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-   -   2000 e46 GM Auto Tranny Spews Oil!!!??? (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=947510)

frk2 09-28-2012 04:13 PM

2000 e46 GM Auto Tranny Spews Oil!!!???
My GM-Auto-Trans 2000 323i will randomly shoot oil (ridiculous amounts) from the AT area. Its like someone almost poured 1/2 a qt or more on the floor. It happens ONLY when you start it from cold and ONLY when you put it in reverse. It doesn't happen all the time but happens once every 4-5 starts. The car runs fine, everything seems okay except that it shoots 1/2qt on the floor in seconds.

I've smelled the oil - its reddish-black and is def not engine oil (No leaks from the PS hoses either)

What the hell is going on? It seems to come from the top of the trans and is definitely not the AT pan seal.

Since this has bene happening for a while I almost always make somebody else start the car cold and put it in reverse. But it never happens until the car starts moving!!! :banghead:

It stops leaking in 30-45 seconds and wont leak again till the next cold start.

Mechanic has no idea and says that maybe its time to change the transmission. Seems like some seal is blown somewhere. :banghead::banghead::censor:

Has anyone seen this before?

matchee 01-14-2013 08:44 AM

This happened to me this morning- mines 328 with 228k- i am assuming the tranny is dead- am i giving up too quickly?

WDE46 01-14-2013 09:02 AM

How many miles does it have? I wouldn't be surprised if it was dead after 200K miles, but I wouldn't count it out just yet. Have you ever changed the fluid and filter?

matchee 01-14-2013 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by WDE46 (Post 15059131)
How many miles does it have? I wouldn't be surprised if it was dead after 200K miles, but I wouldn't count it out just yet. Have you ever changed the fluid and filter?

Yeah I changed that out around 30k ago when the lines failed and dumped all the fluid...

frk2 01-14-2013 12:51 PM

Is it spewing oil? Mine were just loose tranny filter/pan screws :|

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cyberkaa 01-14-2013 12:56 PM

Hmm, that's unusual. There's a vent at the top, which may be where it's coming from. Sounds like the pressure is getting really high, possibly due to a blockage. What kind of fluid was used after that last service?

matchee 01-18-2013 10:33 AM

Just an update- my car lost a bunch of tranny fluid Monday in reverse after sitting all weeknd in 15 degree weather and not getting totally warmed up.

Its not leaking fluid now and is running fine.

riverjamie 04-29-2013 10:41 PM

Matchee, how is the trany still doing? I have the same problem. Did you have to do any repairs? If so what?

I forgot to add some info. I have an E39 2000 528i, but some of the 3 series use the same Trany. Mine is a GM 1-423-875-V0 Read from Green Metal Label. About 6 months ago the problems seems to have started, but might have been doing it longer because it used to be parked on the street, and might have not noticed it. Just like yours when it's cold and in reverse for maybe only 4 feet, it will at times, pump out through the BREATHER on top of the Trany, the breather is located down where the bell housing meets the transmission. I saw it leaking out of there, when it did it the other day. After it happened the first time, my son took the car to his mechcanic he could not find any leak and so serviced the trany. The car has done it to me at least 4 times in the last 3 weeks. It usually pumps out a 4 inch diameter drip and few other small ones. I'm going to take it back to the guy that serviced it and ask him to put it up and check the fluid level. I really don't think it's the problem, being that it had the problem before it serviced the trany.

Here's a link that I found that shows the GM trany.



jfoj 04-30-2013 04:27 AM

You might want to check out this thread - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...737&highlight=

riverjamie 04-30-2013 07:09 AM

Thank you for replying. I edited my post to provide more info. I read the thread, but unfortunately mine has a GM trany and it leaking out of the Breather on top. Still trying to figure out what the Breather is for and what it's attached to? Thanks again.

SanDiegoE46Girl 08-20-2013 01:20 PM

Hi, riverjamie.

I'm having the same problem with my GM transmission. I've actually had my tranny rebuilt twice, thank you very much (ugh), so I've got quite a bit invested in keeping this car running (a 1999 328i). I've got the exact same symptoms you describe: spews some ATF when you put it in reverse after it's been allowed to cool down overnight, stops leaking after a bit of driving, and otherwise shifts really smoothly. The fluid that comes out is a pretty clean-looking cherry red, so at least I know I don't have shards of metal floating around in there.

My car is currently at the transmission shop. They put it up on the hoist to observe the leak and were able to reproduce it. They also noticed that it comes out more when giving it some gas.

The breather is mainly there to release excess air pressure as the fluid moves around inside the transmission. Otherwise, things might build up and go "boom"! (Bad news.) When it spews ATF instead, there is probably some kind of leak that is allowing the fluid to get pushed around where it shouldn't go, so it gets released the same way the air is supposed to be. The big question is where the leak is. I've been trying to find suggestions online for "usual suspects," but I haven't found anything. My guess is that it varies.

