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Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 03-02-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
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Is it better to rebuild or buy used???

Hello all,

I am new to the site and to BMW's. Just bought my first Bimmer and am in lover for sure but the gear box/transmission needs some work. it is a 99 323i with 160k miles. Clutch is a year old, and shifter bushings are brand new. It does not shift or engage gears as smoothly as I think they should. Had a Honda Si just before and this is not near as smooth to shift.

May be synchros, or old gears or worse. So the question is to you all... Is it better to pay fora full rebuild or go for a used transmission with far fewer miles to install instead? My trusted mechanic is pushing for rebuild as he thinks I will like it much better with fewer future problems...


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Old 03-02-2012, 02:37 PM   #2
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What's the price?

If youre planning to change/rebuild the transmission, you can try changing the fluid beforehand to see if it fixes anything.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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Its possible that you have some wear in your transmission. However, keep in mind that BMW's are known for their "notchy" gearboxes. Its normal to feel almost a slight crunch or clunk in your hand as you go into gear. If your hearing those aforementioned descriptors instead of feeling them then thats another story. Honda's are much smoother feeling (not necessarily a good thing as it is nice to really feel yourself go into gear fully when driving in any performance oriented manner).

My advice is to drive another E46 that has a good transmission and see if it feels any different. Or, go to a good dealer or independant shop and have them evaluate whether they feel a rebuild/transmission change is in order.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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@ kickthencan: I like your idea of fluid change... I'm sure it could use it... thanks

@Jared: Also a solid ass idea... The 'crunch' is what got me... that did get much better after the new bushings but still feels a bit rough though it very well may be how they shift... the Honda was snikty but smooth and direct... I figure BMW should have a better feel than that..

My mechanic wants to do a rebuild as he states there are fewer complaints than a used one gets... wondering if anyone has done either or has knowledge...
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Manual trannys almost never need rebuils, dont listen to your mechanic.

You also have to remember that BMWs normally shift a bit rough, they are never smooth as butter like in some other cars. Bleed your brakes/clutch. Then inspect your slave cyl, might need to replace that aswell.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input... I amy be over reacting to the simple fact that it is shifting normal and 'm just not used to it... BTW yur Bimmer is really well done..
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