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Complaints about BMW 3 Series - No Reverse

Archive: July 2007 - September 2007

Elizabeth of Louisville KY (09/27/07)
I own a 2001 330i BMW. I bought the car with 35,000 miles in 2003. A couple months ago, at about 100,000 miles, reverse stopped working with no warning. It looks like I am not the only one with this problem. I was able to deal with replacing the drive shaft, replacing the wishbone suspension, the water pump falling into the radiator, loosing all the coolant due to faulty parts, replacing all four power window thingies, replacing the software in the power mirrors, not to mention the little things like the sunroof not working and the cd player eats cds, but the transmission is the last straw!! I have been more than patient and now this. I have been told that the transmission now needs to be replaced!!

Albert of Camarillo CA (9/26/07)
I bought my 2000 323i certified used in 2001. Only previous tranny issues were related to big clunking sound when i would shift into reverse and a rear-end clunk when accelerating from a coast. Then on same the same day I picked up my car from service inspection I at the dealer, reverse failed (just after turning 95k).

Alfonso of Texas (9/22/07)
I have a 00' 323i and it's the second tranny I have to put and my car has 135k miles I think this car are defect since a tranny to fail at less than 100k miles is not acceptable most of the other cars can pass 100k with no problems. this cars are really expensive I believe we should have a better quality cars. but this is my last BMW I will buy.

Jay of Marietta GA (09/20/07)
Early last year, my 323, which was/is very well maintained and driven only by me, began having auto tranny problems...it started slipping. I am not a hotdog driver and probably drive more like an old man than a hot-rodder. I never had any problem getting the car into reverse, however. Anyway, long story short, I had to have a new (re-built, which is all that is available evidently) auto tranny. The cost was only $3,641. Most people don't realize that these trannies are made by GM France. I will NEVER buy another BMW.

Donna of Cumming GA (09/18/07)
As I can see from this forum, I'm but one of many who need a new transmission in their 2000 BMW 323. Just as all the others, my one owner vehicle has been serviced as recommended and just suddenly won't operate in reverse. I have been told replacing with a rebuilt transmission will cost me $3000. I have also replaced all the power window motors at least once in this vehicle. I have been a loyal BMW owner since 1990 but I'm having serious second thoughts after this experience.

Cyrus of Savannah GA (09/18/07)
I have a BMW 323ci convertible just like everybody else I've experienced the same problem left for work put my car in reverse and it would not move acted like it was in neutral, took it to Critz BMW to find out the problem and they said it is my transmission my car has only 74,000 miles the year of my car is a 2000. The cost they told me would be 5,600 to fix. I owe about 14,000 thousand on my car and this is a tremendous amount of money I should be enjoying my car but instead I'm still paying for it and its park because I can't afford to fix it. When i purchased my vehicle I asked alot of questions that they either avoided or changed the subject that should have sent up Red Flags then for but I wanted that car BMW advertises Precision and Excellence but after reading this site they have alot of disgruntle and disappointed consumers. BMW needs to reassess these problems and restore their good name before its to late PLEASE KEEP ME INFORM THANK YOU FOR LISTENING> CYRUS HUNTER waiting to ride again in Savannah Ga.

Vicky of Kennesaw GA (09/17/07)
I just read other complaints about the BMW transmission going on automobiles. on 9/14 at in the evening I stopped at Walmart to pick up some items. When I tried to back up my 328I 2000 BMW, the reverse did not work. I took my car to the dealership United BMW; and they said they could not find anything wrong so it has to be internal and I would need a new transmission. Up to that point, i never had a problem with my car not going into reverse. If these cars have transmissions issue, then why isn't BMW doing something about it. They are making it appear that it is just something with the car itself or the mileage on the vehicle. This is crazy - they should be fixing these automobiles.

