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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 08-20-2019, 05:10 PM   #1
markm1162
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My Ride: 2003 325i
Year: 2003
Model: 325i
Transmission: Automatic
Transmission problem - Sometimes will engage then it will not???

I have a 2001 330xi and while driving it I lost power to the wheels and had it towed to a mechanic. He is trying to diagnose the problem and he told me sometimes the transmission works and sometimes it doesnít. Youíll shift it into park and youíll hear a grinding noise like itís trying to shift itself out of gear. Right now heís thinks it's an internal transmission failure. Yesterday he was talking about a bad transfer case. I did change out a bad front passenger CV Axle 2 weeks ago. This E46 has 218,000 miles on it. The thing Iím stumped on is that the mechanic mentions sometimes it shifts into drive and sometimes it doesnít! Am I missing something here? Thanks!
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:30 PM   #2
77'911
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Has mechanic checked the fluid level and the condition of the fluid? The fluid level is crucial on these gearboxes.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:02 PM   #3
markm1162
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My Ride: 2003 325i
Year: 2003
Model: 325i
Transmission: Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by 77'911 View Post
Has mechanic checked the fluid level and the condition of the fluid? The fluid level is crucial on these gearboxes.
Regards


Itís a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didnít think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.


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Old 08-20-2019, 09:16 PM   #4
jmo69
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Originally Posted by markm1162 View Post
Itís a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didnít think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.


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The level needs to be checked with the fluid warmed up and the engine running. pulling the fill plug the fluid should just trickle out. If that axle isn't fully engaged it will cause the problems you described. The AWD system is fully open, any component failure will cause the car to not move, even putting it in park will not hold it in place. get that axle all the way in.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:58 AM   #5
Rickna
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My Ride: '02 330xi - '09 IS-F
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: AT
Lifetime fluid is a myth. I changed the ATF/filter around 80k mi. It made a big difference in the smoothness of shifting.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:59 PM   #6
77'911
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[QUOTE=markm1162;18612893]It's a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didn't think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.
....
No, it's not. I just serviced ours, albeit it's got 70k on it. Made a huge difference in the performance of the gearbox. Try servicing the gearbox and make sure the axle is properly installed(IE properly seated and torqued down).
Regards

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Old 10-20-2019, 10:01 PM   #7
Robertmichael03xi
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Yo change your trans fluid if you never have you do have a lot of miles though but also look into updating/ flashing the trans module
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:02 PM   #8
Robertmichael03xi
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Oh and the other guy said your mounts are huge in shifting smoothness also
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:08 AM   #9
james.more
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AWD any component

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
The level needs to be checked with the fluid warmed up and the engine running. pulling the fill plug the fluid should just trickle out. If that axle isn't fully engaged it will cause the problems you described. The AWD system is fully open, any component failure will cause the car to not move, even putting it in park will not hold it in place. get that axle all the way in.
I am having this exact problem where car will not move in any gear. Could you elaborate which components you are refering to (which could fail) and how you can tell if axle is"all the way in". I'm having similar issue. Car elevated but can see no components disconnected. A picture would be awesome. This issue happened suddenly with no warning. Oddly I had to remove some plastic which had wrapped itself around the drivers side front alxe? Could this have caused one of these components to fail?
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:04 AM   #10
jmo69
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Originally Posted by james.more View Post
I am having this exact problem where car will not move in any gear. Could you elaborate which components you are refering to (which could fail) and how you can tell if axle is"all the way in". I'm having similar issue. Car elevated but can see no components disconnected. A picture would be awesome. This issue happened suddenly with no warning. Oddly I had to remove some plastic which had wrapped itself around the drivers side front alxe? Could this have caused one of these components to fail?
It's possible that the plastic could have pulled the axle out of the dif. There is a steel ring next to the inner CV joint that should be within 1/8" of the dif. This pic is of the drivers side, not a real good one.

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Old 01-04-2020, 01:40 PM   #11
james.more
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Thx for pic jmo69. If axle is pulled out and simply spinning instead of engaging at the differential, is there an easy way to fix to pushing it back in? Or would I need to install a whole new axle? Can I test this problem by holding one front tire stationary and seeing if other tire rotates? If 2nd turns then there is a problem correct?

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Old 01-07-2020, 12:08 AM   #12
jmo69
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You can just push the axle back in. There has to be someplace on the inner CV joint that you can put a pry bar on and pound it back in. With the system being open turning one wheel won't make another one turn. But might make the driveshaft turn. I'd think there would have to be quite the gap between CV and the dif for it disengage.

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2003 325xi auto Stahlgrau

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