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Warm shifter

Discussion in 'E36 M3 (1995-1999)' started by chicane, Sep 6, 2008.

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    chicane

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    I have an e36 M3. I noticed today that after driving a little while the bottom of my shift knob was a little warm. I lay the top of my hand on the shift boot and it was also warm. When I pulled up shift boot and put my hand on the shifter itself it was fairly warm. Has anyone else had this occur with them and is it normal?
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    steven s

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    My ti is like that. I don't remember it being like that before either. It's like heat is being directed right underneath the boot. I can't believe it's normal.
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    chicane

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    I agree. Do you remember when this changed such as a fluid change or re-alignment of the vent ducts?
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    az3579

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    That's normal. It's just the heat from the bottom coming up, probably due to a cracked or deteriorated insulation boot under the shift boot. I don't even have one, and on hotter days or on days that I run the car for longer periods of time, the shift boot gets warm, naturally because it's leather and because there's no insulation between it and the hole in the console.
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    steven s

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    Nothing has changed. :confused:
    Haven't replaced the fluid in over a year. I'm going to pull the cover and take a peek. Maybe remove the boot and insulation and drive around a bit. It doesn't bother me, I just hope it's not a bigger problem developing. At +245,000 miles, I may need to start taking it easy. :)
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    chicane

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    The insulation and boot are like brand new. The car has very low miles. I took my other M out for a drive today. Got her warmed up, pulled the boot and the shifter was ice cold. I'm telling you, a shifter getting this warm is NOT normal.
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    chicane

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    Can someone who has an infrared thermometer test the temps of the shifter after a good city/highway drive? I did mine and I got temps between 125-135 degrees and that is too high. Thanks.
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    Brian A

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    Take it into a shop ASAP.

    I looked up a diagram of your shift mechanism on realoem.com:
    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.do?model=BG93&mospid=47488&hg=25&fg=05

    It appears to be just like the E30 shift system, which I am familiar with.

    If that is the case, the shift mechanism is quite isolated from any heat producing parts and it is unlikely that heat is being conducted down the shift mechanism from the transmission.

    If it really is hot, it is possible that there is an exhaust leak blowing hot exhaust gas onto the shift lever.

    A technician should be able to figure out whats going on pretty easily when s/he gets it up on a hoist. Maybe its nothing; maybe its imminent carbon monoxide poisoning. It sound to me like it is worth getting it checked.
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    mooseheadm5

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    135 is enough to burn you. It is not normal. Mine gets toasty warm, but not so I have to pull my hand back. Something is getting waay too hot, possibly the cats. Any performance issues? Any shifting issues? Check engine light?
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    chicane

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    Problem Solved

    It was indeed the transmission fluid. It was about a quarter of a quart low. Thanks for all of the advice.

    Rickbee guest

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    thx for the tip i have just joined the club but have been wondering about the same little bit of warmth i am feeling and i know i need a fluid change. my E30 is at over 227,000 miles. Also mooseheadm5 i can feel a delay on my car shifting is the because the fluids need the change or a deeper problem?
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    mooseheadm5

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    What year, model, and transmission? What do you mean by delay?
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    chicane

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    Maybe I spoke too soon. It did cool down but it is still running too hot. I have a spare VDO oil gauge. How can I use it to see the transmission oil temps?
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    CRKrieger

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    Come on, people! Think about it!

    The transmission tunnel is right behind the engine bay and a significant portion of the hot air that exits that area must go down the tunnel. Why do you think there is an insulating ring in there? Because the boot alone is deemed not to be enough. My boot is torn all to pieces, so I get a significant amount of heat to my shifter, but get this: It's also speed dependent. Around town, it can get pretty hot, but on the highway, it cools down. It depends on how much cooler air is getting in there.

    As for the trans fluid being a half liter low, I cannot believe that would make any measurable difference. Thermally, the transmission is completely isolated from the shifter. There's nylon bushings in there, so heat from the transmission cannot get to your shifter any more directly than the engine heat does. In fact, it probably doesn't at all. Your upper shifter is also isolated from the ball part of the linkage below it by a rubber sleeve.

    The bottom line is, quit panicking. It's perfectly normal and nothing is in imminent danger of self-destructing. Just drive it.
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    mooseheadm5

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    I don't think it is trans fluid either, but if it is getting hot enough to scald you, maybe some of the insulation in the tunnel area is gone or the cats are overheating. Mine gets hot, but not so hot I can't keep my hand on it, before or after I had a boot or any foam around that area in the car (325ti.) My E30s have never gotten very hot.

    Rickbee guest

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    1987 325 automatic
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    mooseheadm5

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    This was basically a thread about manual transmissions. First things first, check your transmission fluid level. You must do this while it is idling in Park. If the level is good and the transmission slips or hesitates when shifting, you need to have it serviced before you can tell if there is a deeper problem.
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    chicane

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    I got a check coolant notification on my on board computer. I topped off the coolant. It wasn't way low but definitely a little low. That in addition to the low tranny fluid and I haven't felt any more warm shifter.

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