• BMW E46 M3 SMG Issue

    / #BMW-M3-SMG-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-SMG / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-SMG / #BMW

    I thought I’d write in with a query about my car to see if anyone has any suggestions – or if BMW Car’s resident expert, Andrew Everett (my favourite writer), has any thoughts?

    I have a #2005-BMW-M3-Convertible-SMG-E46 with the #SMG-transmission and approximately 80,000 miles. It has had the usual issues associated with these cars but I still love it – once you’ve learned how to drive with SMG I strangely prefer it to a manual.

    It’s had the boot floor reinforced, the Vanos system rebuilt at Mr Vanos in Darlington (www.mrvanos.com) and the dreaded SMG problem (almost) fixed. The gearbox decided it didn’t want to choose every gear when asked so I drove it to my local BMW dealer recently in Cumbria (used for over 30 years). They looked and diagnosed the hydro-electrical actuator as the problem, unfortunately after this was replaced it still didn’t ix the issue. The detent springs on the gearbox were then replaced and finally gears could be selected with a final bill of £4500. I drove it home and all seemed almost fine with life.

    I only use my M3 for longer journeys. After two weeks of it not being used, for the first five minutes first gear was met with some vibration and reluctance for drive to engage. As if the clutch or flywheel were not being engaged properly. All other gears were fine. This problem was not there before the initial SMG problem (the original clutch and flywheel were not replaced). After a few miles the problem disappeared and taking of in first gear was totally fine. I’m not an aggressive driver, I’m mechanically sympathetic to my car and the SMG selector is always left in the middle setting. As for Sport mode... I enjoy having my licence too much so it’s never used.

    I again left the car sitting for a couple of weeks and was met with the exact same problem with first gear. Before I return to my BMW dealer (and yet another bill) I was wondering if anyone could shed any light on this issue?
    • This could be a few things.... We spoke to ex-BMW Master Tech Barry Sheward at BMR Performance (www.bmrperformance.co.uk). Firstly, you need to be takThis could be a few things.... We spoke to ex-BMW Master Tech Barry Sheward at BMR Performance (www.bmrperformance.co.uk). Firstly, you need to be taking this back to the dealer that did all the work as it’s clearly not right. For £4500 we guess it’s had either the actuator on the gearbox replaced or the SMG pump under the inlet manifold/airbox – or both. If it’s on the original clutch then this may be the problem – even if the clutch plate still has meat on it, it could be dragging on the gearbox input shaft splines due to a build-up of dirt on the clutch release fork, the plastic pivot and the metal release bearing sleeve will all be very well worn by now. The release bearing wears a groove on it and can stick. The flywheel should be alright at 80k.
      The first thing is to get the fault codes read – these need to be proper BMW codes and not just generic P codes, the clutch should be bled through twice as well. If no fault codes are showing then it is bound to be a mechanical wear issue, and a new clutch with all the parts mentioned above need replacement; clutch kit, clutch fork, release bearing sleeve and plastic pivot pin.
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