I'll post again if I find anything or after it's been fixed. I realize this message is kind of dated, but I didn't see a resolution, so I thought I'd post. I know I've let mine do this for quite a long time, driving it minimally. It's been in the tranny shop a couple of times at least. They keep doing things they think are fixing it (for free) and adding fluid back in, so I don't get too low. That's the main danger. Maybe you're doing the same.

riverjamie 08-20-2013 04:20 PM

SanDiegoE46Gril, I've tired a few things. One Post I found from a guy that had the same problem, he put in an Transmission additive called Seafoam Trans Tune, then drove for a while. Afterwards he replaced the fluid and filter an after 2600 miles was still working fine. So at this point I've had the Seafoam in for about 400 miles. Seafoam, the company said to just leave it in and not change the ATF and filter. I'm not sure if I want to change all the fluid? The other day I backed it out of the garage after it had been seating for 2 wks, it really leaked quite a bit. So know thinking again about having it remanufactured?? I'll try to see if I can find the guy that used the Seafoam and had good results.

SanDiegoE46Girl 08-20-2013 04:43 PM

Hi, riverjamie!

I read that post about the Seafoam. I was somewhat tempted, but I also felt like I really wanted to get it well and truly fixed! (I think I even found your post where you'd mentioned the leaking again? Not sure.) Anyway, I can understand why the Seafoam works, for some people, if the problem is a leak somewhere.

I don't want to be TOO optimistic, but if your transmission is shifting fine while driving, I would think that a total rebuild is overkill. Does the "limp mode" symbol ever come on? That's definitely a Bad Thing, but if it doesn't, it sounds like your transmission is generally okay. It would be a real bummer to spend $2500 or more on a rebuild when it's really a leak that can be fixed for a few hundred dollars. The main problem is that, no matter what the issue is, you have to open up and then re-seal the thing. I've told the guys at the shop I go to not to worry about opening it up until I've either found a suggestion or have given up on finding a suggestion. But if you don't have the light coming on, if the car drives fine, and if the fluid that does leak out is not ugly, I think I'd want several opinions before I let someone rebuild my transmission.

ddaniel1 08-20-2013 07:27 PM

Sounds like one of your pistons is leaking when reverse is selected. Rebuild is warranted. Want to see inside?

riverjamie 08-20-2013 07:34 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Just curious you said that you've that the transmission rebuilt twice. Was it rebuilt for the same problem of leaking when cold and reverse? Or what?

Back to my car, no lights so far. It started about 6months ago that I know of. It was my sons car, he was parking it on the street where he lived, but being in San Francisco, he didn't always have the same parking spot, so it might have been leaking longer? Then he gave me the car. It's a 2000 528i, 117k, it had the ATF and filter changed at 113k for this problem, because the shop did not see the problem. Then the shop and I felt it might be over filled, so we removed some of the ATF, but still did it. Another shop that is a ZF rebuilder which also does GM Tranys said they think it might be an internal seal or a pump for the torque converter, but in any case the trans would have to be torn completely apart to get to it? Pls let me know what they tell you what the problem is or was, and what they did to fix it. Thx

SanDiegoE46Girl 08-21-2013 02:20 AM


Yes. I had it rebuilt twice. What a bummer that was! But it wasn't for this problem at all. The main symptom I experienced before each rebuild was that it went into "limp mode," with the light on the dashboard that would come on, and I'd have to pull over and let it reset itself. When the transmission people inspected the ATF, it was a horrible grey color with teeny bits of metal floating in it. Both times, they had to replace several clutch packs. Again, it didn't shift well and would go into limp mode. The metal parts were all grinding against each other, leaving the bits and pieces in the oil and making it black.

This problem, on the other hand, does not cause the limp mode light to come on, for me. I have very clean ATF, and the car shifts through gears just fine. That being said, I am pretty certain that whatever is causing it will involve opening up the transmission. They'll need to open it, fix the problem, and then seal it up again. But I don't believe it will require a rebuild of the whole transmission. I just don't know what the cost will be to do whatever fix needs to be done.

It's interesting that the shop thought it was over-filled. The shop I went to initially thought that, too. My regular mechanic did mention the torque converter. He made some notes on the bill during my last visit of what he thought it *might* be. I just need to find them. (I've moved recently and can't seem to find anything!) As soon as I do, I'll post them here. I may even just call him and ask him to call the transmission shop, since they know each other. I just thought I'd do some research so that I'd know what I was getting myself into.

Just make sure you don't drive with low ATF. If you're spewing it out often and it's not being replaced, you could end up with bigger problems!

riverjamie 08-21-2013 10:01 AM

SanDiegoE46Girl, thanks for the feedback on why the trany was rebuilt. Here's the link to the other guy that had the ATF coming out of the Breather.


SanDiegoE46Girl 08-21-2013 12:26 PM

One of the other things I read (and I can't remember where) suggested that a clogged filter could result in pressure that may kick out some ATF. But I don't know for sure. I was going to ask my transmission people about the filter. I don't know if they changed it during the last rebuild, though I suspect they did. (That was two years ago, now.)

Hogan773 08-21-2013 02:20 PM

You guys are spending a lot of money fixing 14 year old cars with the multiple transmission rebuilds etc!

Yewzer B Lewzer 08-21-2013 02:58 PM

2000 e46 GM Auto Tranny Spews Oil!!!???
So not that this helps you solve the problem, but I'm thinking if it were me, I would be backing into my driveway/garage when I park (all warmed up) so I don't need to put it in reverse while cold..

Edit: also, maybe Dex VI would help?

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