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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 06-18-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
roadtrip1098
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SMGII Troubleshooting guide

So far I have helped many people fix their SMG's through troubleshooting via PM's and locally through test driving and reading codes. This guide is for people that do not have access to the dealer software. I highly recommend that you get your codes read by someone with the appropriate software regardless of what this thread identifies as the issue. I make no guarantees that this thread will be correct 100% of the time, as with any troubleshooting, this offers a "best guess"

Go out to your car after it's cooled down.
Stand next to it.
Hit the unlock button.

Do you hear the SMG pump priming?

No - Best guess is the Salmon Relay (~$10)

Yes -
How long does the pump run before it shuts off?

More than 10 seconds - Points to a low battery or bad accumulator (Battery ~$120) (Accumulator ~$Life savings)

Less than 10 seconds - Good news. The really expensive stuff seems to be ok.
Get in your car and put it in "N" with your foot on the brakes, start your car.

Car does not shift to "N" - Most likely the actuator, but could also be the brake pedal sensor.

Car shifts to "N" and starts.

Shift to "1" or "R"
"N" Flashes or car selects "2" instead of "1"- Bad Gear Position Sensor (~$300)
"1" or "R" Flashes - Hood or door sensor is most likely (DIY resistor fix ~$15) or Compression Spring (~$20)


The car shifts into the selected gear. Go for a drive.
Car shudders when taking off - perform SMG soft reset get above 40 MPH, shift to "N", pull back both paddles for about 10 seconds, shift back into gear. (~$0)

Continue driving.
Car is not shifting to 1st at stops - Gear Position Sensor
Only usable gears are R,2,5 and 6 - Gear Position Sensor (~$300)
Car will sometimes miss shifts randomly for the same gears - Broken Compression Spring (~$20)
Car drives fine, but then after a while the gearbox light comes on and it shifts to "N" - Hydraulic fluid temperature sensor issue search forums for the resistor fix. (~$30)
When hitting shifter paddle, nothing happens but car shifts fine using stick - Bad Paddle Switch Recommend replacing both

Go home and relax, if none of this happened, you're probably going to be okay.

A few tips-
1. Always make sure you have a fully charged battery.
2. Buy Salmon relays in pairs (sometimes you get a bad one and a spare is better than waiting for shipping).
3. Invest in a code scanner, even a simple cheap one can be helpful.
4. Make friends with someone that has better code scanning equipment like DIS/SSS/PROGMAN ect.

Open to suggestions for improving this thread. Will continue to edit this post as required.

- Added prices for most common fixes, DIY of course. The SMG is fairly inexpensive to own, especially considering the added clutch life from flawless shifting.

Last edited by roadtrip1098; 10-25-2012 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Added some info, price estimates for DIY
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #2
bmdubalicious
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I'm not an M3 owner but many thanks for posting this. I love when fanatics contribute for the greater good.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
roadtrip1098
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You should see the pages of notes and troubleshooting that were gone through to come up with that.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:05 AM   #4
time46m3
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Much appreciated. The soft reset seems to have fixed my shutting at start. What exactly does this do in the computer?
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:49 AM   #5
choxor
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Just an FYI

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=231113
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
Forcfed93
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What about when you shift into 1 or R and it flashes while making a "thunk" type sound like it's trying to engage? The after about a minute it throws a light and the code shows "Gear not selectable".
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:39 AM   #7
roadtrip1098
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forcfed93 View Post
What about when you shift into 1 or R and it flashes while making a "thunk" type sound like it's trying to engage? The after about a minute it throws a light and the code shows "Gear not selectable".
There are two possibilities. First would be the compression springs in the transmission. They are fairly easy to replace and inexpensive. Secondly it could be the gear position sensor, but if the issue is with R as well as 1, I'd go for the springs first.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:00 AM   #8
Forcfed93
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Just an update. I had the compression spring purchased already and decided to just go ahead and tackle it because it would need to be fixed regardless of the not going into gear issue.

