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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 Mon, Apr-16-2018, 09:41:53 PM   #1
aa240sx
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Default RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion Detentless Manual Conversion

Detentless shifter SMG to 6sp manual conversion

Arrived today! And here's my parts list. Please let me know if there's anything I'm missing.

5/18/2018 - Parts list updated. Decided to go ahead and do the clutch job while i'm in there which does mean I've decided to drop the tranny for this job. This also means I may end up getting the Gear Identification Switch, not sure yet. I figure for the work I'm doing to get this job done, may as well do it right now so I don't have to do it again later.

RTD Shifter and DSSR
clutch slave cylinder 20 (although I understand you can reuse the SMG clutch slave cylinder?)
shift rubber boot and misc 21
clutch pedal assembly 20
leather shift gator 20
transmission mount vorshlag 70
foam shift pad noise deadening 1
bmw pipe 21526774274 35.92
bmw pipe 21522229675 33.89
bmw clutch stop 35316750569 3.89
bmw hydraulic hose 21521163714 9.49
bmw self locking hex nuts x6 7.75
clutch switch bmw m3 61319122700 53.77
bmw adapter lead 61116911072 7.81
FTE clutch master cylinder 21526773670 61.29
clutch and pressure plate
bmw clutch fork 21511223302
bmw clutch fork pivot pin 21511223328
bmw clutch release arm spring 21517570284
bmw clutch release bearing 21511223582


Don't hold your breath on this build as I don't anticipate even finishing the mechanical for several weeks. My M3 is a weekend only car and basically sits in the garage all day. I have another BMW I daily, so I'm basically taking my time and will chip away at the job in between my obligations.

So far though, I must say RTD has excellent customer service and their shipping time is really only a little over a week from Lebanon to California. I also have to give LKQ (local pick n pull socal) a thumbs up for the availability and ridiculously low pricing on used parts needed for this build. I got the clutch assembly for 20 bucks! Also, I used FCP Euro for new items.

Lastly, thanks forum members! I finished the balance of my purchases for this conversion from you peeps.

I'm giving myself a month or longer to handle this and at this point will be debating whether I..

1- pay someone to do the programming/coding
2- handle programming myself
3- a combination of 1 and 2 where I download some more finished software that does the coding for a small price.

I can also tell you that for all the detractors of RTD shifters, now that I have one in hand, this thing is BUILT. Plus, it doesn't require you to weld anything under the trans tunnel or drill holes for the shifter mount since you use the SMG mounts welded in bolts. It's a fraction of the cost of other shifters and I think, singularly changed the game for owners who have SMG cars that want a 6mt like myself and don't want to break the bank, hack up their center console or their backs to do the conversion themselves.

I'm not a track guy, but I am an enthusiast and have owned BMW's for over 17 years, so have some experience. The most difficult job I've done is VANO work (seals only) and I have changed a clutch before on an E39. Hopefully, that qualifies me to do this job. My biggest fears about this job is the programming (if I choose to do it myself) and bleeding a clutch (never did that before).

Goal - Finally owning an alpine white 6speed, though mine does have a sunroof and I would prefer a slicktop.

Also, I know there's peeps on this thread that may not agree with going this route and to them I can only say congrats if you were an early adopter of the more pricier conversion options. Can you spend thousands and thousand of dollars to do this conversion in the most meticulous way possible? Yes. Is it just easier to buy a manual M3? Yes, if you have bucks. But in the end if this relatively inexpensive option provides the same end result, more enjoyment out of your m3, then go for it.

Heck, we're lucky this can even be done to the E46. I mean just about any other M car currently out there in the past 10-15 years requires ridiculous amounts of surgery to convert to manual, eg, new diff, new driveshaft, etc (if it's even possible) and sadly, there's more and more automatics out there now (yes, I'm talking to you dual clutch guys too). You can't even get a manual 5 series in the US anymore! sheesh..

