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      09-02-2012, 03:03 AM   #1
Captisock
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Lack of power in 1st gear

Hi everyone,

My 2010 128i is my first manual car, and I've been having an on-going issue with the power I get in 1st gear. The car is absolutely dead in first gear, gets close to redline at approx. 30 mph. Switching to 2nd gear gives a bit of resistance and is in no way as smooth as moving up to the rest of the gears or even putting the car in 1st gear. I've driven this car for more than a year now, and this has been an on-going concern. Is this normal?

The one thing that seems odd is the fact that I'll have considerably slower cars beside me accelerating much faster from a stop light.

Thanks.
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      09-02-2012, 07:23 AM   #2
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Ok I know you said you have been driving the car for a yr so I'm assuming you're an accomplished manual stick shift driver. So it's just 1st gear? Are you sure you're not bogging it by coming off the clutch to quickly? I remember in another thread some people were complaining that when having the a/c on the xtra load it put on the engine would always cause it to bog down and almost die when starting from a stop unless they revved it higher than normal when taking off. Could that be it?
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      09-02-2012, 09:31 AM   #3
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oooo, have somebody real familiar with manuals check your clutch.

Sorry to say, it may not be long for this world.

As for second, yea second just sucks in the 128. Slow lazy synchro. Some say new transmission fluid helps. Can't wait to try myself.
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      09-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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First gear in mine throws you back in your seat...same in second over 3000 rpms...something doesnt sound right with your car...

these are small cars with an underrated 230+ hp inline 6...not a slow car by any stretch...
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      09-02-2012, 10:29 AM   #5
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1st gear acceleration should be pretty brisk. Your clutch may be slipping. However, you have to get on the throttle quite a bit more in the 128i as compared to some of the other cars I have owned or driven.

Shifting 1-2 has to be done pretty slowly to avoid a crunch. This has bothered me on the 128i as well but I guess I got used to it.
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      09-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #6
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Checking your clutch is a good idea. Put the trans in 4th or 5th ad then let the clutch out at a stop. The engine should stall out immediately. IF that checks out... maybe try checking for any codes. I would look at your MAF (mass air flow sensor), camshaft TDC sensors and vanous sensors.

One simply thing to check would your air filter. It could be clogged up. Shine a flash light behind the paper and you should see thru it. IF you see lots of dirt, replace it.

G.L.
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      09-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Redline in first is 36 mph, not 30. So it appears that you have 20% clutch slippage.

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      09-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #8
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I dont know whether the MTs are the same across the board but the 1-2 shift sucks in my car as well. It does feel like a slow synchro or something.
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      09-02-2012, 01:31 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your responses. I don't think I keep my foot on the clutch for too long at first gear, and I've never felt an added resistance because of the A/C.

I think the clutch may be what's at issue, so I'll try to get somebody to check it out soon.
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      09-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FactorX81 View Post
I dont know whether the MTs are the same across the board but the 1-2 shift sucks in my car as well. It does feel like a slow synchro or something.
I found that after I eliminated the clutch delay valve the 1 -2 shift issues disappeared. I couldn't be happier with my trans performance since I did this.
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      09-03-2012, 03:40 AM   #11
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Strange....I have never experienced a 1-2 issue. I switched to redline at 9 thousand miles. The only issue is redline needs to warm up; this especially pronounced when temperatures are below 30 F.

In stock form "Lightening McQueen" pulls strong 1st and 2nd gear.
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      09-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #12
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I'd like brisker acceleration from the start - but it is after all a NA six. I guess that's what the 135 is for - and the twin turbos definitely address that concern. I've never been in the territory, but I have heard that the 135 actually does not perform as well as the 128 at higher RPMs; there may be a turbo lag up there? So it sounds like a tradeoff between low RPM pull (where most drivers feel the increase) and high RPM pull (where only seasoned, spirited drivers dare to tread), with other factors like mileage, reliability, resale value, insurance cost etc. thrown into the mix.

I find once I get the 128 up past 4K it does pretty good - 1st and second, to some extent, are kind of 'meh' but third is pure bliss for me. It's like watching the Apollo moon shots where the rocket loses a stage upstairs apiece and accelerates like a homesick angel. I get to third as soon as possible and 3rd takes me from about 40 to 80 in a flash.

I spend a lot of time in 3rd...

Drive the 128 up in its RPM range and you'll be rewarded with some pull. Not to the 135's caliber, but exhilarating none the less. You'll pay at the pump, but you would in a 135. BMW engines, from my experience and understanding, don't need (like) to be babied.

I'm no expert, but I believe there is a learning curve to getting the most out of the 128. It is a driver's car. The 128 is like a rifle, where planning and solid, consistent and precise execution meets the mark. The 135 on the other hand requires little finesse to achieve the same acceleration results; it is more like a shotgun ( a double barrelled one, with its twin turbos) that delivers results without much precision. Just my take. Lots of fun, both, in different ways. Precision vs. Power.

