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E90 M3 (Sedan) | E92 M3 (Coupe) | E93 M3 (Convertible) (2008-2013) {Engine: S65 - Max Hp: 414 hp (420 hp Euro) at 8,300 rpm / 295 lb/ft at 3,900 rpm}


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Old Mon, Mar-07-2011, 11:25:54 PM   #1
M3cardenal
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Default New clutch/transmission DCT

Hello all,

I am new M3 owner. Dreamed about it since i was kid.
I have a 2009 convertable in Alpine White with Novio Red Fox and the Dual Clutch transmission.

I have had the car for about 2000 of its 5600 miles and have LOVED every mile so far.

Last Thurday night i was coming back from sporting clays and the dash board lit up with warning symbols and messages. The symbol was a gear and the message was telling me that the transmission had problems and that I was to have limited gear selection but could keep driving (paraphrasing).

I noticed right away that it would only use 2d. 4th ad 6th gears. Made it home safe, parked the car in the garage and made an apointment wih th dealer for first thing in the morning.

The next morning I could not go in reverse. Had to push the car out of the garage while in nutral.

That evening the dealer called me and informed me that I could get my car back first thing Monday (!??!). They claim that it only needed a CPU flash. I was skeptical but happy that I was getting my car back so soon.

Long story short, I go a call today and they told me that it was not the CPU/ECU it was the clutch and that is was to be replaced under warranty and have it ready by Wednesday. Then about five minutes later he call me back that it actually may need a whole new transmission!!!???

Sorry for the long story, but I was hoping for some feedback and opinions on how I should feel and or how to deal with BMW and the dealer.

Thanks
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 12:41:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3cardenal View Post
Hello all,

I am new M3 owner. Dreamed about it since i was kid.
I have a 2009 convertable in Alpine White with Novio Red Fox and the Dual Clutch transmission.

I have had the car for about 2000 of its 5600 miles and have LOVED every mile so far.

Last Thurday night i was coming back from sporting clays and the dash board lit up with warning symbols and messages. The symbol was a gear and the message was telling me that the transmission had problems and that I was to have limited gear selection but could keep driving (paraphrasing).

I noticed right away that it would only use 2d. 4th ad 6th gears. Made it home safe, parked the car in the garage and made an apointment wih th dealer for first thing in the morning.

The next morning I could not go in reverse. Had to push the car out of the garage while in nutral.

That evening the dealer called me and informed me that I could get my car back first thing Monday (!??!). They claim that it only needed a CPU flash. I was skeptical but happy that I was getting my car back so soon.

Long story short, I go a call today and they told me that it was not the CPU/ECU it was the clutch and that is was to be replaced under warranty and have it ready by Wednesday. Then about five minutes later he call me back that it actually may need a whole new transmission!!!???

Sorry for the long story, but I was hoping for some feedback and opinions on how I should feel and or how to deal with BMW and the dealer.

Thanks
Unfortunately, transmission failures are to be expected with a new piece of technology. Our M3's were the first BMW cars to get the DCT transmission. It's a fairly new transmission technology, so there is going to be a learning curve.

DCT transmission failures have gone down in the last 12 to 18 months from what I've seen and heard, but there are still enough to make me nervous.

Just let the dealer replace the transmission under warranty, and try to be patient.

That's all you can really do at this point.

It appears to me (after reading your post), that you aren't fully aware of what the DCT transmission is (or how it works), so I'll just highlight a few things in order to clarify some of the stuff you don't quite understand...

a) The M3's DCT transmission has had a number of software flash revisions (updates) to modulate the engagement of the two internal clutch packs. Even now, many owners (including myself) have been less than thrilled with the latest BMW DCT software revision, which is a little quirky and unpredictable IMO. (it has a mind of it's own sometimes)

b) Your DCT was only able to engage 2nd, 4th, and 6th gears...because ONE of the TWO clutch packs engages the even numbered gears, while the other clutch pack engages 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and REVERSE.

