Unfortunately and at many owners expense, it had one major downfall. The SMG transmission …. The SMG transmission was promoted as newer, cutting-edge technology. Now that many SMG equipped vehicles have aged with higher mileage, current owners are faced with very expensive repairs when anything fails. Give control back to the driver! We have extensive experience swapping the SMG transmission to its highly desired, 6 speed counterpart.
To prevent overworking or premature failure of the hydraulic components, BMW removed a few internal shifting parts of the transmission. We begin by removing the transmission, driveshaft, the old hydraulics, the old shifter, and paddles, including all wiring that will no longer be used. We box up the old parts and give them back to the customer. Next, we install the new parts needed for the manual transmission. We have to cut out the plate that blocks the shift lever hole and weld in the bracket that holds the rear shift lever bushing.
Secondly, we install the clutch pedal, shift lever and return springs. Note: we can install the shift boot and shift knob as chosen by the owner. Next, the clutch pedal switch is wired in.
We find the factory knock outs for the clutch hydraulic lines and run the lines to and from the new master cylinder.
We set the transmission up on the bench and remove the bellhousing portion. Then, we disassemble the shift rod holder and clean the housing. We cover the bearing and quant conference 2020 drill two holes for the new shift detents.
We press a small bearing onto the shift rod holder for the new detents to ride on. Next install a return spring to center the assembly when the shifter is put into neutral. We have to machine two grooves for the snap rings. Then drill one last hole for the spring to rest on and install a specially machined pin. We take special care to be sure everything is properly lined up and sealed!
With the transmission reassembled, we have to thread the hole at the back of the transmission that holds the new gear recognition switch. This new switch also uses a different detent, spring and pin.The hydraulic pump often fails resulting in a costly repair.
If this happens to a car you own it often make sense to convert the car to a manual rather than fix the SMG unit. Since the SMG transmission and the 6 speed transmission are internally identical all that is required to physically do this swap is to modify the bellhousing on the SMG transmission.
This modification adds in the shift detents so the driver can feel where the gears are. Since the SMG is shifted by the computer these detents were not necessary in the manual gearbox. Machining the bell housing accurately is critical so that the driver can easily find the gears.
How To Convert A BMW M3 CSL From SMG to Manual
If the machine work is not precise then the driver can have trouble finding gears as the gates will not be in the correct location. For race cars it is also possible to swap the 6 speed transmission to a less expensive and rebuildable 5 speed transmission. Coupled with a 3. Overall the cost tends to be about the same as the 6 speed conversion but the 5 speed also has a considerable weight advantage compared to the 6 speed.
This swap also requires the installation of a clutch pedal, master cylinder, and slave cylinder into the car. In addition, the transmission tunnel must be opened up to allow the shifter to be installed. A shifter bushing carrier also has to be installed into the car if a factory style shifter is to be used. Since the transmission will be removed this is also the perfect time to change out that worn out clutch and flywheel.
In order for cruise control, PDCand the reverse light to function the car must be wired and re-coded as a manual car. The clutch switch and brake switch must be installed and wired appropriately to retain the function of a true manual transmission E46 M3. We also have a special tune for the SMG to Manual conversion, developed by Frank Smith, that adjusts the idle to the correct level and can be coupled with a performance tune upon request. You asked, we delivered!
While we love tackling this project for our clients, we know that is not always an option because of time and distance. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions — otherwise, check it out on our store page. I have a E46 i, with an automatic transmission. I also have a ZHP E46 i, 6 speed manual transmission, doner car. How many hours of work am I looking at to do the swap? Any ideas. Hi my shop recently had you all do the machine work on an smg bell housing.
Thank you for the excellent workmanship, and quick turn around. The transmission now shifts perfectly, and the car is fun to drive again. Our customer was wanting to get the cruse control working now. Hey Peter — thank you so much. Hey Howard, thank you for reaching out. We only provide this service on the E46 M3s. Hey I have a manual transmission that is giving me issues and need a new one. As you may know, manual trannys are pretty expensive. Is it possible to pick up an smg tranny and just swap all the manual stuff except the meat or gears instead of shipping in the smg bell housing to machined?
Hey Taras, this is not something we would do and most likely the full SMG transmission is going to be similarly priced. Used SMG transmissions are less than half the cost of a manual g. If you munched a manual it makes total sense to swap your bellhousing onto a donor SMG.
