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BMW 3-Series Transmission Questions

bf109acebf109ace Posts: 77
Read a thread on bimmerfest.com about the automatic transmissions used on the new BMW 3-series coupe.

Some said the one on 328i is a GM-sourced 6-speed auto transmission while the one on 335i is a much better New ZF 6 transmission. Is this true? I test drove a 328i auto y/day and was impressed with the ride in Sports mode.

However, I'm only interested in the 6-speed stick in both coupes. Just curious why BMW used different auto transmission if it's true? Any insight on this?
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Comments

  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    re: Some said the one on 328i is a GM-sourced 6-speed auto transmission while the one on 335i is a much better New ZF 6 transmission. Is this true? I test drove a 328i auto y/day and was impressed with the ride in Sports mode.

    GM makes superb automatic transmissions. I have the manual in my 325i but was very impressed by the auto in the 325i and 330i.
  • So the 328i, 325i, and 330i - both sedan and coupe all use GM-sourced automatic transmission? Only the 335i uses the new ZF 6 auto transmission. What's the source then?

    Doesn't BMW manufacture its own auto transmissions? Why would it use GM-sourced ones? Cheaper? Better? :confuse:

    Your input is welcome.
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    Perhaps the GM unit cannot handle the 335i's torque so it was necessary to go to the ZF?
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,312
    That's almost certainly it. High torque equals gears with more face width. An engine that makes its power at high RPMs doesn't have to transmit much torque. Sounds like this twin-turbo setup delivers the torque.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I hate posting things that I'm not 100% sure of, but here's a stab at what's going on.

    I think the GM transmission is a Getrag, a german company bought by GM many years ago. In the E46's, Getrags were used on the 323/325s and ZF trannies were used on the 328/330's. It's very possible that ZF's are beefier, therefore used in higher torque applications, but I'm not sure if that's the reason.

    FWIW, I test-drove a 323Ci and bought a 330Ci (both manuals). IMHO, the Getrag was the nicer shifting of the two by a pretty wide margin.

    I can't guarantee that this is correct, it's compiled from memory of things I heard/read over 5 years ago.
  • The current MT's used in the 3 series are designed by ZF. Some 325's now 328's are built by Getrag using the ZF design. The 330 now 335 use the true ZF 6 Speed MT.

    Getrag is now partially owned by Ford known as GFT,,, Getrag Ford Transmission.

    The 328 gets the new GM six speed, the 335 gets the 2nd generation ZF 6 Speed know as the 6HPTU (Technical Upgrade) which among other features includes significantly faster shift times
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,312
    This is good stuff to know. Thanks.

    I've got one of the 12 (well, maybe a few more) Lincoln LS's with a manual, and it's a Getrag. Now I know why.

    My most likely next car is a BMW 3, so it's good info for that as well.
  • Over the last two days I test drove the 328i, 328xi, and 335i models at my local dealer. All with six speed auto transmissions. Entering the dealer yesterday I was going to get the 328xi for my wife as we live in the Northwest and have some significant winter storms lately not to mention our typical winter weather pattern and mountainous environment. Anyway, my wife said she'd feel better with the AWD. The 328xi drove well and the auto transmission was smooth with well synchonized shift points. The transmission's sport mode changed the character towards performance enough that it provided a spirited drive. I thought it would work for us....until I drove the 335i. The character of this car is so different and the performance so keen (acceleration is similar to the 911 I used to own though handling is much different)that it is a completely different car from the 328 model. The auto transmission on the 335i provides lightening quick shifts; I didn't even use the paddle shifters since the transmission in sport mode was all I needed at least during an unchaperoned test drive. Driving in a moderate rain, the rear end didn't step out though the rear tires "chirped" a couple times from launch. Not a race car but a thrill to drive nonetheless. I ended up buying the 335i. My advice: don't test drive it if you can't buy it because you'll only leave the dealership frustrated. My only concern and its partly ameliorated because of BMW's 4 year/50,000 mile full service coverage plan is about the durability of the twin Turbos. To my knowledge, BMW has only produced turbo engines for its racing program previously. How they'll hold up after 100k or 200k of "regular driving" remains to be seen.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    To my knowledge, BMW has only produced turbo engines for its racing program previously.

    BMW has been making Turbocharged Diesel engines for the European market for years. They even made blown gas engines a couple decades ago, although those too were only for the European (and Australian???) market(s).

    In the past, I've had turbocharged engines and I've never lost a blower, even with more than 100,000 miles on the clock. My secret? Synthetic oil. Turns out that's one of BMWs secrets as well. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    Thanks for your feedback on the 335i. I have the 330xi and look forward to the 335xi which is to come out in March/April '07. I want to test drive this car because it is the most significant advance in the 3 series in the last 2 years.

    I think BMW is keen to the competition and is stepping up the pace of improvement, don't you think?

    Interesting you compare it to the 911 as I was using the C4S as an example of what can be done with a great awd setup in recent posts.

    Have all the luck and safety in your new ride!

