Strange. Seems like it should work. What are you exporting? Is it a large model? Does it contain any unusual parts that might interfere with the process? Have you tried saving something like a simple slab as a test?
I'm working for many years with AC and 3DSMax, and I was exporting a while as .3ds format from AC too, but my latest experience shows that this format wasn't developed at all in the last few years and also has some ugly errors while importing in 3ds Max, especially when importing curved objects.
Because of this I use the Wavefron Object (.obj) to export my 3d model with the default settings and import it in 3dsMax with the attached one's.
Sorry for my late response, yes i've tried exp/imp a simple wall and that still didn't work, don't have a clue what's wrong. But i've also tried .obj export and that works perfectly so i'm giving up on .3ds, thank you Ede