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E46 BMW 4L30E transmission failure after oil change

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    E46 BMW 4L30E transmission failure after oil change

    Hi guys,

    Mate just started work and bought a 180,000km BMW E46 318i with the GM 4L30E transmission to get too and from work (2 hour drive once a week into the bush).
    Was driving fine, replaced with Castrol DEX III per Castrol Oil Selector website as preventative maintenance.
    Correct procedure was followed (warm gearbox up, run through gears, refill until overflow at operating temp).

    Car drove fine for 30mins, slowly deteriorating into slipping.
    Transmission oil that came out before changing was reasonably burnt/brown.
    Is it dead for good?

    Looking online- repairs seem astronomical compared to a 4L60 series box from a Commodore!?

    Is there any potential cheap fixes? Looks like solenoids etc are accessible easily from smaller front sump-
    Already tried a drain and refill with Lucas additive.

    Otherwise if clutches and seals are gone (likely?) just a wrecker replacement job?
    It appears 2000-era Rodeo's used this gearbox, any other cheap options?
    Any recommendations for budget Brissie workshop that won't rip my mate?
    Random gearbox place in Acacia Ridge wanted 3.5k for full R&R

    Hardly any for sale online, so it would be purchasing a vehicle to salvage gbox I presume.
    Appreciate any help! Mate is on a shoe-string budget for a few weeks until he gets some paycheques under his belt, which will be hard without transport to site.

    Best regards,

    2005 audi a3 turbo manual quattro

    No idea to the question but if it’s the same gearbox as E87 I have one here.
    Turns out, far too much has been written about great men and not nearly enough about morons

    Originally posted by seedyrom
    my neighbours called the cops...... not because of the sound of me working in the garage was too loud, but because i taped a cardboard box to my back, covered my self in vaseline and pretended i was a snail on their lawn


      Originally posted by Jim View Post
      No idea to the question but if it’s the same gearbox as E87 I have one here.
      Hi Jim....(ps was your nick Secoh or something similar back in the day?)

      Thanks for speedy reply- appears they are ZF 6HP series or 4L60 series boxes in the E87.

      This vehicle takes 5HP or 4L30 series - weary of conversions due to looking at that link earlier the actual gearcase looks tiny! Never seen anything like it.
      Would have trans tunnel issues for sure and also body harness/TCM issues.
      4L60 apparantly bolts up but then above issues still.

      I suppose a ZF 5HP19 (the OEM option other then the 4L30) would be easy enough if one is easier to source then GM unit.

      My other concern is if draining worn oil out of these boxes is known to kill them, then putting in a box from a donor vehicle might also fail because old oil would be drained when it's stripped from donor vehicle - and would be replaced with fresh Dexron III again and kill it.
      2005 audi a3 turbo manual quattro


        Pretty much what you said above, when they had this amazing idea of ‘Fill for Life’ if you ignored this and jumped on the regular servicing from new wouldn’t have an issue, changing later in life turned them into grenades, in saying that I know of people who have serviced them and gotten away with it.

        just throw another one in don’t stress it’s gonna be 50/50 either way
        Originally posted by Faux Forg
        I agree with Rdyno


          Update for anyone interested, got quote from local place to pull old g/box and install new supplied unit @ 4 hours labour (seems reasonable!)
          Been recommended Pennsinula Auto in Melbourne to source trans - will see if pricing comes back worth it or if this car gets parked up for a couple years while emergency bunky found.

          2005 audi a3 turbo manual quattro


            Why do people buy cheap old bmw's thinking they will be 100% reliable and cheap to maintain? Even a "cheap" 318i was over 50k when new.

            Did you just drain and swap the fluid or did you take the pan off and change the filter too? Did you verify the temps with a scan tool or temp gun? or just let the engine get up to temp?

            You can't just change to a different trans. The DME and EGS (trans computer) is programmed/tuned for that trans. If you swap you'll need new loom (as the plugs are different), along with the trans ECU and probably a matching DME (main ECU). So straight swap for same trans, match the code on the ID plate too to avoid any issues with wiring plugs.

            Connect it to a scan tool and scan it for errors, then view live data to see the pressure to the solenoids and clutches. The problem swapping out fluids is you can disturb any caked up clutch material which can cause blockages.
            Last edited by Madhatr; 03-10-19, 08:34 PM.
            Originally posted by Buford T. Justice
            This happens every time one of these floozies starts poontangin' around with those show folk fags.


              Did you check the car in drive?


                More importantly, did you check the level whilst it was running?