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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 06-25-2012, 12:49 PM   #1
toddz
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Automatic transmission acting up

Scary. My 2001 325xi wagon has acting up lately. Car has 147K miles. When I start from a stop, it seems to "drop down a gear", and then "jerks" before responding.

Also, when I put I go from reverse to drive, there is a delay and then is does the same thing. I always come to a complete stop before dropping from reverse to drive. Always. Doesn't seem good.

Any input would be great.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
kaboo0m
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first stop is to change the fluid and see if it makes a difference. if not, plan on offloading the car or start saving for an overhaul
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
toddz
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Thanks. Just spoke with my very trusted mechanic and he said the same thing...with the exception of that he has a "great tranny" guy.

FINGERS CROSSED!

Last edited by toddz; 06-25-2012 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddz View Post
Thanks. Just spoke with my very trusted mechanic and he said the same thing...with the exception of that he has a "great tranny" guy.
i'd avoid rebuilds if necessary. those are a crap shoot waiting to happen and often causes more headaches even with a warranty than usual unless its an OEM remanufacturered one. Moreover, the transmission is way more complex than an engine to begin with and very custom to the make and model of your car so any missing or incorrect small piece is a giant crap shoot waiting to happen.

I had a similar issue with my e30 when i first bought it. Shifted like crap on the original 200k transmission. without a moment's hesitation, I opted for a rebuilt one for 2k... worst mistake ever cause the new shiny transmission turned out to have some errors that caused pressure build up (and puking fluids as a result). I made this professional reinstall my old one on his dime, change the fluid and it shifted a whole hell lot better than the remanufactured one.

Last edited by kaboo0m; 06-25-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #5
toddz
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I'm willing to live the issue if I have to as money is tight right now. Just don't want to end up stranded out there somewhere. It has (knocking on wood) absolutely no shifting issues when driving over 10 mph. In rush hour, I notice it drop down when I accelerate from slow roll.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:15 PM   #6
Bobby330xi
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The same thing was happening to my trans, especially when it was cold or extremely hot. I had about 122K miles on it at the time. I changed out the fluid and filter. Then changed the fluid alone again about 1000-1500 miles later. Trans is shifting a lot smoother, especially when cold. If you have no experience I would recommend having a shop do it.

Be sure to specify that you DO NOT want the trans flushed, only fluid and filter changed. Flushing the trans and cooler can cause a whole world of problems that you don't want at this point.

Good luck!


P.S. Downshifting or dropping down to the next gear when accelerating is normal. "slipping" or having the engine RPM's raise without the car accelerating or the trans shifting erratically or jerking are signs of failure....not downshifting alone.

Last edited by Bobby330xi; 06-25-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboo0m View Post
first stop is to change the fluid and see if it makes a difference. if not, plan on offloading the car or start saving for an overhaul
False, he is experiencing a coasting jolt fault, very common on our transmissions. There is a firmware update for the ecm available to fix it. total cost should be $150. If you are set of a trans service, I recommend running Redline D4 ATF
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Last edited by redbull 325is; 06-26-2012 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull 325is View Post
False, he is experiencing a coasting jolt fault, very common on our transmissions. There is a firmware update for the ecm available to fix it. total cost should be $150. If you are set of a trans service, I recommend running Redline D4 ATF
interesting. is there a specific bulletin for this?

edit:

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/8060/image001si5.jpg

could this be it? I know there was one for ZF transmissions but XI's are GM ones.

Last edited by kaboo0m; 06-26-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:27 PM   #9
toddz
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Thanks for your note on my issue. Yesterday I had my VERY TRUSTED mechanic check the transmission fluid, and it was full. His suggestion was to take it to his go to tranny shop and have them drop the pan and look for shreddings etc and see if anything is clogging the filter.

redbull 325is: There is definitely a noticeable "jolt" at low RPMs when it drops a gear. I am certain that it is abnormal. It happens rolling at low speed (10-15mph) as well as from a dead start. Also, there's a delay in engagement when shifting from park to drive (about 1 second). When shifting from reverse to drive, there is a longer delay (around 2 seconds). Again, there don't seem to be any symptoms above 15 mph that I notice.

Curious if you still think the firmware update would help?
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
toddz
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kaboom: thanks for posting that document. after reading it however i am afraid to say my symptoms are a bit greater beyond happening only after the car rests overnight...
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:21 PM   #11
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I have the park to drive delay. It's about 2-3 seconds. It doesn't matter if its cold or warm. Other than that it drives perfect.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:33 PM   #12
cmoors
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Positive engagement in drive position D delayed?

