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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 Sat, Jan-13-2018, 11:57:50 PM   #1
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Question Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

Greetings,

I'd like to see if anyone can provide some guidance for my SMG trouble code I pulled up today.

Mileage:
-149,500 (original SMG pump as far as I know. I'm 3rd owner since 2010)

Code: 38 hydraulic presure

Symptoms:
While driving the car will drop gear into neutral.

Things I've done:
-I've replaced the salmon relay with a new one from FCP Euro.
-Pump is priming upon unlocking the car.
-I've checked the pentosin fluid level and its good.
-I've checked the hood sensors and open/closed it several times.
-Personal mechanic & friend believes it's either the accumulator pressure or temp sensor. We are not discarding the idea that the pump or the motor in the pump is gone.

We believe the temp sensor (which could affect the pressure) isn't really expensive but the accumulator pressure runs roughly $500, or possibly if I come across a partout or a pump for sale on ebay which there are a couple with 74k for $750 and a 28K for $1,000.

Hopefully someone here has fixed their problems if they had codes 38 and provide some info on what parts were replaced.
Due to the MLK holiday I will be calling Beemer World on tuesday for guidance.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 03:33:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

What happens after it drops to neutral? Does it start working again temporarily, after a restart? Could you run an accumulator pressure test? I don't know what the detailed symptoms are when the accumulator alone has failed. But your symptoms sound similar to what I had when I needed to replace the motor on mine. It would be interesting to know if there's a way to test each one separately, without relying on the other one working.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 05:22:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

combo of pump pressure code and dropping into neutral is always the (per bmw) the hcu (smg pump unit).
what we've learned over the years is 99% of the time the only issue is with the DC motor that runs the hydraulic pump, but bmw doesn't sell that individual part. IF you search carefully enough on here, you can find the direct replacement part, but I always have trouble finding that post.
Alternately, there is a company selling a new motor design. This isn't something I'd do, but several on this forum have with good results (best as I have read) SO FAR. We don't have thousands of cars with 10's or 100's of thousands of miles on them with this unit, so time will tell.
Lastly, some have bought reconditioned motors or had their's reconditioned. However, many have noted problems with the rebuilder getting the bearing / front of the can off w/o damaging anything. But upshot is, the brushes wear quickly and there is heavy carbon dust in these motors, likely due to an under-designed duty cycle for the motor.
The hydraulic gear pump (the gears are about the size of a dime) will likely run several 100 thousand miles with no problem; gear pumps run forever.

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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 02:06:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

Maybe its the accumulator. I just changed mine because in a traffic i get that cog light especially when its hot. A friend of mine drop to N when he was using the car and cant get into any gear even if he shut it down for like an hour or so. Then its not priming also so we suspect that is the motor. U can try burkhart


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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 09:01:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

Quote:
Originally Posted by E30User View Post
What happens after it drops to neutral? Does it start working again temporarily, after a restart? Could you run an accumulator pressure test? I don't know what the detailed symptoms are when the accumulator alone has failed. But your symptoms sound similar to what I had when I needed to replace the motor on mine. It would be interesting to know if there's a way to test each one separately, without relying on the other one working.
After it drops to neutral it stays in neutral. In the beginning when it first happened while driving the gears would re-engage and I had to speed up to get home since I was close by. The next day the gears would not engage at all. Gears didn't engage until I got the code read and I would reset the light only then did the gears engaged again but I have yet to taken it out for a drive (assuming it would drop to N again)

For the accumulator pressure test I can ask my friend if he can do it. So did you end up going with a new motor or just bought a new/used pump?


Quote:
Originally Posted by RedM3/4 View Post
combo of pump pressure code and dropping into neutral is always the (per bmw) the hcu (smg pump unit).
what we've learned over the years is 99% of the time the only issue is with the DC motor that runs the hydraulic pump, but bmw doesn't sell that individual part. IF you search carefully enough on here, you can find the direct replacement part, but I always have trouble finding that post.
Alternately, there is a company selling a new motor design. This isn't something I'd do, but several on this forum have with good results (best as I have read) SO FAR. We don't have thousands of cars with 10's or 100's of thousands of miles on them with this unit, so time will tell.
Lastly, some have bought reconditioned motors or had their's reconditioned. However, many have noted problems with the rebuilder getting the bearing / front of the can off w/o damaging anything. But upshot is, the brushes wear quickly and there is heavy carbon dust in these motors, likely due to an under-designed duty cycle for the motor.
The hydraulic gear pump (the gears are about the size of a dime) will likely run several 100 thousand miles with no problem; gear pumps run forever.

