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Old 03-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
Teddy7
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Getrag auto > ZF 330i manual trans

I really would like to convert my auto GM with the ZF 330i trans. It seems like this is one of the strongest e46 non-m transmissions, so that is why I'm planning on using it. I'm just curious what I would need to do just to get the car cranked up and driving (assuming all manual parts have already been installed). Would i still be able to just jump the pins on the trans module and crank up the car to drive it around?
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Teddy7 View Post
I really would like to convert my auto Getrag with the ZF 330i trans. It seems like this is one of the strongest e46 non-m transmissions, so that is why I'm planning on using it. I'm just curious what I would need to do just to get the car cranked up and driving (assuming all manual parts have already been installed). Would i still be able to just jump the pins on the trans module and crank up the car to drive it around?
Search for auto to manual conversions. Several people have done it. You just need to recode your car's computers to manual modes assuming you have installed all the mechanical parts. From my research, I've found that it's about $2000-$3000 depending on parts sources (used/new drive shaft) and what you can do yourself.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:59 PM   #3
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I have already searched, but I can't find one with a conversion from auto GM to ZF manual. Maybe the process is exactly the same, idk, but I figured I would ask here about any critical information before I begin the swap and run into a hiccup. I can do the whole swap myself, and for $500, I already found a complete swap of parts from a 02 330i. The clutch/flywheel are included in this price, but were given away with the motor. The seller (a junkyard owner) said I can wait to grab these from a low mile e46 whenever one comes in. That way the full swap will only cost me $500 plus the PM parts I decide to replace which will most likely include flex disc, CB, shift pin kit, trans mount bushings, and others I am forgetting to mention. I've been waiting for a good deal like this for a lonnggg time. I knew making the swap happen for far less than 2,000-3000 was possible if I was patient enough. My girlfriends dad owns a lift and all the tools I could possibly need, so that adds to the convenience of this swap. I am just mostly concerned with getting the car driving as quickly as possible after the mechanical side of the swap. I am not interested in fixing any dash lights, wiring the reverse lights, worrying about cruise control.... since all of these can honestly be updated later on the fly. I just want to know what is necessary for the car to crank up and be drive-able without any issues.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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The swap is going to be identical to any other E46 transmission swap.

By the way, how do you have a getrag automatic in a 330? They only came with ZF and later GM transmissions I thought. Have you read the label?

Edit: Oh, you didn't say you had a 330i, just the desire for its transmission. What do you have now?

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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The swap is going to be identical to any other E46 transmission swap.

By the way, how do you have a getrag automatic in a 330? They only came with ZF and later GM transmissions I thought. Have you read the label?

Edit: Oh, you didn't say you had a 330i, just the desire for its transmission. What do you have now?
I have a 2003(production date is in 2002) 325i, just want a stronger manual trans if I'm going to be putting one in. I think the 330 manual transmissions are rated for higher hp/torque than the comparative 325i ones. I don't have a ton of power or anything, but I would like the extra ease-of-mind from a stronger transmission that I can potentially drive harder. I'm pretty sure the 330 trans will bolt up perfectly fine with the m54 block.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:01 PM   #6
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I have a 2003(production date is in 2002) 325i, just want a stronger manual trans if I'm going to be putting one in. I think the 330 manual transmissions are rated for higher hp/torque than the comparative 325i ones. I don't have a ton of power or anything, but I would like the extra ease-of-mind from a stronger transmission that I can potentially drive harder. I'm pretty sure the 330 trans will bolt up perfectly fine with the m54 block.
The 330 is an M54. They (the 2.5 and 3.0 L)are identical except for the stroke length.

You don't have a Getrag transmission. You probably have the ZF. Anyway, the manuals have absolutely no durability problems. Go with whatever you can get the best deal on.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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The 330 is an M54. They (the 2.5 and 3.0 L)are identical except for the stroke length.

You don't have a Getrag transmission. You probably have the ZF. Anyway, the manuals have absolutely no durability problems. Go with whatever you can get the best deal on.
Trust me I have an auto Getrag (I'm an idiot GM) transmission. I've changed the fluid 3 times(not because of problems). I already have the 330 ZF trans sitting in my room.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:11 PM   #8
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Phew. For a second there I thought you were about to argue that your automatic is better than the ZF manual.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Since when did any E46 come with a Getrag auto? It's certainly not on RealOEM, nor can I find any info about it.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:54 PM   #10
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No such thing as an auto getrag in e46s.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:20 PM   #11
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Too much talk of transmissions lately for me. Forgive me for the mistake. I was speaking of the Getrag as the GM. I meant GM, my apologies. Atleast they both start with a "G"
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:21 PM   #12
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Phew. For a second there I thought you were about to argue that your automatic is better than the ZF manual.
Never.... in... my... life...
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Too much talk of transmissions lately for me. Forgive me for the mistake. I was speaking of the Getrag as the GM. I meant GM, my apologies. Atleast they both start with a "G"
Thought so. Anyway should be straight forward like any of the swap threads.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:34 PM   #14
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I appreciate the info, and I'll probably be holding off on the project until the Summer. This semester has been wayy too busy for me, and I need some time to accumulate the rest of the PM parts.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:26 AM   #15
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Let me take a stab at this for my future when I have to do the swap. Someone can correct if im wrong.
The 2003 automatic 325i has a 3.46 rear end. Wouldn't we have to replace the rear end with a lower one? The 5speed ZF's 5th gear is 1.00, which is our GM auto's 4th gear. When I'm in 4th at 70, I am around 4200rpms (or close to there). That would mean if OP and I did a swap to a manual 5speed, we would be cruising on the highway around 4,000rpms in 5th gear. Isn't this why BMW put a 6speed in the ZHP and M3? Since they have a higher gear ratio (closer to the automatics) in the final drive.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:32 AM   #16
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Some people intentionally put the 3.46 in to get better low end speed but yeah, you lose top end speed too and the motor can tend to drone at 60, let alone 70 or more. You'll also lose some fuel economy but not as much as some people tend to think.

The sixth gear is nice if you're running the stock auto gearing in the diff. The ZHP's has a 3.07 diff so the sixth speed was an overdrive. The M3 has a 3.64 diff but a higher rev limit, and wider torque band.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:27 AM   #17
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Let me take a stab at this for my future when I have to do the swap. Someone can correct if im wrong.
The 2003 automatic 325i has a 3.46 rear end. Wouldn't we have to replace the rear end with a lower one? The 5speed ZF's 5th gear is 1.00, which is our GM auto's 4th gear. When I'm in 4th at 70, I am around 4200rpms (or close to there). That would mean if OP and I did a swap to a manual 5speed, we would be cruising on the highway around 4,000rpms in 5th gear. Isn't this why BMW put a 6speed in the ZHP and M3? Since they have a higher gear ratio (closer to the automatics) in the final drive.
Correct, I will be keeping the 3.46 rear end though. That way I'm slightly faster than a comparative manual 325i when all is said and done.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:45 AM   #18
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Let me know If you need help in orlando, and I have all the coding software you would ever need. I want to see how this goes since I'm planning on doing the same in my car.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #19
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Let me know If you need help in orlando, and I have all the coding software you would ever need. I want to see how this goes since I'm planning on doing the same in my car.
Sounds good. I would be doing the swap about an hour away from Orlando in a town called Eustis. Idk if you are familiar with it, but I'll give you a heads up before I start the swap to give you an opportunity to come help/watch how it goes. I'll return the favor, maybe even use the same garage (with the lift) to do yours down the road since everything DIY-wise would be free and reduce overall costs.
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