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#1 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 11:14 PM
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3 Series Transmission Horror Stories

While searching some other sites for transmission fluid recommendations for my 2000 323Ci I've discovered there appears to be a design defect suffered by many owners regarding the auto transmission reverse gear going away, yet I've haven't seen the problem mentioned much if at all here. I was planning to change the fluid and filter for the 1st time after my upcoming 2000 mile trip, bring the odometer to 90K miles. Any suggestions ?
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 11:33 PM
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I have heard the horror stories about the early E46 automatic transmissions. I guess we just recently started getting more auto E46s here, which would explain the lack of content on the topic. I don't remember the guideline, but I think you should change your transmission fluid soon. At some point (mileage), I hear it is too late and it is better to just leave it untouched.

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#3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2008, 07:59 AM
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I thought of changing the fliud now before leaving tomorrow but I'm thinking/hoping 2K miles more won't make a big difference. I'll let you know if I'm break somewhere on I 95. Plus if the fluid change aggravates the situation I'd rather it happen closer to home.

Seems the transmission problem(s) stems from a weak then broken C clip holding the reverse gear drum in place.
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-04-2008, 09:49 PM
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I, too, had a 2000 323i that had the A/T reverse gear go away. It cost me about $3500 to have an upscale independent A/T shop fix it for me. And, although I have sold the car that was involved, the owner of that shop recently called me to alert me to what he had discovered as a probable cause of my failure. He showed me a machining error that allowed excessive pressure to build up in the system and caused the clutch basket to fracture and cause complete failure. I don't think a fluid swap will help you with this potential problem. TR
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#5 (permalink) Old 11-05-2008, 05:15 AM
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TRuckee, at what mileage did it break?
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#6 (permalink) Old 11-05-2008, 10:12 PM
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The A/T on my 2000 323i failed at 86,500 miles. This happened in March of 2006 and I got a call from the shop that did my repair about two years after this event. The owner, having seen more, similar failures dug into finding the cause of this event. He's a very sharp fellow and I don't know if he discovered this on his own or through networking with other A/T specialists, but he showed me how a hole in a part of the body was not to spec. It allowed an overpressure to develop during operation in sections of the system that couldn't stand up to this effect. In case it might help you, my transmission was a ZF, specifically a ZF5HP19.
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