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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 01-08-2005, 01:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A little background for my question:
Unfortunately I won't be able to get my first BMW (probably 94-95 325iS) in a Manual because my dad sometimes needs the car and he says that he nor I need to be driving manual in traffic ridden Los Angeles... valid point and since he will be paying insurance I have to agree.

Anyways, I have been reading crazy stories about how horrible these auto trannies are on the e36 and how people needed to replace their whole tranny at around 90k miles for around $3,500. Then on the other hand some other people say that they are running their auto's at 150-250k miles w/o any trouble.

What are the facts on this issue and please submit any other comments you guys may have regarding the e36 auto tranny (and don't just say get a manual).

Thanks,
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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obviously the life of the tranny all depends on how the car was driven. so you might do some research about the prev owner. was it an old granny who drove it to the super market and back or was it a 16 yr old reving in neutral and dropping it to drive to "peel out". but id prob safely say that the tranny should last a long time (150-250k miles) if driven the proper way.
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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my auto tranny was fine until about 150k until I was racing a porsche with it and forgot to shift it into overdrive and blew it! up until then it was fine. not only that, you can get used trannies with low mileage for as cheap as 500
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have an auto tranny with 170k miles on it running smooth as ever...
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have 177000 kms on my E36, the auto tranny with the triptronic work amazing. Not a single problem with the tranny uptil now.
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i have an auto as well, works fine, 130K miles on it and never been replaced (as far as i know, im second owner, first owner was a daily commuter).

as curves said, the triptronic works very well when your feeling spunky, but in the city its nice having an auto
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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BTW everyone, it's steptronic, not triptronic.

I've got the auo, unfortiunately. I want a manual but I didn't know better when i got my bimmer (yah, how couldn't I, well, I wan't into cars when I got mine)
The auto tranny is just strange. I have a funky toque converter where the locking mechanism locks sorta hard and sometimes decides not to lock until the revs match very well.

I also have a gear or two that SEEM to be stripped, although it could be that torque converter's locking mechanism disengaging and re-engaging again because it's weird. This does not happen constantly, it usually happens 3 times in QUICK sucession (thu thu thud) ONCE every 15-25 miles)

There has been some work done on my transmission because the mounting bolts are anodized and look new (not as much road grime on them as everything else). I don't know what has been done to it but it has obviously been dropped from the car. Dealership done or not, something has been done to it.

Other than the funky torque converter and a possible stripped gear on my tranny, I have no complaints except that it's an automatic It's been going strong and handling my constant WOT (wide open throttle) (I stomp it ALL THE TIME) just fine...

If you don't drop it into gear when the RPM's are high and make sure enough fluid is in it, then it should last a long time. (Most every lube place and mechanic will say it's sealed and has lifetime lube. Untrue, it can very well be opened and flushed and you ought to change the fluid at a very minimum of every 100,000 miles. It's actually not that hard to do, it's just a bit messy)
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks alot guys, you renewed my excitement in the bimmer

Also, bitcore you mentioned something about letting off the gas when it is in high rpms so it drops into the next gear... I do that all the time on my '93 Accord. If I just hold the gas constant it will not switch until it gets to like 4000rpm so I just let go of the gas a little so the rpms drop and it shifts faster... helps w/ gas mileage. What are the facts on this issue?

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Old 01-08-2005, 06:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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No, I'm talking about, put the transmission in neutral, rev the engine, and drop it into gear to try and "launch" or make the wheels spin.

Rev matching with an E36 auto dosn't help unless you are in manual mode and you are downshifting, then it helps with the driveline stress.
It does a great job of upshift rev matching for you, some say it shifts rather hard, which is a good thing for preformance and dosn't hurt the transmission since it was designed that way.
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