View Full Version : e36 320i automatic very slow acceleration

08-10-2010, 07:46 PM
I just purchased a 4 door 320i with 167 000 km's, the car seems to have very poor acceleration, even when putting the pedal to the floor, it creeps at first then picks up to regular speed.

I need a new muffler because it is all rusted and has holes in it, i havent looked completely under the car to see the whole system, but could this be part of the problem? ive also read that the catalytic convertor could be a problem also.

Can anyone shed some light on what the problem may be?


01-10-2011, 10:24 AM
Bringing this back,
i also have a 320 thats seems to creep up to speeds from a stand still.

Bimmer p.i.
01-10-2011, 04:04 PM
my '96 328 was pretty sluggish when I first bought it. I swapped the plugs, fuel filter, did an oil change, cleaned the K&N air filter, ran some injector cleaner and such and noticed a difference.

Keep in mind that the 320 isn't a 300 HP ground-pounder, either. It's all a matter of perspective.

01-10-2011, 04:39 PM
Yeah i understand. i think it my vanos thats giving me the slow start and normal high rpm power.
but right now i get smoked by a 1.5L civic. :(

01-10-2011, 05:13 PM
maybe it's the clutch?

01-10-2011, 05:19 PM
in my auto? possible.

01-10-2011, 07:50 PM
Does this car have some kind of traction control?

01-11-2011, 11:07 AM
negative. almost positive its my vanos seals.

01-14-2011, 02:34 PM
Have you tried seafoam? Two bottles, half on the tank, half on the crank, one in the vaccum hose somewhere to make it smoke (brake booster maybe), given you have new plugs, fuel filter, air filter, take it for a spin on a highway, she'll be cured!

01-16-2011, 09:14 AM
An auto 4 speed is going to take longer to get to an rpm where the vanos changes the valves movement.

Autos are hydraulically driven, if the fluid is worn out, or cold it will take more Rpm to build up presure and allow it to work. When the fluid is cold and worn out, it can also allow the clutch plates ( not traditional clutch like a manual) to slip because the plates are stiff. Not sure if these have a filter in the tranny but that can also cause a restriction. If the motor feels fine once the car is moving I'd be looking at the condition of the tranny fluid, if it's brown to black and full of a black dust when u wipe it on your finger then a fluid and filter change could help.

01-16-2011, 01:00 PM
bmw trannys have lifetime fluid. replacing it usually kills the tranny shortly thereafter. the stealership and most good indy shops wont even change it.

01-16-2011, 03:14 PM
E36 autos were made by GM, use dextron 3 fluid and have a filter, I don't see them being lifetime fluid when GM recommends 80000km on all other transmissions using the same fluid.

01-16-2011, 04:00 PM
ah my bad. i thought they were lifetime and wouldnt be replaced. based on a few threads kickin around.
i knew gm made a few, iddnt know they were subject to different maint procedures. good to know.

01-16-2011, 05:30 PM
E36 3 Series automatics are GM and the M3's are ZF 5-Speed.

Either way, you are NOT supposed to change the fluid. They tend to fail shortly after fluid changes.

As for the slow acceleration. It's a 320, of course it's slow. You only have ~145hp