Amber of Baltimore MD (09/17/07)
I was leaving for class and went to put my 1999 328i into reverse and it wouldn't move. I have it towed to BMW and they gave me a $7100 estimate. Its $5,800 for the transmission and $1100 for labor. This is crazy. I'm a student and I do not have this type of money to fork out for a new transmission. Please help make more people aware of this.

of N/A (09/18/07)
Transmission failed (no reverse) January 07 on my 2000 323i WITH ONLY 28,000. miles on it!!!!!! Dealership Service Mgr. told me I was denied "assistance" from them because I was out of warranty (by time, not miles) and I did not continue to have it serviced with them after the warranty expired" !!! " (As if the transmission going out at 28,000 miles wasn't bad enough, the blatant, nonchalant attitudes of BMW representatives are outrageous!) "Fought" with dealership, field service engineer and BMW NA for weeks before taking it to an independent BMW service shop to have it replaced. My actual repair invoice notes: "worn/defective transmission" and ""flush trans cooling line note: OIL VV DARK BLACK! NASTY with 28k on it". They even took pictures of the defective transmission. I have been in contact with a transmission manufacturer in Michigan who contends there will be a release in a trade magazine which describes this transmission design defect. Now what????

James of Tucson AZ (09/16/07)
I have a 2000 323i sedan with 77k the car has been extremely well taken care of. all services done in order. My transmission light comes on all the time now with the service engine soon. I brought it to them and the could not read the faults so they consulted with BMW America to determine what they read. We short story is you need to replace the transmission. They told me I never need to replace the fluid on tranny caused it sealed. I ask them to replace it at 30k and 60k and they said no reason to. So I believed them. So no I they are wanting $5,700 to replace the tranny which is un heard of. I feel ripped off. They said the tranny fluid is burned. I asked why did you not replace it when I asked. They no reason to.

Luvard of Anderson SC (09/15/07)
2000 BMW 323i won't go to reverse. No warning, all of a sudden the car wouldn't go into reverse. BMW cost to repair is $4000+. Lord, I hope we get a recall on these or the class action lawsuit. I had no idea this problem was relevant to so many people.

Frank of Port Chester NY (09/14/07)
I've previously reported my problem with the failure of my 2000 BMW 323i to go in reverse gear -- and BMW's refusal to own up to the problem. What's new is I have a copy of the technical report BMW sent to its service technicians advising them that the Steptronic transmission made by GM would no longer be used in these cars. Obviously the reason was BMW knew the transmission was a bad one since GM recalled it in its own vehicles and made matters right with its customers. BMW, however, simply discontinued its use of the transmission and has left its customers on the hook for the full cost of replacing the transmission. If you have my make, model and year, you'll be in the same predicament as me. If you want a copy of the technical service report.

Brian of Alexandria VA (09/10/07)
The transmission on my 2001 BMW 330i, on which I have less than 50k miles, is shot. I went to put it in reverse last week, and nothing happened. Apparently, this is a common problem with this make and model of car. I'm looking at a $5,500 repair bill! Apparently, the transmission can't be rebuilt.

Jeff of Athens GA (09/06/07)
The transmission just went on our 2000 323i wagon. It has 127k miles. WONT GO IN REVERSE!! Shocking I know. I was at the airport leaving on a three week business trip when my wife (who just dropped me off) calls me in tears telling me she stopped to get a cup of coffee and the car wouldn't go in reverse. BMW really needs to step up to the plate on this problem. We still owe over $8000 on our car and now it looks like another $3000 will have to be spent. Why is BMW using a GM transmission anyway?

Ann Marie of St. Paul MN (09/02/07)
My BMW 323i - the REVERSE is no longer working - it has only 100K miles on it.

This could cost $4000 to $5000

Elaina of Longview WA (09/01/07)
My turn ! Add me to the list of NO REVERSE in my BMW 323I. 89,000 miles , 5k to replace. BMW claims ignorance to the issue.Time to get vocal people!

Jenni of San Jose CA (08/29/07)

BMW 2000 323i sedan will not reverse. Happened all of a sudden to meticulously maintained car. Similar experience like those posted on the site. We need a recall! I have filed a complaint at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

Estimated cost of $3500.

Jorge of Miami FL (08/26/07)
I have a BMW 2000 323i that fails to go into reverse. The dealer wants 6000 to replace same. After some research I've found this to be a prevalent problem with this model.

