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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 09:58 AM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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clutch

Hi all, I am having a problem engaging first gear. on my e90 320d 2006. It takes a bit of effort to get it in, but if i put it into second and push it into first it goes straight it. any ideas what the cause would be or anyone had similar problems.
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:48 AM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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Sounds like a worn synchronizer on first gear in the transmission. How many miles are on the 320?
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:57 AM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke4689 View Post
Sounds like a worn synchronizer on first gear in the transmission. How many miles are on the 320?
73000 miles
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:23 AM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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Is it all of the time or just occasionally? Next time it happens don't pull it into second. Try releasing the clutch pedal and pushing it in again then try going into first again. It if goes in smoothly then it is probably a worn synchro and you will just want to live with it. It would require a transmission rebuild to fix and it isn't really much more than an annoyance.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:30 AM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke4689 View Post
Is it all of the time or just occasionally? Next time it happens don't pull it into second. Try releasing the clutch pedal and pushing it in again then try going into first again. It if goes in smoothly then it is probably a worn synchro and you will just want to live with it. It would require a transmission rebuild to fix and it isn't really much more than an annoyance.
Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:35 AM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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You might also try changing the transmission fluid. I found that going to RedLine fluid on my E46 at around 70,000 miles greatly improved the shifting and eliminated the "where is 1st" problem when the car was started in near freezing temps.

May not completely solve the problem - but it's cheaper than a new tranny.

Tom
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:54 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke4689 View Post
Is it all of the time or just occasionally? Next time it happens don't pull it into second. Try releasing the clutch pedal and pushing it in again then try going into first again. It if goes in smoothly then it is probably a worn synchro and you will just want to live with it. It would require a transmission rebuild to fix and it isn't really much more than an annoyance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K. View Post
You might also try changing the transmission fluid. I found that going to RedLine fluid on my E46 at around 70,000 miles greatly improved the shifting and eliminated the "where is 1st" problem when the car was started in near freezing temps.

May not completely solve the problem - but it's cheaper than a new tranny.

Tom


Three last things. Is it worse first thing in the morning, and seems to improve after your engine/tranny warm up?
If you are stopped and try to put it into first is it any different than downshifting into first while slowing down?
Do you ever feel a vibration or hear a noise when snicking into first gear?
Oh, a real last thing...The next time it is difficult to get into first, put it back into neutral. Push the clutch pedal down rapidly three times and hold it. Does it now go into first gear 'normally'?
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2012, 12:38 PM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post


Three last things. Is it worse first thing in the morning, and seems to improve after your engine/tranny warm up?
If you are stopped and try to put it into first is it any different than downshifting into first while slowing down?
Do you ever feel a vibration or hear a noise when snicking into first gear?
Oh, a real last thing...The next time it is difficult to get into first, put it back into neutral. Push the clutch pedal down rapidly three times and hold it. Does it now go into first gear 'normally'?
Are you thinking bad master cylinder and insufficient hydraulic pressure?
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  #9  
Old 12-09-2012, 09:57 AM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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clutch

hi, If the clutch is hydraulic, could anyone tell me where the reservoir is so i can check the level. on a 2005 320 e90, Manuel gear box.
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2012, 08:17 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squidget View Post
Are you thinking bad master cylinder and insufficient hydraulic pressure?
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigrad View Post
hi, If the clutch is hydraulic, could anyone tell me where the reservoir is so i can check the level. on a 2005 320 e90, Manuel gear box.
Babump. That was the other shoe falling Squidget.

We can't tell you on this side of the pond mate, the car's a furriner to us.
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  #11  
Old 12-09-2012, 08:29 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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If you have a manual try redline d6

If you have a manual try redline d6
for the transmission fluid.

It will smooth things out.

Its not likely to be a clutch problem .
The clutch and brake fluid are the same type fluid in an 06 they share
a reservoir.

Last edited by ctuna; 12-09-2012 at 08:31 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2012, 08:33 PM
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GarySL GarySL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
If you have a manual try redline d6
for the transmission fluid.

It will smooth things out.

Its not likely to be a clutch problem .
The clutch and brake fluid are the same type fluid in an 06 they share
a reservoir.
At first I thought you meant red line it in 6th gear!
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2012, 08:37 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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Also you might want to do a CDV valve delete

Also you might want to do a CDV valve delete
That removes the restriction to the fluid flow but that's for better
clutch feel. Its a cheap mod .
On my car the reservoir for the fluid is on the firewall right in front of
the steering wheel but I live in the US so if your in Europe or some place else
as you face the hood that would be the right side. Also its well hidden
under a black plastic cover which pop's off.
Notchiness in gear 1 and 2 is a common complaint for the manual there
are many threads on it .
The Redline Fluid really does smooth it out .
See redlineoil.com they have and app to verify which fluid is right for your car.

