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M3 SMG stuck in neutral not shifiting

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  • M3 SMG stuck in neutral not shifiting

    Have a 2006 BMW M3 SMG with 78k miles. So had to tow car to shop last week after car refused to shift out of neutral and yellow cog wheel of death came on along with brake light. Mechanic says it is either a bad gear position switch or gear actuator. Is it worth repairing knowing that other SMG stuff can break or should I swap to a manual 6 speed conversion? Also need subframe work done. Is car worth keeping in the long run? I've owned it 10 years and only this year started having these major issues!

  • #2
    Well the very first thing you always do is read out the fault memory. As your mechanic says, it could be something as silly as a position sensor error and all it needs is a fault memory delete.

    In 2013 I had my one and only (knock on wood) SMG problem (I have an EU E36 M3 with SMG) which suddenly refused 3rd gear. From 2 it skipped straight to 4. Fault memory showed a GPS error. Delete the errpr and the problem was gone instantly and has never repeated itself since.

    It can me much more, but this is so easy to check, it's SMG fault finding 101 to check the fault memory.


    • #3
      6spd swap? Sure, if it fits your budget to do so, why not. Is 6spd what you ultimately want? Or enjoy a working smg and worth spending for.

      as for 2006 with 78k miles, markets clearly rising. It’s a car worth holding onto but to no ones offense, color combo’s matter. Transmission can be changed or repaired/replaced. Exterior cannot (without killing all value haha)

      is yours a color worth holding onto?
      Mine is also 2006, 77k miles, but zcp package with m texture interior. Very sought after combination, worth keeping and doing the subframe, vanos, smg, all the things.


      • #4
        Hey Did you get this resolved? The transmission will essentially go into safe limp mode like this if it senses anything wrong. Start as mentioned by doing a search on all the common issues. Ie: salmon relay (cheap & easy), pump & accumulator check. If not those then could be other things. Often the error codes can steer you in the wrong direction. I had this issue a long time ago. The error codes indicated by the position sensor (36, 37 IIRC). Every stealer at the time said I needed a new transmission because that's what the computer said. Me being old school, I found a mechanic who would just drop the tranny for me & the problem was obvious & simple. The clutch pivot pin in these things is made of cheap plastic. It broke, and so the actuator was hitting against the clutch pivot, preventing the clutch from actually actuating properly. So, sensors were all confused due to mechanical issue. I would do all those things before assuming you need a new transmission. Note in my case it also developed a knocking sound which was the clutch actuator hitting the actual clutch as it poked all the way through the pivot arm.

        Good luck.


        • #5
          Hi I have a similar nightmare. Just bought a 2005 645ci SMG and the fourth time I drove it, it wouldn’t shift out of neutral. The transmission shop isn’t comfortable working on it, they suggest switching two sensors: gear positioning and salmon relays.

          the car keeps having this knocking sound from the pump

          I have a photo of the leaking that they are near the gear box, but this forum is erroring out the file photo upload.