1985 528e transmission

E28 technical advice asked and given! Troubleshooting, modifications and more.
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Ozarkhillbilly
Posts: 27
Joined: Jun 29, 2011 1:13 AM

1985 528e transmission

Post by Ozarkhillbilly »

I have been busy with work and family for the last few years and not driven my 528e more than a couple of time a year and just let it sit in the garage. Well i decided to take it for a drive last week, first time in 9 months, I pulled out of my drive way and it started making a noise when i would press the accelerator. However before i could turn around, less than a quarter mile down the road the forward gears of the transmission went out, luckily early morning and country road, i just put it in reverse and backed to my house. I checked the transmission dip stick and no fluid was on it. Put about 35oz in it and no noise from the transmission but still no forward gears, just reverse. I have never seen a leak in the transmission, nothing on the garage floor.

It's a 85 with 135,000 miles no rust, no crack in dash, interior and exterior in very good shape, not perfect its 36 years old but it has been garaged kept and taken care of.

My question, how hard is it to repair/replace the transmission? I probably would not do it myself but have a local small shop but they have never done a transmission on BMW.
Mike W.
Posts: 24730
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: 1985 528e transmission

Post by Mike W. »

Odd that it was seemingly out of fluid with no symptoms, but leaks can be odd and slow. When was the last time you checked it?

Anyway, looking to the future, the auto box isn't too bad to R and R, but like any auto you have to be careful when installing to make sure the converter is seated when you're putting it in, otherwise you can destroy the tranny on installation. FWIW, it's not a BMW transmission, it's a ZF transmission in a BMW, and ZF transmissions are used in many vehicles. Especially by today's standards it's a fairly simple, straightforward auto box, any competent transmission shop should have no problems rebuilding/repairing it. They seem to have fair longevity in M30 cars and very good longevity in M20 cars with less torque and HP.
Ozarkhillbilly
Posts: 27
Joined: Jun 29, 2011 1:13 AM

Re: 1985 528e transmission

Post by Ozarkhillbilly »

Any ball park on what it should cost? I am kind of trying to decide if it's worth fixing or just selling as is.
Mike W.
Posts: 24730
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: 1985 528e transmission

Post by Mike W. »

Ozarkhillbilly wrote: Nov 14, 2020 10:19 PM Any ball park on what it should cost? I am kind of trying to decide if it's worth fixing or just selling as is.
No. Doing all my own work I'm hopelessly out of touch on what things cost from a shop.

It's probably not worth it to fix in a conventional sense of what the repair would be and the value of the vehicle, but if you really like the car and figure what it would cost to replace the car with one that you like and feel as comfortable with it can change the math considerably. And of course any used car without a warranty can be an Pandora's box in terms of maintenance and repairs, but especially one under $10-15K.
Mike W.
Posts: 24730
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: 1985 528e transmission

Post by Mike W. »

Don't know your location, but there's this

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=155221
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