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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 Thu, Mar-04-2010, 01:42:24 AM   #1
Goran 46-m3
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Default Hard to shift to first and second gear

Hello everyone.

Thank god for this forum and for all the useful info that it holds...

Please write if you have/had a similar or the same problem.
When the car is cold, its very hard to get it into first and second gear, and sometimes i get a slight grinding sound when going to third gear.

Im not sure but one indy mentioned that i should replace the tranny fluid.
Im assuming its the clutch, not sure what to do really.
The car is sleeping for the winter so im not going to rush.

Anyone had any experience with this?

Thanks!!
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 02:00:46 AM   #2
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I had the same thing. I changed all shifter bushings and tranny fluid. Now it's gone.

Also try this:
Press the clutch pedal all way and put it on 1st gear as soon as the pedal touches the ground. Does it go into gear hard?

Now, press the clutch pedal all way, hold it there 3-4 seconds without touching the shifter, then put it on 1st. Does it go easier?
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 02:49:05 AM   #3
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I have the same problem..I took it into the dealer and they told me that they couldn't reproduce the problem. I have to leave it there over night so that they can try it when the car is cold.
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 03:08:52 AM   #4
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while warming up the car in the morning i just some times go through the gears. it is hard some times in the morning but as the engine warms up it loosens up
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 03:36:14 AM   #5
Goran 46-m3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boncovi View Post
I had the same thing. I changed all shifter bushings and tranny fluid. Now it's gone.

Also try this:
Press the clutch pedal all way and put it on 1st gear as soon as the pedal touches the ground. Does it go into gear hard?

Now, press the clutch pedal all way, hold it there 3-4 seconds without touching the shifter, then put it on 1st. Does it go easier?
YES!! Boncovi, i just tried it and its exactly that same symptom!!
Does this mean that the viscosity of the tranny fluid is thicker when cold and thats why the problem occurs? Seems reasonable explanation.
Which shifter bushings are you talking about exactly?
So you changed the shifter bushings and the tranny fluid and that eliminated it completely?? Because it doesn't make sense that the clutch would produce such a problem.

Thanks a lot for the response!

Last edited by Goran 46-m3; Thu, Mar-04-2010 at 03:40:07 AM.
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 04:32:27 AM   #6
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i had the same kinda of symptons...not as extreme...i took the oppurtunity to install the HPF clutch, do the CDV delete, and flush the tranny fluid...not sure which worked but it shifts very smooth...
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 04:48:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goran 46-m3 View Post
YES!! Boncovi, i just tried it and its exactly that same symptom!!
Does this mean that the viscosity of the tranny fluid is thicker when cold and thats why the problem occurs? Seems reasonable explanation.
Which shifter bushings are you talking about exactly?
So you changed the shifter bushings and the tranny fluid and that eliminated it completely?? Because it doesn't make sense that the clutch would produce such a problem.

Thanks a lot for the response!
It's very weird. My indy shop (uber-experienced in M3s) showed me this.

My car needed overall maintenance including the fluids. I was also complaining about lateral shifter play - loose shifter and trouble putting it on 1st and 2nd gears.

I thought it was caused by worn shifter bushings, so before taking the car to the indy, I bought all bushings from Tischer. Read it here.

At that time, the shop changed ALL small parts in the shifter and the tranny fluid.

When I got the car back, it was shifting excellent with no play. However, the problem with 1st and 2nd gears was STILL there.

I took a test drive and came back to the shop, complaining about the resistance in 1st and 2nd. He did the same test and told me it has something to do with the CDV and it would be perfect if I removed it.

I tried his technique that day like 10-15 times to verify it makes difference. It did. When I held the clutch for a few seconds, it shifted smoothly.

Call me crazy, but from that day on, I don't have any resistance - hesitation on 1st and 2nd. I did not change anything and I'm 100% positive it's not mental.

I am thinking about the CDV delete too, but I'm still looking for a reasonable explanation for the clutch and gears. It's most likely the CDV taking some time to respond, but it's still a myth to me.
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 05:15:49 AM   #8
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I have experienced this issue especially when its cold outside. I was also driving my friend's G35 and experienced the same difficulty as well.

This is what I did to resolve the problem:

While warming up the car when its cold outside, I step on the clutch and run the gears all the way from 1-6.

Result: Problem goes away!

Give it a try!
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 06:43:55 AM   #9
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i made a thread about this a few weeks ago.
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Old Thu, Mar-04-2010, 07:40:22 AM   #10
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funny I have always wondered about this problem since I got the my ride 3 years ago. But I also have that squeaky noise from the back of the car at low speeds sometimes.

So according to a few posts I have read, I guess new oem differential fluid will make the squeaky sounds go away and new tranny fluid (this post) will make the 1st to 2nd shifts easier and smoother, am I right?
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Discussing Hard to shift to first and second gear 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)