BMW transmissions, auto/manual reliability

Another poster on here stated that his BMW transmission (auto) went out on him pretty early. There was a link to another site with a long list of people whose BMW transmission went out on them...mostly these
were 2000 and 2001 years, I didn't see any older.
Did BMW change the transmission for 2004 years and later 3 series? OR is it just a bad transmission?
Is their transmission problems also readily apparent in the manual versions? Or are those OK?
I can live with things breaking, but not something so poorly designed it costs thousands to fix at under 100,000 miles.
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OP here. My car is a '98.

Most (if not all) of these trannies are GM transmissions. I was a little shocked when I realized BMW had fitted their new cars with General Motors transmissions (made in France). The rebuilt one that was put in my car is also a GM tranny.

Then I would strongly advise not buying a BMW. I do not trust BMW, and I think they make inferior cars. I wish you could see my repair records for this car. Don't make the same mistake I did. Like you, I've had Japanese cars that went fine for over 200k miles with hardly more than oil and plug changes. If you want to notch up, go with practically any automaker but BMW.
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In article

For some reason US spec cars used inferior GM autos. The rest of the world got ZF. Think US spec cars with 5 speed auto are ZF.
I have a French built GM in my 'other' car - a TH180. It's a short lived transmission too. It failed in a big way at about 120,000 miles *despite* having had fluid changes as recommended by the maker.
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My 540 was a ZF, 5 speed Auto Another joy to drive. Tons of power.
London SW

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London SW

120,000 miles is living on borrowed time. My 91 Explorer though was still going strong at 140,000 miles, but my son's 93 Explorer lost that transmission at around 100,000 miles. So, if your BMW gets tp 120.000 with the original equipment transmission, it is doing about as expected. I believe that he had a rebuilt one installed for about $1200. A brand new one would be very much more expensive.
Jim
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On 11/20/2007 12:44 PM, kpb went clickity clack on the keyboard and produced this interesting bit of text:

When I bought my '94 530i (used) I took it to a mechanic, a BMW specialist, to have it checked out before I plunked down my money. When I got there, there was a 3-series on the rack with a big cardboard box next to it, labeled as being a transmission. The mechanic said to me, "Good thing yours is a stick or you'll be doing this soon," pointing to the box the transmission was in. (Yes, they actually use a cardboard box, but the tranny is supported by a wooden pallet.) Suffice to say, I'm rather glad my preference is for a stick and not an auto.
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Do your research. I've heard of older autos going because of lack of oil changes but other than that I haven't heard much about bad trannies in general.
You could always buy a renault first then the BMW will seem really great. :-)
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change tranny oil every 30K miles or so. On my 1990 E34 535i, 115K miles, I use a good synthetic oil like Redline or Royal Purple. Similarly, I have a couple of buddies who have over 200K on their E28s and other than changing tranny oil change every 30K or so, have had no problems with their trannies.
Changing the tranny and differential oils are easy andhelps keeps the oil fresh and hopefully removes any damaging particles. Also, a good synthetic usually makes the shifting smoother and easier. Good Luck!
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