5-22 Update - Here's some progress pictures below. I'm currently stuck at removing the shift actuator from the transmission which hasn't been dropped yet. Could use any advice here. Do the guys that have done this job before drill the hole through from the top to give themselves more room to work or did were you able to remove the nut/bolt and pins from the shift actuator from underneath the transmission?

5-22 Update - Ended up pulling the transmission. Not sure how anyone could ever remove with actuator without pulling the tranny, but kudos to those that have, I didn't.

7-18 Update - Completed the mechanical side of the job and successfully started the car with no error lights or issues! All that remains is coding and removing the SMG indicators in the dash. Relief!

9-21 Update - See final page for my closing thoughts on this job which is now complete!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0822.JPG (82.2 KB, 182 views)
File Type: jpeg IMG_2574 (Medium).jpeg (218.9 KB, 92 views)
File Type: jpeg IMG_2575 (Medium).jpeg (253.7 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpeg IMG_2576 (Medium).jpeg (285.4 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpeg IMG_2577 (Medium).jpeg (330.3 KB, 70 views)
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- 2003 M3 Coupe - Alpine White - 6 speed - RTD Short Shifter, Enkei RPF1's on Hankook V12 staggered, Macht Schnell Intake, Eisenmann Exhaust, Koni's on Vogtland springs, Status Gruppe front lip.
- 2008 Mercedes Benz R350 - stock
- 2002 330i - Gray Metallic - 5 speed sport package - stock

Last edited by aa240sx; Fri, Sep-21-2018 at 05:09:16 PM.
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Old Mon, Apr-16-2018, 09:49:05 PM   #2
Kwakjoe
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Sub'd. This is exactly what I want to do, but considering just paying someone to do it because it looks really extensive.
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Old Mon, Apr-16-2018, 11:58:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Good luck. I have a 06 black smg coupe that I would love to rtd shifter swap. I'm just nervous to do it for some reason. I can do 9/10 DIY jobs on our cars and have done a full cyl head swap on an e36
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Old Tue, Apr-17-2018, 02:23:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by avusblu_e36 View Post
Good luck. I have a 06 black smg coupe that I would love to rtd shifter swap. I'm just nervous to do it for some reason. I can do 9/10 DIY jobs on our cars and have done a full cyl head swap on an e36

'full cyl head swap' - that qualifies you for surgery bro..
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- 2003 M3 Coupe - Alpine White - 6 speed - RTD Short Shifter, Enkei RPF1's on Hankook V12 staggered, Macht Schnell Intake, Eisenmann Exhaust, Koni's on Vogtland springs, Status Gruppe front lip.
- 2008 Mercedes Benz R350 - stock
- 2002 330i - Gray Metallic - 5 speed sport package - stock
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Old Tue, Apr-17-2018, 03:36:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Wish I had the ability to have done this myself on my previous e46m.

Gl with the project! It will be oh so satisfying when you are done! And I've heard nothing but awesome stuff about that rtd shifter!

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Old Mon, Apr-23-2018, 11:21:42 PM   #6
NY98M3
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Can you please measure the DSSR from end to end?
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Old Tue, Apr-24-2018, 05:40:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
Arrived today! And here's my parts list. Please let me know if there's anything I'm missing.

RTD Shifter and DSSR
clutch slave cylinder 20 (although I understand you can reuse the SMG clutch slave cylinder?)
shift rubber boot and misc 21
clutch pedal assembly 20
leather shift gator 20
transmission mount vorshlag 70
foam shift pad noise deadening 1
bmw pipe 21526774274 35.92
bmw pipe 21522229675 33.89
bmw clutch stop 35316750569 3.89
bmw hydraulic hose 21521163714 9.49
bmw self locking hex nuts x6 7.75
clutch switch bmw m3 61319122700 53.77
bmw adapter lead 61116911072 7.81
FTE clutch master cylinder 21526773670 61.29

Don't hold your breath on this build as I don't anticipate even finishing the mechanical for several weeks. My M3 is a weekend only car and basically sits in the garage all day. I have another BMW I daily, so I'm basically taking my time and will chip away at the job in between my obligations.

