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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 12:56:34 AM   #1
halius
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Default M3 Manual Transmission Hard Shifting Problem

Hello, I'm hoping someone on this forum can help me with a problem I can't seem to solve.

Here is a description of the problem I'm having with my e36 M3 (1999):

I bought the car two years ago and upon buying it I noticed that the car did not shift well (you had to jam it into gear basically). I immediately took it to a mechanic who replaced the clutch, resurfaced the flywheel, and replaced the clutch slave cylinder for me. After he was done it was much much better but still hard to shift into reverse, first, and second. The mechanic told me that the problem would go away after 500 miles or so after the clutch was broken in.

Two years later...

I have also changed out the transmission fluid with some recommended on these forums (can't remember which one off the top of my head though). The car still has difficulty shifting into reverse, first, and second. If I turn off the car it will go into those gears just fine. I still drive it regularly but to get into first or second I usually either double clutch it or just push the clutch in as I'm changing gears and it usually works just fine. It's not so much a grinding, although it's been known to do that, but rather just tough to get in gear unless I work the clutch as I mentioned.

I've also noticed that when it is in 2nd gear the gear shift knob visibly vibrates.

Could this be a synchro problem? Could the mechanic not have installed my clutch properly? Shifter bushing?

As another aside I took it to the stealership a few months ago and they told me I needed a new clutch, flywheel and slave cylinder. Very frustrating to hear after I just had all these items replaced.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:06:02 AM   #2
zhp43867
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More knowledgeable people will chime in, but I'll see if I can be of some help. Have you had your transmission mounts replaced? They can cause the transmission to be misaligned when you're shifting, as you can imagine it would become very hard to shift. If you have not done the transmission or motor mounts, do them asap. That may solve your issue. I'd also switch all your shifter bushings for good measure (although I seriously doubt they are the cause), and hope that your synchros are not damaged.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:07:41 AM   #3
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So the mechanic replaced the clutch because you had a notchy shifter?

You got absolutely reamed. New shifter bushings and fluid would have done the job for $100 or less.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halius View Post
As another aside I took it to the stealership a few months ago and they told me I needed a new clutch, flywheel and slave cylinder. Very frustrating to hear after I just had all these items replaced.
Were they perhaps just basing that off of the mileage of your car and recommended service? Doubt you need new components after less than 2 years...

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Originally Posted by zhp43867 View Post
More knowledgeable people will chime in, but I'll see if I can be of some help. Have you had your transmission mounts replaced? They can cause the transmission to be misaligned when you're shifting, as you can imagine it would become very hard to shift. If you have not done the transmission or motor mounts, do them asap. That may solve your issue. I'd also switch all your shifter bushings for good measure (although I seriously doubt they are the cause), and hope that your synchros are not damaged.
probably a 99% chance it's one of those three things (motor / tranny mounts, shifter bushings).
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:15:10 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses, I'll jack up the car and check out the transmission mounts and the shifter bushings. Might even just take it and have that work done regardless, couldn't hurt.

I did replace the transmission fluid but noticed almost no difference in the shifting characteristics. One other note, the car is nearing 100k miles.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:20:44 AM   #6
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Sorry to report, but you my friend are another victim of a sketchy mechanic. NONE of that clutch work should have been done to diagnose a transmission issue.

The first thing i recommend you do is rebuild your shift linkage with all new bushings. The slop created by worn bushings will result in misalignment of the shift gates when you try and shift. Your shift forks are not moving properly as the movement of your arm on the shift lever corresponds to them when you have worn bushings.

This is the cheapest way to start looking into this and the cheapest place to start. I had this same issue, and it was completely resolved after a linkage rebuild. When you order replacement parts, ONLY order the parts in the linkage that are not metal. Eg: ball cup, plastic washers, selector shaft connector sponge, selector arm bushings, etc.

In your diagnosing, try the following too:

With the car running, put your clutch to the floor and apply light pressure to the shifter, not enough to engage that gear, just enough to put it into that shift gate and hold it under that pressure. Shut off the motor. If the gear engages, and the shifter goes forward under that same pressure upon the motor dying the problem is likely in the clutch hydraulics/mechanics somewhere. Your clutch is not fully disengaging. This could be happening because of a bad slave/master/poor slave bleeding/broken pivot pin, etc.

Last edited by WRXEATR; Thu, Jul-08-2010 at 01:29:23 AM.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:23:54 AM   #7
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Thank you so much for the responses, I really appreciate your time and knowledge. Would you guys recommend this shift bushing kit from Pelican Parts?

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/...PRJ041_pg1.htm
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:36:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halius View Post
Thank you so much for the responses, I really appreciate your time and knowledge. Would you guys recommend this shift bushing kit from Pelican Parts?

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/...PRJ041_pg1.htm
No. In fact, I advise 150% against it. It's overpriced and it includes a bunch of garbage you don't need. Pull an ETK diagram for the linkage and only order the plastic parts. It's maybe 30$ in parts.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:45:27 AM   #9
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Yeah the Pelican kit replaces some non-wear items.

I forgot mounts as well, as said tranny and engine mounts make a huge difference in shifting.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 01:51:45 AM   #10
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From here:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...13&hg=25&fg=05

You only need parts 2,4,7,8,10,14. Nothing more. Weight your selector rod while you're in there with some soldier too. This will help reduce the needed effort for throw since the added weight works with you....

http://www.understeer.com/cheapwsr.shtml
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Discussing M3 Manual Transmission Hard Shifting Problem in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)