My 325 XiT E46 falls outside of the production dates BMW recommends for the software "update" to solve the issue of "Positive engagement in drive position D delayed" as outlined by kaboo0m Mine is a a July 2002 production so when I spoke with the dealer they didn't recommend this even thought the description of the problem fits my car perfectly.

Has anyone had the dealer update the software to see if this solves that problem even outside of date? They said there were no codes and my regular mechanic has done the fluid and the dealer confirmed that fluid looked fine.

I'm sure the big fix is a new tranny since there is 188K on original but outside of the issue, the transmission work great. Just trying to milk another year to 2 out of this one.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:53 PM   #13
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I'd be cautious diagnosing trans problems on the Internet. The OP indicates "... has [started] acting up lately". Not, it always had this behavior. That suggests something changed where the symptom is new. High mile transmissions likely have deeper mechanical issues then fluid/filter change-outs will correct. I'm not going to hex the situation with the following comment but there is plausibility to the statement.

Changing out fluid may make things worse. It has been reported, on high-mile cars, when fresh fluid is introduced the properties are such that worn clutches, seals etc. do not adapt well where new and exciting problems show up. The problems may or may not be severe but even a proper servicing procedure may introduce undesirable results. No one can predict what will happen including a "VERY TRUSTED" mechanic. I am coming from direct experience with a Mercedes where hoping to gain a couple more years with a fluid/filter refresh proved a very bad idea. Bounce this concern off a BMW dealer or specialty shop and listen to what they advise. Or find a shop that will warranty the work.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:19 PM   #14
cmoors
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Thanks for the information. We did the fluid last year around 165K which made some of the other shifts much smoother. If you rode in the car you wouldn't notice anything abnormal except the first two, first to second shifts with high rpms. My mechanic gave me a heads up that a fluid refresh could have had an adverse result, however it didn't in my case. The local BMW dealer stuck a camera in there and said everything looked normal,the fluid looked good, and there were no codes. So it could be a seal on the clutch which just doesn't act right when it has been sitting or is really cold. I don't have the issue as bad during the summer since it is so warm here in Fresno.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:25 AM   #15
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Read the fault codes in the EGS and try topping off the transmission. a fluid flush never helps with shifting issues other than making sure you have the right fluid level in it.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:36 PM   #16
sammy2303
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Reading these threads makes me glad I delayed acting on my "Positive engagement in drive position D delayed" issue. I am all set to
replace the fluid and filter but wonder if a TSB or firmware or software update could solve this problem. It occurs only when cold. Works better if initially shifted into M1 but some delays may still occur. It seems to depend on the ambient temperature and how long it's been sitting. Always worse in the morning. Otherwise it shifts responsively smooth up an down without delay. I have driven it hard and it feels tight and smooth. Only has 61K miles. Please advise...
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:24 PM   #17
redbull 325is
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy2303 View Post
Reading these threads makes me glad I delayed acting on my "Positive engagement in drive position D delayed" issue. I am all set to
replace the fluid and filter but wonder if a TSB or firmware or software update could solve this problem. It occurs only when cold. Works better if initially shifted into M1 but some delays may still occur. It seems to depend on the ambient temperature and how long it's been sitting. Always worse in the morning. Otherwise it shifts responsively smooth up an down without delay. I have driven it hard and it feels tight and smooth. Only has 61K miles. Please advise...
I've seen cars with exceptionally low mileage weep fluids (ie bad valve cover gasket on an x5 with 30k miles) This could mean your trans pan has leaked some fluid and you are low. I'd try topping it off first before doing a fluid swap and seeing if you get appreciable results. The firmware update usually only helps for the coasting jolt error (bangs when downshifting 3-2 or 2-1)

hth
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by toddz View Post
kaboom: thanks for posting that document. after reading it however i am afraid to say my symptoms are a bit greater beyond happening only after the car rests overnight...
the slow engagement after sitting is due to first gear clutch pack seal leaking.
essentially you have to wait till the pressure to come back then it tries to engage.
it can only be fixed with opening up the transmission.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:46 AM   #19
MYSTICBLUE325XI
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Had the software update, mine is an 5/03 builddate 325xi with the gm trans. Overnight sitting would be 2 to 3 secs to engage, not bad, but left the car for a week, took like 10 secs to move! Had the update done, no problems now, goes right into gear. Do it, 100% recommended
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:13 PM   #20
Gvega702
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Automatic transmission acting up

Quote:
Originally Posted by MYSTICBLUE325XI View Post
Had the software update, mine is an 5/03 builddate 325xi with the gm trans. Overnight sitting would be 2 to 3 secs to engage, not bad, but left the car for a week, took like 10 secs to move! Had the update done, no problems now, goes right into gear. Do it, 100% recommended
What is the name of the update to have it done, it sounds like I have a similar issue


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