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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 03:03:43 AM   #1
dustins
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Default Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

Hey guys, first off I just want to say I've read and read and google'd and google'd for hours on end but still have not been able to chase down this thud.

So the thud I get while shifting, sounds the same as the neutral to first thud which happens at stop lights often unless you wait a few seconds to engage into first. While driving and shifting I get two thuds, for example; one while removing from say 2nd gear and another while completing the shift into 3rd. It is most apparent from 1-2 2-3 and 3-4th. I always drive in sport mode/traction off but it does it even with sport mode disengaged. I notice I can reproduce the thud while rolling at say 60km/h and holding the clutch to the floor and shifting back and forth between 3rd and 4th.

After reading countless forum threads online and using some common sense here is the list of what has been done in the last 5k KMs to try to eliminate the noise which drives me bonkers;

Entire rear end (every bushing in the rear including RTABS, all replaced with OEM except diff bushings which I used ECS polys) It was something like 19 bushings total I changed.

At the same time while everything was dropped, I welded in the Turner motorsports subframe kit, and repaired very minor stress cracking on the passenger front subframe mount.

New flex disc and CSB, I also took apart the driveshaft CV and completely cleaned and repacked it with new grease. I did not replace the transmission mounts because they looked fine, and my shifter hardly moves under WOT 2nd gear.

New BC racing coil overs. (So RSTMs are out of the question)

I have also changed out the diff with another used diff (made no difference either as I had the thud also before doing all of this work)

Transmission and Diff have Redline fluid that was swapped out as well during all of this. Car has the double sided UUC selector rod shifts fairly well, although notchy under 4k rpms, but is on thew newer side so I doubt its shifter related.

I am starting to think that either I've replaced one bad diff, with another or its in the transmission. Anyone care to chime in?

Thanks in advance guys.
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 03:31:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

I get the same thing too. From my googling it is known as the m clunk.


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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 03:37:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

I can add that my 02 M3 clunked, then with poly bushings and 4.10's it was terrible (reused M-variable unit). I later removed the diff and those bushings and went to a different stock diff and the clunk about went away.

My current 04 does not do it at all other than the initial. I'd say you got a second worn diff.
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 03:42:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

I'm chasing same clunk, mine kind of showed up out of nowhere though a couple months ago. I was thinking front diff bushing but I don't see much, if any, movement. If you pull the ebrake and release the clutch in first does your's still clunk during that engagement?
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:08:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

Having the same issue after I installed my TMS rear camber arms. Everything is tight. No idea what it could be. I ordered the updated rear diff bolts. Not sure if it will help but it's worth a shot.
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:17:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

I honestly don't think its bushing related, at least in my case as I've changed every bushing in the rear. I sometimes wonder if going with poly diff bushings over OEM was a mistake. I might switch them back out not sure yet.

The M-clunk is different from what I am getting. The "M-clunk" is from what I understand as the noise heard while coming to a stop and pushing in the clutch super fast and hearing the more metallic clunk, which my car does too but I am able to avoid that by manipulation.

But the thud, is different. The thud I speak of, is more like something using a rubber mallet and tapping the floor of the car.

I'm at 121k miles (196k kms)
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:21:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

I'm not talking about the M clunk, I'm talking about a thud with a rubber mallet sound that has over time evolved into a rubber sledge hammer...it'll even do it twice in succession, reminiscent of letting the engine lug till the point of bucking
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:26:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

The M variable diff has unequal output shafts so the theory is the diff will develop a clunk over time. Its not an issue.
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:26:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fattycharged View Post
I'm not talking about the M clunk, I'm talking about a thud with a rubber mallet sound that has over time evolved into a rubber sledge hammer...it'll even do it twice in succession, reminiscent of letting the engine lug till the point of bucking
Sorry I was referring to the first reply claiming its just M-clunk.


I've never tried the e brake thing, but since I am able to reproduce this sound by rolling 60km/h holding the clutch to the floor and shifting between 3rd and 4th back and forth I believe the thud is transmission/diff related (internals).
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Old Tue, Jul-11-2017, 04:29:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting

try what I suggested, curious to see if it occurs while stationary, I believe this should determine whether it's internal to the diff....though I have been known to be incorrect
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Discussing Chasing E46 M3 never ending thud while shifting in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)