That being said, maybe your results are meritous of repairs. My advice? Look on youtube and find one of the numerous videos where someone is doing a 0-60 in a 128. Does it look faster than what you experience? Do a0-60 trial yourself and if the numbers are close you're expecting too much out of the car or driving it too efficiently LOL. It can be hard to break the mold of 'shift at as low an RPM as possible to save gas'. You can save gas in the 128 but if you do you're limiting it to the performance of a Yaris. If you want to drive fast you gotta burn gas. I like being able to make that decision on a daily basis. Do I want to have fun or save money?

Then there's that damn valve, which makes the clutch think you're letting your foot up really s-l-o-w-l-y from the floor. I noticed it shifting into fourth sometimes it almost seems like the clutch was slipping until it finally settled in. It also accounts for the required time lag between first and second - shift too quickly and the tranny thinks you've only pressed down halfway even though your foot is on the floor, and, crrrrrunch! So then you tend to be careful which slows you down even more.

CDV gone = bliss; next week I take it in for the SSK install. Every little bit helps....
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      09-03-2012, 04:09 PM   #13
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Typically clutch slipping problems are experienced more in higher gears where there is a proper load on everything. 3rd and up is usually the problem gears.

OP what year, mileage and condition is the car in.
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      09-03-2012, 05:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
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... , but I have heard that the 135 actually does not perform as well as the 128 at higher RPMs; there may be a turbo lag up there? ...
This is really just a by product of the small stock turbos / tunes on both the N54 and N55 running out of boost at around 6kish, a bigger turbo would lag a bit but let you pull harder higher up.
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      09-05-2012, 09:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
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This is really just a by product of the small stock turbos / tunes on both the N54 and N55 running out of boost at around 6kish, a bigger turbo would lag a bit but let you pull harder higher up.
+1 torque drops quite rapidly up in the rpm band of the turbo motors which makes them feel like they run out of steam, but they still make more power than the NA motor in that rev range if you look at the dyno charts. It just peaks sooner while the NA motor climbs almost all the way to redline.
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      09-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #16
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You're not factoring in the delay that occurs to get the car moving from a standstill while slipping the clutch are you? Ie are you talking about slow acceleration after the clutch is engaged or including before the clutch is engaged? You have to slip the clutch quite a bit with moderate to heavy throttle input to get pushed back into the seat of the car. Even when doing that there is a delay from the time you release the clutch to the engagement point and add throttle to the time the car moves and I believe that is due to the clutch delay valve. If you don't launch the car properly from the get go I find hammering it while moving in 1st gear to feel a little less peppy.

Until I learned how to launch the 128i properly I thought it was a bit slow off the line but proper technique makes a huge difference. 1st gear finds the redline so quick its hard to sense if there is any real difference in pull between 5,000 and 7,000 rpm in my opinion so it is really crucial to launch quickly from a standstill as opposed to later when the car is moving. Also try with DTC or DSC/DTC completely off to see if that makes a difference.
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      01-24-2013, 07:56 AM   #17
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did you ever find a solution to this problem?
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      01-24-2013, 09:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
...Put the trans in 4th or 5th ad then let the clutch out at a stop...
I think he means try flooring it in 3rd or 4th gear meaning that you will treat it like first gear and you were taking off for a race. In 3rd or 4th gear if the clutch is slipping the engine will run for a second longer before it stalls due to the lack of sufficient ground speed to tranny rotation. This is a common way to tell if the clutch is worn out. You WILL smell the clutch at this point either way as it will slip a little. Most automotive dealer use this trick while applying the brake and to do a fast test of the clutch condition.

If you feel this is what your vehicle s doing then replacing the clutch is likely the answer.

If you find that this is not the issue then you might try short shifting before redline in 1st OR some people ride the clutch a little and start off in 2nd. (I do not recommend starting in 2nd gear as it WILL wear out the clutch prematurely) If it is slipping and you are under the maintenance aggrement then it is likley covered and a free replacement otherwse it might be wise to find a Indy shop for replacement. Either way your dealer/INDY can diagnose this issue if you are not comfortable.

I just realized I was a day late on this thread. Sorry about that. But as others have mentioned The CDV can be a cause of the delay too if it is not properly working of course. Jsut because it is there can also be the issue you are feeling. I dont recommend to get rid of it but it if were my vehicle I would really think about bypassing it.
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Last edited by rking117; 01-24-2013 at 09:18 AM.
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      01-24-2013, 09:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Redline in first is 36 mph, not 30. So it appears that you have 20% clutch slippage.

Tom
Unfortunately you cannot factor Clutch Slippage that way in most cases. Only in extreme slippage would this really be a factor and then it WOULD be noticable in all gears. Simply quickly reving the engine without depressing the clutch would slip the clutch and cause a much higher than normal engine rev. for instance while drivng at highway speed stomp the accelerator to pass in 6th gear and you get a 2 or 3 K RPM difference in RPM. I wont go so far and say this is wrong because it could be the case in extreme conditions but not likely without it happening in all gears.
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