reverse gear


Asked by Aug 17, 2008 at 10:42 PM about the 1994 BMW 3 Series 325i Sedan RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

hi everyone!  i have a 94 325is with a ton of miles. it's in great shape except for the fact that when i shift the automatic transmission into reverse, it hesitates and there isn't much of reverse. i have to rev the motor to keep the reverse going or it will just sit like it is in neutral.  what is up with it?

18 Answers


look into your transmission fluid level... sounds like your low... would recommend you go ahead and change it out while your down there and get some fresh stuff in there.

1 people found this helpful.

thank you, i will do that asap. if the fluid is low, wouldn't that affect the drive gears?


Replae the trans filter too


yes it would affect the gears, if its just reverse you have bigger problems.

3 people found this helpful.

take the car to bmw and have them check the oil level and to reprogramme the transmission contol unit and it takes about an hour

1 people found this helpful.

Umm, I would agree with changing the transmission filter ONLY if it has been changed on a schedule basis. Otherwise it is actually best not to change it. Otherwise the only way I would fix this is by swaping in a manual transmission.


will the transmission control unit cause reverse to hesitate a few seconds before engaging into reverse? well, i got the bad news from the transmission shop this morning. they say that my transmission fluid is burnt. not good. they won't change the fluid or filter because they say that with fresh fluid, the gear will slip even more than it is slipping now. is that true?!?! is a manual transmission an easy swap to an automatic?

1 people found this helpful.

that is true!!! Your clutch discs in the tansmission are going out, reverse sounds like they are gone! Funny enough, the debris in the transmission is causing enough friction to keep reverse almost working. Fresh fluid will cause more problems. Not an easy swap (auto to manual), will need new brake booster, brake master cylinder, clutch master cylinder, pedal setup, and trans crossmember just to name a few; not to mention having to re-run most of your vaccuum lines. Would be more cost effective (and less of a head-ache) to leave it automatic.


well, a bmw place will change the transmission fluid and filter later this week. hopefully they will flush out all the old fluid and gunk in the transmission. glad i'm not doing it. it makes sense to change the fluid and filter. it probably hasn't been changed yet. it should be noted that bmw does not recommend changing the fluid. it is another "selling point." sheesh. my friend says that my situation is common and to change the fluid and filter. he worked in a auto shop that specializes in porsche, bmw, and mbz. and has seen the situation many times. crossing my fingers that this will help reverse and the transmission. and if i ever change the transmission ( which i doubt ), i'm keeping it an automatic.

1 people found this helpful.

Well just so you know even if your transmission goes out you still have the option of getting it rebuilt. See the auto transmission in the e36 models were made by GM, BMW did not belive in making a transmission for their cars so they took one from GM. So even if a bmw shop says they can't get parts to rebuild it you can find it online. And just have some trany shop rebuild it for you, that saves a bunch of money. Because buying a transmission from some one else would just mean you have a chance of dealing with the same problem agian later on. So why not fix it right away.


the fluid and filter was replaced this morning and the reverse gear is still going out. would the transmission control unit cause this problem? i doubt it because the reverse problem seems to be in the transmission itself. so rebuilding the transmission or getting one rebuilt, which one would be cheaper or better than the other? the rebuilt one has a 2 year warranty. bmw should not have had gm build it's transmission.


I agree with yah that BMW should not have put GM transmissions in their car. I personally would get the one In my personal car rebuilt at a local shop. Just so you know exactly whats getting put into the tranny. And most of the time a tranny shop will give a warranty with their work on it so it just makes things easier. But thats just my personal opinion.

1 people found this helpful.

1994 BMW 325is 159,000 Miles Automatic, currently June 9th, 2014. Car will go through gears well and with decent to good torque upon takeoff, in reverse and 1st/forward. This is all well when the car has just been turned on. After that, about 3 minutes into city driving with stop and go traffic, the car would rev. to 2,000-4,000 + RPM or higher, dependent if I notice in time to stop pressing the gas pedal. I would initially try and be super patient and let it slowly reach decent speeds while maintaining a RPM of 1,500 RPM's. This was such a slow take off and cars behind me would race around me, I missed so many green lights because of it. I felt like the issue worsened as I did more stop and go driving. But, it did the same in reverse and forward, no power and felt like jerking with high RPM's. Eventually, the dashboard warning cog/sprocket with the exclamation mark would become illuminated. And I was NOT ALLOWED to drive over 20 MPH, SO LONG THAT THE COG/SPROKET LIGHT WAS ILLUMINATED. No real big odd sounds or grinding was ever audible from the engine or transmission, so didn't think physical damage to hardware that would lead to need to changes transmissions. Went ahead and had the filter and transmission fluid changed, did myself. Easy with a 19mm and 15mm wrench, 4 foot: 3/4" External Diameter rubber hose to be able to reverse siphon/infuse tranission fluid into the transmission fill hole from outside the car. The hose allowed me to be comfortable out from under the car while filling. Lay down a tarp under your work area this is messy and slippery... I used my compressor and a pressure regulator to get down to 10 PSI, punched ONE tiny hole at the upper middle of the Lucas bottle just under the tapered part (about three inches down from the top) about 1 mm in dimeter with a small pick, used an inflatable toy tapered air nozzle and squeeze gun to infuse air into the bottle through the small hole and while the bottle was turned up-side down AND hooked up to the 3/4" hose with the tapered nozzle the Luas bottle came with and started "pumping" transmission fluid into the transmission with the other end of the 3/4" inch hose worked into the side fill hole. Worked great did one quart at a time, stopped refilled and did it again. In the change I did use 1.5 quarts of the Lucas Transmission "Stop Slip" additive about $12.99 at Autozone, per quart. Not really convinced I feel a difference with the Lucas, but worth the $25 investment if it supposedly helps the trannmission. I say this because I still have the slipping and jerking. So back to step one... The car runs great just after being turned on. So with the test drive and the car not moving much. I shut it off and waited a long......10 seconds to turn it back on. The clog is not illuminated and two more minutes of good trannmission usage. Then again the light... Power off, 10 sec. And on and bam good transmission works! So will try and keep you informed but, going to figure out which relay I need to hook up to a switch to discontinue power to the transmission control module or solenoid or transmission shift switch, what ever the terminology is. I will wire I a power on/off switch so that I don't have turn the car off and on and wear the starter and battery on turn the transmission relay on and off. To be continued...

