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joeyl13 10-20-2012 01:50 PM

Old Member needs new M
Hello all. I have been a member since 05 but this is my first post. First, I just want to say hello to everybody out there new and old owners of the finest car on the planet. Second, I just crashed my 97 E36 M3 with 150k miles. I'm looking to replace it with 02 E46 M3 with 68K miles SMG. I have been reading some thread and some (not a lot) people are complaining about the SMG problem and how expensive it is to get it fix. Should I be concern about it or this is an isolated problem. Any tip and help will be appreciated.

Pinecone 10-22-2012 07:17 PM

Considering the number made, I think issues are fairly isolated.

I know personally of 3 long term SMG owners (150,000, 100,000, and 75,000 miles) all without problems.

ECSTuning 10-23-2012 12:43 PM

Only issue I had with my old SMG M3 was the SMG (salmon) relay. It failed on me 4 times in 5 years. Other than that, zero issues with the SMG gearbox/pumps/etc

Matt P. 11-05-2012 07:41 PM

I have 107 000 miles and no gearbox issues to date. I'm possibly thinking about a new clutch. Other than that, no problems. I did have rear diff issues but that was taken care of by changing the oil to proper specs. I also noticed a huge difference when I changed the transmission oil. The shifts were smoother and crisper. I drove stick all my life and actually don't mind the SMG at all. My other daily driver is and automatic with flappy padles and those just suck. The SMG feels rewarding when the padle is pulled.

carlosR 11-16-2012 09:35 PM

Sorry about the E36 M3, my wife has a supercharged E36 318 Ti and that is one fast and fun car. I have a 2003 M3 with 150K miles+ and other than the salmon relay going out I love it. I like a manual to a point but this smg is a fun transmission. You will like it.

pkincy 12-20-2012 08:20 PM

No problem with my 2005. I love the SMG. I can drive along and makes some calls with it in S5 mode or I can pull either paddle and go full manual at any time.

I bought it in Nov 07 and drove it from CA to Az mostly in S5 (or S6) mode and only really gave it a paddle workout on a very windy section of hiway in Nv near Las Vegas through the hills.

A bit of a chameleon. Sunday Cruiser or Pocket Racer.


2004M3JMF 12-20-2012 09:08 PM

I've had my SMG M3 for awhile now and haven't had any issues with it. Since I've owned the car I have had inspection 1 and 2 because I didn't have a great service history which might be the case in some situations. Having grown up with a stick its the next best thing. The price of the SMG pump amongst other things could cause some financial woes but for me the thrill of driving the car outweighs that.

Pinecone 12-21-2012 06:50 AM


Originally Posted by pkincy (Post 7262965)
No problem with my 2005. I love the SMG. I can drive along and makes some calls with it in S5 mode or I can pull either paddle and go full manual at any time.


S5 mode requires YOU to shift using the paddles or stick.

And pulling on a paddle does not change from auto to manual mode. The only way to do that is to push the stick to the right.

lenardbjr 12-21-2012 07:08 AM

@pinecone. If you in auto mode you can hit either paddle and it moves into shift mode. I like that feature.

pkincy 12-21-2012 08:29 AM

And I believe that it is S6 that puts it in full manual.

Of course, I drive the car so little that I could be mistaken there.

My 05 only has 36,000 miles on it. I have a 93 Corvette Roadster that only has 37,000 miles.


Pinecone 12-22-2012 02:36 AM

ALL S modes are full manual.

lenardbjr 12-22-2012 12:47 PM

Theres nothing like having a M. After this car is paid off, i think i will keep it or upgrade to the M5 but theres nothing wrong with the M. I love the gas mileage, the torque at low rpms, the seats, the paddles, everything. If i had to make upgrades it might be to the sound system. My M45 had a bose system but i can always just cut the music off and listen to the car make its own music. Last i think they took some of the sound dampening out of the truck cause i can always here things sliding back there but that was an easy fix.

pkincy 12-22-2012 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by Pinecone (Post 7265125)
ALL S modes are full manual.

I presume you are meaning that the S modes are completely inoperative while in D?

So the setting of S1 will give exactly the same rpm and speed of shift as S5 while you are in D rather than Sequential?

I didn't know that.


lenardbjr 12-22-2012 07:07 PM

pkincy: you gotta think of the m3 smg as a manual with an automatic mode that is below average. I only use it if im on the phone or something like that. My wife loves it because she is used to driving a auto and not interested in driving a stick or even driving fast. If its in auto from what ive seen is it shifts about 3k to 3 1/2k. But its delayed. id rather drive in shift mode-2 than in auto. The thing i like about the M is that its still a
3 series its a jack of all trades. So if you want to just cruise you can and once you downshift and the tach hits 3k its a beast. i love it.

m3e46freak 12-24-2012 06:50 AM

It is more important to get a PPI done before worrying about the SMG problems... worry about the VANOS system as well and subframe cracks

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