Some of you may recall that a few months back I reported that my 2000
323i (inevitably) developed the "no reverse" problem. Fortunately for
me, my car was built before March 2000, so has the GM tranny.
Here's a good write-up on the issue.
I drove the car for several months with this intermittent problem.
Sometimes it would work fine for weeks. I back into parking spots, so
that I know that I can get out.
I was taking my time because the car was still usable, and it took
some time to get a solution figured-out. BMW told me that they don't
work on transmissions - they replace them. Assholes. Calling some
transmission chain like Kennedy was out of the question. I know what
those assholes would have told me - remove and rebuild the tranny.
A local German-car repair shop told me that they don't work on
I called an independent place that looked good, but they claimed to be
skeptical that the TCC solenoid could be the problem, and wanted to
dig into it themselves.
God forbid, when there is a known problem with a known solution like
this, that a mechanic would just agree to do what you ask. What a
Anyway, I lucked-out and got a mechanic friend of a friend to do it
for me. I bought the solenoid, filter/gasket kit, and fluid from
So, last week, we finally got it done. The solenoids (five of them)
are visible once the pan is off, but he valve body needs to be removed
before the TCC solenoid can be removed.
The TCC solenoid is one of the four smaller ones, and is next to the
big one, on the opposite side of the valve body from the other three
The job seems fairly straightforward, with just a couple glitches.
Getting the drain plug off the pan was difficult, and snapped his
wrench. He was able to chisel it off. I would advise having a spare
plug (with a nice hex head on it, preferably), and taking it off while
the pan is off.
The most surprising thing that we encountered was that my old TCC
solenoid did not have an outlet filter (or the black plastic thing
that would hold the filter in place)! The other three small
(supposedly identical) ones did, but the one did not!!!
There was no obvious issue with crud or particles or broken filter
screens or anything. So, what we did was remove the little rod that
is pushed-on by the TCC solenoid and acts as the valve, and lightly
sanded/deburred it. We put things back together with the new
solenoid. A pump is needed to pump new fluid into the drain hole - a
messy pain in the butt. Top off, run car forward and reverse to fill
torque converter, top off again.
The job took him about 3 hours. With a lift, it could probably be
done in half that time.
I've had no problems since then, but, because of the intermittent
nature of the problem, it may take a month or two before I'm confidant
that the problem is fixed. So I'm still backing into parking spots.
For a total cost of less than $400, it was worth the try, in any case.