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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 08-08-2006, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1995 318i rear wheels locked up

Two days ago I reversed my automatic 381i from my garage onto the driveway, then washed off the dust, and thoroughly washed the wheels to remove brake dust. I then drove the car back into the driveway, and went to work..the car sat unused for 24 hours.
Yesterday, I started the car, put the tranny into reverse, and the car wouldn`t budge an inch...the back end rose up from the pressure against whatever was holding the car still. I tried putting the tranny into Drive, and the same thing happens. I then checked for any engine code...there were none. I turned off the engine, and jacked up the front end...both front wheels turn freely. I jacked up the rear onto jackstands, with both wheels off the garage floor, and the wheels are locked. There is about an eighth inch of rotation either way, until there is a `clunk`sound, but that is it. Removed the wheels and the brake pads are not pushing up against the rotors.
I had a dealer brake job 2 months ago, replaced rotors, pads and sensors...they also found I needed a spring replaced, but I can`t recall what it was for ( I`ll dig out my invoice when I get home today).
There is some light rust on the rotors, but nothing that would suggest a seizure.
Tomorrow I`m going to jack up the rear again, disconnect the driveshaft from the differential, string a rope across the underside of the car so it supports the driveshaft, start the car, put tranny into gear and see if shaft rotates...I am 99% positive the tranny is not the problem...there was no slipping, or noise. This car has never been raced, spun-out, donutted, or abused in any way, just normal day-to-day driving...there has never been any rear end noise at all. I did notice there is a 2-prong electrical connector on the rear of the differential...could mean there is some kind of sensor that may have failed, and is causing the lockup.

I have come to 4 conclusions:
1. The differential has failed, but like I said there has never been any suggestion of a problem, and car has never been abused.
2. I flooded the brakes somehow when washing the wheels, and the emergency brake pads have seized against the back of the rotors.
3. The replaced spring from the brake job has failed causing a lockup.
4. The tranny has failed, but I really don`t think so.

The car was fine one day sitting in the garage, then rear wheels locked up on there own somehow....WTF

Anyway, I would appreciate any advice before I have the car towed to the dealer...and sorry for the long post.

Thanks much
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Old 08-08-2006, 08:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The return spring for your car's parking brake shoes may have come lose or snapped. If that happened, then the shoes would be pressing against the drum portion of the brake rotors.

Since you just paid to have your brakes done, I recommned that you take your car back to the dealer and tell them what happened, and that you know that the return spring could be the culprit. It is important that they know that you know. If possible, stay close to the mechanics --they should take off the rotors on either side. One will come off without much trouble. The other one should be a pain to remove (I say this because it would be very unlikely that the return spring snapped on both sides).

This seems to me like the most liekly reason out of your list. Options 1, 2, and 4 are very unlikely.

Since you are willing to jack the car up and disconnect the driveshaft, maybe taking off the rotors yourself is something you should try. Of course, it could void any warranty given by the dealer onm their work. Just a thought.
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey man.... Whatever you do, don't let the drive shaft spin without being connected on both ends! This will cause it to flail around with or without your string idea! If you want to see if the tranny turns, just disconnect it from the front against the tranny. Then you will be able to see the output shaft on the tranny spin without ruining you shaft and the underside of your car for that matter! But I'm with DRZ. Sounds like you have a parking brake problem.
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Old 08-21-2006, 05:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Finally got the wheels moving, and took to dealer to check out...the parking brake cams were seized, so will get them replaced.
Thanks for everyone's help
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How did you get the wheels moving?
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