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Old 11-11-2013, 09:23 PM   #1
SirAlexDuke
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2004 e46 Auto - rough shift from 1st to 2nd?

Recently I've noticed that my car's (2004 325Ci with 107,500mi) auto transmission seems to be shifting hard from first gear into second. This doesn't happen every time I drive, but more like 40% of the trips I make in the car. It'll happen the entire time, and the next time I drive the car, it shifts very smoothly. It seems to happen only when shifting while the RPMs are higher (3,000+); today, I mashed the accelerator, and it shifted near redline, and it felt as though the entire car jerked, forward then back. There were no anomalies as far as shooting RPMs, then the subsequent shifts until I reached speed gave no issues. If I'm lighter on the accelerator (When the car shifts at or before 3,000RPM), the shifts are smooth - near unnoticeable. Downshifts while decelerating are perfect, and if the car is driven in manual mode, the shifts go without a hitch. I'm concerned that this could be the beginning of deeper issues. No lights on the cluster have popped up. Any idea what could be causing this?

Last edited by SirAlexDuke; 11-11-2013 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:41 PM   #2
serdar255
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I have a manual in both of my cars, but I can recommend that you drain replace the fluid and filter on that transmission.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
SirAlexDuke
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Tranny fluid change is in the works for sure, but I have another hunch. Could this be related to the fuel pump? Here's why I think it could be the pump:
When turning the ignition to 2/ON, I periodically get a moaning/howling/whistling sound for a second or two before the engine gets started. This sound can also be felt through the floor of the car. Sometimes, the engine takes longer than normal to crank, and once or twice I've had to try staring it twice before it turned over. The car's acceleration is lacking sometimes I get on the accelerator, and other times it will take off. Lastly, today, I heard the aforementioned whistling sound today for the first time when I went to pass someone. I pressed the accelerator, and the car hesitated while/after downshifting, sound went away after a second or so, and the car sped up.

Is it possible that these issues are related, or could I be having two separate issues?
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:37 PM   #4
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Sounds like your fuel pump is dying, unrelated to the transmission.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:42 PM   #5
Stinger9
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SirAlexDuke

Sounds specious to me, but I can't rule out your theory 100%. So change the fluid and filter and see what a difference it makes. If none, replace your pump and filter.

Last edited by Stinger9; 11-14-2013 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
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I meant to say that the sound happened when the car hesitated, at the last part. That's what makes me think it could be related. But I'll plan to do both asap.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:57 PM   #7
HLG600
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Agreed on the fluid and filter change for the transmission in any case. When was the last time your fuel filter was changed?
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:47 PM   #8
SirAlexDuke
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Alright. Either way, I ordered the filter kit today, along with another pump, as the first one I ordered was wrong, and a new Mahle fuel filter. The plan is to get down and dirty Monday after work!!
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SirAlexDuke View Post
Alright. Either way, I ordered the filter kit today, along with another pump, as the first one I ordered was wrong, and a new Mahle fuel filter. The plan is to get down and dirty Monday after work!!
Good luck! That transmission will be buttery smooth once you're done with it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #10
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Alright, checking back in after the drain and fill of the transmission, filled with Valvoline Maxlife. The transmission seems to be operating more smoothly in general, but I'm still getting that weird jerk, albeit less, between first and second. When it jerks like this, it also seems to hesitate before shifting, kind-of like it's letting the revs get a little too high before it does shift, then after that, every other gear change is like silk. What else can I try? Do I just need to give it some more time?

Last edited by SirAlexDuke; 11-17-2013 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:12 PM   #11
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Drain&refill is merely a maintenance job, not a repair. People say 'flush' your fluid, but lots can go wrong unless you perform the job properly. Since your transmission still holds old fluid in the system even when it seems to be fully drained, you either have to turn on the engine in part/neutral to run the fluid pump, or drain and refill multiple times. When you're going to try former method, make sure you detach transmission fluid cooler line and let it suck the new fluid. If you don't, mechanical components will get overheated. Kinda like how dialysis works.

And I don't have ample knowledge in chemicals, so correct me if I'm wrong. Viscosity loss occurs over time, then it won't be able to provide sufficient fluid pressure to run the transmission in optimum condition. Also its heat transfer capability gets decreased, lifespan of bushings and bearings will be compromised, then severe mechanical issues will show themselves within several years.

First part is what's happening in my opinion. New fluid gets mixed with old fluid, provides insufficient viscosity. Plus, Valvoline ATFs are universal fluid, they may meet your transmission's fluid spec requirement, but only partially. How can an universal fluid in such low cost meet full spec requirement, right? So I suggest you to perform the job with premium fluid next time, and inspect the bushings and mounts as well. When rubber bushings/mounts fail to restrain mechanical components, ride quality upon shift can be compromised. Replacing motor mounts and tranny mounts helped a little in my case, because both were seriously shot.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input, mack89, but I did a lot of research before I selected the fluid I did, and chose not to perform a flush. Many people with the GM transmissions have had no problems using the Maxlife fluid; plus, it didn't cause the issue to worsen, but improved it.

