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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 06-11-2017, 06:14 PM
doug96Z3 doug96Z3 is offline
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9 manual
Hard shift into first gear

I've a 1996 Z3 1.9 5-speed, 70K miles. Starting from a stop, it can be hard to get it into 1st gear (and 2nd gear is not much better). If I downshift to first right before stopping, it snicks right in.

Even if the engine is off, shifting into first is still pretty crunchy.

I've replaced the trans and diff fluid, and will get the brake/clutch fluid done next (along with braided lines for both, while I'm at it).

Any other suggestions to or things to look out for?

thanks!

Last edited by doug96Z3; 06-11-2017 at 06:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2017, 07:34 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,976
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
Nearly always, the first-gear-at-stop problem can be corrected by bleeding the clutch fluid. The Z3 uses DOT 4 fluid which absorbs water from the atmosphere much more rapidly than DOT3 does. As it ages, the clutch fluid becomes more compressible. Note that bleeding the clutch slave involves removing it from the bell housing and forcing all of the fluid and air out. BMW makes a special tool for that, but it's not really needed.

If the problem still exists after bleeding the clutch hydraulics, you can look into replacing the shifter bushings: http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...t_Bushings.htm

Finally, you probably need new shift pins. The shift pins provide the tension that forces the shifter into the 1/2 slot, with pressure needed to get into the 3/4 slot, and more pressure needed to get into the 5 slot. As the Teflon bushings age, the absorb transmission fluid and get stiff. Replacing them involves removing the transmission, so they should be added to a clutch job. The job requires a special set of tools which are available through Thayer Motorsports or there are many used ones available online.

Look over this thread on shift pins: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=434723

Be sure to use the "Search This Forum" button near the top right of the forum page for more details.

Last edited by Blacklane; 06-11-2017 at 07:36 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2017, 03:05 AM
doug96Z3 doug96Z3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9 manual
Thank you!


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  #4  
Old 06-12-2017, 03:46 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,760
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Soon after getting my Z3 1.9 at 32,000 miles, I changed the transmission fluid. A year later I had a SS clutch line installed.
Neither of those actions eased the effort required to get into 1st from Neutral at a dead stop.
There is no crunching, it just takes a firm effort and the shifter suddenly moves.

The Getrag transmission of the 1.9 does not have shift pins to replace.
With so few miles, I doubt that the shifter bushings could be worn, and the DIY says replacement is not easy.
With nothing to compare it to, maybe the resistance getting into 1st is normal. Other than that, the shifting is fine.
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2017, 03:18 PM
doug96Z3 doug96Z3 is offline
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9 manual
Had the fluid changed and lines bled (and replaced with SS clutch and brake hoses while we were at it). No change. Maybe this is just how it is, I can live with it.
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2017, 03:35 PM
NZ00Z3 NZ00Z3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 Z3 3.0i
Try this simple test to see where the problem is.

Start the car, put your foot on the clutch and try and select 1st gear with the sort of pressure you need for a correctly set up car.

If it does not go into gear, hold the pressure on the gear leveler and turn the engine off.

If the gear level falls into 1 st gear just as the engine stops, then you have a clutch problem.

If the gear level does not falls into 1 st gear just as the engine stops, then you have a transmission problem.
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2017, 06:48 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,760
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZ00Z3 View Post
... Start the car, put your foot on the clutch and try and select 1st gear with the sort of pressure you need for a correctly set up car.
If it does not go into gear, hold the pressure on the gear leveler and turn the engine off.
If the gear level falls into 1 st gear just as the engine stops, then you have a clutch problem...
What is the "sort of pressure you need for a correctly set up car"? I am looking for the gentle finger pressure that my two early 1970s BMW 2002s had, and that my 2006 Scion xB had. Like a knife cutting butter.

So I did the turn-engine-off test on the stiff Getrag in my 1997 Z3, which has felt the same since I got it at 32,000 miles a few years ago. It didn't fall into 1st gear, immediately, but the steady pressure eventually moved it into 1st gear. But I think the same thing would have happened without turning the engine off.

What is the clutch problem that this test exposes? A clutch dragging on the gears because not freely disengaging?

Last edited by vintage42; 06-19-2017 at 06:50 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-20-2017, 02:34 PM
NZ00Z3 NZ00Z3 is offline
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Location: New Zealand
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 Z3 3.0i
The purpose of the test is to identify when in the system the problem is likely to be. Either in the clutch or in the transmission

When my 2.0L Z3 with Getrag manual transmission arrived with 94,000 miles, it was hard to select 1st gear first thing in the morning. It required about double the force to push it into gear. In this case, the gear lever just dropped into 1st gear as the engine stopped rotating.

New Slave cylinder flexi hose cured part of it and a complete new clutch (DME to trow out bearing) cured the remainder of the problem.

If yours is still stiff after the engine has stopped rotating, then its not clutch, but something related to the manual transmission or gear selector/lever system.

Alternatively, just live with it as you have done since 32,000 miles.
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