c) When you upshift (or downshift), the DCT transmission automatically switches between the two clutches. So when an ODD numbered gear (on one clutch) is disengaged...the next EVEN numbered gear (on the other clutch) is already in position to be engaged. (within a few milliseconds) Dual Clutch Transmissions overlap the clutch and declutch mechanisms intentionally, so their is a smooth and steady transition of power throughout the rev band. (uninterrupted) When your transmission failed, you lost all the ODD-numbered gears on one of your two clutches. (including the reverse gear)

d) The 11 different DCT programing modes (6 manual + 5 automatic), allow YOU to select how conservative or aggressive you want the gear shifts to be. The higher the MODE number, the more aggressive the clutch engagement will be. (less slippage). The higher numbered DCT modes are also harder on the clutches if you really lean on them a lot. On the flip side...if you select the lowest DCT mode, and you are stuck in too much rush hour traffic...the slipping clutch can wear out the DCT tranny as well. (a slipping clutch also creates a lot of internal heat)

You have to find a happy medium if you want it to last a long time. I got that advice form a BMW field engineer, who has seen a number of DCT tranny failures over the past three years.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 02:02:06 AM   #3
M3cardenal
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland View Post
Unfortunately, transmission failures are to be expected with a new piece of technology. Our M3's were the first BMW cars to get the DCT transmission. It's a fairly new transmission technology, so there is going to be a learning curve.

DCT transmission failures have gone down in the last 12 to 18 months from what I've seen and heard, but there are still enough to make me nervous.

Just let the dealer replace the transmission under warranty, and try to be patient.

That's all you can really do at this point.

It appears to me (after reading your post), that you aren't fully aware of what the DCT transmission is (or how it works), so I'll just highlight a few things in order to clarify some of the stuff you don't quite understand...

a) The M3's DCT transmission has had a number of software flash revisions (updates) to modulate the engagement of the two internal clutch packs. Even now, many owners (including myself) have been less than thrilled with the latest BMW DCT software revision, which is a little quirky and unpredictable IMO. (it has a mind of it's own sometimes)

b) Your DCT was only able to engage 2nd, 4th, and 6th gears...because ONE of the TWO clutch packs engages the even numbered gears, while the other clutch pack engages 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and REVERSE.

c) When you upshift (or downshift), the DCT transmission automatically switches between the two clutches. So when an ODD numbered gear (on one clutch) is disengaged...the next EVEN numbered gear (on the other clutch) is already in position to be engaged. (within a few milliseconds) Dual Clutch Transmissions overlap the clutch and declutch mechanisms intentionally, so their is a smooth and steady transition of power throughout the rev band. (uninterrupted) When your transmission failed, you lost all the ODD-numbered gears on one of your two clutches. (including the reverse gear)

d) The 11 different DCT programing modes (6 manual + 5 automatic), allow YOU to select how conservative or aggressive you want the gear shifts to be. The higher the MODE number, the more aggressive the clutch engagement will be. (less slippage). The higher numbered DCT modes are also harder on the clutches if you really lean on them a lot. On the flip side...if you select the lowest DCT mode, and you are stuck in too much rush hour traffic...the slipping clutch can wear out the DCT tranny as well. (a slipping clutch also creates a lot of internal heat)

You have to find a happy medium if you want it to last a long time. I got that advice form a BMW field engineer, who has seen a number of DCT tranny failures over the past three years.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for the response!
That was great feedback. I was aware of the odd and even numbered gears being on different banks. I actually thought it was a nice thing to have (redundancy).
I am now a little scared of the long term life of the transmisson based on the coments from the field engineer.
I figured the computer would limit any excessive wear and tear, or that it was validated in a lab with cycle testing under all conditions. Afterall it is supposed to be a high performance race car.

My main concern is the repair. Is there someting that I should worry about with a replacement transmission (should it ome to that)?
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 02:19:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

how many miles do you have on your car?

I got one of the first DCT cars here in the states and stories like these make me cringe, hope it works out for you.
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 02:57:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3cardenal View Post
Thanks for the response!
That was great feedback. I was aware of the odd and even numbered gears being on different banks. I actually thought it was a nice thing to have (redundancy).
I am now a little scared of the long term life of the transmisson based on the coments from the field engineer.
I figured the computer would limit any excessive wear and tear, or that it was validated in a lab with cycle testing under all conditions. Afterall it is supposed to be a high performance race car.

My main concern is the repair. Is there someting that I should worry about with a replacement transmission (should it ome to that)?
Not necessarily...

The new transmission is likely to have slightly improved internal clutches, that weren't available at the time your car rolled off the manufacturing line. (at the Regensburg assembly plant in Germany)

In fact, your new DCT tranny will likely have a number of running engineering changes that are not publicly disclosed by BMW.

Why?