Well, I checked all of the springs while I was in there. The one under the bolt was good (as was the steel ball). The one under the plate on the other side towards the top (actually 3 springs in there) were all good.

The one under the steel plug... Well, I'll just post a picture.



That little spring not only affects high speed shifting, but when it loses all pressure, it won't even allow it to go into gear. The pieces were actually coiled into itself so it effectively made the spring shorter, losing all pressure.

Smooth as silk now and it only cost me $20 for everything (shipping too).
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:41 AM   #9
roadtrip1098
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Glad to hear it! Very valuable information and thanks for posting the picture.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #10
bmwknightm3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadtrip1098 View Post
So far I have helped many people fix their SMG's through troubleshooting via PM's and locally through test driving and reading codes. This guide is for people that do not have access to the dealer software. I highly recommend that you get your codes read by someone with the appropriate software regardless of what this thread identifies as the issue. I make no guarantees that this thread will be correct 100% of the time, as with any troubleshooting, this offers a "best guess"

Go out to your car after it's cooled down.
Stand next to it.
Hit the unlock button.

Do you hear the SMG pump priming?

No - Best guess is the Salmon Relay (~$10)

Yes -
How long does the pump run before it shuts off?

More than 10 seconds - Points to a low battery or bad accumulator (Battery ~$120) (Accumulator ~$Life savings)

Less than 10 seconds - Good news. The really expensive stuff seems to be ok.
Get in your car and put it in "N" with your foot on the brakes, start your car.

Car does not shift to "N" - Most likely the actuator, but could also be the brake pedal sensor.

Car shifts to "N" and starts.

Shift to "1" or "R"
"N" Flashes or car selects "2" instead of "1"- Bad Gear Position Sensor (~$300)
"1" or "R" Flashes - Hood or door sensor is most likely (DIY resistor fix ~$15)


The car shifts into the selected gear. Go for a drive.
Car shudders when taking off - perform SMG soft reset get above 40 MPH, shift to "N", pull back both paddles for about 10 seconds, shift back into gear. (~$0)

Continue driving.
Car is not shifting to 1st at stops - Gear Position Sensor
Only usable gears are R,2,5 and 6 - Gear Position Sensor (~$300)
Car will sometimes miss shifts randomly for the same gears - Broken Compression Spring (~$20)
Car drives fine, but then after a while the gearbox light comes on and it shifts to "N" - Hydraulic fluid temperature sensor issue search forums for the resistor fix. (~$30)
When hitting shifter paddle, nothing happens but car shifts fine using stick - Bad Paddle Switch Recommend replacing both

Go home and relax, if none of this happened, you're probably going to be okay.


Open to suggestions for improving this thread. Will continue to edit this post as required.

- Added prices for most common fixes, DIY of course. The SMG is fairly inexpensive to own, especially considering the added clutch life from flawless shifting.
So I did this mod: Car drives fine, but then after a while the gearbox light comes on and it shifts to "N" - Hydraulic fluid temperature sensor issue search forums for the resistor fix. (~$30)

but car still drops me into Neutral - Why do ppl do that mod? And how much is the hydro temp sensor anyways? Maybe I should just buy that piece? If it is attached to the SMG pump then my pump is new and I dont see how it would already be failing... PLEASE HELP!
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
roadtrip1098
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwknightm3 View Post
So I did this mod: Car drives fine, but then after a while the gearbox light comes on and it shifts to "N" - Hydraulic fluid temperature sensor issue search forums for the resistor fix. (~$30)

but car still drops me into Neutral - Why do ppl do that mod? And how much is the hydro temp sensor anyways? Maybe I should just buy that piece? If it is attached to the SMG pump then my pump is new and I dont see how it would already be failing... PLEASE HELP!
It honestly could be a host of different things. The temp sensor is just the most common issue associated with that behavior. Have you had your cars codes read yet?

To answer the question though, people do the mod because the temp sensor is prone to failing, so why replace a failure prone part with another failure prone part? The resistor mod is less expensive and more relieble.

