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I have a 2000 323i with auto transmission. Bought it in 2004 with 60K miles on it. It now has 114k miles.
3 weeks ago, after hearing what I thought was noisy bearings, I replaced the idler and tensioner pulleys (which had never been replaced since I have owned it). After listening to it at idle after that, I still heard quite a bit of noise, so I knew it had to be the (original factory) fan clutch going bad. I had read horror stories of how the fan can explode, so I knew I shouldn't continue driving it. I was going to replace it but after researching the forum posts, I decided to replace the mechanical fan with an electrical fan.

I took the mechanical fan out and took it for a test drive (outside temp was 83) staying close to home, relying on only the front auxiliary fan, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. It didn't overheat but after 10 minutes when I came to a stop, my transmission warning light came on. It was shifting really rough after that. Drove it 1-2 miles back home. I assumed the transmission light came on because there was not enough airflow and the transmission was getting too hot. After that, I developed a tiny slow leak from the tranny pan. I assume that was because I cooked the gasket a bit. After removing the front bumper, removing the front auxiliary fan, thoroughly cleaning the radiator, installing the new Behr (Hella Service 351038391 Blower Radiator/Condenser) fan that I got on Amazon for $200.

The install was really quick and easy, using the same connector from the old front auxiliary fan. I took it for a few test drives staying close to home. Seemed to run a little more peppy without the load of the mech fan. New aux fan came on when needed and never overheated and never saw the tranny warning light come on again. After a week of normal driving around town I assumed it had passed the test and the following week I drove to Arizona and back with no overheating problems or tranny warning light, even in 95 - 100 temps.

Driving around town again the next day when I came to a stop, the tranny warning light came on again. I'm thinking the tranny could now be low on fluid, and/or the fan needs to be on full time. As far as I know the fluid and filter have never been changed. I am planning on changing fluid and the filter this week, but am hesitant to go out driving again after that if the problem is an overheating problem. Does anyone know what could be happening? Does anyone know how to jumper the fan so it will stay on full time? Did I damage my tranny, or am I now possibly too low on fluid?
 
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