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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 05-05-2005, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ok i got a 1994 325i convertable automatic...Theres this little control that has the A and M on it and in the book it says the automatic and manual transmission but doesnt really tell what it does or how to use it or when to use it

so do you guys know what it is?

THanks for your help
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, the Manual mode isn't really there for drive your automatic like a manual. It is there to simply force the transmission to hold the selected gear. This could be useful in certain poor traction or hill decline situations. If you’re looking for a more spirited feel from your auto, drive in "3" instead of "D". This activates the "sport" mode on your transmission.

In reality you can use the "M" mode for manual shifting. But, be aware that this could be harmful to the tranny. You should also know that shifts are extremely delayed. This means you must anticipate your shift by a few 100 RPMs. If you install a chip that raises the ECU based rev-limiter, shifting in the "M" mode is the only way to reach the new 7000 RPM limit. In "D" or "3" the transmission limits the revs much lower.

-bj
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How is it bad for the transmission?
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not sure to be honest. I'm about to roll 205k on my 94 325i auto. I've probably done it 20-25 times over the last 140,000 miles without measurable ill effects. But, that's just my experience.

-bj
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The convertible doesn't have an "S" mode?
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I may be wrong, but I think the 94 convertible has the same auto that I have in my 94 sedan, A4S 310 R. You're correct there isn't a button labeled "S", but there is a sport mode. It is activated by placing the transmission in "3" instead of "D".

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Old 05-06-2005, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Huh.
Okay, just for the record, could someone clarify the "automatic modes" for everyone's convenience?
I've personally seen the following buttons:
A
S
E
M
And the following gears on an automatic shifter:
1
2
3
D
N
R
Now... assuming we all know what means what with reference to the gears, what do the A/E, S and M stand for? For starters, it seems like A and E seem to be the same thing for "Automatic" or "Economy".

EDIT: Yeah, I forgot P, but P doesn't count because you can't move in it. :P N counts because you can still push the car.
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Here is goes:

US 318 and 325 (1993-1995) (May apply to 1992 as well)
Buttons:
A - Automatic Program: Fully automatic shifting
M - Manual Program: Holds transmission in the gear selected by the shift lever:

Shift Lever:
D - Economy Shift Program: Gears 1-4 are available for the transmission to automatically select. Shift points set for greatest economy
3 - Sport Shift Program: Gears 1-3 are available for the transmission to automatically select. Shift points set for maximum performance
2 - Gears 1-2 available
1 - Only gear 1 available


EURO 320 (Not sure of year range, but know this covers early to mid-90s)
Buttons:
S - Sport Shift Program: Shift points set for performance
E - Economy Program: Shift points set for economy
* - Winter Program: If shift lever is in D, than gears 2-5 are available for automatic shifts. If in 2-4, the selected gear is held.

Shift Lever:
D - Fully automatic shifting: gears 1-5 available
4 - Gears 1-4 available
3 - Gears 1- 3 available
2 - Gears 1-2 available
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you sir, very informative. So one would assume that a US car with S, E, and M would have 2 automatic modes for economy and "sporty" shifting, and one manual mode.
And if you don't have the three, it's just A and M, or E and M, and that corresponds to Automatic and MAnual, with Sporty consisting of dropping the gear selector from D to 3. Cool. That should clarify any questions of this type in the future. Hopefully.
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Old 05-07-2005, 10:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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thanks for sharing the information
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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In reality you can use the "M" mode for manual shifting. But, be aware that this could be harmful to the tranny.
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How is it bad for the transmission?
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I'm not sure to be honest.
If you do not know HOW it is bad for the tranny then how do you know THAT it is bad for the tranny? used Please explain this. I mean, what makes you make that initial claim if you don't know and in your experience it hasn't caused damage... I don't get it.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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he never said it WAS bad for the tranny he just said it COULD be harmful to the tranny. just so incase it is bad hes warning u
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Old 05-11-2005, 11:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally posted by DEATH2000@May 8 2005, 05:13 PM
he never said it WAS bad for the tranny he just said it COULD be harmful to the tranny. just so incase it is bad hes warning u
[snapback]342301[/snapback]
Exactly! I've heard repeatedly over the years that manually shifting a auto stresses the transmission. I don't know this to be true, but wanted to issue a disclaimer. In reality, I realize that most people on this forum are like me--they don't care about a little more wear and tear if it means more fun in their Bimmer.

-bj
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