Automatic Gearboxes
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  1. #1
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    Automatic Gearboxes

    As some of you know I am looking to buy another BMW.

    I only ever look at manual boxes because I don't want the cost of an automatic one going wrong. However the main reason I sold my 330Ci manual was because the clutch needed doing, almost 500 in bits alone, which has made me consider auto(s/h auto box can't be more that 500?).
    When you discard auto you lose at least 50% of cars for sale, and the majority of 3.0 diesels.

    Can you lot clue me up on the auto boxes in the E46? Stuff like:

    How many gears
    What do they cost in MPG
    How reliable are they
    Can they take the power of the 3.0 petrols and the torque of the diesels(2.0 and 3.0, mapped?)
    What do they change like(smooth, slow, clunky?)
    Anyone know the ratios
    Are they all the same throughout the E46 and E39 range
    What do they drive like

    I have driven a E36 323i vert with an auto box, and I must say I am not very impressed, seems a bit wooly(only way I can explain).

    Any opinions of people who have driven the same BMW and engine in manual and auto would be great, also opinions of the BMW E46/E39 manual vs other make boxes would be interesting to hear.

    Thanks alot chaps
    Last edited by Stal1878; 10-09-2012 at 20:05.

  2. #2
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    E46 gearboxes can be troublesome.... Need to know a bit about the history.

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  4. #3
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    I am/was an auto hater but after having an auto in the x5 and the 330 (same engine box) I'm a changed man.its so smooth and effortless between changes and is very good at responding to the way you want to drive it.from slamming your foot down to cruising in a high gear.

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  6. #4
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    I went from a 320i manual to a 330ci auto, both E46's. I could never get a perfect gear change from 1st into 2nd on the 320i but the 330s is smooth as. I'm totally converted by them and you can drive them as a manual if you wish.

    How many gears - 5
    What do they cost in MPG - Depends how you drive, I'm getting nigh on indentical Mpg as the 320i.
    How reliable are they - No issues, however I've been looking into getting the oil etc changed.
    Can they take the power of the 3.0 petrols and the torque of the diesels(2.0 and 3.0, mapped?) - No issues.
    What do they change like(smooth, slow, clunky?) - Smooth if in D, Crisp if in S.
    Anyone know the ratios - Nope.
    Are they all the same throughout the E46 and E39 range - The E60s had 6 speed autos, but not sure on the E39s.
    What do they drive like - Like a manual, if in auto you use your brakes a bit more (as no real engine braking). But in manual mode you can use engine braking.

    Hope this helps a little.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stal1878 View Post
    However the main reason I sold my 330Ci manual was because the clutch needed doing, almost 500 in bits alone, which has made me consider auto(s/h auto box can't be more that 500?).
    Tracking down a fault in an auto is much harder and hence more costly if you are paying for labour than a manual.

    Additionally the cost of taking out anf putting in an auto is pretty much the same as taking out and putting in a manual after clutch fitting if you are paying labour. Basically you probably give away in fuel what you save on clutches. Swings and roundabouts.

    I drove an auto for 3 years and you could lock it down in a gear and four wheel drift it like a manual, plus it would near do 50 in reverse allegedly. Thing is this was a nice mechanical slush box that does as it was told without any fuzzy logic messing about
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  10. #6
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    There's a great post on dervs & the E46 auto box by brimstone,
    well worth a read

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  11. #7
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    I love the auto in my E91 - uber smooth, awesome changes and a 6 speed box.....

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  13. #8
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    My only real question is can you select neutral at any speed
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    longer you own one the shorter the odds that ya gonna get expensive trouble eventually, not the best made boxes (GM made or ZF) and notorious trouble on diesels cos of the torque whick kills em off, diesels are torque limited electronically in the first 3 gears to stop them grenading the box premature,ly but a lot of diesels are mapped and its removed and torque increased even more peppering the tranny with even more torque..

    common faults...

    no reverse
    cattle grid rumbling
    torque converter rotor edges snapping off
    loss of all drive
    jumping out of drive

    could get a faultless one but theres more odds of getting one with problems with the age and miles factored in these days...

    max manufacturers input peak torque on the boxes is less than the stock 330 diesel puts out hence the above statement...
    Last edited by dailydoggy; 10-09-2012 at 20:56.

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    My E38 transferred me into a auto fan! Still prefer manual but I used to hate auto with a passion but loved old 7s so bit the bullet got one and fuck me they are great! I don't think I'd get a 3 series auto but would defo get a 5 or 7 auto!!!!

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