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I will save the story for the end, but I have transmission issues, and I don't have a garage or tools with me since I moved to Columbus, Oh. I am in Hilliard, on the west side of Columbus. I need a good, honest indy mechanic who can diagnose my transmission. I bought this car 2 weeks ago, and I don't want to go to the "stealer" for this issue. Thanks in advance!


I bought an automatic 2002 BMW 325xi with 202,000 miles. I just bought it 2 weeks ago from a used car dealer. I have owned several e46 bmw's, and I usually do my own work. I just moved to Columbus, and I need a mechanic I can take my car to because I no longer have a garage to do my repairs. I am very experienced in working with these cars, but now I don't have the time or resources to fix this issue.
Here is my problem: on Saturday, I was on the highway driving for 20 miles. When I came off the highway, the differential would not engage. It just slipped like it was in neutral. I shifted between gears, and nothing happened. I pushed it off the road and turned the car off. Then I turned the car on, and (the car was slightly angled in the ditch) the car engaged into drive with no issue.
Then today, I turned the car on and drove it 500 feet to the stop sign, and the differential stopped working again. I shifted between P/N/D/R, and nothing happened except when I put it into park. Each time I did this, I could hear a slowing or "winding down", followed by a quiet clunk into park. After the third attempt, I gave up and pushed the car over to the side of the road. This time, angling the car did not correct the issue. The belly pan of the car does have oil residue. I do not know if it is from engine oil or transmission fluid or both.
 

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Front axle has likely popped out. I recall these may be snap in axles, but not 100% sure.

BE VERY CAREFUL putting the car in Park when the problems come up. Turn the car off first and make sure everything in the drivetrain has quit spinning otherwise you may crack the trans case when it slams into park.

Also realize that Park may not work so you better have a good parking brake and/or block the wheels.

Good luck.
 

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Thanks for the heads up! I really appreciate it. I had a 330xi last winter, and I had to replace both front axles. The car was shaking badly prior to the axle replacement. It was a Connecticut car, and it took the Napa 20 ton press to get the hub off the axle. It started bending my 8 ton press. Rust is a bad thing.

I am taking it to Best Motor Werks in the morning. Crossing my fingers. Thanks everyone!
 

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Front axles probably snap into the front differential. This is a common way many of the German cars are built. If an axle is not fully snapped in, it can come loose and this is about the only way you would have a problem you are having.

I am guessing there was recent work on the front end and this has lead to an axle popping out of the front differential.
 

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You're both right. There was extensive work done to the front end. The salesman originally told me that the front axles were replaced. Then he later told me that it was only the axle boots that were replaced. When I looked, I saw that the swaybar bushings had been replaced along with several other components. I really hope you're right and that the transmission is still good to go.
 

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I'm confused as to how the car would be immobile simply due to the front axles coming loose. How does that work with the AWD system?
 

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Use bimmershops.com


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
 

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I'm confused as to how the car would be immobile simply due to the front axles coming loose. How does that work with the AWD system?
This is a common problem due to "open" differentials and transfer case.

Do not be confused, just understand this is highly likely the cause of your problem.

The cheap $90 parts store Asian axles sometimes have the spline stubs and/or locking ring in the wrong location. Hopefully it is as simple as one of the axles that popped out and only needs to be properly reseated.

I would only use either BMW reman axles via the BMW parts department or replaced from Raxles.com.

What we are talking about is an axle that may only be popped out by as little as 3/4" and it will still be inserted into the front transaxle seal. This also assumes if the axles are replacements that they are not dimensionally wrong.

Most cheap replacement axles have a very small diameter axle shaft as compared to OEM shafts.

Here is a good picture of the difference of a cheap Asian axle next to an OEM axle for a different German car, but it gives you an idea of the difference.

https://www.google.com/search?q=jfo...ansmission-will-not-go-into-gear.html;647;770

Here is picture of a similar snap in axle

https://www.google.com/search?q=jfo...rtible%2F43710-axle-replacement.html;1023;576
 
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