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Old 02-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #1
rsultan84
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Can't get E46 ZHP into gear. HELP!

Hi- Over the last few months, it has become harder and harder to get my E46 into gear. The problem used to be only first gear and if I just released and re-engaged the clutch or I put it in 2nd then moved to first... it would go in fine. Now. the problem affects all gears 1-5. The only one that will smoothly go in is 6th. So I have to put it in 6 and then quickly move to 1.

Alternatively, I can FORCE it in. But it seems every week it requires more and more force.

Once I'm moving, I can usually go from to 2, 3, 4, etc w/o problem. But as soon as I stop again....Same problem getting back into gear.

It is defined particularly bad on days below freezing. But this is the cars 3rd winter and this never happened before. Also, no improvement with the car warming up!

I took it to the dealer and they were like this is normal. It just happens, wait for the car to warm up (which doesn't work anyway) I refuse to believe this is normal, because I feel like I have to FORCE it into gear or go all the way to six before first.

Dealer also said the transmission fluid is fine.

Basically, If this is truly "normal". I'm not sure I can keep the car (and I love my ZHP). I'll be moving from to Boston next year (where is is much colder). I can't be fighting with my car for several months out of the year.

Oh ya, Car is under CPO til april. Trying to get dealer to figure it out (if there is a real problem) before then.

So help please!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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That definitely is not normal no matter WHAT weather you're in. I'm not a transmission expert but it sounds like the clutch isn't disengaging fully... does it exhibit the same resistance whether or not the clutch is depressed? Definitely raise hell with the dealer!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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I'm glad you agree! I keep thinking. What!?! people can't drive e46s in below 30 degrees?

Car's pressure plate and clutch were JUST changed by dealer.

Also, never tried to put it in gear with the clutch disengaged... Isn't that a bad idea?
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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Do me a favor, try this. Park the car on a flat surface, from your car look at a stationary object outside, as you are trying to get into the 1st gear do you see your car move very very very little forward as you are putting pressure?

If yes try this, as you apply pressure to go into 1st, rev the engine up, does the shifter just fall into the gear as soon as you reach ~2-3K rpm?

p.s. All this is happening while the clutch pedal is pressed in, fyi
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:08 AM   #5
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Sounds like the slave cylinder is going out. Try bleeding it
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:10 AM   #6
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I will try that later today. If, so what does that mean?

I also saw a BMW service bulletin when I was googling that suggested something similar. Try to put it into gear, then cut the engine and see if it goes right in. Not sure what that would mean.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:11 AM   #7
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Sounds like the slave cylinder is going out. Try bleeding it

Isn't that part of the clutch. Wouldn't that have been replaced when they did the clutch and pressure plate?
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:40 AM   #8
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I will try that later today. If, so what does that mean?

I also saw a BMW service bulletin when I was googling that suggested something similar. Try to put it into gear, then cut the engine and see if it goes right in. Not sure what that would mean.

To some extent this is normal. It gets more pronounced in colder temps. The residual drag from the pilot bearing keeps spinning the clutch even though the pressure plate has "detached" it from the flywheel. Replacing the transmission oil may reduce this effect as it make the internals of the transmission more "slipery" and helps you overcome this residual drag.

You certainly may have a real problem, such as a bent fork or as others fave pointed out the cylinder issue. Also, it might be helpful to bleed the system because as the brake fluid (it feeds the hydraulic clutch as well) get old/absorbs elements it gains an expansion factor and does not push the pressure plate as much as needed even though your foot is to the floor.

So I say, new fluid and bleed the line and go from there. Those are relative cheap tasks.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:44 AM   #9
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I've been having the same problem (although not as severe) with my '04 330i ZHP. Just dropped it off this morning to get the transmission fluid changed. I've read on here that changing the "lifetime" transmission fluid helps a lot. Hoping that will do the trick...
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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You checked your brake reservoir fluid lever right? I lost clutch pressure and couldn't get into gear and found a leak at the Clutch Delay Valve... Removed the CDV (which I recommend) topped off with fluid, and was good to go!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:47 AM   #11
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I've been having the same problem (although not as severe) with my '04 330i ZHP. Just dropped it off this morning to get the transmission fluid changed. I've read on here that changing the "lifetime" transmission fluid helps a lot. Hoping that will do the trick...
I think you are going to see some difference. But it will not last. Next winter you might be back to a similar issue, but not as severe.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:16 PM   #12
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I went thru the same thing. Dealer replaced clutch and flywheel. Was OK for a few weeks. Then I replaced tranny fluid with Redline ATF that made things a lot smoother
Then I removed cdv and bled flushed and bled the lines. Felt really good for about a month. Now sometimes its hard to get in gear but not terrible and other times its perfectly fine.

Also my car does that thing you said where you are looking at a stationary object then car moves going into gear. Mine does.

