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      07-23-2018, 12:51 AM   #1
Thunderguts
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THIS is how a car should shift!

I had high hopes when I changed the gearbox oil in my 128i with 68k miles. I've only had the car for a week, but that was enough to hate the way it shifted. All is forgiven now.

Step 1: delete that damn CDV valve. I had no idea why the car was so awful to drive until I searched the forums and discovered that CDV valve. I was pulling it out of gear, not realizing that even though my foot was to the floor, the clutch had not yet fully released because of the delay. It caused very rough, bucking shifts. Now the clutch works normally. It was a night and day difference.

Step 2: the 1-2 shift was very difficult. I almost had to double clutch to get it to shift or apply more force than I felt comfortable using. I drained the transmission and replaced it with AC/Delco (GM) Synchromesh (friction modified). Wow what a difference! The 1-2 shift requires a tiny bit more force than any other gear, but just barely. Once again, the difference was night and day. The only downside to draining was finding all the tiny metal fragments that built up over the last 9 years from the previous owner.

A car that required supreme concentration to drive smoothly is now a pleasure to row through the gears. I can't wait until my SSK arrives, except that I'm dreading crawling back under the car again to install it. Ugh! After the 15-20 hours I've spent detailing the engine and cutting/polishing the body, my hands are virtually useless.
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      07-23-2018, 12:38 PM   #2
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Sounds like the previous owner was mean to the car and you need a new syncro.
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      07-23-2018, 02:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
Sounds like the previous owner was mean to the car and you need a new syncro.
No doubt that the synchros are not new by any stretch, but the Synchromesh should keep me going without a rebuild. I swear by it in every manual that I drive. I'm elated that it had the same beneficial effect in this car.
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      07-23-2018, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
No doubt that the synchros are not new by any stretch, but the Synchromesh should keep me going without a rebuild. I swear by it in every manual that I drive. I'm elated that it had the same beneficial effect in this car.
Yeah that fluid has a great reputation. I can't understand how people fuck up manuals though. PO must really have been trying. I shifted my last car clutchlessly all the time which is the worst thing you can do in a syncronized manual and sold it at 70K shifting as smoothly as the day I bought it new with 100 miles.
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      08-09-2018, 09:43 AM   #5
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Well so much for that idea!

The benefits of the GM Synchromesh have slowly degraded over the past week. It's still better than it was, but not nearly as slick as the first two days after the swap. I guess I found the first gearbox where GM Synchromesh isn't the best answer.

I swapped it out last night for Motylgear 75w90. It's shifting better again, but I hope these benefits last. I'm anticipating a new transmission in the next few years. The weird thing is that the gears don't gnash or grind when shifting, it's just very stiff on the 1-2 shift, even if the revs are synced perfectly.
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      08-09-2018, 09:57 AM   #6
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Unfortunately I think your high effort will get worse with a shorter throw shifter and may well be due to the second gear synchros. That would explain why it only occurs going into that gear. I don't know that it is better but I use redline. I used MTL for the first 70K miles and recently switch to their automatic transmission fluid which is recommended for the 128i. Shifts are lighter which is to be expected with thinner lubricant. I don't see any difference going into 2nd versus third etc..
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      08-09-2018, 10:29 AM   #7
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The effort is definitely higher with the short shift kit because I have reduced leverage, but in theory that should also make it harder for me to bend a shift fork trying to go into a gear.

Oddly enough, the faster I shift the easier it will go into gear which should be the opposite if the synchros are bad. Sadly it detracts from the driving experience which is why I will probably buy a new/rebuilt transmission one day.
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      08-09-2018, 11:35 AM   #8
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Thunderguts I like using Redline's ATF-D4 in my manual transmission. You can also use Redline's MTL as well, in the manual BMW boxes.

BG Products make something called: SyncroShift... it can also work wonders on cars with slightly worn out syncros. You might give it a try. I would run your old gearbox fluid thru a scrainer or coffee filter... look for bits of brass(metal) in the fluid - if your syncros are bad.

https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/drive...ncro-shift-ii/
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      08-09-2018, 12:48 PM   #9
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Funny, I actually just ordered some Redline ATF-D4. I'll probably throw that in there over the weekend and see how it goes. The Motylgear has friction modifiers to help worn synchros engage like the GM Synchromesh, but maybe both are too thick. The ATF-D4 may produce better results.

What gives me hope is that the right fluid can absolutely make a huge difference in shifting. When I got my Honda back from the dealer, they replaced the smooth-shifting GM Synchromesh with Honda MTF. The car was virtually un-shiftable. It was a shocking difference. Once I replaced the Honda MTF again, everything was perfect.

