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  1. #1
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    VS Motorsports converts a E46 M3 SMG transmission to manual as a solution rather than buying a new hydraulic pump

    The E46 M3 SMG (sequential manual gearbox) is basically the exact same thing as the manual transmission except with a hydraulically actuated shifting mechanism. The hydraulic pump can fail and VS Motorsports states the replacement cost is $2500 (a bit high) from BMW. Regardless, many people have wondered how much it would cost to simply switch an SMG to manual as well as how difficult it would be. VS Motorsports answers the latter below with an SMG to manual swap.

    "If you are looking to get the manual swap done, we finished the swap for our good customer and now have the information that many people could not find. We now know without a doubt this can be done, what parts are needed, and what software to get. Having the manual will give you the piece of mind for no more guessing what the problems are, no more replacing smg relays, hydraulic pumps. accumulators, re setting smg adaptations, and worry about smg issues.

    What you will need.

    -You will need either a manual transmission or just the bell housing off a manual car. (Some people have machined the smg bell housing and inserted the necessary parts from the manual cars but we have not done this and you could run the risk of machining the bell housing wrong and then you are stuck. Then still have to buy a new bell housing or transmission.)

    Transmission with the bell housing off

    Click here to enlarge




    Inside the SMG Bell Housing:

    Click here to enlarge





    Install the necessary parts missing on a SMG car that a Manual has. We have the list already and know what needs to be ordered. Some of these parts can be upgraded to aftermarket such as the shifter (short shifter), Clutch slave cylinder line, shift boot, etc. Also this is the perfect time to replace the clutch, upgrade clutch or change flywheel.

    Manual Shift lever installed.

    Click here to enlarge





    Updated Software to have the car recognize that it is now a manual. This will turn off the gear indicator and the SMG fault code lights.

    Picture of the SMG indictors off.


    Click here to enlarge





    Lastly you will lose your neutral safety switch and cruise control. Only way to make them work is for us to build a harness to the DME since there is no harness to purchase from BMW. This would take a lot of time for us to do on the first car. So instead of doing that we can delete the neutral safety switch. By doing this it means the car will not have cruise control, and the car could potential start in gear. You will need to take extra precaution to make sure not start the car in gear or it can jump forward/backwards potential hitting a car in front or behind you. "

    Manual Transmission Installed


    Click here to enlarge





    Shifter boot and knob:


    Click here to enlarge

  2. #2
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    very cool.

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    So the limitation for the E46 SMG is the hydraulic pump? Can that trans hold a lot of power otherwise?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    So the limitation for the E46 SMG is the hydraulic pump? Can that trans hold a lot of power otherwise?
    transmission is the same. as far as the pump i dunno.
    im on 17k boosted with my smg and others have thousands more miles than i but it appears to be luck of the draw. i know a few boosted guys get issues right out of the gate with the smg system.

    fwiw - i bought a complete smg unit prior to turbo with this sort of issue in mind.

  5. #5
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    So the limitation for the E46 SMG is the hydraulic pump? Can that trans hold a lot of power otherwise?
    The pump just goes bad over time, not really the power. It is literally the exact same transmission used in the manual only with a hydraulic pump attached to it.


    iirc Bluejeansonfire purchased an smg transmission, and converted it to a normal manual for e46 330ci.

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    2 out of 2 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    I did this conversion on my e46 m3, had my smg bellhousing machined rather than obtain one from a manual car.

    This may save money on a repair, but creates complications when trying to resell the vehicle.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    So the limitation for the E46 SMG is the hydraulic pump? Can that trans hold a lot of power otherwise?
    Yes, you just upgrade the clutch. It can hold a ton of power.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BoostAddict Click here to enlarge
    iirc Bluejeansonfire purchased an smg transmission, and converted it to a normal manual for e46 330ci.
    Cool, didn't know he did that.

  9. #9
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
    I did this conversion on my e46 m3, had my smg bellhousing machined rather than obtain one from a manual car.

    This may save money on a repair, but creates complications when trying to resell the vehicle.
    What are the complications? How difficult was it to machine the bellhousing and was that cheaper than buying a manual one?

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    What about going the other way? I have a 2008 135i and I'd love to have a SMG transmission...if I could avoid problems/issues.

  11. #11
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    Much harder to reverse this on cars that didn't come with it.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    VS Motorsports does most of the work on my car and I can say they are have a very knowledgable staff. The best part is that they daily drive and competitively race E46 M3s. This definitely made my search for another used E46 M3 a little easier. I often find very clean SMG E46s but I just really dislike the way it shifts. It's good knowing that there's still an alternative route.

  13. #13
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by flipm3 Click here to enlarge
    VS Motorsports does most of the work on my car and I can say they are have a very knowledgable staff. The best part is that they daily drive and competitively race E46 M3s. This definitely made my search for another used E46 M3 a little easier. I often find very clean SMG E46s but I just really dislike the way it shifts. It's good knowing that there's still an alternative route.
    That is good to hear, I haven't heard much about them.

