I have an '85 325e with a 5-speed manual transmission (Getrag 260) which has a problem with 3rd gear: it won't go into it! It started a while back by occassionally popping out of 3rd, shortly after shifting (up or down) into that gear. I didn't think much of it at the time, figuring that I probably needed to adjust the linkage. But then it started to refuse 3rd, grinding as if I wasn't using the clutch. My only recourse (since I needed the transportation!) was/is to rev it up in 2nd and then jump to 4th (and vice versa on the downshift). This is a half-assed temporary "solution" at best, and it really doesn't cut it when it comes to any city driving!
When I got under the car to check the trans fluid (which normally holds ~1.3qt US) I discoved that I had been losing oil from the rear seal; my trans was low by better than a quart! I've checked the manual (Robert Bentley, Pub.) and realize that it may not be the seal, but rather a blocked transmission vent (which could cause a pressure increase, forcing the oil past the seal). Regardless, the fact remains that refilling the transmission did not resolve the shifting problem.
So, I guess the real question is, has anyone else ever encountered this problem? Have I fried my transmission to the point where it needs replacement, or is it repairable? (While 20 years old and in need of a paint job, with only 165k miles on it the engine is still strong and the body's sound! A new paint job and a repaired/rebuilt transmission are still a hell of a lot cheaper than a new car!)
Any first-hand insight will be greatly appreciated! Thanx... Thom