Last edited by roadtrip1098; 10-31-2012 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:58 AM   #12
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Awesome post for SMG owners! Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:14 AM   #13
KashM3
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thanks dude.....great summary to shed some light on painless troubleshooting!

I've read your previous posts. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
bmech211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forcfed93 View Post
Just an update. I had the compression spring purchased already and decided to just go ahead and tackle it because it would need to be fixed regardless of the not going into gear issue.

Well, I checked all of the springs while I was in there. The one under the bolt was good (as was the steel ball). The one under the plate on the other side towards the top (actually 3 springs in there) were all good.

The one under the steel plug... Well, I'll just post a picture.



That little spring not only affects high speed shifting, but when it loses all pressure, it won't even allow it to go into gear. The pieces were actually coiled into itself so it effectively made the spring shorter, losing all pressure.

Smooth as silk now and it only cost me $20 for everything (shipping too).
This is an issue that can also show up by failing the full adaptation, even though all gears may be selectable when driving. It causes a gear position implausible error which means there's not enough spring pressure on the locking pin, thus the shift rod actuates to far. The gear position sensor picks up on this when comparing all the other shift values; Mainly 6th and 5th, as the test usually fails by 4th gear.

The extent of what occurs when this spring goes out can vary from not being able to select gears when driving to what I've mentioned above, in regards to failing full adaptation. That's usually the point where everyone starts scratching their heads and some may go to lands end throwing every part at the trans trying to narrow down the fix.

Moral of the post: Replace the $5.00 spring and $17.00 locking pin first. If you're doing this on the car I suggest also picking up a blind plug as well so you'll have no apprehension about destroying the old one when removing it. Makes life easier!!
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Last edited by bmech211; 11-10-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:33 AM   #15
that1987
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first of all:

My m3 will jitter or buckle when I take off from driveways, stop lights or change lanes in traffic. Feels like i am riding a bull. I have to drive super soft and slow to prevent it from doing this problem.

2nd. When I am shifting from 4th to 5th and to 6th it gets stuck and I loose power and the gas pedal wont respond. I am driving on the freeway and I start to slow down traffic pretty embaragssing.

3rd the damn transmission light comes on on the far right and I cannot shift past 2nd gear and so I have to pull over and turn the car off.

ANy help would help thanks.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:49 AM   #16
bmwknightm3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by that1987 View Post
first of all:

My m3 will jitter or buckle when I take off from driveways, stop lights or change lanes in traffic. Feels like i am riding a bull. I have to drive super soft and slow to prevent it from doing this problem.

2nd. When I am shifting from 4th to 5th and to 6th it gets stuck and I loose power and the gas pedal wont respond. I am driving on the freeway and I start to slow down traffic pretty embaragssing.

3rd the damn transmission light comes on on the far right and I cannot shift past 2nd gear and so I have to pull over and turn the car off.

ANy help would help thanks.
sounds like a bad combination of transmission and battery
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:49 AM   #17
rjskalet
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Another suggestion if anyone is having a problem with their smg is reset the adaptations for it via BMW tools. Usually when I have problems I can reset it and it will go away especially for the "bull riding" issue stated above. I notice this driving in the city from all the bumps that the car will start hopping like someone who doesn't know how to drive a manual.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:24 AM   #18
roadtrip1098
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Other solutions for the bucking issue -
- Do the soft reset (the 40 MPH, N, Pull in both paddles trick)
- Drive in S3 until the car is warmed up
- Make sure Sport is off
- This can also occur when any range of sensors are not putting out the right signals, namely the MAF sensor.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:16 PM   #19
M3MATE
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The problem with mine is the gear change is pretty slow and when I change from 3rd to 4th above 3500rpm it won't go into 4th it just keeps flashing and I have to come off the gas and then it will select 4th.
Any ideas??
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:30 AM   #20
roadtrip1098
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That sounds like the compression springs to me. Good news is that it's inexpensive to fix. Bad news is that it's a PITA to get to. If that doesn't fix it, you'll probably be looking at a gear position sensor before long.
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