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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, 04:10 PM   #1
markm1162
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: South Florida
Posts: 49
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, 05:30 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.
Regards
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:02 PM   #3
markm1162
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: South Florida
Posts: 49
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, 08:16 PM   #4
jmo69
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,871
My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Year: 2003
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Steptronic
Quote:
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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Alternative to expensive xi control arm bushings https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1231503

Bad outer xi ball joint? https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1127077


2003 325xi auto Stahlgrau

1998328is 5sp
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:58 AM   #5
Rickna
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: West Haven, CT, USA
Posts: 2,095
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, 12:59 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

Last edited by 77'911; 08-21-2019 at 12:59 PM.
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