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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #1
Zell
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Sometimes hard to get into first gear from neutral (Solved)

Strange problem that I've had since owning the car.

Sometimes at a dead-stop, I'll put the car in neutral. When I go to shift into first, the shifter won't go in! It's like it goes in half-way and hits a wall and won't get in there. If I move it into 2nd then 1st a couple of times, or even 3rd, it tends to loosen up and allow the shifter to move into place. It does not do this all the time, just completely randomly. This does this on occasion with reverse as well, but is much less common.

What could cause this? Would changing the transmission fluid help? My mom's Porsche is a 2005 and has about 50k miles, and it sometimes does the same thing.

Solved:

Turns out this is a thing that just happens on occasion to manual transmissions, changing fluid helps with it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:55 PM   #2
wildirish317
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I haven't had this problem, but I would offer to trade my car with your Mom's for a few years.....
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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It's a base Boxster, my E46 is faster

But boy the gearbox in that thing is sublime. Very, very short throw and smooth as butter to use.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
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I've had this exact same problem, but only with first. All I have to do is let the clutch out and push back in. Then I can easily shift into first. It only happens after start up and occurs once every month or so.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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I've experienced this with just about every manual transmission car I've ever driven. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I think it's just the way the syncros/gears happened to be positioned at that exact moment. I wouldn't at all be concerned. I'd say this happens to me about once a month?? it can be awkward at a stop light. your transmission fluid should be changed anyway
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by hcollins View Post
I've had this exact same problem, but only with first. All I have to do is let the clutch out and push back in. Then I can easily shift into first. It only happens after start up and occurs once every month or so.
Same here, I've just learned to deal with it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:55 AM   #7
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1st gear engagement fix
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #8
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i usually quickly throw it in 2nd then to up to first everytime from a dead stop and it works great that way.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:34 AM   #9
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Anyone else have a problem in which the shifter leans to the right a bit at start up but fixes itself later presumably after the car and transmission have warmed up. Usually when the lever is in neutral it is between 3 and 4, but with this issue, it is pushed over in line with 5. This is not a big problem but shifting into third becomes tough because I have to find it first.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:40 AM   #10
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i usually quickly throw it in 2nd then to up to first everytime from a dead stop and it works great that way.
This is what do and it generally works no problem. I did just also flush my transmission fluid and shifting is smoother but it still does this occasionally.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:19 AM   #11
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Mine dos this every once in a while. Mostly when its cold. Like others said it's pretty commen. I replaced my clutch and everything about 4k ago and still does it. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:55 AM   #12
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Good to know that it's not a sign of transmission failure. I'm going to do my transmission fluid soon, hopefully it will at least help. Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcollins View Post
Anyone else have a problem in which the shifter leans to the right a bit at start up but fixes itself later presumably after the car and transmission have warmed up. Usually when the lever is in neutral it is between 3 and 4, but with this issue, it is pushed over in line with 5. This is not a big problem but shifting into third becomes tough because I have to find it first.
Yeah it's some spring inside the trans sticking. Can't remember what it's called but its common and I have it too. Super annoying and makes me suck at driving while my car is cold.

It's fixable but I think it's difficult. Try searching its been covered.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:28 AM   #14
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have the same issue sometimes.. i thought it may be something to do with the links and you mounts. guess i can stop wondering now

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:31 AM   #15
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very normal on all manual cars. usually if you just let go of the brake and roll back or forward ever so slightly, it will go in gear like butter. usually putting it in second and then back in first should work though. basically dont worry about it, there is nothing wrong with your car as far as this topic goes.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
Yeah it's some spring inside the trans sticking. Can't remember what it's called but its common and I have it too. Super annoying and makes me suck at driving while my car is cold.

It's fixable but I think it's difficult. Try searching its been covered.
Yep. That's been discussed for nearly a decade on the forums. There's a 250+ page thread either on m3f or bf.c. from 2007ish? I forget. anyway the trans needs to be dropped and you need a special tool set. The parts themselves for the fix are like $20.

My particular trans is VERY resistant to this. my 98 M3 was worse. I think its just a matter of age. basically do it when you do the clutch.

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:37 AM   #17
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Happens to me also. Like afstud, I just throw it into 2nd then back into first and it works 100% of the time for me.

On a side note, it used to happen in my parents brand new Lexus as well, so I wasn't too shocked when it happened again on my E46.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:39 AM   #18
shahbaz99
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Originally Posted by hcollins View Post
Anyone else have a problem in which the shifter leans to the right a bit at start up but fixes itself later presumably after the car and transmission have warmed up. Usually when the lever is in neutral it is between 3 and 4, but with this issue, it is pushed over in line with 5. This is not a big problem but shifting into third becomes tough because I have to find it first.
ive had that issue since day one of E46 ownership. Its called the detent pin i think. once the car warms up after 5 min it goes away. basically dont put it into the right side until the car is warm or else your going to have the annoying sticky shifter for a few minutes. My very experienced mechanic said its not worth replacing until you need a new clutch because you have to drop the tranny to get to it. my car has 200,000km(120k miles) on it and the original clutch still feels tight and strong, gonna be awhile lol.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:04 AM   #19
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I'm wondering if doing all of the detent bushings/pins in the trans would fix the difficulties going into 1st/2nd gear. I plan on replacing them all when I do my clutch next year using this kit:
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...mw-zfdetentkit

The hard part will be finding/making the tools to get this done.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:31 PM   #20
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Change the oil. That fixes the majority of the can't get into first comments
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