles on the tranny with no fluid change. If you had this before and it cleared for a period could be fluid is not doing it's job - maybe you could get lucky and a change to fresh fluid might do the trick. I would not do a flush that could stir up bad stuff. Drain and change filter. You won't get out a few quarts in the torque converter but a re-drain and fresh fill after a bit of running time that would mix the old fluid in the converter and the new would leave you with a mostly clean and fresh fluid. There are those that say changing fluid after 60/70 K miles with no change can cause problems in it's self, however you already have problems so what do you have to loose ? Suggest you go to the E46 forum and read through the sticky at top top of the list about auto transmissions. Your head will hurt but there is a lot to think about. Report back how all this turns out for you.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:04 PM
PrimeGuey PrimeGuey is offline
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I have this same issue with my 98 328i. The odd thing is that is was just fine the day before and on the way to work. halfway toi work the dash light comes on and now I can not access 3rd gear. It just shifts from 1rst to second. I can still get up to 65mph if I pull some trickery, but this has to be something easy to fix besides a whole replacement. I just replaced the engine and the whole front end from the wheel hubs up to the the motor, costing me $7k, 3 months ago.
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