BMW Tech, here the question.........
Is it possible to swap an auto tranny to manual. How many things are involved, and anythings I have to worry or insure about? Thanks.
I know is better to trade in the car, but I wanna see how many things are needed before I made the choice, and I'm planning to keep moddding the current car so trading in will not be an option.
I did this on my E36
This is a messy, difficult, expensive job. You probably know that, but here are some details:
- You need a new transmission, differential, drive shaft, pedal assembly, some interior trim, clutch line, transmission brackets.
- You will need to hack the shift interlock switch to fool the motor into thinking the selector is in park/neutral at all times.
- You will need to hack or live with an instrument cluster that throws faults every time you start the car. The 'Transmission Warning' light will be on all the time.
- This is a 'Nickle and Dime' job. You'll get very frustrated with gromets, bolts, fastiners and brackets.
- You don't want to know what BMW wants for new transmissions and differentials. There are plenty of very high quality used E46 parts out there thanks to people stuffing their cars. Use those and give them a good inspection before installing them. You will save a LOT of money. Go for a new clutch and flywheel.
Those are all some big problems with NO factory fix. Also remember, this was on a '94 E36, and the E46 has a lot more electronic components that are much more tightly integrated together. For example, I didn't need a new DME, but I think the E46 might require it. I think that is a big issue with performing mods on new BMWs, the electronics are not very complicated, but we have no tools to work with them and BMW provides very little in the way of information or advice.
In the end, the car is going to be a bit of a frankenstein (my car was coined the Dinanstein on the old BMW Digest). For me, it was worth it; I had a blown automatic transmission and the cost difference between parts was minimal and I was trashing the car anyhow. You won't be able to resell a car that you have done this to.
You probably will just want to sell the car, but if you do go for it, give Zionsville Autosport a call. They provided the parts for my conversion and they have a kit with most of what you will need. Zionsville
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