Kevin of Middletown NJ (08/25/07)
Well, I see here that the problem I have with my BMW 323i is not new. I didn't realize it was so wide spread.. Yesterday I started the car as normal and attempted to back out of my drive way. I put the car in reverse and nothing,, the car wouldn't move. The day before the car was fine and drove normal, no noise, no problem. It seemed as if the Transmission goblins came over night.. Obviously a big expensive problem that is occurring more then what BMW can say is normal wear and tear. This car is well taken care of and all service and Maint is done by BMW.. WHY ISN'T THERE A RECALL.. BMW is giving a pat answer claiming they are not aware of any tranny problems.. COME-ON BMW step up to the plate and at least help out with some of the cost. I hope every one up here that has this complaint is forwarding this around the NET,, so that we can help others from getting burned by this Co.. and the way it treats it's costumers.. The Co. has record profits this year and now we can see why.. They WON'T stand behind what they sell and REFUSE to acknowledge that there is a problem with these tranny's

Brad of Mount Juliet TN (08/22/07)
I owned a 1999 BMW 328i 4 door and sold it to my girlfriend about 2 years ago. It has about 120,000 miles on it now and has recently experience the same problem that others have been describing on this site. It will not go into reverse and acts as if it is neutral. The general assumption seems to be that it will require a transmission replacement that costs about $7000. I have researched it a little and found that there was a class action lawsuit (Kevin Daugherty v. BMW of North America, LLC) filed, but I cannot find the result of that lawsuit nor can I find anyone to contact that is willing to help me add my girlfriends name to the class. Does anyone know the result of this case? I found that they have recalled the 1999 5-series auto transmission saying PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 5HP24 AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. PREMATURE WEAR OF THE RING GEAR CAN OCCUR, LEADING TO THE LOSS OF 1ST, 2ND, 3RD, AND REVERSE GEARS. I'm not sure if this is the same automatic transmission that is in the 3-series, but it obviously has had similar problems.I also found a description of what may be causing this problem.First site say, The problem is probably a dowel pin that has fallen out. On a 323i, the owner took his story to a news channel and BMW agreed to give him a new transmission for free and charge him only for labor -- a savings of $4,000. I also read that BMW used a GM transmission in several of their models for a few years. Yet another site says Your transmission (a GM sourced transmission BTW) has what BMW claims as a Lifetime fill tranmission fluid. There're no dipsticks or refill cap in the engine compartment as others here have suggested. Changing your fluid now is redundant, because you already have a problem in the transmission. There are no repairs possible by BMW; because BMW does not supply parts for this transmission, they only offer complete rebuilt trannies. Cost: $6,000 installed.

You have 4 choices now. 1. Quickly trade the car in and buy another new/used car from a dealer (w/o telling them the problem) before you completely lose the revese gear - the least expensive and safest choice. 2. Pay the $6,000 (a costly option considering the market price of this car now). 3. Print out all the articles you find online (like what I did before) and Fedex to BMW USA to request for help (ask them nicely in the letter). If you're lucky, they'll cut the price in half (which they offered me). But it's a long process. 4. Convert the car to Manual Transmission. I know of this place that does it, www.theeurodepot.com. It is only a matter of time now before you completely lose your reverse gear.

To diagnose this, on a good day when you CAN get reverse gear, step on the brakes and step on the pedal lightly. You'll see your transmission slipping (revs going up higher and higher w/o any resistance). This site describes the problem the best and offers an alternative solution. - The reverse is controlled by a clutch drum that has some very weak machining and very thin wall where a snap ring holding the clutch plates in is secured. This clutch drum is available (new) as an OEM part from a parts house.

The drum looks like its cast out of some cheap pot metal and then machined.About 270 degrees of the drum edge is broken off. This removes the pressure point of the snap ring that the clutch plates press against. I guess it starts to crack and works its way around the drum until it just breaks free - then No reverse. The real scary part is that when the shop dropped the pan, it was totally clean - all the broken pieces shown were laying on top of the valve body. The tech said that none of the parts were small enough to get into the valve body.My tranny guy said the new drum has been reengineered and is much stronger than the unit shown in the pics.

The service is probably going to be somewhere around two grand. This is the web address to the above site. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?referrerid=50100&t=468165. I appologize for the choppy post but, I was doing research as I posted and had to add several thing and don't have time to revise it. I hope this helps, and I think its about time for a recall. Update me on the class action lawsuit if any of you hear anything.

