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5 speed stick shift tranny replacement

Discussion in 'Florida Suncoast Chapter' started by stevee46, Feb 13, 2016.

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    stevee46

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    Hi All,
    Hoping someone out there has some advice for me re sourcing a replacement transmission for my 2001 330ci.
    The car has had a nasty, graunchy feeling shifting up and down between gears ever since I bought it six years ago. Now, after I completed several other maintenance and update jobs, I've decided this should be the next major one to make the car more satisfying and enjoyable to drive.

    So does anyone have experience or can recommend where to start looking for a good used unit?
    I'm happy to pay shipping to Tampa Fl if necessary and have a recommended installer standing by.
    Thanks

    Steve Emburey
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    charlson89

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    Are you looking to rebuild or a used one from another vehicle?
    • Member

    stevee46

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    Hi charlson,
    Really want one from another vehicle. I have no experience personally of rebuilding and not sure if my man has either. I wonder how costs would compare also.
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    charlson89

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    That really depends on if your going to remove the trans yourself or not? If you are then the rebuild route will be cheaper since you will just drop it off a qualified trans repair shop and they do the rest and you just install it. I usually try not to install used parts on my vehicles unless I know which vehicle and condition they came from. I have used bavarian auto recyclers before and they got me the right parts and quickly. But of course it came from salvage yard so they didn't exactly use BMW technicians to remove it but part worked great.
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    MGarrison

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    If your trans is scrunchy between all gears, I don't know that this would help, but, something to try.

    If you're_not_ doing a clutch job where the trans has to come out anyway, it can't hurt to drain the trans oil and fill with Redline MTL, and see if that makes any difference, before you get into the expense of swapping out a transmission. MTL's lubrication properties have been helpful in the past in BMW transmissions, particularly a 1st-2nd gear crunch that was typical in many bimmer manual trans. in years past. If you're paying someone to do the job, considering the labor expense for a clutch job which requires pulling the trans anyway, if you can fit it into the budget, it might well be worth doing the clutch while you're at it. Then your clutch should be good to go for a very long time (depending on how you drive, of course ;) )

    Jim Blanton used to be the go-to guy for rebuilding bimmer transmissions - unfortunately, from this (see:http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?t=109606) it sounds like he had to quit that part of his business because so many trans parts have become nla or BMW-only & much more expensive. So, getting a trans rebuilt properly by someone who knows what they're doing, it's going to be so expensive, that if one were to go that route, then might as well just buy a remanufactured trans directly from BMW and have whatever warranty is given (1yr I think). I suppose a 10-15% 'CCA member parts discount which many dealers offer might be some small consolation, for that route.

    A short-shift kit is also worth considering if the trans comes out - (http://store.uucmotorwerks.com/bmw-catalog-c282.aspx)

    Along those lines, if no one's closely looked at things trans-related, a check-over there to make sure everything's doing what it should might be worthwhile, just to make sure it's transmission internals that are the issue vs. something like a clutch or throwout bearing problem. If you've been with a shop & mechanics you trust, perhaps you're already past that point, just brainstormin' here.

    A used trans is always a gamble, but, should be a good bit less than buying a reman'd unit - As Charlson mentions, there are used-parts places like Bav. Auto Salvage, I think there's another one or two that advertise in the Roundel. Ebay, craigslist, anyone parting out an E46 (search out the E46 specific groups out there - see Bimmerforums.com, bimmerfest.com, there's an enthusiast group called ZHP Mafia, not sure if they are on forums someplace, although I think they have a facebook page. Google 'BMW E46 forums' & you'll probably find some stuff).

    Obviously, the lower the mileage trans you can get, the better - doesn't do you much good to get a used one that needs to be completely rebuilt, but that's always the risk.

    Hit up your local chapter folks if they have message forums off your chapter's website, or facebook or other social media your chapter might have. If another local club member had one, that might be better than sourcing one from afar.
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    stevee46

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    Thanks for the replies and info. Coincidentally, just after buying the car I tried the very thing you suggest re Redline oil after reading about it online. I also changed the diff oil to Royal Purple.

    There was no real discernible difference in any gear selection smoothness. Lower temperatures do improve it but do not last for long here and the gate can also feel very vague at times. I think it's the result of severe abuse at some stage, perhaps a period of clutchless gear changing even.

    So, if the box is coming out there will be a new clutch and associated hardware going back in. It's just a matter of deciding which way to jump and finding new parts or a replacement I'm reasonably confident in. As the car has covered less than 78,000 miles there's plenty of life left to enjoy.

    I will enquire with my local chapter members, they usually come up with the answers, so we will see.

    Cheers

    Steve

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