    Where are they located?

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    What are the complications?
    It is just difficult to find a buyer for a vehicle that has been converted. One call to a dealer and they'll know what options it came with. So really you need to do it right and document the process, so you can show a buyer that the conversion was done properly.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    How difficult was it to machine the bellhousing and was that cheaper than buying a manual one?
    Machining the bellhousing was not difficult, just not precise. I have some pictures here that show what needs to be done.

    SMG Bellhousing
    Click here to enlarge

    Manual Bellhousing
    Click here to enlarge

    To be clear, this is the only difference between an SMG and a manual transmission. The purpose of these additional parts on the manual transmission is to provide gearshift centering. Without these detents, the shifter could flop around between the 1-2 gate and the 5-6 gate with no resistance, and it would be extremely easy to accidentally shift into reverse.

    To do the conversion, simply bore those two holes into the bellhousing to install the detents. There are marks in the bellhousing casting that can be a rough guide. These holes will need grooves for snap rings on the outside. Also, the dowel that the spring rests on must be fabricated and installed, as it is not available for purchase.

  15. #15
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
    It is just difficult to find a buyer for a vehicle that has been converted. One call to a dealer and they'll know what options it came with. So really you need to do it right and document the process, so you can show a buyer that the conversion was done properly.



    Machining the bellhousing was not difficult, just not precise. I have some pictures here that show what needs to be done.

    SMG Bellhousing
    Click here to enlarge

    Manual Bellhousing
    Click here to enlarge

    To be clear, this is the only difference between an SMG and a manual transmission. The purpose of these additional parts on the manual transmission is to provide gearshift centering. Without these detents, the shifter could flop around between the 1-2 gate and the 5-6 gate with no resistance, and it would be extremely easy to accidentally shift into reverse.

    To do the conversion, simply bore those two holes into the bellhousing to install the detents. There are marks in the bellhousing casting that can be a rough guide. These holes will need grooves for snap rings on the outside. Also, the dowel that the spring rests on must be fabricated and installed, as it is not available for purchase.
    I love this board sometimes. Good $#@!!

  16. #16
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    And it costs how much to do this?

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Roadkillrob Click here to enlarge
    And it costs how much to do this?
    The whole thing probably cost me around $1500, but I did all the labor myself.

  18. #18
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    can it be done with SMG-III ?

  19. #19
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    I doubt it, as SMG-III is a 7 speed transmission.

  20. #20
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
    can it be done with SMG-III ?
    No, and the SMG-III shift pattern is not setup like this.

  21. #21
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    2 out of 2 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
    The whole thing probably cost me around $1500, but I did all the labor myself.
    Nice option over the price of the pump and misc other parts you need and the pump can then never be an issue again (and the jerkyness is gone also!)

  22. #22
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
    I did this conversion on my e46 m3, had my smg bellhousing machined rather than obtain one from a manual car.

    This may save money on a repair, but creates complications when trying to resell the vehicle.

    I have a 2002 Euro M3 AA stage 2
    I want to do this swap and have all the mechanical parts.
    My concern is the dme....
    Is there any way to fool the dme or just install the manual parts
    and drive it like that?
    I would not mind driving the
    car around with the smg lights on.
    Thing is on the island we dont have any ways of reflashing the dme.

    any information will be greatly appreciated.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by onig Click here to enlarge
    I have a 2002 Euro M3 AA stage 2
    I want to do this swap and have all the mechanical parts.
    My concern is the dme....
    Is there any way to fool the dme or just install the manual parts
    and drive it like that?
    I would not mind driving the
    car around with the smg lights on.
    Thing is on the island we dont have any ways of reflashing the dme.

    any information will be greatly appreciated.
    Try contacting Matt@vsmotorsports.com

    Tell him "flipm3" sent you and he can answer all your questions. I'll be there on Wednesday getting some stuff installed, so I can ask him then as well. Feel free to PM me any specific questions you may want me to relay to him.
    2002 E46 M3 6MT | Jet Black . Black Nappa | My GermanBoost Build Thread
    2009 E90 M3 DCT | Melbourne Red . Speed Cloth

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    [QUOTE=flipm3;267811

    Tell him "flipm3" sent you and he can answer all your questions. I'll be there on Wednesday getting some stuff installed, so I can ask him then as well. Feel free to PM me any specific questions you may want me to relay to him.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks flipm3
    If you could please ask him if there is a way around getting the DME being reflashed.
    I cant send PM's yet.

    Thanks alot for your time flipm3!

  25. #25
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by onig Click here to enlarge
    I cant send PM's yet.
    You can.

    Stage 2 or 2.5 E9X M3 S65 V8 supercharger kit for sale
    : http://www.boostaddict.com/showthrea...r-kit-for-sale

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