So far though, I must say RTD has excellent customer service and their shipping time is really only a little over a week from Lebanon to California. I also have to give LKQ (local pick n pull socal) a thumbs up for the availability and ridiculously low pricing on used parts needed for this build. I got the clutch assembly for 20 bucks! Also, I used FCP Euro for new items.

Lastly, thanks forum members! I finished the balance of my purchases for this conversion from you peeps.

I'm giving myself a month or longer to handle this and at this point will be debating whether I..

1- pay someone to do the programming/coding
2- handle programming myself
3- a combination of 1 and 2 where I download some more finished software that does the coding for a small price.

Lastly, I will be handling this conversion without removing the bell housing, modifying the bell housing (detents) or drilling the bell housing for a GPS. I believe the only thing that could prevent me from doing this will be my ability to remove the dowel pin from the SMG Actuator, insitu. If I can't do that, then this will definitely add to the job time.

I can also tell you that for all the detractors of RTD shifters, now that I have one in hand, this thing is BUILT. Plus, it doesn't require you to weld anything under the trans tunnel or drill holes for the shifter mount since you use the SMG mounts welded in bolts. It's a fraction of the cost of other shifters and I think, singularly changed the game for owners who have SMG cars that want a 6mt like myself and don't want to break the bank, hack up their center console or their backs to do the conversion themselves.

I'm not a track guy, but I am an enthusiast and have owned BMW's for over 17 years, so have some experience. The most difficult job I've done is VANO work (seals only) and I have changed a clutch before on an E39. Hopefully, that qualifies me to do this job. My biggest fears about this job is the programming (if I choose to do it myself) and bleeding a clutch (never did that before).

Goal - Finally owning an alpine white 6speed, though mine does have a sunroof and I would prefer a slicktop.

I just finished my 6MT swap with a full 6MT transmission and I love it. I wouldn't recommend cutting corners and the fact of the matter is the guy who tried using the RTD shifter with a smg bell housing and no detent spring. Totally doesn't recommend it and has moved onto a manual bell housing and probably springs.
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Old Tue, Apr-24-2018, 06:26:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Sweet. I, sadly, have not yet dived into this project, but when it is finished I'll be the judge of whether using the factory BH vs a 6sp BH or modded BH is worth it.

I'm at the stage of 'hmm what else do I need to order, procrastination...' actually just ordered some semi solid tranny mounts from a user on this forum last week.

Not sure who you're referring to anyway, but most users that did this very mod say it works fine for them. I've also seen the comments from the guys that ended up going with a factory/modded BH, too.
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- 2003 M3 Coupe - Alpine White - 6 speed - RTD Short Shifter, Enkei RPF1's on Hankook V12 staggered, Macht Schnell Intake, Eisenmann Exhaust, Koni's on Vogtland springs, Status Gruppe front lip.
- 2008 Mercedes Benz R350 - stock
- 2002 330i - Gray Metallic - 5 speed sport package - stock

Last edited by aa240sx; Tue, Apr-24-2018 at 06:47:37 PM.
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Old Wed, Apr-25-2018, 06:31:00 AM   #9
mercedesc63
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho....php?t=1200377

Hey man its up to you I love my OEM swap just saying but I think your going to enjoy the 3 pedal for sure!

Anyways I did all the coding to my car, you can hit me up about the coding I can do everything cheap.

Thanks

Last edited by mercedesc63; Wed, Apr-25-2018 at 06:38:06 AM.
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Old Wed, Apr-25-2018, 07:25:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by mercedesc63 View Post
... the fact of the matter is the guy who tried using the RTD shifter with a smg bell housing and no detent spring. Totally doesn't recommend it and has moved onto a manual bell housing and probably springs.
Im one of those guys that didnt machine the housing for detents and I use the RTD shifter.

I DO recommend it.
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Discussing Build Journal - RTD shifter - SMG to 6sp conversion 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)