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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 11-29-2010, 01:48 PM   #1
Ecaace
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SMG to Manual Conversion question

I will soon be having my M3 converted from an SMG to a manual. The pump has gone twice, as well as teh actuator, and at the end of the day, I'm done with SMG.
Can anyone point me to what I should be expecting to be left over after the conversion? As in, the SMG pump, the SMG transmission (will be getting a manual to replace it), the shifter nob, the cluster will be replaced. Can anyone out there who knows more than me possibly shed some light on what I should expect after this.
Anyone had this done ?
PS: It is being done at an indie shop that has done conversions before, so I trust their abilities to do so, I'm just looking to find out what I should be expecting in sellable parts, and any issues that I might have to watch out for after the conversion.
Thanks
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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Wait, something does not add up here. If the pump went bad, how would you be able to sell that? You will obviously have the entire trans left over afterwards. Are they swapping the ecu? The software for SMG and manual are different in some respects.

How much is this costing, if you don't mind me asking? I cannot see how this would ever be cost effective, especially when you are also buying a new/salvage manual transmission. I would think this would cost well into five figures even with used parts. I mean, you are going to need a new master cylinder, full trans with slave cylinder, new or reprogrammed ECU, linkage, shifter, clutch pedal assembly, plus all the labor. Not to mention things like changing the clutch/pressure plate, pilot bearing, and all the other stuff while you are in there.

While I have heard stories of people wanting to do a "swap" I have never seen nor heard of anyone who actually did it. With what our cars are now worth, it just makes no financial sense.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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with what our cars are now worth, it just makes no financial sense.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:30 PM   #5
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You don't need a new trans, they're the same
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
Ecaace
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@dcf
" If the pump went bad, how would you be able to sell that? "
Well Noted- The pump is out as far as re-sale

"Are they swapping the ecu? The software for SMG and manual are different in some respects."
They are re-programming the ECU to my knowledge, or possibly swapping.

"How much is this costing"
The answer to that is a long one that isn't worth going into, but about $2000 out of pocket.

"You are going to need a new master cylinder, full trans with slave cylinder, new or reprogrammed ECU, linkage, shifter, clutch pedal assembly, plus all the labor. Not to mention things like changing the clutch/pressure plate, pilot bearing, and all the other stuff while you are in there."
Yes, all this is being acquired from a Manual M that is coming into the shop for parts.

"With what our cars are now worth, it just makes no financial sense."
It's an '02 M3 SMG vert with a long history of SMG related problems, atm without a $1500 pump, its worth about 12k, so in my eyes, a 2k switch over, along with posisbly sellling my remaining parts, seems very financially sensible.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:52 PM   #7
Ecaace
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Originally Posted by talontid View Post
You don't need a new trans, they're the same
They are ESSENTIALLY the same, there are a few big enough issues that with a swap, getting a manual trans to swap is tossed up as a viable option. For one, in the DIY about a swap like that, the guy had to utilize a machine shop to create parts just in order to re-create the spring back to neutral of the shifter. That along with a few key sensors, makes ripping out and selling my nearly brand new SMG tranny (longer story), seem like a viable idea.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:40 PM   #8
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Fix it, then sell it, buy something that you'll be able to someday sell too.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:08 PM   #9
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Fix it, then sell it, buy something that you'll be able to someday sell too.
+1 on that. Fix it, and just sell it and get another one in manual...or just be godlike and get an E30
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
Ecaace
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What would an SMG transmission with about 50 (yes fifty miles) on it be worth?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:17 PM   #11
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Tough to say. A reman one from BMW is over $6k. I just bought a salvage one with 43k on it for around $1,700. It would be somewhere in between. The hard part would be getting someone to believe that yours really has that few miles on it.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:41 PM   #12
Ecaace
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I have the bill from BMW when they installed it, as well as my mileage noted then, and my current mileage, shouldn't be to hard to convince any buyer

okay any others have estimates? I'd be happy with around 1800.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:52 PM   #13
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Bump! Updates? How's the car running? Did you end up swapping transmissions or just remove the smg parts?
Just curious..
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:27 AM   #14
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Bump! Updates? How's the car running? Did you end up swapping transmissions or just remove the smg parts?
Just curious..
Ditto...curious.