2 people found this helpful.

So. Omar, how is it turning out. I have a 94 bmw 425 is and my light is coming on more and more. It has started coming on every time I drive it five minutes or so. Where it used to do it once in a while on a long trip. I haven't had any major work done. There's a shop here that works on a lot of BMws n stuff. But I want to know where to start. The car was practically given to me. And so, I will invest in it. I just don't want to be taken advantage of because these shops love to see a woman coming. Please help if u can.


Check your fluid while the car is running test it with your fingerp to determine if there are any particles in the transmission fluid. If you need to add fluid i suggest the Lucas transmission slip and make sure you get the correct Lucas cause there are severaldifferendot ones. Add about a cup at a time and check level again and again while transmission is running. But turn car off while you add the fluid. Drive your car around for about twenty mins amd see what happens then you go to plan b. :)


Being taken advantage of because we are female is one of the reasons i enrolled in class and plan to take my education in automotive as far as i can. Have a nice day Kimbest


So, I'm a registered nurse and not a mechanic/technician... But, my dad was a master technician. I buy "broken" cars, fix'em and sell'me. With my dad's initial detailed awareness of the different parts and purposes of individual components of the vehicle I have been able to enter a project, working on a CRV complete AC, cooling system, and ignitions system with timing belt, all free of worries. As I am able to read, ask questions, and generate the correct answer. As I would any other life issue... Basically trying to say most automotive issues are small and generally deal with a dirty Mass Air Flow Sensor or vacuum leak. Get a code reader, Amazon has a decent one for $50-60, orange in color (model number u578 or so, it is a 5- series code reader I don't remenere model #, it has worked great so far and will tell you if the car is ready for emission/state safety testing, and give live data aside from just code reading. NO need for anything more expensive. In this case changing fluids really is a good step, but in all case of this similar situation, is frugal, useless, and expensive. Well unless your the mechanic/technician doing the job, then it's HIGH commission! $$$$ :) Unless your a female or bozo (daddy never taught you how to fix a car) getting this done then is $$$$- $$$$ with the fear tactics when the terms "regularly scheduled", "safety issue", "stranded"... Ahh! Why do people take advantage of others... :( Anyways, seriously take 2-4 hours detailing the car as much as possible and sell it. It most likely IS a bit more serious, and needs the selenoid cluster changed. It's in the transmission. Oddly enough it's cheaper to buy a used transmission and pull them out than just to buy a used set. This really is a super easy task with only 30 or so very easy to get too bolts to remove and only one way this pops of and on and detailed marking of connectors, all 4-6 of them inside the transmission. But, I do theses flips for fun... :/ If you were in the Fort Worth, Texas area I would love to help. But, honestly I would wash and detail it and sell it. Unless you plan on doing it your self. PS Notice how all the other "mechanics/technicians" say the same crap, "take to a transmission shop" - NO KIDDING! Wait then what's the point of this forum?! Dumb..., not one talks about the details ("wire 'X' on the tranny ECU controls the pressure regulating solenoid, put a toggle switch on the positive or ground wire and bam! Fixed.", which is really my goal, find the activating wire and manually control with a toggle switch.) I've gone through three of the potential ten (just realized the other day it only has one or two ground wires... Maybe I should have started with those first if the tranny ECU is self contained and not generally grounded off the body as some forum posts do suggest) and haven't found the pressure regulating one just yet. I spent 30-45 min doing this. And need to invest more time... Since then I've flipped a 2003 330i (bad transmission was a Cam Shaft position sensor that wouldn't let it go over 40 MPH (I had a spare sensor laying around -40 minute fix including code reading, research and install), 1998 Cavalier, a 1997 Ranger, fixed serval odd codes on an Explorer with safety sticker (legally) attained, Honda CRV also cleared and fixed codes and attained a state safety/emission sticker (legally). So been busy since June. Sell it, I'll buy it... :) Good luck and cheers to you for investigating potential fixes.

Hello everyone I have Bmw 318i 2000 tiptronic The warning light near (P-R-N-D) its like a gear pic and in the middle (!) Is turning on from time to time When i shut down the car for 1 min the light turn off . But next day it turn on I went to bmw mechanic . After scanning the faults was * air mass sensor * brake switch I change both . But the light still on The mechanic man said , he saw an orange cable comes from the switch and cutted , and he didint know where he should to plug it . So he leave it free to air The scanner also said ( brake switch - check cable) Is it the real problem to let the geat warning shut down ? There is a relation between them ? Maybe it should to plug with gear circuit to decelerate when brake is activated ? ? Plz if someone cam answer me Thx 4 u

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