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Old 29th November 2013, 11:29   #1
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Default BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

A couple of months back, one of my relatives purchased a used BMW 320D which is 3 years old and 42,000 kilometers driven.

A week back when he was cruising on a lonely highway, he noticed an orange light in the instrument console and after some time, he came to know that the car automatically shifts the gear to neutral or so.

The car was taken to the service centre at Cochin and they did some scans of two stages. Outcome of the scan was to change the transmission oil and check. The oil change costed 25,000 INR and 15,000 INR for other stuff.

Even after the transmission oil change, the issue persisted, so it was declared as permanent transmission failure. Now the only solution is to change the entire transmission which will cost around 6 lakhs INR or we should get a transmission and the service center guys will change it for us. Any thoughts ?

Damn it, the Germans are extremely costly and not reliable in Indian conditions

Last edited by GTO : 29th November 2013 at 15:50. Reason: Typo. Please proof-read before submitting your posts. Thanks!
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:34   #2
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Try sending a mail to BMW, saying the car is only 3 years old and for a transmission to fail is unnatural. Ask for it to be changed under goodwill warranty. Also try and see what error shows up when they scan the car, it will certainly have some error.
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:36   #3
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by foby.sebastian View Post
A couple of months back one of my relative purchased a used BMW 320D which is 3 years old and 42,000 kilometers driven.
=============
Damn it the Germans are extremely costly and not reliable on Indian conditions
Had faced similar issue with 520D transmission, Navnit tried in BLR and issue came back after couple of months. Next time with BMW technical teams advise, the software was updated by the coimbatore dealer and all is well for last 1 year plus. So maybe worth to do a firmware upgrade and check before going for GB replacement. According to the CBE workshop, the mechanical's are bullet proof and most often (99% of the time) its the software that is the culprit.
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:37   #4
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Am surprised that an auto transmission failed so early in life

BMW transmissions are usually sealed for life and one cannot fill transmission oil normally. The is supposed to be a way but it requires to be filled under a certain pressure.

Can you explain what exactly happens?

Does the car have difficulty in changing gears?
Does it go to neutral due to a warning light?

For such a premature failure, I would not rule out a faulty sensor somewhere
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:37   #5
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by foby.sebastian View Post
A couple of months back one of my relative purchased a used BMW 320D which is 3 years old and 42,000 kilometers driven.
Is he the second owner of the car? If the service history of the vehicle is authentic, he can press the dealer for a goodwill warranty. This is purely at the discretion of the dealer, another option would be to escalate to BMW India who may waive of 50% as a Goodwill gesture.

Do not bother to get the transmission checked outside or to import a used transmission from elsewhere, will be a huge hassle.

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 29th November 2013 at 11:39.
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:47   #6
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Am surprised that an auto transmission failed so early in life
=======
For such a premature failure, I would not rule out a faulty sensor somewhere
Exactly Ajmat, usually it will throw a yellow triangle error with transmission not performing normal, take to service slow or something, and then packs up. This was the error we saw in 520, should be similar in 3 also. GB ECU and wiring can be checked, apart from that pretty much nothing is accessible from outside. One needs to connect the scanner and send the data to BMW and then they analyze and advise next step.

This seems like dealer trying to make money from out of warranty repair.
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:48   #7
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
Is he the second owner of the car? If the service history of the vehicle is authentic, he can press the dealer for a goodwill warranty. This is purely at the discretion of the dealer, another option would be to escalate to BMW India who may waive of 50% as a Goodwill gesture.

Do not bother to get the transmission checked outside or to import a used transmission from elsewhere, will be a huge hassle.
He is the third owner of the car and the service history is very much authentic.
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Old 29th November 2013, 11:59   #8
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Am surprised that an auto transmission failed so early in life

BMW transmissions are usually sealed for life and one cannot fill transmission oil normally. The is supposed to be a way but it requires to be filled under a certain pressure.

For such a premature failure, I would not rule out a faulty sensor somewhere
If the vehicle is used excessively in traffic conditions, there are chances that the GB would fail.

They first ask to flush the transmission oil and perform an adaptive drive, if there are jerks observed at any particular speed or RPM, it meant the GB needed replacement. Repairing these GB's is not recommended/approved by BMW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
GB ECU and wiring can be checked, apart from that pretty much nothing is accessible from outside. One needs to connect the scanner and send the data to BMW and then they analyze and advise next step.
This seems like dealer trying to make money from out of warranty repair.
The dealer will not take such a big risk of GB replacement to make money. If the problem is something else, he will be in trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foby.sebastian View Post
He is the third owner of the car and the service history is very much authentic.
Being a third owner, it will be very difficult to get Goodwill warranty. Ideal would be to escalate to BMW and hope for the best.

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 29th November 2013 at 12:00.
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Old 29th November 2013, 12:32   #9
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Default re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

I do recall the time I was TD'ing the BMW X1 and had an interaction with the service manager. He was telling me the gear box failures are likely though not common and infact he did have a couple of cars at that point in time with such a failure. The very reason why BMW insists on the 3/5 years service plans which covers the major parts.

Does this car not have such a plan included? This should be a serious point to consider when purchasing a pre-owned BMW vehicle.
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Old 29th November 2013, 15:57   #10
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Related, but sort of off-topic.

This is the reason we insist those buying used Europeans only pick examples with full warranty coverage. One major component failure and your bank balance is wiped out, not to mention the inconvenience due to the car being in the garage.

Several Mercs & BMWs for 10 lakhs and lower in the pre-owned market. However, their upkeep and repair costs will still be in line with their showroom prices (i.e. 30 lakhs and up, not the 10 lakhs you bought it for). What makes matters worse is the poor reliability & complex nature of high-end German cars.