Kathleen of Cincinnati OH (08/21/07)
I drove to work as usual with no problems. Upon leaving the office for the day, my 2001 330i BMW would not shift into reverse gear. I had the car towed to the BMW Store, where I was informed the car needed a new transmission. The cost of the new transmission is $4800.00. It turns out I actually received a rebuilt transmission rather than a new one. The BMW Store kept my car for about a month while the rebuilt transmission was shipped here from Germany. The transmission failed to enter reverse gear @ per the repair paperwork @ 80,000 miles. I took the car back to the The BMW Store for another issue and was informed of recall regarding the transmission, but they indicated it had nothing to do with the reverse gear failure.

The BMW Store replaced some sort of control module that reportedly controlled shift points. If anyone is anticipating a CLASS ACTION suit regarding their failed transmission, I too am very interested in entering the ClASS. With so many failed units we should collectively take out a one page add in the USA Today and make America aware of our problems with BMW's non responsiveness. Maybe that would persuade them to become a RESPONSIBLE CORPORATE COMPANY. I have always wanted a BMW and was warned repeatedly against the purchase. I must say this is the worst financial decision I have made in my LIFE. I love and have pampered my car. It still let me down. Back to Toyota..........

Norma of Santa Rita, Guam (08/20/07)
Bought a 1997 528i series with less than 50,000, and been having some engine troubles. Advised the service dept that it seemed there was some problems with the transmission, a few times.

They have fixed little issues, but two weeks ago the car stalled while driving to work, and now they tell me that it is the transmission and it will cost $4700. We are in a very small island and when I bought the car it had about 38,000 miles, so I only use it for commuting to work about 6 to 7 miles two to three times a week.

I understand it is an older car, but can't comprehend the transmission failing with less than 50,000 miles, and costing so much to fix. I don't have that kind of money, and I won't be taking the vehicle back to the states when we go back in less than a year, it is too costly to ship from Guam. So, as I have just found out, it seems that BMW's are having serious problems with the transmission and wanted to join and see what can be done. Thanks, Norma

Garrett of Carlsbad CA (08/19/07)
2000/ BMW 323I, won't go into reverse. Car has 61,000 miles runs great but the other day the car just stopped going into reverse. It acts like it is in neutral. After a little research this looks like a very common problem. Something needs to be done.

John of Memphis TN (08/17/07)
After reading this site I feel lucky that i made it this far without this issue. I've driven my 1999 BMW 323I for the past year with no problems. I bought it used at an extremely discounted price, but now i see why. I got up for a 4 AM road trip and my car lost its reverse gear. I didn't try to drive it, i thought it was a dealer mistake because i just had it serviced the day before. I came inside to do a quick web search and found this site. Boy am I disappointed.

Ethan of Mesa AZ (08/16/07)
I just bought a 2000 BMW 323i from the original owner who has had every scheduled maintenance and inspection performed since he bought it from the dealership. He only used Shell gas and has never taken it through a car wash (i.e. only washed it by hand). This guy is a meticulous fanatic, the perfect person you want to buy a car from. However, after only having the car for a week, it would no longer go into reverse. I had the BMW dealership inspect the car (about a week ago) before it was shipped out and they didn't pick up on the problem. Car has 105,325 miles. Tranny replacement will run $3,000 to $4,000.

Joanne of Scottsdale AZ (08/06/07)
One day my car just stopped going into reverse. The local BMW wants $7,000. to replace it. I don't have an extra $7,000. so my car is just sitting in my garage and I'm using my teenage daughter's car when necessary. After reading about all of the other similar complaints, I'M MAD!!! Please consider the recommendation we might make to BMW as a group. So many of us have demonstrated how ineffective our efforts are as individuals. If we can pool our number, the fruits of our individual investigations, the power of our number speaking with one voice to BMW about our transmission problems . . . maybe we can successfully encourage them to take a different tack with all of us.

Avanish of Ashland MA (08/02/07)
My 2000 BMW 323i with about 90K miles will no longer drive in reverse. It appears to be the same transmission problem everyone is describing here. I had no idea that problem was so widespread.

