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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 11-01-2012, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E36 auto trans slipping, please advise!

So yesterday after work, went by the auto shop on base to have them put the bimmer on the lift to see what color tag is on the trans cover box. When driving there, the trans was starting to slip significantly worst than usual, sometimes to the point that it didn't feel like it was fully engaging. So the mechanics referred me to a trans shop out in town about 10 miles away. On the drive there it started to do the same thing, only this time it never would fully engage into the gear. I had to keep it in first gear and slowly work into the others until I got to the shop. The guy told me that the bimmer was almost a 1 1/2 quarts low on fluid, but didn't appear to have any leaks. He topped it off and took it for a test drive. It did fix the problem, but only temporarily as it still slips from 1st-2nd if I apply a little too much gas.

I'm going to take it in today to have him have a closer look to see what's going on, but from how it's acting, I think I may have a transmission swap in my near future.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions? Thanks guys!
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So, it's what I was expecting. Need to swap out my trans.

They found thrust washer pieces in the pan so it'll have to be rebuilt. I want to do some research an see if I can find a good used trans and do the work myself with the help at the auto shop on base. Anyone know of a good source? I'm located near Sacremento, CA. Thanks.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You might try these guy's. BMW Parts used and rebuilt bmw auto parts I think they are even located in CA.
Also on a side note. MY 94 was losing trans fluid and it turned out to be the trans oil cooler on front of radiator. I also had a leak on the seal for the shift leaver. Good Luck.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yea, I've been by that place. The street that its off of has salvage yards all the way down it. Prob why it's called recycle rd. lol. I'm going to make some more calls to other shops the see what their prices are.

Another question relating to this. When changing the transmission, is there other maintenance that's required or suggested? Guy at my work was telling me that if our trannys had a certain part (he described it as a big black donut) to change it out as well. Please chime in with your thoughts. Going to attempt to swap out my trans myself. Thanks guys!
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The big black donut is the drive line flexible rubber universal joint. I have heard that it can start cracking of tearing, but I have not had to change mine yet. You should be able to inspect it when the trans is swapped. I would also check the rubber supports for the trans and the motor mounts. They can also go bad because oil leaks which both my cars suffer from. Had to have them replaced on my 94.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok. Do these things need to be changed while the trans is off? Or can they be taken care of at a later time?
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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No they don't, but you will see the aft trans rubber mounts easily. Mine were bad so I replaced them. I have never removed an engine or trans from my cars. Not sure if trans can be removed from underneath or if you have to pull engine and trans together from top. If sure someone on this blog will know. And yes all can be repaced at a later time. Don't need to remove anything to replace them.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you are changing the gearbox, you might want to look at the torque converter which is what effectively pumps the oil through the transmission (laymans description) but it is prone to wear from metallic debris working its way throughout. Depending on how much nasty stuff has gone on inside of the torque converter it may be ok, maybe not.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Picks: ok. I'll take a look at it when I get to work on the trans.

Bretski: the used trans I'm picking up comes with a torque converter. Anything else that I should look to get? What about the trans fluid cooler on the radiator? My trans fluid was low when I had it looked at but no signs that it was leaking at the pans. Had to put 1 1/2 quarts in.


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Old 11-05-2012, 03:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If your budget will stretch far enough I'd get the trans shop to check out the used kit that you are buying, get the filter and fluid changed and then you should be good to go provided the used equipment is off the same series and model donor car.

See if you can get some sort of warranty from the seller.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The used trans is off of a 96 325i an it ha 130k miles when pulled. There isa 6 month warranty with all their parts. Already bought filter and filter to Change it out.


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Old 11-18-2012, 04:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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So update on the trans, installed it and it works great now. Really surprised I was able to successfully do it by myself, but it definitely wasn't pretty. lol I'll post up some pics later.
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