Well obviously there would be a flood of current DCT owners banging the dealerships door down to get the latest and greatest version available. (with me at the front of the line)

Testing rarely catches 100% of the issues a product might experience in a mass production scenario. You can test a part (any part) everyday for an entire year, and still not catch every possible weakness. It's very difficult to re-create every conceivable situation (or circumstance) that could impact the reliability of that part.

Here's the reality of the situation...

We can't worry that our transmission is going to blow up every day. That doesn't do us any good. We can't control what happens, we can only react to it when it does.

I kinda worry about it a bit, but it doesn't consume my every thought when I'm driving my car.

I refuse to let it ruin my experience, and you have to try to do the same.

I paid a freaking fortune for this car, and by god, I'm gonna drive the wheels off it.

The DCT tranny is a very complex MECHANICAL device. Sometimes devices like that fail. That's a fact of life. There is nothing to be gained by worrying about things you cannot control. Hell my 4 month old 2k desktop rig could go up in smoke 10 min from now...

Bottom line is that I can't obsess about it 24/7.

Whatever happens...happens sometimes, and there's isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

If anyone tries to tell you EXACTLY how long these new transmissions are going to last...they're full of it.

NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.

Let BMW replace the DCT tranny (under warranty), and see how it goes.

If you still have the car near the end of your lease, or warranty period...then you can reflect on whether or not you want to keep it going forward.

We're all in the same boat in that regard.

That's my advice.

Take care.
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True leaders are not those who strive to be first, but those who are first to strive and give their all for the success of the team. They can be identified by the clarity of their vision, the strength of their actions, and the integrity of their intent. A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, and the courage to make tough decisions. A true leader has compassion, and is willing to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but he becomes one by the confidence that he inspires in others. He commands the respect of his peers, and is humbled by the admiration of his followers. True leaders are first to see the need, envision the plan, and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader's commitment, the power of the team is unleashed.
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 03:32:25 AM   #6
M3cardenal
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland View Post
Not necessarily...

The new transmission is likely to have slightly improved internal clutches, that weren't available at the time your car rolled off the manufacturing line. (at the Regensburg assembly plant in Germany)

In fact, your new DCT tranny will likely have a number of running engineering changes that are not publicly disclosed by BMW.

Why?

Well obviously there would be a flood of current DCT owners banging the dealerships door down to get the latest and greatest version available. (with me at the front of the line)

Testing rarely catches 100% of the issues a product might experience in a mass production scenario. You can test a part (any part) everyday for an entire year, and still not catch every possible weakness. It's very difficult to re-create every conceivable situation (or circumstance) that could impact the reliability of that part.

Here's the reality of the situation...

We can't worry that our transmission is going to blow up every day. That doesn't do us any good. We can't control what happens, we can only react to it when it does.

I kinda worry about it a bit, but it doesn't consume my every thought when I'm driving my car.

I refuse to let it ruin my experience, and you have to try to do the same.

I paid a freaking fortune for this car, and by god, I'm gonna drive the wheels off it.

The DCT tranny is a very complex MECHANICAL device. Sometimes devices like that fail. That's a fact of life. There is nothing to be gained by worrying about things you cannot control. Hell my 4 month old 2k desktop rig could go up in smoke 10 min from now...

Bottom line is that I can't obsess about it 24/7.

Whatever happens...happens sometimes, and there's isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

If anyone tries to tell you EXACTLY how long these new transmissions are going to last...they're full of it.

NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.

Let BMW replace the DCT tranny (under warranty), and see how it goes.

If you still have the car near the end of your lease, or warranty period...then you can reflect on whether or not you want to keep it going forward.

We're all in the same boat in that regard.

That's my advice.

Take care.
That is all great advice. I think i almost feel good about a new transmission with your logic about improvements (fingers crossed). I will enjoy the hell out the car, especially during the warranty period.
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Old Tue, Mar-08-2011, 03:34:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by FifthStreetz View Post
how many miles do you have on your car?

I got one of the first DCT cars here in the states and stories like these make me cringe, hope it works out for you.
5600K
I bought it used in 12/2010 with 3700K
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Old Sat, Mar-12-2011, 08:13:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3cardenal View Post
Hello all,

I am new M3 owner. Dreamed about it since i was kid.
I have a 2009 convertable in Alpine White with Novio Red Fox and the Dual Clutch transmission.

I have had the car for about 2000 of its 5600 miles and have LOVED every mile so far.

