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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

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 02-08-2013, 11:57 AM   #1
JinormusJ
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 4
My Ride: 1989 325iS
School Me on 6-Speeds

I'm looking to do a 6-speed swap in my e30

After looking around and seeing the best options, I have come to the conclusion the e46 330i or M3 transmissions will be what I' m using. (hence why I'm here). So here comes where I need the knowledge of the board to help me out. Common knowledge serves that the two trannies are made by two different companies; ZF and Getrag, and go into the 330i and M3 respectively

Now, I'm looking to find out which one is better:
The ZF has a looser gearing ratio, but I've been reading it is more reliable as apposed to the Getrag (this needs to be confirmed)
The Getrag has a much tighter gearing ratio and a lower final drive, but I've heard horror stories of M3 guys blowing their 6 speeds and doing ZF/5-speed swaps in favor of the durability.

Here are the specs:

Getrag 260 (e30 Transmission)
|1st| 3.83 |2nd| 2.20 |3rd| 1.40 |4th| 1.00 |5th| 0.81


ZF GS6-37BZ
|1st| 4.35 |2nd| 2.50 |3rd| 1.66 |4th| 1.23 |5th| 1.00 |6th| 0.85


Getrag 420g
|1st| 4.23 |2nd| 2.51 |3rd| 1.67 |4th| 1.23 |5th| 1.00 |6th| .83


While I'm looking to put out figures a little shy less of a stock s54, I was just wondering which one would you guys recommend? Personally, I like the ZF for durability, because I've heard how much 6-speeds rebuild can run, but the nice closer ratio and lower final drive of the Getrag would be cool just to have
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:07 PM   #2
TerraPhantm
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mountain Top
Posts: 5,942
My Ride: 2005 M3 Coupe
I don't think the ZF is any more reliable than the Getrag. It's certainly not rated for nearly as much torque. The M3 one should be far more durable, as it's the same transmission that's in the E39 M5. The only reason M3 racers do 5-speed swaps is because they're lighter and easier to find spare parts for (on a race car, you will go through a few synchros). As far as I know, the synchros are a bit weak on the ZF transmission. 2nd gear tends to bind

I have never heard of a street M3 with a 5-speed swap.

Last edited by TerraPhantm; 02-10-2013 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #3
JinormusJ
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Sweet, thanks for the info; exactly what I was looking for
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
MikeyV89
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 34
My Ride: 2001 330i
When I look to buy e46's I only look for BMW's (last 2 e46's I bought I did this with) with Getrag tranny's because I have only heard they are the best compared to ZF as well I like the gearing feel better.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #5
Blocked Out
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My Ride: Imola 330i M-Sport
Getrag 420g is much more durable and reliable then zf. Plus it gives you a much greater clutch selection.
The stories you heard could be of individual people and may not apply to you in any way. If a couple of guys had a problem it doesnt mean that the trans is bad.
Now,about those who swap a getrag 6mt fot a 5mt zf are those who want to save weight in competitive racing. I personally now of a guy who did just that.he swapped his getrag6mt for a zf5mt in order to save weight because in the type of racing he does he never needed to go into 6th gear

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