Sorry to hear about your friend's experience. Some great advice on this thread. Hope things are sorted soon.
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Old 29th November 2013, 17:49   #11
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Try sending a mail to BMW, saying the car is only 3 years old and for a transmission to fail is unnatural. Ask for it to be changed under goodwill warranty. Also try and see what error shows up when they scan the car, it will certainly have some error.
We are in search for the way to contact the BMW people to address the problem. Can someone could be a help ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Had faced similar issue with 520D transmission, Navnit tried in BLR and issue came back after couple of months. Next time with BMW technical teams advise, the software was updated by the coimbatore dealer and all is well for last 1 year plus. So maybe worth to do a firmware upgrade and check before going for GB replacement. According to the CBE workshop, the mechanical's are bullet proof and most often (99% of the time) its the software that is the culprit.
That’s a good point , will need to check about the software and firmware upgrade with the BMWASS

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Am surprised that an auto transmission failed so early in life

BMW transmissions are usually sealed for life and one cannot fill transmission oil normally. The is supposed to be a way but it requires to be filled under a certain pressure.

Can you explain what exactly happens? Does the car have difficulty in changing gears? Does it go to neutral due to a warning light?

For such a premature failure, I would not rule out a faulty sensor somewhere
As advised by the BMWASS technician there is no need to change/top up the transmission oil as it works lifelong.

It was later identified that the gear adapts to neutral position once the car passes 80kmph. It was advised by the tech. guy that it is a security measure. If we continue using it the speed limit will be reduced eventually in 80 - 60 - 40 -0 fashion and results in permanent death of the transmission.

Is there any way we can custom code the ECU so that the 80 Kmph can be increased to 100 or so ?

The orange/yellow triangle warning light is always on !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Exactly Ajmat, usually it will throw a yellow triangle error with transmission not performing normal, take to service slow or something, and then packs up. This was the error we saw in 520, should be similar in 3 also. GB ECU and wiring can be checked, apart from that pretty much nothing is accessible from outside. One needs to connect the scanner and send the data to BMW and then they analyze and advise next step.

This seems like dealer trying to make money from out of warranty repair.
The first scan was for 4 hours and the second scan was for 1.5 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Related, but sort of off-topic.

This is the reason we insist those buying used Europeans only pick examples with full warranty coverage. One major component failure and your bank balance is wiped out, not to mention the inconvenience due to the car being in the garage.

Several Mercs & BMWs for 10 lakhs and lower in the pre-owned market. However, their upkeep and repair costs will still be in line with their showroom prices (i.e. 30 lakhs and up, not the 10 lakhs you bought it for). What makes matters worse is the poor reliability & complex nature of high-end German cars.

Sorry to hear about your friend's experience. Some great advice on this thread. Hope things are sorted soon.
Currently there are 3 cars in the BMWASS garage left out in an abandoned way waiting the court order since those cars owners lodged complaint against BMW :- That is the outcome if you lodge a complaint against BMW for any mechanical reasons.

The BMWASS informed us that the same complaint has been reported for more than 3 cars.

1st car gear box needed to be replaced

2nd and 3rd cars worked fine after the transmission oil change

Last edited by n_aditya : 4th December 2013 at 09:55. Reason: [font] tags removed
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Old 29th November 2013, 21:35   #12
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by foby.sebastian View Post
We are in search for the way to contact the BMW people to address the problem. Can someone could be a help ?



That’s a good point , will need to check about the software and firmware upgrade with the BMWASS
Use this id: Contact.india(at the rate)bmw.in

Do check the firmware update, and same was done for another 3 which had a misbehaving AC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
The dealer will not take such a big risk of GB replacement to make money. If the problem is something else, he will be in trouble.
Not by my experience with Navnit BLR, i personally spoke to them and the experience is first hand. BMW said they can't do anything and kept referring back to the dealer. They are so powerful

Last edited by Jaggu : 29th November 2013 at 21:40.
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Old 1st December 2013, 13:45   #13
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by foby.sebastian View Post
...

It was later identified that the gear adapts to neutral position once the car passes 80kmph. It was advised by the tech. guy that it is a security measure. If we continue using it the speed limit will be reduced eventually in 80 - 60 - 40 -0 fashion and results in permanent death of the transmission.

Is there any way we can custom code the ECU so that the 80 Kmph can be increased to 100 or so ?

...
I didn't understand this. Can someone elaborate?

Either it is my sleep deprivation or you just meant BMW is putting a speed limit of 80kmph - that can't be right.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 19:25   #14
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
I didn't understand this. Can someone elaborate?

Either it is my sleep deprivation or you just meant BMW is putting a speed limit of 80kmph - that can't be right.
I think what they meant was in limp mode, the speed limit will be 80 and then progressively comes down before transmission locks up. Yes it does say drive slowly to workshop when the yellow triangle warning comes up.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 23:01   #15
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Default Re: BMW 320d: Gearbox problems

There could be many possible versions of this situation. Like if the car is really 3 years old, if it really having 42,000 Km on the dash, if it was not resurrected from a 'total-loss' position or if the car is clean and has had necessary service history within BMW database.

If the car's position is that of the last one ie reasonable amount of service history (not necessary every single oil change) may be, you have a chance. You still are a paying customer. 600 KINR is a serious amount for a single repair. I am sure you/relative will get attention and empathy.

Just plead the case without going aggro. Lest they may exercise to utilize their right of refusal beyond warranty. Provide chassis number, service history and a possible price position for which you could complete the repair, keep the dealer on CC. Request for the BMW's technical team to have a supervisory check of the diagnosis carried out by the dealer since it is an expensive repair. There could be just a gearbox adaptation issue.

Have been a BMW user for over 6 years now. An eye level talk has always worked for me. Recommend not to draw daggers before trying for a hand shake.
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