ADS
When you mentioned DC part you mean the so called replacement with Burkhart? ( think I might have that thread bookmarked since I figure one day I would need the info)



Quote:
Originally Posted by scoopy128 View Post
Maybe its the accumulator. I just changed mine because in a traffic i get that cog light especially when its hot. A friend of mine drop to N when he was using the car and cant get into any gear even if he shut it down for like an hour or so. Then its not priming also so we suspect that is the motor. U can try burkhart

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Did you buy the accumulator new or used? if so how much for?

I would suspect the pump as well if you can't hear the priming sound. In my case I can hear the priming sound and the gear engages once I clear the codes with a code reader.
Burkhart is that motor replacement right?
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Old Mon, Jan-15-2018, 01:05:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

I mentioned 3 options, the burkhardt is the alternate design. That motor isn't OE spec and appears smaller. Unless it is brushless, and to some degree even if it is, smaller is counter-intuitive to a heat/duty cycle problem. That doesn't mean it can't work.
There used to be a thread with the actual OE motor; it is essentially an ABS pump motor.
----
There are some accumulator specific codes. what diagnostic tool are you using? It may not have the exact same verbiage as bmw specific tools. If it's an obdII only tool, the error codes for smg can even be misleading.
You can't find even a handful of folks who have permanently fixed pressure problems with accumulators only. There are some, but it is few and far between, and I'd not even attempt this diagnosis without inpa/ncs expert tools, and no other diag tools.
I'd summarize the errors this way:
1. pressure alone is the pump; the accumulator won't keep the pump from getting to pressure, the weak dc motor will
2. a common error is on time too long; eg, taking too long to get to pressure, this too is a weak dc motor.
3. If you can find evidence that says the pump gets to pressure normally (5-6 seconds from observation, don't know what the diags would say) but is running too frequently, then you MAY have either a leak, low fluid, or an accumulator problem. But again, with the tools mentioned, there are a couple accumulator tests / specific error codes. I'm not sure anyone is on here anymore that can speak about this more clearly from expert experience.

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98 M3/4, Supersprint catback, UUC red tranny mounts, Rogue SS w/UUC dual selector rod, wired V1.
Sold to my son, still in the family!
06 SMG/ZCP - April 09, Dinan over Konis, RAC RG63, homelink with off-delay (working), multifunction steering wheel buttons, RacingBrake Front kit.

Last edited by RedM3/4; Mon, Jan-15-2018 at 01:07:02 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old Mon, Jan-15-2018, 04:09:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

Well after 2 hours and 10 mins (1 hour in traffic with 32c outside temp) it turned on . Then drove another 1 hour then when i get to park the car turned it off and fired it up again the cog was gone. Ill check it again going back


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Old Mon, Jan-15-2018, 08:46:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code


Going back i got these lights on. Not for the smg though it happened to me before when i caught traffic plus raining for like 4 hours and 30 mins but when i turn off the engine and start it again lights went off. Now it didnt, and it cog light turned on. So i thought im gonna drive it back (limp mode) but figure to stop first and open the bonnet for 20mins and remove and putback the connector of the tps. Then when i started the car i only have the engine light on.

When i got home i scanned my car i got these codes



I never had any dropping of gears awhile ago but the light still came on and i can tell when i changed the accumulator it is really smoother.

Tomorrow my mechanic will put the burkhart motor with the oil that came with the kit and the temp sensor.

I know the previous owner didnt change the smg fluid so i think that might also be a factor but my mechanic who is just in vacation here in philippines hehe i only trust him to do all my cars haha so hope it will be ok if not i will order the whole smg hcu hehe


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Old Mon, Jan-15-2018, 09:03:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

http://burkhart-engineering.com/54160en

Not cheap, but the only other alternative is if you have a reputable electric motor rewinder/repairer.
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Old Wed, Jan-17-2018, 01:24:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code

Changed mine stock motor was really toast

When i turned the motor it is like clicking maybe the bearings was shot




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Discussing Seeking guidance for SMG trouble code 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)