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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:24 PM
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jackrules jackrules is offline
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Talking 5 Speed Swap Thread

Hi Guys

So, as many of you have seen, I have a '98 328i Sedan ( Auto ). And it's been having A LOT of weird / odd problems with the tranny.

So, as I'm looking at buying it's 3rd auto tranny at just 92K miles, the idea of a 5speed swap is becoming more and more prominent.

To be honest, I've never driven a manual car, though I ride dirt bikes, so I have experience with shifting and clutching, and I know I could get the manual thing down pretty fast.

I also have only done the simple work on my car with the help of a fellow fester (boothguy). I've done xenon lights, gaskits, spark plugs, air filters, etc.

So thinking of doing the swap, I'm not sure if I could have a shop do it, or if I would want to do it my self or what. It would be a big jump in working on cars, but I also learn fast, and like to work on cars.

I know that some of you guys on here have done the swap, and a lot of you are very experienced with these cars.

So what do you guys think, should I go for the swap or what?

I REALLY want to drive a manual, but the car was my dad's, so I didn't have much of a choice in the tranny ( I was 4 when he bought the car )


Thanks so much,

Jack
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:26 PM
Skillet77 Skillet77 is offline
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:26 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
nothing.
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manny or bannn
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:27 PM
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manny or bannn
?
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:29 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
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?
Manual transmission or you are going to be banned from the forum.

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  #6  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Eight Thirty View Post
Manual transmission or you are going to be banned from the forum.

Ohhh.. yea, I really want the manual

but, IDK how to get it..

new e36, manual swap via mechanic, manual swap via me, etc
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:36 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
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via you
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:37 PM
Skillet77 Skillet77 is offline
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What if you don't know how to swap?
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:38 PM
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via you
that's what I'm hoping for
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:41 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
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glad i could help then......


lol
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2010, 10:42 PM
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cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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How quickly do you need the car ready for?? Since you're not too experienced (no offense) i suggest keeping the car out of commission for like 2-3 weeks and take it step at a time. Itll be a great learning exxperience
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2010, 11:00 PM
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How quickly do you need the car ready for?? Since you're not too experienced (no offense) i suggest keeping the car out of commission for like 2-3 weeks and take it step at a time. Itll be a great learning exxperience
I really don't need the car to be ready for any time...

I'm 16 and my school is next door, so I walk... and I can drive my parents e60's when ever I want.

I really wouldn't want the car to be out for more than a month, but 2-3 weeks is fine.

We have an extra garage, but no lift, so I'd just put it up on jack stands for the entire time probably.

I would do a lot of questioning on bimmerfest and asking family friends for help
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:44 AM
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Well, spend the next few weeks/months aquiring the parts necessary for the swap. Ill tell you, its much cheaper to get it out of a parts car.

Start on your reading!! I looked into the swap 3 months prior to doing the actual job!

I say go for it . Sounds like you got everything set-ish.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:50 AM
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okay

so heres my first question ( it may be a stupid question, but here goes )

do the 328i and the M3 have the same manual trannies or are they different

and if they are different, will the M3 tranny work with my car and will it be better?
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:52 AM
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From what I know/heard/read yes. Both M3 and 328i(s)'s share the ZF transmission
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:16 AM
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Ok, lets start with first things first. Changing air filters and gaskets is one thing, changing transmissions is a completely different ball game. It's certainly doable, even for a novice, but it isn't easy.

Now, since I said first things first, lets start with getting the car in the air. Working under it dropping the tranny is gonna suck. Especially for a novice, doing it on jackstands will make it 50 times more difficult. I sure wouldn't wanna do a tranny swap on stands. You'll want a lot of room to work under, and jack stands won't give you much more room at all. Keep in mind it takes professionals several hours to R&R a tranny, and they have the car hoisted easily above them on a professional lift. SO - I suggest you take some time first of all and build yourself some SERIOUS ramps. Something like this: http://corvettec3.ca/ramps.htm I'd go with something like the ones the Z is on, not little flimsy ones. Just take a week or so and slowly build them. Remember - having the right tools and equipment is one of the most important things.

Next step: READ!!!!! Read everything you can - repair manuals, swap threads, different peoples' parts lists (and compare them to make sure you have EVERYTHING).

Then: Acquire. Get all your tools and parts before you start the swap.

Finally: Swap time! Take your time, be thorough, remember that doing something slower, but better, could save you having to redo it all in the future.

It's a huge undertaking, but with enough prep you can do it. A shop will probably run you at least a grand, if not more.
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  #17  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:35 AM
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It's a huge undertaking, but with enough prep you can do it. A shop will probably run you at least a grand, if not more.

If I could find a shop that would do it for a grand, I'm sure my dad would pay that to have it done.