    Regards,
    OW
  • I chose the 335i over the 328 and couldn't be more satisfied. But I will say that the 335i isn't for everyone. If you want a "Cadillac" type of ride, then this isn't for you (at least not with sports suspension). The other thing I don't like is the temperature gauge. It tops out at 84 degrees which is fine, but when you go down 1 degree there is a noticeable/significant difference in temperature. But I've had the car over here in Germany and have driven on the autobahn and it is absolutely incredible!
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    magilla,

    What ride(s) are you coming out of or have experience in? How do you rate the 335 vs. others?

    Some have compared it on par with the outgoing M.

    Regards,
    OW
  • I believe this is the same transmission that GM puts into the Corvette (400 lb-ft of torque as opposed to the piddling :D 300 lb-ft made by the 335i). If I'm correct (and the Corvette's six-speed auto has the exact same features as the one BMW puts into the 328 and Z4 cars), then "too much torque" is not really an issue for that transmission, especially in this application.
  • My son's 2000 3231 automatic twice leaked largepuddles of what appears to be transition fluid ( although it is dark in color and smells a bit of oil ).

    Both times the quantity of the leak was significant, about a pint or so, and was located under the engine on the drivers side, just inside of the drivers side wheel.

    In each case it was on cold mornings. The first time the car had warmed for about ten minutes and when I put in in reverse and it felt like the emergenct brake was on. after reving the engine it seemed to break free and drove well after that ( I didn't see the oil puddle until returning later in the day.

    On the second occasion, same thing but this time more fluid and then the car would not engage in any gear....again, another large puddle of fluid.

    One mechanic power washed the engine and could not find any significant point where it leaked from.

    I now have it into a BMW service center and have refilled he transmission fluid and the car drives well and....no major leaks!! Some minor ones at rear main seal and topside shift shaft seal.

    They are miffed....will be replacing the frozen Vent valve and feel it might have something to do with building pressure in the engine and it being somehow related to the leaks.......?

    Anyone have any insight to this perplexing issue....?

    Many thanks for any and all replies.

    tbysea
  • In october I bought a 1999 323i with um 138,000 miles on it. It was only 8,000 dollars and having a fat down payment i couldnt resist. for the past 4 months it has served me so well with no trouble or anything. Last week I drop my friend off, go to back out of her level driveway and the car will not go into reverse. acts as if its in neutral. after multiple attempts we end up pushing car out and i drive it home. Note the transmission warning light never came on. Upon arrival, I put car in reverse and the problem no longer exists and since then has not resurfaced. I read many horror stories of bmw 3 series trannies failing with very similar or identical symptoms, except none mentioned the the problem only happening one time. Meanwhile im scrambling to trade the car in while its still "good". Tomorrow im getting a tranny flush and I intend on asking them to check the fluid for any signs of transmission damage. What do you think about my way of handling this, and is it possible that the symptom was not a signal of tran failure and I can keep the car for a few more years????
  • I purchased a used 2007 328XI from a BMW dealer in a different city (USA) than I live. The car recently developed an transmission leak. I took it in for warranty work (at Edmonton BMW) and they told me it is leaking in three places (pan, where wire probes enter, frost plug). I was told work had been done on the car and they would not cover fixing it under warranty. I said the car is almost new with two registered owners (other BMW dealership and myself). Only work would have been performed by BMW. BMW records show no work was ever done. They still refuse to do the warranty. They told me they can tell when the pan was dropped by the screws. Even in the highly unlikely event that someone did work on the pan (1) it would have been by BMW and (2) how come the other leaks are not covered.

    This does not make sense to me as to why this car would not be covered under warranty - its crazy. By the way, Edmonton BMW says they have to replace the entire transmission because the "frost plug" is not a part available from BMW - it will cost me $14,000.

    I was wondering if any others have had leaking transmissions in 2007 328XI (Automatic Trans)? Also has anyone ever heard about the frost plug leaking? Has anyone else had warranty issues denied by BMW?

    Thanks
    Darryl
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    I assume this is certified and is definitely under the original warranty and would not take this dealer's decision so lightly. The original dealer should be liable to replace this at least.

    Please inform BMWUSA that you want this investigated further.

    Regards,
    OW
  • I live in Canada and the car is definitely under warranty. I recieved my Warranty Card from BMW Canada on the same day that they denied to honor the warranty claim.

    I have been in discussion with BMW Canada for the past two weeks. Their story is that someone other than BMW has worked on the transmission. This seems crazy as the car is fairly new and unlikely that someone would get unauthorized work done. The only two owners of the car have been the original BMW dealership and myself. BMW Canada is only saying work was performed inadequately on the transmission and this is causing the leak. The only proof they have told me about is they can tell from the markings on the bolts.

    BMW Canada has closed the issue.

    I am wondering if anyone else has gone through this and ifso, what did they do. It appears that my only possible way to get this resolved is through small claims court. Before doing this I am searching for advice and other possible alternatives.

    Thanks
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    What does the original BMW dealer say about all this?