Last Thurday night i was coming back from sporting clays and the dash board lit up with warning symbols and messages. The symbol was a gear and the message was telling me that the transmission had problems and that I was to have limited gear selection but could keep driving (paraphrasing).

I noticed right away that it would only use 2d. 4th ad 6th gears. Made it home safe, parked the car in the garage and made an apointment wih th dealer for first thing in the morning.

The next morning I could not go in reverse. Had to push the car out of the garage while in nutral.

That evening the dealer called me and informed me that I could get my car back first thing Monday (!??!). They claim that it only needed a CPU flash. I was skeptical but happy that I was getting my car back so soon.

Long story short, I go a call today and they told me that it was not the CPU/ECU it was the clutch and that is was to be replaced under warranty and have it ready by Wednesday. Then about five minutes later he call me back that it actually may need a whole new transmission!!!???

Sorry for the long story, but I was hoping for some feedback and opinions on how I should feel and or how to deal with BMW and the dealer.

Thanks
UPDATE: After a week! I finally got word from my service rep that BMW cleared the repair after much testing and diagnosis by a BMW field engineer (at least that is what I was told). They were debating between a full traqnsmission replacement or just the clutch. They finally said it was the clutch and that it was going to take two weeks to get the part from Germany :-{

They loaned me a new (loaded) 2011 335i sedan as a loaner (not bad, not bad at all). It has really, really nice power but the handleing isnt even close and thats comparing it to the convertable (M3).

Anyhow, any theorys on what took them so long to figure it out and if it being the clutch only is a good thing.
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Old Sun, Mar-13-2011, 03:21:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3cardenal View Post
UPDATE: After a week! I finally got word from my service rep that BMW cleared the repair after much testing and diagnosis by a BMW field engineer (at least that is what I was told). They were debating between a full traqnsmission replacement or just the clutch. They finally said it was the clutch and that it was going to take two weeks to get the part from Germany :-{

They loaned me a new (loaded) 2011 335i sedan as a loaner (not bad, not bad at all). It has really, really nice power but the handleing isnt even close and thats comparing it to the convertable (M3).

Anyhow, any theorys on what took them so long to figure it out and if it being the clutch only is a good thing.
As on old fart who has bought way too many cars over the years, let me offer you the fruit of my experience. Although sometimes frustrating, you need to try and refrain from being cynical of everything the dealer reps do or say. Not necessarily because they are right, but you will only make yourself crazy otherwise. In the long run, perhaps after some mistakes, they will get the car right. Next, while not a "race car" (and a good thing, since they are rebuilt on a weekly basis), the M3, like most high performance cars, has a relatively weak reliability record. That's why I drive a Toyota to work every day. So, enjoy the car when it's right, try to accept the probability it will need occasional tinkering to keep it that way, have a stiff Woodford Reserve every evening, and relax. And yes, I would say a broken clutch is better than a broken clutch and broken transmission.

Last edited by elh0102; Sun, Mar-13-2011 at 04:14:21 AM.
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Old Sun, Mar-13-2011, 04:13:25 PM   #10
M3cardenal
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Default Re: New clutch/transmission DCT

Quote:
Originally Posted by elh0102 View Post
As on old fart who has bought way too many cars over the years, let me offer you the fruit of my experience. Although sometimes frustrating, you need to try and refrain from being cynical of everything the dealer reps do or say. Not necessarily because they are right, but you will only make yourself crazy otherwise. In the long run, perhaps after some mistakes, they will get the car right. Next, while not a "race car" (and a good thing, since they are rebuilt on a weekly basis), the M3, like most high performance cars, has a relatively weak reliability record. That's why I drive a Toyota to work every day. So, enjoy the car when it's right, try to accept the probability it will need occasional tinkering to keep it that way, have a stiff Woodford Reserve every evening, and relax. And yes, I would say a broken clutch is better than a broken clutch and broken transmission.
Thanks for the words of wisdom. You are right about just sitting back and relaxing (as always, easier said than done).
Last comment: having the new 335 makes me apreciate the M3 even more.
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Discussing New clutch/transmission DCT in the E90 M3 (Sedan) | E92 M3 (Coupe) | E93 M3 (Convertible) (2008-2013) Forum - {Engine: S65 - Max Hp: 414 hp (420 hp Euro) at 8,300 rpm / 295 lb/ft at 3,900 rpm} at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)