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Old 03-02-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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This is my first post and was hoping for more conclusive answers to changing my E46M3 SMG to manual. I'm in south Africa and know of a few such conversions but want to be fully informed before parting with hard earned money.
It seems the only big issue is the selector arrangement and of course the manual hydraullics and pedal but I cant establish how difficult and expensive this is to modify.Does it make more sense to fit a manual box etc? Obviously there will be soft ware mods aswell.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:20 PM   #16
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My first concern with using someone's USED manual trans, is you have no idea what condition the synchros are in.. and these transmissions aren't feasible to rebuild.

I plan on using my transmission I have now, and pay for the machine work, because I know my gear synchros are in good condition.

$2000 is a little on the low side, I'd say closer to $2700-$3000 for a reputable shop that has done it before, like Performance Technic.

I don't understand why people say this; "With what our cars are now worth, it just makes no financial sense." Why? I assume most poeple who do this swap intend to keep their M for a very long time like me. My ZCP is worth about $26K, I'm not making the connection for that statement.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:37 AM   #17
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A $26K car is not particularly expensive in this day and age, and the real question is whether it is worth putting thousands of dollars into an after-market conversion that will not enhance the value of the car, when a smaller investment (to replace the pump) would give you a better return. While 6 speed manual M3's now command a premium, that hasn't always been the case. Moreover, a car that has been converted will never have the same value as one that came from BMW with a manual transmission. While the difference may be relatively small, given the relatively low prices for our cars, it does exist. All things being equal, an M3 that came from the factory with a 6 speed manual will command a higher price than an otherwise equal M3 that was delivered with the SMG and was subsequently converted. The cost to the owner will be higher, since the SMG initially was an optional extra, and the conversion will cost additional money.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:22 AM   #18
John 3:16
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After reading Roadtrip 1098s thread on SMG complaints Im inspired to rethink changing to manual. However no one in South Africa has mentioned replacing compression springs and they are definately not available from agents in this country so where can I source them? Unfortunately the spares are extremeley expensive here and no one seems to know much about the hydraulics let alone how to fix.This is why my thoughts are to convert to manual and make the vehicle reliable.Whats the point of an unreliable vehicle and selling is not an option. I would have to dig deep to replace with something as good performance wise.Perhaps Im a true E46 M3 fanaticand are we a dying breed Seriously is SMG viable, long term ? The threads on this forum have not convinced me either way as no one reports having solved SMG problems by Roadtrip1098s suggestions and the one chap who says he intends modifying to manual hasnt reported back yet.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:04 PM   #19
John 3:16
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Originally Posted by Ecaace View Post
I will soon be having my M3 converted from an SMG to a manual. The pump has gone twice, as well as teh actuator, and at the end of the day, I'm done with SMG.
Can anyone point me to what I should be expecting to be left over after the conversion? As in, the SMG pump, the SMG transmission (will be getting a manual to replace it), the shifter nob, the cluster will be replaced. Can anyone out there who knows more than me possibly shed some light on what I should expect after this.
Anyone had this done ?
PS: It is being done at an indie shop that has done conversions before, so I trust their abilities to do so, I'm just looking to find out what I should be expecting in sellable parts, and any issues that I might have to watch out for after the conversion.
Thanks
Please report back --- did you do the transmission swop and was it successful?
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:55 AM   #20
John 3:16
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Yes I did the swop and have not looked back since.I found a complete manual transmission but the existing transmission can be used however the belhousing needs some changes and a manual shifter has to be installed. Clutch pedal and clutch fluid lines from any E46 are suitable.You need the clutch fork aswell This is probably the bigest job as the dash is to be removed to install lines in the correct position.Mods to ECU also required and make sure they connect the cruise control (MY CAR MUST GO BACK FOR THIS).
Unfortunately I"m in South Africa so I cant put you in touch with my tuner.
Before the swop I was nervous it would let me down and it became a stressful situation particully on long trips.
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