You live in San Diego County if I'm correct Chad, where would you take it.


I would love to do it my self, but I'm just 16, and with AP classes and stuff, I don't know if I'll really be able to do it myself.

We have an appointment to meet with a mechanic at a pretty reputable shop in North San Diego County, I'm gonna ask him about doing the manual swap vs. auto swap.

If I do do it, it will be a VERY long process.


We're at the tip of the ice-burg
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:37 AM
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Sigh.... age is no excuse!
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  #19  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:44 AM
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Sigh.... age is no excuse!
I actually think it's better to be younger, my parents always freak out when I start taking stuff apart, but I always put it back in working order.

And I REALLY wanna do this my self, but I just don't know on this......

Encouragement from you festers always seems to help me with this stuff...
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:49 AM
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Like I said in PM, I don't live in SD any more. Anyway, not familiar with North County, but if it helps anyone else out in SD county as well, La Jolla Independent is a great place. Straight talk from them, no run-around, fair rates, good work. I'd definitely recommend them, and it's the only place I took my BMWs to in SD.

about taking stuff apart. I think I'm a little ADD or something, cuz I LOVE taking stuff apart.........I just get bored putting it back together so it never happens. I avoid tearing down my own stuff but love to take apart other people's stuff.
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  #21  
Old 03-14-2010, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Like I said in PM, I don't live in SD any more. Anyway, not familiar with North County, but if it helps anyone else out in SD county as well, La Jolla Independent is a great place. Straight talk from them, no run-around, fair rates, good work. I'd definitely recommend them, and it's the only place I took my BMWs to in SD.

about taking stuff apart. I think I'm a little ADD or something, cuz I LOVE taking stuff apart.........I just get bored putting it back together so it never happens. I avoid tearing down my own stuff but love to take apart other people's stuff.
In into to engineering last year in school, most of that class was "Reverse Engineering" or breaking stuff as we called it...

Ripping apart black berries and game cubes involves a lot of throwing and prying with screw drivers I love it too

And la Jolla's about 15min from me, easy enough to get there, I'll check out that place.
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  #22  
Old 03-14-2010, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Like I said in PM, I don't live in SD any more. Anyway, not familiar with North County, but if it helps anyone else out in SD county as well, La Jolla Independent is a great place. Straight talk from them, no run-around, fair rates, good work. I'd definitely recommend them, and it's the only place I took my BMWs to in SD.

about taking stuff apart. I think I'm a little ADD or something, cuz I LOVE taking stuff apart.........I just get bored putting it back together so it never happens. I avoid tearing down my own stuff but love to take apart other people's stuff.
Note to self... keep panda the fcuk away from Chad haha

And Jack.... No worries man! I made a big jump from changing oil, to suspension, to 5-speed swap. You learn from experience, not by the books. Honestly, doing two of these swaps, I feel the majortiy of the fest is capable of doing it.... But a lot are either too lazy, or don't trust themselves .
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  #23  
Old 03-14-2010, 03:11 AM
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jackrules jackrules is offline
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Note to self... keep panda the fcuk away from Chad haha

And Jack.... No worries man! I made a big jump from changing oil, to suspension, to 5-speed swap. You learn from experience, not by the books. Honestly, doing two of these swaps, I feel the majortiy of the fest is capable of doing it.... But a lot are either too lazy, or don't trust themselves .
I totally know what you mean about learning from experience!

Currently my biggest problem looks like the lifting issue. I like the link chad put up about building the serious ramp out wood and such.



Quick side not that really has nothing to do with this...

My grandpa was 14 when he built up an old model T from the junk yard.... The coolest thing about it that he's told me was that he used two transmissions, one from a Model-T and one from a Model-A and lined them up, so that he got extremely high gears for speed and extremely low ( he calles em tractor gears ) for plowing snow in the winter time..

Just thought I'd share that, it's always been a funny thought about him putting two trannys in to his Junkyard Model T ( Brakes failed and one point on a hill and he jumped out before it crashed to it's death at the bottom of the street ) He now has a restored one.
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  #24  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:05 AM
Tom Nguyen Tom Nguyen is offline
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Sounds like you got a plan Jack. I like it! Sama is right, age doesn't matter.For Chad is also a yes.....prep is the biggest thing. How well you prep is how well your outcome will be. Also I have secret plans...
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  #25  
Old 03-14-2010, 07:50 PM
sandman_318i sandman_318i is offline
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I'm actually thinking of doing the same swap. I've found a parts car at a local "pull-a-part", one of the greatest places in the world. I can get everything parts wise for about 200 dollars if that. I'll take detailed pics once i get started. Keep us posted on ur progress. And good luck.
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