Svetlana of San Francisco CA (08/01/07)
My 2003 BMW 330i has 85K miles and is in very good condition. Recently, however, a Service Engine Soon light came on. The dealer diagnosed a problem and informed me that I needed a new torq converter because the gasket was leaking, however, the car was driving just fine. They told me that if I dodn't replace it now then doen the road the whole transmission might fail and need replacement.

I feel ripped off having paid $3,000 for a torq converter on a car that drove fine. An independent mechanic told me that it's a common problem that BMW is aware of, but the company refused to help out with the cost, stating that there were too many miles on my car. The life of the transmission is supposed to be way longer than 85K miles. Too bad, BMW said.

Michael of Cocoa FL (07/31/07)
I own a 2000, automatic transmission, 323i BMW. It will intermittently fail to go in reverse. It will behave as if it's in neutral. All other gears work fine... and reverse will 'sometimes' work again after about 20 minutes of driving. This has resulted in much lateness, headache and injury. Unluckily for me, I parked outside a store in a dip. When I got back and tried to pull out of my parking spot, nothing happened. I spent about an hour trying to push my car uphill out of my spot in 100 degree Florida sun. A good samaritan finally helped and I was on my way... along with burn blisters covering my palms and fingers due to contact with the 100 degree paint on my car while pushing. BMW technician said he had no idea what was wrong and suggested replacement. I also have a problem where the A/C will only blow at full blast. No low, medium or high... only full blast. Oh, and of course every single power windows motor has broken. The passenger side motor has actually broken twice now.

Ed of Seattle WA (07/31/07)
BMW 2000 323i transmission problem. My BMW 323i has 50,000 miles and this weekend reverse totally quit. I come to find that this is a common problem. Car has had regular servicing through BMW dealer. Repair will cost about $4,700. Any recourse? Any sign that BMW will admit general problem, and have recall or pay for rebuilt engine?

Anthony of Carlsbad CA (07/27/07)
Last Night MY 2001 330CI lost reverse,I called the dealer and they are aware of the problem but there is no recall. How many people have to complain about this to get BMW to repair their faulty product. I am in disbelief.

The estimate for the repair is 4K I could not believe it. SHAME ON BMW.

Fay of Monterey Park CA (07/25/07)
My 2001 BMW 330i is in good condition, but the transmission has failed and I can't put the car in reverse. My car has about 85,000 mile on it. It's going to cost me $3360 to replace it w/a re-built. I don't think this is supposed to happen and I already know BMW's response will be to not take responsibility since they never recalled it.

Marvin of Staten Island NY (07/24/07)
My beautiful dream car, 2000BMW 323, Sport Package, Sun Roof, you name it, meticulously maintained by BMW ONLY and their recommended intervals - would not back-up out of a public parking spot. Will not go in reverse. No warning. No lights showing. Only 68,000. Driven ONLY by me and my wife, treated like a baby - bought new directly from BMW through Pentaogn Sales while in ITALY. My wife cried. Haven't taken it to BMW yet to waste $150 on diagnosis, but after reading the other posts I'm sure the outcome will be the same.

Devesh of Pennington NJ (07/24/07)
Transmission Problems - 1998 740iL I bought a CPO BMW 740iL with 35000 miles. Now I have 65600 miles on the car and I too am having issues with the transmission. While the car was under CPO warranty, I had taken the car to the Dealership when I was getting a CHECK TRANS message, which I have service records for. The dealership refused to acknowledge the error, saying that they could not read the code on the computer. Well now the transmission won't go in park or reverse and needs to be replaced and the car is out of CP warranty.

Ivy of Lawton OK (07/24/07)
I took my BMW323i to this dealership because my transmission wouldn't go in reverse they wanted to charge me $5100.00 to replace it they said they do not rebuild transmissions I recently fought in Iraq for 24 months so my car hasn't even hit 60000 miles yet, and there isn't a warning light notifying me of the problem, I really hate coming home from a war and having to possibly pay 51000 dollars to be able to get to work. Now I'm researching this problem online and now I realize this has been an ongoing problem with BMW but yet they claim its not their fault. This Model should be recalled.

