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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 03-22-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
simpaxman

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transmission limp mode

Transmission light comes on around 40mph. Was periodical in the mornings and reset and was fine for about a year but is constant now around 40 mph. There is a lot of talk about the TCM. It started shifting hard, almost redlining before the shifts. Has around 120,000. Was recently serviced, no metal in the pan. Im going to try a used TCM and praying it will do the job. Reading up all day and problem is common but symptoms vary. Anyone had any luck with this situation on a 95 325i?
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:48 PM   #2
larryglover@gulfviewllc.c

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Most likely the auto trany has gone bad. I've went thru two now and have decided to do an auto to manual ZF swap. The tranny for that car was produced by GM and they are garbage IMHO.

Good luck.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:01 PM   #3
Big Evil
 
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REPLACE YOUR TPS (throttle position sensor) FIRST. A bad read from that sensor will make it shift funny every time. Then move on to more expensive stuff especially if there was nothing in the pan during service. Also verify the fluid level, and just out of curiosity did the problem start (get more pronounced) before or after the service? If you already have the TCM save the old one just in case its not bad (TPS swap etc.)
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:26 PM   #4
simpaxman

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So, I had time to take it in and have the codes read, and it looks like it's internal slippage. The TCM came today, no luck so it is going back minus shipping, I still have'nt checked the fluid level but it was'nt leaking and was full a coulple of months ago when it was serviced. ( I just don't have any jack stands and feel funny getting under it without jack stands.) So I called the mechanic who serviced it, asked if he thaught some Lucas treatment addititive would help me get a little more life out of it since things are tight, he said maybe and for a hundred dollars he would take out a little and put in the lucas, I decided against that.
The tps sounds like a worthy effort, but honestly, I can tell there is some slippage when I go up a hill in first and if it doesn't shift it free spins in the RPMs until I get them high enough to engage, and if it is in manual mode at a stop and I run through the gears at an idle I can hear pressure building before each engagement. Everyone is telling me its' internal speed sensors or some burnt clutches. I found a rebuilt one online for about half the price I could get mine rebuilt for, it comes with a 3 year 100 thousand mile warranty and they guy will put it in for 350 if I give him my core. I asked why it is so cheap, whats the story, he said no story he has a tranny shop and one of his techs rebuilt it and put a full kit in it replaced everything and they just never had a customer for it, no doubt it is someone elses core he just rebuilt. I almost want to get into the business of rebuilding this particular tranny myself it seems like a total racket! Anyway Thanks for all the input and keep on keepen on. Sim.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:37 PM   #5
simpaxman

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It also chirps when it shifts sometimes if I drive it hard. It's my wife's car and she lugs the thing, I drive it like I own it. I would love to do the manual swap that sounds totally fun but I think if I can get my car back on the road with this fella for under 2 grand that's my best option. The shop that tested my codes said it would start at 2 with a 1,000 window depending plus tax, no guarantee so the heck with that. The only thing is this guy who can do it is 150 miles away, Do you think it will make it that far in Limp Mode if I keep it around 55mph? Thanks again Mr. Big Evil and Mr. Larryglover it helps just to talk about it.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
simpaxman

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As for the curiosity inquiry, yes it was six months after the service. The light was comming on almost every morning so we started parking it in the garage instead of the slope of our driveway, I made my wife learn how to set the parking break on hills and letting the car roll back before engaging it into Park thinking it was a position sensor, and that all helped for a while, my secret is that I took it to the store the day before she called me saying it was back on and when I drove it to the store I drove it hard and heard the little chirps and noticed it was shifting really hard, so until it got home I had never actually seen it go into limp mode, so as soon as we stopped fighting about it, I took it for a spin and sure enough 4 out of 5 times it went into limp mode around 40, the one time it did'nt the RPMs went to almost 6 and it jumped up to 80 so I thaught it was still periodic, thats all I can conjur. I hope if people can read this even years from now they will know they're not alone. How much is one of those manual swaps?
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:05 AM   #7
94bmw325

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Unhappy

I see this is an old tread and I too have the same problem I have a 94 325i with 94 miles on it fluid was check and replace I found small metal shavings. But I almost want to say it is a sensor because I can dive in manual mode and it's fine until I hit 3rd and it shifts hard and then limp mode is set for the duration while the cars on and once and a while the trans slips if I'm at stop for awhile. Does anyone have a solution to this problem
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