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Re: Bad Design? I agree -- about the gearbox... (archive)

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Posted by Johno on May 16, 2001 at 00:40:40:

In Reply to: Bad Design? I agree -- about the gearbox... posted by Jon97 on May 15, 2001 at 20:49:15:

I missed shifts in other cars, too, but not into the wrong gear, and without disintegrating my engine.

I think that stuff everybody says about "willing to cope... if it means I get a motor that's tuned for performance" is people selling themselves short.

For example, the GSX I ditched to get the M3 has 2 liters and 210 horsepower. Or 105 Hp per litre. The M3 is only 75 horsepower per litre.

The Mitsubishi engine may not be as refined or whatever, but it packs significantly more punch per litre than the 3.2. Only with the 46 does BMW's engine approach the performance the GSX has been dishing out for 5 years by now -- for half the price. This is not to say the GSX is a better car by any measure except cornering on water or plowing through snowdrifts. But the idea that BMW owners should accept this over-rev crap in favor of a "highly tuned engine" ignores the fact that there are cheaper cars out there with significantly more mojo per dollar than the M3 3.2, with engines that do not blow up.

Also, the line about we m3 owners shift worse than other drivers doesn't add up, either. If anything, people that shell out 440 grand plus for a car will be more apt to be careful with their cars than somebody who sacrifices less of the family budget.

The more I find out about this, the more disappointed I am in BMW. A lot of people who love their cars are getting hurt because of extremely sloppy engineering at BMW.

Than tirade out of the way -- will I get rid of the M3? I can't bring myself to do that. It's too good of a car in every other respect.

I have miss-shifted in other cars -- once in a honda, once in a camaro. Hey, it happens. But the tuned M3 motor isn't forgiving the way other engines can be. Personally, I'm willing to cope with the possibility of a valve-threatening over-rev if it means my motor will be that much more tuned for performance (aside: does the new E46 M3 engine have the same issues with bent exhaust valves as a result of over-revs?). But what I *don't* like is coping with the persnickety nature of M3 gearboxes in general. We *all* seem to complain about notchiness and periodic difficulty finding the gate, and the BMW techs, meanwhile, chalk it up to the "industrial, rough, German personality" of the car. So, in short, I think the more grevious issue is that we all tend to miss-shift more than other car owners, not that the engine is prone to fatal damage when a miss-shift occurs. I have to say, I'm worried about tracking the car for the sole reason that I know my shifts will be that much quicker, if only due to the excitement of the first laps.

It's bad design. Plain and simple.

I thought I did this to my car, but the dealer says no overrev shows on the computer. Thank God.

Another gentleman on this site advises to shift right and down to get into 4th. That is working for me. Sounds obvious, but thinking it through seems to be good medicine. From 5 to 3 is something I do very cautiously, letting the cluch out in a very controlled manner.

This is definitely the M3s weakest link.

I never even HEARD of this problem until I got into the M3 community. Some folks to whom this has not yet happened blame the operator, which is not appropriate. There are plenty of hot cars out there that do not suffer from this problem.

Go to and you have to look long and hard to find any reference to a missed shift destroying an engine -- if that topic can be found at all. OK, I'll chec right now. The result: "No matches were found for 'over-rev'" Missed shift also comes up blank.

Here, the topic comes up at least once every two days.

Perhaps one can in fact miss a shift in a Japaneese car, but my personal experience with an Eclipse GSX is that a missed shift does not trash the engine. There were several instances where I missed a gear with a grinding noise, but never was there any apparent chance I would shift into the WRONG gear. There was never any risk of shifting into 2 from 4 or 5. Not unless the speed was low. For example, if you are in 5 at 45 mph, you can get into 2 in a GSX. If you are going 70, gear 2 was not possible unless you tried real hard to screw up.

In an M3, it's probable that you will hit the wrong gear unless you try hard not to screw up.

This is the only cloud haning over my head with the M3 I just bought. Some people say it's your own fault, but BMW has designed so that the margin of error -- vs. human error -- is unacceptably low.

If I had known this was such an issue on the M3, I would not have ditched my Eclipse to get it.

I love the M3 in every other sense, but this issue is a real buzz kill.

BMW should do a recall on this, and replace the transmission with whatever it takes to make sure this problem is not happening.

Is this something that anybody would want to get an email drive together to BMW? Some companies still stand behind their products. Maybe they will.

prevent it? I don't think you can mis-shift like that in a japanese car.

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