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6spd Shifting Issues on a Newly Purchased 2003 M3

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  • 6spd Shifting Issues on a Newly Purchased 2003 M3

    Hi All - I'm a new member. Just picked up a 2003 M3 vert 6spd with 96K miles on it.

    I've noticed that the shifter has very very little resistance when pulling it to the left making it easy to go too far left and go up into reverse instead of 1st or be too far left and not be able to pull it immediately into second. The left resistance point for the reverse gate is just so weak it makes the 1 and 2 shifts much less confident and requires more finesse to place the shifter into those gears.

    Any ideas what could be contributing to it? I've had other BMW stick shift cars and I know there should be more resistance to pull through on the left to get it far enough over for reverse. Could it be something fixed with a new shifter and bushings? Or maybe the "detent" pins and springs on the transmission? Or could it be the torsion spring inside the transmission?

  • #2
    You got it. Shift pins...known issue.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TexaZ3 View Post
      You got it. Shift pins...known issue.
      I saw that it was an issue on 5spd E46 cars, but not 6spd transmissions. Does replacing the detent pins require the transmission to be dropped? I'm assuming it does to gain access to them?

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      • #4
        Yes it does. I mean, its not an issue per se, but it does happen somewhat often I guess.

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        • #5
          Start with the easy fix (and likely also necessary) first. Refresh the entire shift linkage. It isn't unheard of for there to be some issues, but it's nothing like the ZF 320Z nor as common.

          The selector joint in the refresh is the.most.critical part of the refresh (along with everything else). Do it ALL, do not cheap out.

          MSportParts | Braymond141

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post
            Start with the easy fix (and likely also necessary) first. Refresh the entire shift linkage. It isn't unheard of for there to be some issues, but it's nothing like the ZF 320Z nor as common.

            The selector joint in the refresh is the.most.critical part of the refresh (along with everything else). Do it ALL, do not cheap out.
            Ok sounds good. Would this be a good rebuild kit? Are their more components that I would need? https://www.ecstuning.com/b-assemble...5117507695kt3/

            Is rebuilding the linkage something that can be done without dropping the transmission?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MikeE46M3Vert View Post

              Ok sounds good. Would this be a good rebuild kit? Are their more components that I would need? https://www.ecstuning.com/b-assemble...5117507695kt3/

              Is rebuilding the linkage something that can be done without dropping the transmission?
              Yes, that is a good kit to buy. I would add in the OE M Performance shift lever too, but currently they are all on back order until December. The $200 Dinan lever is a good choice if you want something now.

              The transmission does not need to be dropped to perform this work.

              MSportParts | Braymond141

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              • #8
                I believe you have to drop the exhaust, though - no? Maybe you can get there without doing so, but I'm skeptical.

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                • #9
                  Here is a video of the issue: https://youtu.be/RHilNTq3ZWM

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                  • #10
                    Was this an SMG car originally and converted to manual? If so, the bellhousing conversion was done wrong.

                    MSportParts | Braymond141

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post
                      Was this an SMG car originally and converted to manual? If so, the bellhousing conversion was done wrong.

                      I decoded the vin and it was a manual from the factory (doesn’t say smg anywhere).

                      Any idea what the difference is between the detent springs and the large torsion spring inside the bellhousing? I’m assuming the issue is with one of those but not sure which. The torsion spring on inside isn’t sold as replacement so would need the transmission opened and a replacement created. The detent springs replacement kit through is commonly found online and accessible from outside the transmission.
                      Last edited by MikeE46M3Vert; 10-06-2020, 04:50 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MikeE46M3Vert View Post


                        I decoded the vin and it was a manual from the factory (doesn’t say smg anywhere).

                        Any idea what the difference is between the detent springs and the large torsion spring inside the bellhousing? I’m assuming the issue is with one of those but not sure which. The torsion spring on inside isn’t sold as replacement so would need the transmission opened and a replacement created. The detent springs replacement kit through is commonly found online and accessible from outside the transmission.
                        I honestly still feel like you should rebuild the shifter before transmission work. It's a minor task compared to opening the transmission.

                        Detents can be purchased new from the dealer. The torsion spring cannot. I have a batch I had custom made off the original. If you need one, let me know.

                        MSportParts | Braymond141

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