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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 01-31-2011, 12:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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automatic wont shift into drive stuck in sport mode

I have a 95 325i automatic
So I took my car to the dealer only because they had to do a diagnostic on my ews to confirm that my key was a dud key and give me a refund. but thats an entirely different story. by the way on the way there the car ran and shifted perfectly.
the service manager asked me if i wanted them to wash it. I said no its clean, as i had just washed it. I came back in a bout 2.5 hrs and my car was sitting out front of the service area ready to go. I get on the freeway and it is stuck in 3rd gear in sport mode even though it is in drive. all of the shift points were at higher rpms like sport mode would be and it wouldn't ever shift into 4th gear again like it was in sport mode. I noticed that the door jams were wet when i got into the car and assumed they must have washed it anyway even though i told him not to. I took my car back to them and asked to talk to the tech, I asked if the car wash i got that i didint ask for could have caused the problem. he said "it shouldnt be any different than rain" and was sure it didn't cause the problem. the tech came in and said " all I did was a diagnostic on the ews and didn't go anywhere near the transmission. I told him that I figured that but wanted to know what he thought could be the problem. he said that sometimes a cal is ok on the way there and something just happens to break on your way home as soon as you leave the dealership shop and its just coincidence. I said i had never had the problem before and wanted to ask him about it because it was obviously electrical and not the transmission hardware itself that was the problem in my opinion. since he was working on diagnostics on the ews "something electrical" I figured it could be related but he said he didnt know. I told him I unplugged the battery for 15 minutes beofre i brought it back to see if resetting the computer might help. he said thats not really necessary on this vehicle to do and didnt think that would have solved anything. then he asked the service mgr if he ran it throuhg the car wash. the service mgr said yes and the tech said it probably got something wet contrary to the service mgr saying the car wash is no different than rain. I asked if the wash had under body water jets and they said yes. they recommended that i let it dry out over night and if it doesnt change then bring it in for diagnostics so they can try to figure out what the cause is. (charge me lots of money)

my question is :
has anyone had this problem before and what was the result? I know that the ecus get flooded on the earlier e36s not my year though. I guess something similar could have happened. if my transmission plug got wet somehow could that cause the car to stick in sport mode or as if I were driving in 3rd gear?

hopefully tomorrow it will have dried out and gone away.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I had a similar issue with my E38 740iL in that when the car got hot it would go into a "sport like" mode and have to rev higher than normal before it would change up. I had the transmission fluid changed (it had done 165000 km) by a specialist transmission service shop (Fluidrive), and the problem hasn't reocurred since, it also cleared a couple of other issues like a cycling slight drop in revs (50-100 rpm) every 3 - 4 seconds when under slight load at 60km/h. It might be worth a shot if the letting it dry itself out doesn't work.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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+1 ^ with brettski, I had the same issue & did the trans service & the problem was resolved!

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Old 04-16-2013, 04:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by junkdrawer View Post
I have a 95 325i automatic
So I took my car to the dealer only because they had to do a diagnostic on my ews to confirm that my key was a dud key and give me a refund. but thats an entirely different story. by the way on the way there the car ran and shifted perfectly.
the service manager asked me if i wanted them to wash it. I said no its clean, as i had just washed it. I came back in a bout 2.5 hrs and my car was sitting out front of the service area ready to go. I get on the freeway and it is stuck in 3rd gear in sport mode even though it is in drive. all of the shift points were at higher rpms like sport mode would be and it wouldn't ever shift into 4th gear again like it was in sport mode. I noticed that the door jams were wet when i got into the car and assumed they must have washed it anyway even though i told him not to. I took my car back to them and asked to talk to the tech, I asked if the car wash i got that i didint ask for could have caused the problem. he said "it shouldnt be any different than rain" and was sure it didn't cause the problem. the tech came in and said " all I did was a diagnostic on the ews and didn't go anywhere near the transmission. I told him that I figured that but wanted to know what he thought could be the problem. he said that sometimes a cal is ok on the way there and something just happens to break on your way home as soon as you leave the dealership shop and its just coincidence. I said i had never had the problem before and wanted to ask him about it because it was obviously electrical and not the transmission hardware itself that was the problem in my opinion. since he was working on diagnostics on the ews "something electrical" I figured it could be related but he said he didnt know. I told him I unplugged the battery for 15 minutes beofre i brought it back to see if resetting the computer might help. he said thats not really necessary on this vehicle to do and didnt think that would have solved anything. then he asked the service mgr if he ran it throuhg the car wash. the service mgr said yes and the tech said it probably got something wet contrary to the service mgr saying the car wash is no different than rain. I asked if the wash had under body water jets and they said yes. they recommended that i let it dry out over night and if it doesnt change then bring it in for diagnostics so they can try to figure out what the cause is. (charge me lots of money)

my question is :
has anyone had this problem before and what was the result? I know that the ecus get flooded on the earlier e36s not my year though. I guess something similar could have happened. if my transmission plug got wet somehow could that cause the car to stick in sport mode or as if I were driving in 3rd gear?

hopefully tomorrow it will have dried out and gone away.
hi junkdrawer my name is Wallace im from cape town south Africa,, I also have the same problem as you had,,, did you ever a solution to your problem
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes I did figure the problem. The yellow shift indicator switch below the shifter went bad. It wasnt telling the trans computer i was in drive. It thought i was in 3rd so it wouldnt shift into 4th gear.I replaced it with one from one of my parts cars and the problem went away. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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thanx for responding so soon,,, do you by chance have a picture of it ,,, that I can use as reference and I would like to check LOL,,,
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