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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, Jul-10-2017, 01:38:01 AM   #1
ajb211
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Talking I attempted a M3 Swap and succeeded!

Yes it is true. I attempted to change my transmission from an SMG and 6MT and failed. In this post I will tell my story, how much it costed me and show you some of the lessons I learned in the process.

December of 2015: I bought a 2002 SMG Convertible for $8000 - Before purchasing I did my due dilligience and had it checked out by an autoshop that specialized in european cars and they told me it was a solid vehicle. So I pulled the trigger and was ecstatic about my purchase.

Note: I named her Willow and will refer to her as so for the rest of this post.

February 2016: After a long awaited 1.5 months I was finally able to take Willow out on the road. The E46 M3 is a monster. Id have my head thrown into the head rest, while screaming for joy, by one any day. My favorite drive was a road near my home called Riverview its a long road with some darn steep hills that winds through the Cuyahoga National park.

March 2016: After about 1,000 miles the horror hit while driving down the highway. The dreaded transmission light came on. Immediately my heart sank as it would not switch out of 5th gear. After attempting to put it in neutral I was curbed on the highway and had to tow Willow home.

March/April 2017: After having my friend from the European auto-shop confirm the SMG was shot I weighed my 3 options. The first was to sell the car as is and take a signifigant hit on my investment, the 2nd was to spend a few grand for a shop to fix the SMG pump. And the final was to do the swap myself. I chose to do the swap myself.

June 2016-June 2017: This was the time period I researched and executed the project. I broke it down into 3 components: Preparation, tear down, and build up.


During the preparation phase I spent my time learning the necessary information. I read MP675 manual more time then I could count. And I also purchased a Bentley manual and dove into that during my free time. And finally, I did the cost analysis. All said and done I expected the project to cost me $1750, which was pretty spot on. Next, tear down went great. Since I never undertook a project that stripped a car of so many parts I took it slow by labeling and organizing each part as I went so I could more easily put it back together. Honestly, it was a pretty easy tear down except for those darn bolts on top of the transmission that took 5 hours on a Friday night to remove. Next, the bell housing went out to California to be machined by Kaiv (who does a great job by the way and Id suggest his service to anyone). Finally, was the build up. This part was enjoyable. It was It was fun to see Willow come back to life as my garage got cleaner. Most of the assembly was simple enough and I grabbed a friend who was competent in electrical systems to do the wiring for me.

Once I finished the swap I attempted to start it and got nothing but the whirring sound of the gas pump priming itself. It was obvious that the project/headache was far from over. Over the next few months I spent time posting my problems to the forums and you guys were incredible at quickly responding and giving me insight on my questions. I checked the battery, looked at each fuse in the fuse box, double triple and quadruple checked my wiring, etc. etc. However, at this point I decided I want my time back and no longer want to work on the project.

July 2017: The car has been posted to craigslist to be parted out. If anyone is interested in helping me get some of my money back on this investement hit me up!

Craigslist ad: https://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/6212284860.html
Email: Ajb211@zips.uakron.edu

Final thoughts: I note this project as a failure and one solid life lesson. Never have I ever lost so much money on an investment. Money doesnt grow on trees, and in the case it grew in the hands of the part distributors I bought from. Also there is something to be said about the magnitude of the project. My greatest problem was that because of the size of this project, it had so many variables that could change that for me it was bound to erupt. These types of projects should only be undertaken by professionals, and honestly, one could probably finish it.

On a positive note, the Willow project makes a solid interview topic for mechanical engineering job opportunities and I have been offered every job I have interviewed for since I started it. So cheers to an awesome car and an even better lesson.

Last edited by Obioban; Thu, Jul-13-2017 at 03:18:53 PM.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 01:46:49 AM   #2
ThunderMoose
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

I am puzzled. The only wiring that is needed to make this start is the clutch switch to the EWS.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 01:53:18 AM   #3
Drewster
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

You did all that, couldn't get it to fire, and just gave up and sold it??
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 02:06:15 AM   #4
icecream
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

Can't wait for you to engineer something, hopefully our lives don't depend on it..........I kid I kid, sorta. Weird story though.
But
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 02:23:25 AM   #5
e46lsb
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

How do you just not go to kaiv in the first place versus spending a year on this? He would do it probably in the time you take a nap from the drive needed going to his house.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 03:08:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

Funny, looks like we're neighbors. I'm right in Broadview Heights. And also a UA grad. Let me talk to my BMW wizard friend. I'll see if he's interested in the car or possibly helping you get it running.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 03:21:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

I am wondering what is going on down in Ohio's "investment" market?

There are cars that are investments, but this was a smg vert that you bought at 15% of the original value.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 12:17:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

Quote:
Originally Posted by silvergray545 View Post
Funny, looks like we're neighbors. I'm right in Broadview Heights. And also a UA grad. Let me talk to my BMW wizard friend. I'll see if he's interested in the car or possibly helping you get it running.
Hey man I still have it and would be ecstatic if he would be interested in either!

my ua email is ajb211. let me know
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 12:18:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

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Originally Posted by Drewster View Post
You did all that, couldn't get it to fire, and just gave up and sold it??
Not sold yet. but that's the current plan.
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Old Mon, Jul-10-2017, 12:20:09 PM   #10
ajb211
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Default Re: I attempted a M3 Swap and failed

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Originally Posted by ThunderMoose View Post
I am puzzled. The only wiring that is needed to make this start is the clutch switch to the EWS.
Agreed I'm puzzled too. My wiring is proper but my car wont start.
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Discussing Steps to take to ensure flood car doesn't run into issues? 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)