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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 05-09-2005, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My 89 325i (ZF 4HP 22 Transmission) with 116,000 miles shifts late out of first gear under normal acceleration after the car has sat for a few hours. Almost always, the car nearly red lines in the morning just to get it out of first gear. Then, it usually skips second gear and goes right into third gear.

Once it has shifted out of first once, it's usually fine and drives semi-normal after that until the car sits again.

I drained the transmission fluid and put a new tranny filter on the other day. The magnets had very little build-up, and the build-up that was there was extremely fine. So, it doesn't appear to have any internal damage. However, is there any way I would know if there is an internal leak? (There are no external leaks) The old filter did appear to be pretty clogged. After replacing the filter and re-filling with Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF the car was driven for a good half-hour with great results. The tranny shifted very smooth and was responsive at all speeds.

After the car sat for about 2-3 hours, it was driven again and the transmission did not shift out of first gear until it reached very high RPMs. It appears the filter change and fluid change did not fix the problem.

I guess one idea is that the fluid that could not be drained out of the torque converter had so much crap in it that it clogged the new filter after the new and old fluids mixed. Is this a possibility?

Other ideas I'd like to know more about:

Could it be solenoid related?

The car has a performance chip...could a faulty performace chip cause these kind of shifting problems? And, can I pull the chip and see if shifting improves? Do BMW chips piggy-back on stock equipment, or is there a stock piece removed when installing the chip?

Is there anything else I can do? I'm getting ready to move and I need to sell the car, so I'd like to have it in good mechanical shape.

Thanks
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When you drain the oil pan, all you are doing is changing 3 out of the 12 quarts in your tranny. It does little overall to the quality of oil in the system. Get the car to normal running temp, and with the car in park WHILE ITS STILL RUNNING go out and check the dip stick and check the oil level..

Thats the only time to check it and make sure you are getting an accurate reading.
When auto trannies act up, the first thing to check is always tranny fluid. Being too high or low on fluid makes them crazy. Also make sure you are using the proper fluid (dexron III).
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a 1987 325is, and its automatic transmission is doing the same exact thing. I think im going to do a manual swap once i get the money together. I have never been a fan of automatics but i got a great deal on the car.
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Old 05-09-2005, 01:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had the same problem with my 1988 325i (around 150k miles). I was suprised how your description exactly matched what I experienced with my car. It lasted for about 4 months before the transmission pump failed and the seals blew in the tranmission (basically all the transmission fluid started pouring out while I was driving).

Hopefully what happened to my car does not happen to yours...

BTW, my filter, when I changed it was full of little ground up metal pieces...was that the same for you?

Hopefully you can catch the problem before its too late...
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The first thing I did was make sure the fluid was at the correct level, after driving for about a half-hour so the engine was hot, and with the car idling in park. Since the fluid level was fine, I knew it had to be something else. That's why I did the tranny filter and fluid. I also understand that only a fraction of the fluid used by the transmission can be drained from the pan; hence, the question about the additional fluid clogging the new filter after driving it once.

Did those of you who experienced the same thing ever change the transmission filter and fluid? If so, what was the result? Did the transmission seem fine immediately thereafter, and then crap out the next time you drove it?

What's the minimum cost and level of difficulty for doing the auto to manual swap? I've seen the kits that sell for about a grand. I've seen a few people mention that they have done or are planning on doing the swap. What have your experiences been and what have you found for total costs?

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Old 05-13-2005, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm getting my tranny flushed today...the technician agreed with me that it's likely not a mechanical issue since it engages into reverse and drive without hesitation; and, it shifts great after getting over the intial "stickiness" in first gear. I also told him that the magnets in the pan were pretty clean when I did the filter and it ran great for the initial test drive after replacing the 3.2 quarts that are drainable without paying for a complete flush at the shop. I'll post the results if anyone's interested.
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by TrannyTrubl@May 13 2005, 07:11 AM
I'm getting my tranny flushed today...the technician agreed with me that it's likely not a mechanical issue since it engages into reverse and drive without hesitation; and, it shifts great after getting over the intial "stickiness" in first gear. I also told him that the magnets in the pan were pretty clean when I did the filter and it ran great for the initial test drive after replacing the 3.2 quarts that are drainable without paying for a complete flush at the shop. I'll post the results if anyone's interested.
[snapback]344097[/snapback]
you already get it flushed? from people i know in the tranny industry they recommended against getting a ZF tranny power flushed... instead (this is a two man job) you disconnect one of the lines from your tranny cooler and put it into a clear container where you can monitor the rate at which its being pumped out.. and you put the car in first gear and start filling the tranny with fluid though the tranny fill port at the same rate that its being pumped out via the coolant tube that you have disconnected.
after you have emptied about 6 quarts put the tranny in reverse and finish it the rest of the way.


if you do it that way have about 16-18 quarts handy.. the tranny holds around 12 and you will waste about 4 or so by making sure to cleanly flush the system.
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