You have all the parts and no machine work required. This article is only for the E46 — not the EFor all you e46 M3 drivers who still have SMG transmissions and are contemplating converting or swapping to a normal 6MT, I just completed the conversion on my 05 comp package M3. So here is my story, hope it helps those having SMG issues and are fed up I track my car times per year and the SMG was mis-shifting very badly.
Instead of costly trouble-shooting and replacing expensive parts like pumps and actuators, I decided to convert or swap to a conventional 6-speed manual. The search was on to fine a shop who could do the job. There were a few who said they would do it, but could not quote me an estimate because they had never done it before.
I was wary of this. My trans had 79K on it and had no issues. The conversion was less expensive and allowed me to keep my trans rather than taking risk with a used one.
They were confident and stood behind the parts and their work. I chose to do the conversion. It was a no-brainer to trailer my car up to Dallas a three hour drive to have the work done there. I am very pleased with the results. After picking up the car, I drove it the three hours home last night and drove it 45 minutes to work this morning with not even a hint of an issue.
If you are in the Dallas area, or anywhere within driving distance, I highly recommend them for this job or any other BMW work, especially custom or performance work.
Good to see you on here, great news on the swap, you are in good company here. Myself and Thundermoose did a 5MT swap just recently ourselves. Bask in the glory that is a manual transmission, now we can call ourselves real drivers.
I was going to get spec to do the coding and may still do to get back shift lights. However car runs strong without it.The original gear selector still intact before we start. As seen removed from the car, this selector lever allows reverse, neutral, and forward gears much like a normal manual transmission. The original SMG Selector has the primary lever shown here, as well as two gear selector paddles on the steering wheel allowing you to shift up and down.
As you can see, the pedals are set up like a vehicle with a normal automatic transmission, only having an option for a throttle, and a brake. Removing the intake system so we can get to the upper part of the transmission. A shot of the factory M3 clutch set up. Installing the new shift lever assembly. Here we are feeding the new shift lever assembly into the vehicle.
Installing the new gear lever and shift linkage. To get the manual gear selector to work with the SMG Transmission, we used the bell housing from an existing manual transmission so we could retain proper function of a normal lever. With out it, further modification would have to me made to the existing bell housing to have full spring function. We used a bell housing we had from a manual transmission so we could retain the sift lever centering function.
Swapping out the bell housing. Getting ready to install the transmission into our new set up. Installing the new transmission set up. Once everything is back together, we end up with three pedals for throttle, brake, and clutch, as well as a 6 speed manual gear selector.
Out with that old clunky SMG selector, and in with this nice 6 Speed set up. Working on the final touches of the manual pedal assembly installation. From here on out, what we have left is wiring and computer programming to compensate for all the different sensors and safety measures in the system. Swedish Imports has the qualified mechanics to service of every make and model of imported vehicle. We also offer an ever-changing inventory of pre-owned foreign import cars.
We avoid technical terms and communicate clearly at our auto repair shop.David Chapman. One point of contention was that it was only ever available with the divisive SMG transmission.
M3 Specialist Darragh Doyle andI had different ideas…. When I bought this car five years ago I was fulfilling a dream. Clarkson had introduced it as possibly the most extreme road-car BMW had produced to date. He chose the Isle of Man, a place that is arguably known only for its extreme motorbike racing event that takes place every year, as the venue. When the review hit our scenes, I was barely seventeen years old and only just old enough to drive in the UK. At the time, prices were still pretty reasonable and so I took literally all of my money out of the bank and spent it on my dream car.
I get it. I was never happy with a computer doing all my hard work for me!
At this point it feels like the car is firing the gears at you with a canon from somewhere behind the rear bumper. When the SMG makes a bad gear change, you end up annoyed that you could have done it better yourself and it can do this a lot at anything less than full speed.
I enjoy driving my car on the road and rarely use the car on track. I guess the main question people will be asking is, why did you do this?
Why not just modify a Manual M3 instead of hacking your classic car apart? Well firstly, I like the way the CSL is put together. All it needed was a clutch pedal and a real gear stick. SMG is fine! Fast forward again to five and a half years later. I was falling out of love. As fate would have it, I decided instead to do a few things to get the CSL back up to scratch.
After the first raft of work, we soon realized we had a lot in common and quickly became friends.Since we acquired the E46, its purpose was to be a car built with the track in mind. This meant buttoning up all of the loose ends and fixing the little issues that a car over a decade old would carry. One of those pins, either the one that holds the SMG components or the one that attaches to the transmission side, has to be removed to rid the transmission of all the external SMG works.
