New transmission for BMW

I have a 2000 BMW 3-series with a 5-speed stick. It has only about 50,000 miles but (such luck) the transmission is already starting to go bad. It gets fairly noisy (bearings, apparently) when up to speed in 3rd or 4th gear. My independent mechanic, who is quite good and quite reputable based on my experience and reviews, says:

(1) The transmission doesn’t have to be replaced now but it’s quite likely it will get worse over the next year or two, and maybe fail entirely. Repair is not realistic–it has to be replacement.

(2) He doesn’t deal with used transmissions–can’t know if they’re reliable. A factory one (not sure if he means reconditioned) is about $3000, plus $650 labor.

(3) There are about $1000 of other repairs the car should have, none absolutely urgent.

I have to decide whether to keep the car, put near $5000 into it, and let my high-school use it now and in college, or sell it and buy some other used car. I think I’d be lucky to get $6k-7k for it, I don’t know.

Since it only has 50k miles, it SHOULD last a long time if I do the repairs. If I sell, I won’t get much for it in its present condition. But $5k is an awful lot to put in a 9-year-old car.

What should I do?

Sorry, when I wrote “…let my high-school use it…” it should have read, “…let my high-school son use it…”

Having a manual transmission fail at this early mileage is quite odd, I question this diagnosis.

I think you need to visit a transmission shop for second opinion.

Any mechanic can work on a manual transmission and likely rebuild it if even needed. They are very simple devices and removal is much easier on a BMW due to RWD configuration.

Thanks–I will definitely get a second opinion. But the first diagnosis could turn out to be correct–early failure may be rare but it does happen. Any suggestions as to what then?

I second and third oldschool and andrew about getting another opinion. A manual transmission will usually outlast the car unless the transmission is out of oil. (leaking or inadvertently drained)

Just food for thought here, but what about the possibility that this noise is an exhaust heat shield rattle? Shield rattles are a fairly common problem on many cars and can resemble a transmission problem. The noise can also vary with no set pattern as to what speed or engine RPM is.

Drop by a local muffler shop and ask them about this. It should be easily detectable if this is the case and easy to fix.

The noise is definitely from inside the transmission, not some other rattle. That’s been checked.

It may be rare for a transmission to “wear out” in 50,000 miles, but some particular component inside the transmission (like a bearing) can fail early. That’s probably what’s happened for me.

Apparently most mechanics don’t rebuild BMW manual transmissions any more, because (a) it takes special tools and (b) you can’t buy just one gear, you have to get the whole set, and that makes the cost saving not enough to be worthwhile. But perhaps if I look a bit I could find one who’d do it. Anyone have a recommendation in the L.A. area?

Sounds like bearing to me and they can be bought at any bearing shop in L.A. at lot cheaper than at BMW. By the way, I have not been in L.A. since the Vietnam War ended but I do know there are shops that can sell you an exact bearing.

I have never heard of a gear making noise like a bearing,they are usually fixed on a shaft.