Alright, reporting back after drain and refill (11/16), and fuel pump (11/18). The rough shift seems to have been considerably lessened, but still exists. Is this something that replacing the EGS or having the software updated may fix? It just seems unusual, as I haven't found any other threads or videos of someone with the same issue as mine. I dunno where to go from here. I'm thinking it might not be as serious as I'm thinking it is, but I don't want to let it slide without trying everything I can first.
On a side note, the fuel pump change made a HUGE difference in the overall performance of the car; prior to the replacement, power was fairly inconsistent, sometimes more than others, but after the change, the amount of power available is substantially more, and always consistent, as a vehicle should be. It's like a whole new car! Now to see if I can tackle this annoying transmission jerk...
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:07 PM   #13
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Good thing fuel pump replacement improved overall condition. I remember dealer once said inconsistency of engine power can cause transmission DTC when a friend of mine took his 03 330i with torque converter DTC. Dealer replaced an ignition coil(#6) and problem was solved. So yeah, lack of engine performance CAN affect transmission performance one way or another.

Changing EGS would not solve any issue, believe I've been there :headbang:. Mine was ZF that didn't have much of TCU update, although there might be an update that could help your GM transmission. Also I believe you haven't changed the transmission filter, I heard that this thing can cause interruption in fluid transfer as it gets clogged. Automatic transmission basically operates every component with fluid pressure, so it's really important to keep optimum pressure range as you know.. If you see excessive metal debris on oil pan magnet, clutch wear is already done; you would have to keep the fluid in good condition, or rebuild it.

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Old 11-19-2013, 11:14 PM   #14
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Keep in in mind, you still have a few quarts of the old fluid in there, thanks to the bastards who decided not to put a drain plug for the torque converter. To get all of it out, drive the car for at least 1K miles and then drain and refill once more.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:58 PM   #15
chet31
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Do you notice it under moderate acceleration, or only under hard acceleration? Many have noticed a jerky shift from 1st to 2nd when you floor it.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:10 PM   #16
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Everyone should remember that in D or drive, the e46 automatic transmissions starts off in 2nd and shift into third. The transmission will only start in 1st if you have it in S or sport or use the tiptronic function to shift into first.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:08 AM   #17
SirAlexDuke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mack89 View Post
Good thing fuel pump replacement improved overall condition. I remember dealer once said inconsistency of engine power can cause transmission DTC when a friend of mine took his 03 330i with torque converter DTC. Dealer replaced an ignition coil(#6) and problem was solved. So yeah, lack of engine performance CAN affect transmission performance one way or another.

Changing EGS would not solve any issue, believe I've been there :headbang:. Mine was ZF that didn't have much of TCU update, although there might be an update that could help your GM transmission. Also I believe you haven't changed the transmission filter, I heard that this thing can cause interruption in fluid transfer as it gets clogged. Automatic transmission basically operates every component with fluid pressure, so it's really important to keep optimum pressure range as you know.. If you see excessive metal debris on oil pan magnet, clutch wear is already done; you would have to keep the fluid in good condition, or rebuild it.

Give us SITREP occasionally!
The filter was also replaced when fluid was drained. At first, it seemed like there was a lot of debris in the bottom of the pan, but that was before I realized that the pan was black. After having realized that, the amount seemed completely reasonable for not having been changed for almost 108,000mi. But, yeah, it's crazy how much of a difference the pump made in the performance of the car. I fell in love all over again.

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Keep in in mind, you still have a few quarts of the old fluid in there, thanks to the bastards who decided not to put a drain plug for the torque converter. To get all of it out, drive the car for at least 1K miles and then drain and refill once more.
Yeah, I'd thought about that. Do you think it'd be good to just remove the plugs and go about it that way as opposed to taking off the pan, since I wouldn't be replacing the filter again this time? It would substantially lower the chances of me bathing in tranny fluid again.

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Do you notice it under moderate acceleration, or only under hard acceleration? Many have noticed a jerky shift from 1st to 2nd when you floor it.
It's more pronounced the higher the revs are. Anything under 3,000, and the shift is like silk. Up to about 4,500, it's a slight judder; most people probably wouldn't even notice it, but I'm constantly micro-monitoring everything. If revs get any higher than that, it seems to be more of a jerk, except now that the maintenance was performed, it seems to be a lot less pronounced. I feel like this isn't something I should be too concerned about, but I don't think that'll stop me worrying.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:00 AM   #18
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Yeah, I'd thought about that. Do you think it'd be good to just remove the plugs and go about it that way as opposed to taking off the pan, since I wouldn't be replacing the filter again this time? It would substantially lower the chances of me bathing in tranny fluid again.
Haha, doesn't sound fun. If you already changed the filter, then no need to drop the pan again. Just make sure you drain it cold to get as much of the fluid out as possible.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:30 AM   #19
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2004 e46 Auto - rough shift from 1st to 2nd?

Did you ever see if there are any codes? Have the car (not just the ECU) scanned.


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Old 11-21-2013, 11:25 AM   #20
SirAlexDuke
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Haha, doesn't sound fun. If you already changed the filter, then no need to drop the pan again. Just make sure you drain it cold to get as much of the fluid out as possible.
What do you mean? It was a blast!

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Did you ever see if there are any codes? Have the car (not just the ECU) scanned.


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I had thought about getting that done. Is there any place you'd recommend I get that done? I don't know anyone with a scan tool. I've heard AutoZone will do it, is that right?
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