I have a BMW Z3 1.9, in Automatic. Its a 1998 model.

I have had the problem of the car gearbox clunking when it tries to drop a gear. This used to be intermittent and annoying, but at least the car changed gear. For 4 years (I've owned it for 5.5 years), it was under BMW warranty. They did inspect this problem which i raised on 2 occassions but because it was intermittent never found anything (despite charging me nicely).

Now i have the problem that the car doesnt change gears properly. It'll go 2 one fine, even 2 is not to bad, but to 3 and 4 it doesnt change properly. I've found myself having to do 80mph whilst still in 3rd or possibly 4th.

Today i found myself needing acceleration, putting my foot the floor (doing 80mph) and it would not change. My journey to work if sitting at 80mph means i'm on 5500rpm and i fuel just disappears at a very hungry rate.

A couple of months ago, shooting through the black wall tunnel, the automatic fault light appeared and the car went in to limp mode. BMW checked it out (charged me again) and said nothing was wrong - first error. Since then its happened 2 times more.

I've had various mechanics look at it. Recently had propshaft changed, doughnut changed, transmission fluid changed, headgasket resealed, and the problem still remains.

I'm at a loss now. Tempted to go to BMW but their poor service (and im out of warranty) puts me off. I dont want to pay 300 to be told we dont know what the problem is.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm in the Essex/London area and would like to have a specialist check it out and diagnose the fault with the goal of fixing it...

Oh, i have noted on a few occassions that if i pull over on to the hard shoulder, stop the car for a bit and get going, it then changes properly. However this isnt the most practical way of doing things.

It may be worth noting, that slipping the gearstick in to position 1, on the 1,2,3 bit, it wont stay, unless you physically hold in.