I've also been thinking about getting a evo3 or actives new short shift kit and seeing if that helps at all.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:25 PM   #13
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Delete that cdv and change your tranny fluid
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #14
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I have a 04 330ci ZHP. its the same case but not as bad rsultan84's. But when the weather is very cold i notices its harder to get into first gear when its from dead stop. It seems not as noticeable after the car has been driven for a while. but i think the weather have something to do with it. cause i got the car only for a month or so. when i get the car it wasnt as cold so i didnt notices much. as of now its like that every time i drive it.

the car still have CDV. with 42k miles,

Would i need to change the tranny fluid this early? i dont want this to happen next cold season.

rsultan84- can you let me know if any of the tricks works or helps out with the problem. thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsultan84 View Post
Hi- Over the last few months, it has become harder and harder to get my E46 into gear. The problem used to be only first gear and if I just released and re-engaged the clutch or I put it in 2nd then moved to first... it would go in fine. Now. the problem affects all gears 1-5. The only one that will smoothly go in is 6th. So I have to put it in 6 and then quickly move to 1.

Alternatively, I can FORCE it in. But it seems every week it requires more and more force.

Once I'm moving, I can usually go from to 2, 3, 4, etc w/o problem. But as soon as I stop again....Same problem getting back into gear.

It is defined particularly bad on days below freezing. But this is the cars 3rd winter and this never happened before. Also, no improvement with the car warming up!

I took it to the dealer and they were like this is normal. It just happens, wait for the car to warm up (which doesn't work anyway) I refuse to believe this is normal, because I feel like I have to FORCE it into gear or go all the way to six before first.

Dealer also said the transmission fluid is fine.

Basically, If this is truly "normal". I'm not sure I can keep the car (and I love my ZHP). I'll be moving from to Boston next year (where is is much colder). I can't be fighting with my car for several months out of the year.

Oh ya, Car is under CPO til april. Trying to get dealer to figure it out (if there is a real problem) before then.

So help please!
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:35 PM   #15
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Same thing happens to me every morning (winter). When the car is all warmed up, all the gears are smooth in and out.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:42 PM   #16
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Same thing happens to me every morning (winter). When the car is all warmed up, all the gears are smooth in and out.
mine does it even after its warm up but it have to be driven. seems like as the tranny fluid goes warm up it gets better.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:50 PM   #17
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mine does it even after its warm up but it have to be driven. seems like as the tranny fluid goes warm up it gets better.
There's a thread around here to properly warm up the E46. Basically, the temperature gage is of one point in the coolant (engine temp) but you still need to warm up the tranny right? I use as a general rule of thumb the Tach lights for shifting. The issue is less and less noticeable once the tranny is warmed up and it is pretty consistent with the tack lights.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:05 PM   #18
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UPDATE- I drove the car for a good 30 mins. Still intermittently getting the problem.

1. Tried to put car into gear, got stuck. I held it in place... turned off the ignition and it pops in with no additional pressure. In fact. Even at 6am when I drive to work at 15 degrees. It will move from R thru 6th all I like if the engine is off. Once it goes on. then its sticking

2. Car does not move forward (that I can notice), if I try to push it into gear on a flat surface. Though, if I rev up to 3k. It will pop in.

Here is what makes me feel the transmission fluid thing doesn't make sense. If it were the fluid, then when wouldn't be a problem if the engine is off? Also, why would it not happen all the time. I was driving home and maybe 1/3 the time it slid in no problem. The rest I was fighting and trying tricks like kill the ignition or changing to 6 first etc. I feel like if the fluid is cold and too viscous it would be continuously bad. Not smooth then near impossible to get in.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #19
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UPDATE- I drove the car for a good 30 mins. Still intermittently getting the problem.

1. Tried to put car into gear, got stuck. I held it in place... turned off the ignition and it pops in with no additional pressure. In fact. Even at 6am when I drive to work at 15 degrees. It will move from R thru 6th all I like if the engine is off. Once it goes on. then its sticking

2. Car does not move forward (that I can notice), if I try to push it into gear on a flat surface. Though, if I rev up to 3k. It will pop in.

Here is what makes me feel the transmission fluid thing doesn't make sense. If it were the fluid, then when wouldn't be a problem if the engine is off? Also, why would it not happen all the time. I was driving home and maybe 1/3 the time it slid in no problem. The rest I was fighting and trying tricks like kill the ignition or changing to 6 first etc. I feel like if the fluid is cold and too viscous it would be continuously bad. Not smooth then near impossible to get in.
Your argument about the fluid is logical. Believe me, I've been through this with my M3 and it took a lot of convincing from my mechanic to leave the transmission alone (he is that awesome, he'll refuse to take my money if he doesn't believe there is a problem). What I have learned about the fluid, it's not that the fluid is going to affect this problem, what the fresh fluid does it reduces the metal to metal friction that you are "fighting" to get the shifter into place. Do you know what I mean? It's like you are getting help to get the shifter into the gear. The fact that this problem isn't consistent comes from the fact that if the teeth in the transmission happen to be in the right place at the right time the engagement will be better then other times.

I don't want to claim that you don't actually have a problem, because you might. But I am suggesting going the easy/cheap route first before you get further in. There are a number of things that can cause this issue, bad pressure plate, clutch, form, bearings, etc. All those will be costly to diagnose.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:18 PM   #20
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Guys, remember this thing is under CPO according to the OP... I highly suggest you take it back and press the issue til its resolved. There's no reason you should have to rev to 3k rpm to get in gear. thats ridiculous. Something wasnt done right!
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