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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 10-24-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
Autolycus

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Cool E36 Auto box issues...

Hi all,
Having just converted from two wheels (one of which was an old BMW R1200C cruiser), I find myself the proud owner of a very nice 1997 323i saloon, with leather inside and a smooth six-pot up front - beeootiful...!
But there is a slight problem... This E36 (as you Bimmerchaps call it), has an automatic gearbox - which is very nice to drive in Hong Kong's congested streets, but which has recently started "hesitating" at junctions. That is to say, you decelerate as you come to a junction or other pausing place, then, when you gently apply the gas, the engine revs up but the car doesn't respond as it should - then, all of a sudden, there's a jerk and off you go. Not good...!
This machine has done a mere 90-odd thousand kms since new, or around 60,000 miles, so it's really only just run-in. I'm thinking that the Transmission fluid may be low, but there is no transmission dipstick or filler in the engine bay, and not much room to crawl underneath to access the filler plug that (I'm reliably informed), should be on the side of the gearbox sump.
Am I right in thinking that I'll have to have it up on a ramp to check & top-up the ATF properly, and is this a normal fault with these models? I'm told that Dexron 3 is the fluid to use - are there better alternatives? Finally, is there an internal transmission oil filter which may be partially or completely blocked and if so, is it relatively simple to replace - with the car in a local garage, on a lift and with the work being monitored closely by this auld engineer...?
Next on the list after that will be new plugs - a set of six shiny new NGK four-electrode implants are ready for fitting, then we'll stick a nice & loud Stebel Nautilus where the old horns sit - and it'll be nice not having to wire up an additional relay for the job...!
An engine oil & filter change will be done later on, then I may contemplate overhauling the cooling system - if next summer's driving has the temperature indication too far past the vertical... Other than that, she's good to go, goes very well and I can see why so many people become converted to Beemers...
Cheers,
Autolycus (or "a picker-up of unconsidered trifles", from one of aulde Will Shakespeare's musings...)
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:00 AM   #2
DEATH2000
 
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Welcome to United Bimmer.

First, their is no dipstick because BMW considered them to be a "lifetime fill" They are NOT by any means. Their is a check plug on the bottom. With the car on a lift it is quite easy to access.

Castrol Dexron III meets the needs of your transmission. You probably have the A4S 310Z transmission, also known as the GM 4L30E, as it was made by GM in France. If this the transmission you have then Dexron III is sufficent. Check the bottom of the transmission pan for a sticker on the bottom denoting the correct fluid to use. Green is Dexron III.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:27 AM   #3
Autolycus

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Hi D2k...
Thanks for all the info and I've had the beast up on a ramp, where evidence of an oil leak from the transmission was plain to see.
The backstreet garage guy replaced two dodgy O-rings, cleaned the underside & replaced the (old & black!), fluid with new Dexron. And fixed a piece of loose trim while he was under the car - which now runs as it should.
Who said the age of good service was dead?
Thanks again - the data will be useful if & when I have the gearbox filter replaced next year,
Autolycus.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:34 AM   #4
DEATH2000
 
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ANY time you drop the transmission pan you need to change the filter and inspect the fluid. Leaving it on is like changing your oil but leaving the same filter. Pointless. Make sure in future you change it. A kit is like $30. A transmission is $2,000.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
Autolycus

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Whoah there D2k...!
I quite agree that dropping the transmission sump without replacing the filter would be pointless - but, as you can see from my previous thank-you note, in this case, it was simply a fluid change and O-ring replacements (to fix the leak). All done externally, and now that I have a better idea of exactly which transmission I have, a filter kit will be ordered and installed when it arrive. I'll be happy to sacrifice the new fluid that's just been pumped in as a "Flushing" medium, prior to said filter change and new fluid fill...
Autolycus.
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