Shawn of Harlan KY (07/24/07)
No Reverse at 87k miles. 00 323I Dealer quotes $4300 to replace transmission. I filed complaint at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ There are only two complaints filed. All of you people need to file your complaints if you expect any relief. It only takes a minute.

William of St, Louis MO (07/23/07)
Transmission failure on a 2000 BMW 323 Ci with 65000 miles. Car will not shift into reverse, similar to other complaints on your site. BMW dealer service says the transmission needs to be replaced for $4436. They also say that there is no maintenance that needs to be performed on the transmission, driver technique has no bearing, that it is just a failure of an internal seal.

Marvin of Staten Island NY (07/23/07)
I own a beautiful 2000 BMW 323i which I purchased while living in Italy. The car has only been driven by me and my wife. It has been maintained by BMW at the recommended intervals throughout the seven years we've owned it. Last week my wife tried to leave her parking lot after work on a slight up-hill grade. The car would not go into reverse. The gear stick does, but the transmission does not send the power. Fortunately she was not in a dark parking lot late at night, because we had no light warning us that the transmission was about to fail. The car works fine in all other gears and will backup on a level grade, just not uphill. I was about to take the car in for diagnosis, but it looks like I should save the money and see what I can get for the car in its pitiful state. My wife loved this car and actually cried when she realized that after only 68,000 miles and lots of $$$ paid to the BMW dealer in order to maintain the resale value of this truly beautiful automobile, we are now stuck with a repair bill that approaches the trade-in value of the car. I STILL INTEND TO APPROACH BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, AND IN DEUTSCHLAND, BUT, I DO NOT HOLD OUT MUCH HOPE. SADLY, WE WILL PROBABLY GO BACK TO TOYOTA.

David of Gastonia NC (07/19/07)
reverse went out in my transmission on my 2000 323ci yesterday, had it diagnosed at a repair shop and said that it would need to be replaced, i only have 66,000 miles on it, and bought the car less than a year ago. after reading on the internet i see that this is a common problem that BMW denies. why isnt there a recall?

after buying the car less than a yr ago, i still owe $12,000 on it. not only can i not sell or trade it in, but i am stuck with this car for which i cannot afford to pay $5,000-6,000 to have repaired. there needs to be some type of class action lawsuit made against BMW.

Amy of Seattle WA (07/17/07)
Just like all of you my 2000 BMW 323ci will not go into reverse. I bought the car a month ago with 100K miles and have had it happen several times. I love the car but cannot believe that BMW will not do a recall with all similar complaints. I'm not dropping 6K after just buying the car for 11K. Guess I will be using that AAA for awhile. I would join a class action in a heartbeat.

Dan of Naugatuck CT (07/11/07)
On 7/7/2007, my 2000 BMW 323ci stopped going in reverse for no apparent reason. In doing some quick research on the internet, this reverse problem seems to be a chronic problem experienced by many. My car has been meticulously cared for and driven non-aggressively and it ONLY has 77K miles on it. The car is not driven in the winter. I bought it with 9k miles on it. I expect a high cost to repair this and that is unacceptable le to me as the car has such low miles on it and there also appears to be a major problem going on with BMW transmissions in the first place. I will gladly join a class action suit if there is one in the works or will be.

Walter of New York City NY (07/09/07)
In 2001 I bought a 2000 323i at BMW of Manhattan for $28,000. In mid-June 2007, the car stopped going in reverse with only 58,000 miles on it. BMW is a company-owned dealership. I took my car there only to be told that they don't know what's wrong. We don't rebuild transmissions here, we only install new ones. I was told. For that useless information they charged me over $300. The cost for a new transmission at this dealership is more than $7,000 which I can't afford.

Rahul of Los Altos CA (07/05/07)
2000 BMW 323i will not move when in reverse gear; the car behaves as if it is Neutral. This happened suddenly, with no warning. The car had no issues leading up to this, no warning lights, etc. The car has been immaculately maintained and serviced. There are literally hundreds of complaints on the web, including at your forum, about this identical problem on this model and year (2000 BMW 323). To anyone else with the same problem: PLEASE FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ They are the agency responsible for recalls and need to hear from you in order to do something.

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