We chose the later option, and with a bit of motivation the pin was freed up and the rear shifter bracket was removed. Also removed was the infamous SMG pump of course, it would no longer be needed. This dreaded piece was notorious for giving out, and equally notorious for being an expensive fix. It was a tight fit to remove the pins, and depending on the condition of the undercarriage of the car it could be worse for some. And a side view of the rear of the transmission.
With the transmission out of the M3, it was time to crack open the casing and get started on the refresh. Jumping right into it, the transmission came apart with some encouragement and elbow grease from our head tech, John. So we had to make one ourselves. Thankfully, it was stamped from the factory on where to cut so it was pretty straight forward. More preventative maintenance; removing the diff to replace old worn out bushings that could affect how the car performs on the track. Might as well with the car being up on the lift!
The condition of the bushings was far from acceptable, so more bushing pressing and replacing was inbound. The once rubber O-ring had solidified into some brittle seal that split in half when the CPV was removed. Back to the subframe cracks, it was time to start the grind and get the surface cleaned up to better isolate the cracks for welding preparation for the reinforcement plates to be installed. Keep in mind, this is common and happened on all four subframe mounting points.
And an overall shot of all four subframe mounting points cleaned up and awaiting the other two reinforcement plates to be welded on.
Part of the reinforcement process had to be done on the top of the plates as well, just to maximize the effectiveness of the whole process. Part of the chassis was cut away on the area behind the rear seats for a bit more welding. More reinforcement? Why not? Just in case.
E46 M3 SMG to Manual Conversion
A little bit more grinding on the fresh welds to ensure the subframe will bolt up nicely, and the repair is complete. The old bushings in the subframe have definitely seen some action in their life, and were completely trashed. Replacing them was absolutely necessary, such a small thing can affect how a car feels to the driver and how it performs. Moving back up to the engine bay, the motor mounts needed replacement badly. Dry rotted and cracked original motor mounts were replaced with brand spanking new OEM quality mounts.
While everything was removed, might as well replace the spark plugs with high quality ones from NGK! April 1, TFRyan. Good to go! An example of one of the reinforcement plates on the car.Advanced Search Search Tips. Below are the available bulk discount rates for each individual item when you purchase a certain amount. Just send us a full bellhousing and we'll send it back fully prepped to be installed in your converted E If you have any concerns with tackling the conversion yourself, we do offer a full SMG to manual conversion service at our shop.
Just give us a call and we'd be happy to help. We promise to never spam you, and just use your email address to identify you as a valid customer. Great response time to questions, fast shipping, solid work. Unit functions flawlessly. Needed my bellhousing modified for a manual swap, no shop around me thought they could do it so I searched online and called numerous shops until I found Lang racing.
They actually answered the phone immediately and were very assuring.
Turnaround time was incredibly fast and they also keep you updated via email. Great service and good to know companies like this still exist out there. A Circuit Assembly Company. Please wait Search Advanced Search Search Tips. New Products. Add To Cart.
Project: E46 M3 SMG to Manual Conversion Part 2
Click to enlarge. Shipping Instructions First you'll want to order the service here - this will calculate and charge you for the service and return shipping only. Then you'll need to prep and pack your bellhousing. It is a good idea to print a copy of your order confirmation and throw it in the box if possible.
You will need to arrange and pay for shipping the bellhousing to us. Once received, depending on the queue, it takes about 3 days to complete. Return shipping speed will be based on the options you select at checkout.
Product Videos. In this video he discusses the conversion process, timeline, and costs. If you're interested in converting your SMG to a Manual 6 Speed, reach out and we can get you an up to date quote.
Call us at: Email us at: shop langracing. We've also been featured in Grassroots Motorsports. Along with the full conversion, we offer a bellhousing prep service for clients and shops attempting the conversion themselves. At the time of publishing, we've had 34 Bellhousings prepped for other team's conversions this year. Some reviews for the conversion: Steve F. That contrasts with the feelings I developed after a few years of using a shop closer to home in LA area.
I recently picked up my car from Lang following the monumental SMG to manual swap. I'm only aware of one other place in southern California that has done LOTS of this project, so finding the right shop for this is important. Jonathan, the guy who answered when I first called, was informed and responsive and got all of my questions as a fussy prospective customer answered quickly and to my satisfaction.
When picking the car up, it was also nice to get to talk to the guy who'd just completed his part of the project he proved very knowledgeable. I'd like to point out that the SMG swap is a very big project and there are a lot of ways it could be messed up cruise control, etc.
Lang has it down, and my conversion went off without a hitch. They estimated a week for completion and mine was done on time and without cost overruns.