Last edited by ctuna; 12-09-2012 at 09:04 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2012, 01:17 PM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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To the OP, I wouldn't recommend RedLine OR CDV delete yet. While worthy upgrades, they aren't corrective measures that will fix your car. No reason to add more variables into the mix when the original problem remains unsolved.

In any case, did you try the steps that DSX asked, and if so... can you put post the results? DSX is a professional car mechanic, BTW, so I'd recommend you try the things he asked.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2012, 12:11 PM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSX Machina View Post
:thumbs up:

Three last things. Is it worse first thing in the morning, and seems to improve after your engine/tranny warm up?
If you are stopped and try to put it into first is it any different than downshifting into first while slowing down?
Do you ever feel a vibration or hear a noise when snicking into first gear?
Oh, a real last thing...The next time it is difficult to get into first, put it back into neutral. Push the clutch pedal down rapidly three times and hold it. Does it now go into first gear 'normally'?
1) it goes in easier when its warm
2) if your moving slowly it goes into first easy
3) there is no vibration, but you hear a noise like a knuckle crack.
I tried pushing the clutch down three times, there is no difference. pigrad
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:44 PM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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Probably clutch related. The pros can check my line of thought:

There are three independent spinning assemblies in play. From front to back:

engine + crankshaft -> clutch assembly -> driveshaft + wheels

Things with pluses are linked together, so can be considered one unit. Simplifying, that's three chunks of metal. Let's number them:

1 -> 2 -> 3

The arrows are the boundaries where we can disconnect the spinning metal:

* 1 and 2 are separated by pressing in the clutch pedal

* 2 and 3 are separated by shifting into neutral

To pull away from a stoplight, the steps are:
* At start: 1 is rotating (idling engine). Since clutch is out, 2 is locked with 1 and also rotating. 3 is connected to wheels, not rotating.
* Push in clutch. 1,2,3 are all now unlocked. 1 is still idling, 2 is rapidly slowing down to zero, 3 is still stopped.
* Put shifter into 1st. gearing locks 2 and 3. 2 may or may not be spinning, 3 is not. The the synchro eats any extra energy in 2. Once locked, 2 and 3 are stopped.
* Release clutch. As clutch plate grabs, 1 locks to 2, bringing it up to speed. Since 2 and 3 are already locked, this drives the wheels and the car starts to move.

Diagram of above:
Code:
1 + 2   3
1   2   3
1   2 + 3  
1 + 2 + 3
If you have a clutch problem, then 1 and 2 would still be somewhat locked after you push in the clutch. When you put the car into 1st gear, the synchro tries to lock 2 and 3. But that means that 1 is trying to keep 2 spinning, and 3 is trying to make it stop spinning. If the clutch is just a little grabby, the the sychro grinds a bit, but wins and locks in as usual. That could cause what you see.

Diagram of above:
Code:
1 + 2   3
1 + 2   3 <- grabby clutch
1 + 2 + 3  <- grind grind!
Something to try: Begin with the car turned off and cold, to make sure nothing is rotating. Start the car, keeping the clutch pushed in the WHOLE time, and shift into 1st.

If it there is ANY grinding at all, then it is definitely the clutch. It can't be a synchro problem. If the clutch works then 2 and 3 would be at zero RPM so there's nothing to synchronize. If there's grinding, then 2 is spinning, which means that the clutch is being grabby.
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Last edited by Squidget; 12-11-2012 at 01:48 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:54 PM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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Caveat to my last post. I know there are more technical names for these things (input shaft, clutch drag), but I simplified for easier reading. I hope.
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  #18  
Old 12-12-2012, 11:16 AM
pigrad pigrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squidget View Post
Caveat to my last post. I know there are more technical names for these things (input shaft, clutch drag), but I simplified for easier reading. I hope.
Thanks for all your help, I will try your last post tomorrow.
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  #19  
Old 12-12-2012, 12:32 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squidget View Post
Probably clutch related. The pros can check my line of thought:

There are three independent spinning assemblies in play. From front to back:

engine + crankshaft -> clutch assembly -> driveshaft + wheels

Things with pluses are linked together, so can be considered one unit. Simplifying, that's three chunks of metal. Let's number them:

1 -> 2 -> 3

The arrows are the boundaries where we can disconnect the spinning metal:

* 1 and 2 are separated by pressing in the clutch pedal

* 2 and 3 are separated by shifting into neutral

To pull away from a stoplight, the steps are:
* At start: 1 is rotating (idling engine). Since clutch is out, 2 is locked with 1 and also rotating. 3 is connected to wheels, not rotating.
* Push in clutch. 1,2,3 are all now unlocked. 1 is still idling, 2 is rapidly slowing down to zero, 3 is still stopped.
* Put shifter into 1st. gearing locks 2 and 3. 2 may or may not be spinning, 3 is not. The the synchro eats any extra energy in 2. Once locked, 2 and 3 are stopped.
* Release clutch. As clutch plate grabs, 1 locks to 2, bringing it up to speed. Since 2 and 3 are already locked, this drives the wheels and the car starts to move.

