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I have a 2001 330xi and while driving it I lost power to the wheels and had it towed to a mechanic. He is trying to diagnose the problem and he told me sometimes the transmission works and sometimes it doesn’t. You’ll shift it into park and you’ll hear a grinding noise like it’s trying to shift itself out of gear. Right now he’s thinks it's an internal transmission failure. Yesterday he was talking about a bad transfer case. I did change out a bad front passenger CV Axle 2 weeks ago. This E46 has 218,000 miles on it. The thing I’m stumped on is that the mechanic mentions sometimes it shifts into drive and sometimes it doesn’t! Am I missing something here? Thanks!
 

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Has mechanic checked the fluid level and the condition of the fluid? The fluid level is crucial on these gearboxes.
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Has mechanic checked the fluid level and the condition of the fluid? The fluid level is crucial on these gearboxes.
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It’s a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didn’t think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.


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It’s a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didn’t think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.


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The level needs to be checked with the fluid warmed up and the engine running. pulling the fill plug the fluid should just trickle out. If that axle isn't fully engaged it will cause the problems you described. The AWD system is fully open, any component failure will cause the car to not move, even putting it in park will not hold it in place. get that axle all the way in.
 

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Lifetime fluid is a myth. I changed the ATF/filter around 80k mi. It made a big difference in the smoothness of shifting.
 

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It***8217;s a sealed transmission and I would say no. What I did notice when the car was up in the air is that the CV axle that was installed in there was not completely flushed. The mechanic said he didn***8217;t think that would cause the transmission to do what it was doing.
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No, it's not. I just serviced ours, albeit it's got 70k on it. Made a huge difference in the performance of the gearbox. Try servicing the gearbox and make sure the axle is properly installed(IE properly seated and torqued down).
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AWD any component

The level needs to be checked with the fluid warmed up and the engine running. pulling the fill plug the fluid should just trickle out. If that axle isn't fully engaged it will cause the problems you described. The AWD system is fully open, any component failure will cause the car to not move, even putting it in park will not hold it in place. get that axle all the way in.
I am having this exact problem where car will not move in any gear. Could you elaborate which components you are refering to (which could fail) and how you can tell if axle is"all the way in". I'm having similar issue. Car elevated but can see no components disconnected. A picture would be awesome. This issue happened suddenly with no warning. Oddly I had to remove some plastic which had wrapped itself around the drivers side front alxe? Could this have caused one of these components to fail?
 

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I am having this exact problem where car will not move in any gear. Could you elaborate which components you are refering to (which could fail) and how you can tell if axle is"all the way in". I'm having similar issue. Car elevated but can see no components disconnected. A picture would be awesome. This issue happened suddenly with no warning. Oddly I had to remove some plastic which had wrapped itself around the drivers side front alxe? Could this have caused one of these components to fail?
It's possible that the plastic could have pulled the axle out of the dif. There is a steel ring next to the inner CV joint that should be within 1/8" of the dif. This pic is of the drivers side, not a real good one.


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Thx for pic jmo69. If axle is pulled out and simply spinning instead of engaging at the differential, is there an easy way to fix to pushing it back in? Or would I need to install a whole new axle? Can I test this problem by holding one front tire stationary and seeing if other tire rotates? If 2nd turns then there is a problem correct?
 

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You can just push the axle back in. There has to be someplace on the inner CV joint that you can put a pry bar on and pound it back in. With the system being open turning one wheel won't make another one turn. But might make the driveshaft turn. I'd think there would have to be quite the gap between CV and the dif for it disengage.

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