    Seems to me if there is any doubt about the maintenance history of this car, they should know.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    Well a transmission doesn't fail internally and then come back alive. So it sounds like you have a valving or possibly some electrical issue. I don't know off hand how your transmission is controlled. Could be a hard, old seal, a sticking valve in the valve body, etc. A trans service couldn't hurt but the thing might have to fail completely for you to know for sure what it is. I suppose a good BMW shop can perform static testing on the transmission as well if it starts to act up again.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • The original dealer tells me that no work was ever done. BMW Canada agrees that no work inside of "BMW" was ever done and that the work must have been done outside of a BMW dealership. This is crazy (1) the only other owner of the car was a BMW dealership (2) No one would pay someone else to work on a fully warranteed car (3) It is likely only a BMW dealership would have the specialized equipment and skills to work on the transmission (it is a sealed unit).
    Regards
    Darryl
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Seems to me you should take the car back to the original BMW dealer for warranty repair.

    Since they have told you no work was ever done, how can they deny you warranty coverage without admitting they are lying to you?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,155
    Edmonton BMW? Is that in Canada?

    Are you sure this isn't the Canadian BMW dealer not wanting to do warranty work on a car that you bought in the USA?

    Maybe there is an issue with you going out of the country to get your BMW for less, and they don't want to help you out, because of it. I'm just guessing, because most BMW dealers will fix any BMW under warranty, no questions asked.

    If Edmonton BMW isn't in Canada, then never mind.. :blush:

    regards,
    kyfdx
    visiting host

    MODERATOR
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  • Hi. I bougth a 2000 BMW 323i with 130k miles, and the exact same problem happened to me. Right after this, I did a tranny flush and the mechanic found that there was debris in the transmission fluid. He things that this could have been the cause of the problem. A couple of days have passed and so far the reverse is working normal. But after reading all the BMW trans horrors stories, I was wondering how you handle your problem. Did you sell the car? or if you still have the car, did the problem come back?
  • We purchased Red 99 convertible automatic with 72K. It came with Kumho Ecsta 17in wheels and tire setup.Car runs great but only history I could find was of Non-dealer Service I so being pro-active I changed the oil and replaced the brake pads and rotors. I had some difficulty bedding in the rotors but finally got them. I had the car alinged and balanced. I am still not crazy about the way these tires ride.
    1. Don't know if I got a bad set of front rotors or is something amiss in the front end. Any thoughts appreciated.
    2. Is this transmission a GM Getrag or GM GM because I want to service it.
    3. Which service reset tool is adequate. No service lights or indicators as of yet?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,874
    1. Don't know if I got a bad set of front rotors or is something amiss in the front end. Any thoughts appreciated.

    What's the problem? A vibration when braking? If so, it could be lower control arm bushings.

    2. Is this transmission a GM Getrag or GM GM because I want to service it.

    Well, there's no such thing as a GM Getrag; Modern BMW slushboxes are either built by GM or ZF. Your car has the GM A4S 270R, and it takes Dexron III ATF. My wife had a 528i with the same box and my local BMW dealer changed the fluid in it AND the final drive for $110.

    3. Which service reset tool is adequate. No service lights or indicators as of yet?

    I use the Peake Research R5/FCX-II. It works great, and only costs $149.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • Thanks for the speedy reply.
    Good question about the vibration. It does not occur when braking but it is just riding at low speed as we are leaving the neighborhood. Its not my daily driver so I'll check further on this. I'll inspect the bushings as well. I am familiar with visual and checking for play at the bushing; are there other indicators?

    I may have misspelled this name for the tranny company as I read in another post that GM (may have been Ford) bought this German company that makes or made transmissions for the BMW.
    $110 seems like a good deal on a service, however I wouldn't have any fun. Secondly if I let my wife take this car into a dealership she assumes I have gotten in over my head and I would have to put gaurd dogs on our checkbook because she'll spend $1k if I suggest she take it in.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,874
    hIt does not occur when braking but it is just riding at low speed as we are leaving the neighborhood.

    Wheel bearing, perhaps. The driveshaft fas a rubber coupling at the transmission as well as a center bearing.They should still be good on your car, but it is something else to check.

    I am familiar with visual and checking for play at the bushing; are there other indicators?

    Nope, that's pretty much it.

    $110 seems like a good deal on a service, however I wouldn't have any fun.

    I perform the minor maintenance and repairs on my cars and bike, but it's worth $110 to not have to deal with an ATF change. I assume that you know that there is no dipstick and that the fluid must be checked through the fill plug at the proper temperature. In any case, the gory details can be found here and here. BMW now calls for a ATF change at 100K, but I think that you are smart for changing it before then. If you are going to tackle the final drive I'd use a good synthetic 75W-90 gear oil. I have used Mobil 1, Red Line, Royal Purple, and Valvoline Synpower- and all have worked fine.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • mjbro4mjbro4 Posts: 2
    Not sure if it is a 5L40E OR ZF 5HP-19? Unable to get under the car at this time, but need info to search for replacement. I believe it's production was 6/00. Thank you for all your help.
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