Diagram of above:
Code:
1 + 2   3
1   2   3
1   2 + 3  
1 + 2 + 3
If you have a clutch problem, then 1 and 2 would still be somewhat locked after you push in the clutch. When you put the car into 1st gear, the synchro tries to lock 2 and 3. But that means that 1 is trying to keep 2 spinning, and 3 is trying to make it stop spinning. If the clutch is just a little grabby, the the sychro grinds a bit, but wins and locks in as usual. That could cause what you see.

Diagram of above:
Code:
1 + 2   3
1 + 2   3 <- grabby clutch
1 + 2 + 3  <- grind grind!
Something to try: Begin with the car turned off and cold, to make sure nothing is rotating. Start the car, keeping the clutch pushed in the WHOLE time, and shift into 1st.

If it there is ANY grinding at all, then it is definitely the clutch. It can't be a synchro problem. If the clutch works then 2 and 3 would be at zero RPM so there's nothing to synchronize. If there's grinding, then 2 is spinning, which means that the clutch is being grabby.
LOL, Squidget, I always wondered how it worked! It took Boolean logic to show me the light.
Ya wanna know what I'm thinking after all this time? (Based on pigrad's 3:11 post) The guys who suggested a flush and refill of the tranny are probably right. It may even just be low on fluid.

I do like how you raised the discussion level with the interesting way of 'figuring it out'.
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  #20  
Old 12-12-2012, 03:41 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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So DSX whats your opinnion on Redline?

So DSX whats your opinion on Redline D6 and the other premium
trans fluids. You have probably had people request them or might even use
them in your shop.
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  #21  
Old 12-12-2012, 03:47 PM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
LOL, Squidget, I always wondered how it worked! It took Boolean logic to show me the light.
It came from a long discussion about double-clutching. I didn't "get" double-clutching until I realized that there are THREE pieces of spinning metal, not two.

Double-clutching reduces shock at the 2 3 boundary. Releasing the clutch during the double-clutch manuever prevents the 2 from spinning down and causing shock on the 2 3 lock. Rev-matching alone only reduces shock at the 1 2 boundary. This also explains why sychros, which absorb the 2 3 shock, make double-clutching obsolete.

At least, that's how I understand it! Could be wrong! Transmissions are mystical things!
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  #22  
Old 12-13-2012, 09:41 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigrad View Post
Hi all, I am having a problem engaging first gear. on my e90 320d 2006. It takes a bit of effort to get it in, but if i put it into second and push it into first it goes straight it. any ideas what the cause would be or anyone had similar problems.
I switched from BMW MTF-LT3 to Redline MTL about 80,000 miles ago and mine has exhibited "balky" cold shifting into 1st ever since. But Redline MTL is thicker so it was expected and I'm just gentle with it until it gets warmed up. For me a 5-6 shift seems to line everything up so it will go smoothly into 1st when cold. So to me is sounds like you need an oil change. If it were hydraulic I would think you would have engagement problems in every gear.

I went with the thicker MTL because I live in the SE USA where summer temps are brutal and I wanted a thicker oil in my tranny. With the OE oil I used to get very pronounced gear rattle at idle in neutral with the clutch out. With the MTL it's almost imperceptible even on the hottest days. My tranny oil changes show just a couple of gold specs of synchro material and virtually no steel so I'm very pleased with the results of the Redline MTL.
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  #23  
Old 12-13-2012, 10:30 AM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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The recommended fluid is redline D6 for manuals

The recommended redline is D6 this is closer in viscosity to the bmw spec and provides
better start up lubrication than a heavy oil. At least that is what I have read and its
what redline says to use in there app. Some were using D4 which is more viscous I believe.
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  #24  
Old 12-13-2012, 01:51 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
The recommended redline is D6 this is closer in viscosity to the bmw spec and provides
better start up lubrication than a heavy oil. At least that is what I have read and its
what redline says to use in there app. Some were using D4 which is more viscous I believe.
You are exactly right.... D6 is what's recommended but only for ease of shifting at low temperatures. I talked to Redline about this very thing but went with MTL 82,000 miles ago. I've changed it twice since then and I've had zero wear issues. The ZF GS6-37 transmission is splash lubricated so the thicker oil will have no negative effect on "start-up" lubrication.
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