Fortunately gearbox oil is something that's both relatively easy and inexpensive to swap out.

Last edited by Thunderguts; 08-09-2018 at 12:54 PM.
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      08-10-2018, 09:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Thunderguts I like using Redline's ATF-D4 in my manual transmission. You can also use Redline's MTL as well, in the manual BMW boxes.

https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/drive...ncro-shift-ii/
Well, that absolutely did the trick! The Redline ATF is like magic. It almost shifts like a new gearbox again. Itís one of two things: either the other oils I tried were too thick and bogged down the gears causing the synchros to work overtime, or they were too slick and didnít allow the synchros to engage properly. Unfortunately GM Synchromesh does not list a weight and Motylgear is only an approximation. I believe viscosity was the main culprit. If this didnít fix it, I was about to throw some limited slip additive in there and give it a go.

I would imagine I will see slightly more gear wear, but no big deal. Synchros will fail long before gears. This probably gives me another 50k miles before a rebuild.
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      08-10-2018, 11:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
I had high hopes when I changed the gearbox oil in my 128i with 68k miles. I've only had the car for a week, but that was enough to hate the way it shifted. All is forgiven now.

Step 1: delete that damn CDV valve. I had no idea why the car was so awful to drive until I searched the forums and discovered that CDV valve. I was pulling it out of gear, not realizing that even though my foot was to the floor, the clutch had not yet fully released because of the delay. It caused very rough, bucking shifts. Now the clutch works normally. It was a night and day difference.

Step 2: the 1-2 shift was very difficult. I almost had to double clutch to get it to shift or apply more force than I felt comfortable using. I drained the transmission and replaced it with AC/Delco (GM) Synchromesh (friction modified). Wow what a difference! The 1-2 shift requires a tiny bit more force than any other gear, but just barely. Once again, the difference was night and day. The only downside to draining was finding all the tiny metal fragments that built up over the last 9 years from the previous owner.

A car that required supreme concentration to drive smoothly is now a pleasure to row through the gears. I can't wait until my SSK arrives, except that I'm dreading crawling back under the car again to install it. Ugh! After the 15-20 hours I've spent detailing the engine and cutting/polishing the body, my hands are virtually useless.
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      08-25-2018, 06:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr1 View Post
Is that RTD or CAE? Do you have all solid engine/trans mounts? Please do a writeup if you haven't already, and if you have, link me!

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      08-25-2018, 06:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Thunderguts I like using Redline's ATF-D4 in my manual transmission. You can also use Redline's MTL as well, in the manual BMW boxes.

https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/drive...ncro-shift-ii/
Well, that absolutely did the trick! The Redline ATF is like magic. It almost shifts like a new gearbox again. It’s one of two things: either the other oils I tried were too thick and bogged down the gears causing the synchros to work overtime, or they were too slick and didn’t allow the synchros to engage properly. Unfortunately GM Synchromesh does not list a weight and Motylgear is only an approximation. I believe viscosity was the main culprit. If this didn’t fix it, I was about to throw some limited slip additive in there and give it a go.

I would imagine I will see slightly more gear wear, but no big deal. Synchros will fail long before gears. This probably gives me another 50k miles before a rebuild.
Just FYI.

The gearbox is not rebuildable, there are no parts available. If one synchro goes bad, you need to replace the gearbox. $$&&
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      08-25-2018, 07:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
Just FYI.

The gearbox is not rebuildable, there are no parts available. If one synchro goes bad, you need to replace the gearbox. $$&&
I have heard this mentioned, however BMW must rebuild them itself. There are reputable shops and dealers selling OEM gearboxes as "remanufactured." Now that's not the same as buying $400 in parts and rebuilding it yourself, but at least there must be some options out there.
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      08-25-2018, 08:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
Just FYI.

The gearbox is not rebuildable, there are no parts available. If one synchro goes bad, you need to replace the gearbox. $$&&
I have heard this mentioned, however BMW must rebuild them itself. There are reputable shops and dealers selling OEM gearboxes as "remanufactured." Now that's not the same as buying $400 in parts and rebuilding it yourself, but at least there must be some options out there.
Warranty replacements are reman by ZF. If you were to order from the dealer, they are about $7k.
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      09-15-2018, 01:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
I have heard this mentioned, however BMW must rebuild them itself. There are reputable shops and dealers selling OEM gearboxes as "remanufactured." Now that's not the same as buying $400 in parts and rebuilding it yourself, but at least there must be some options out there.
They take our old and give you a rebuilt one, anything from Ä4,900 to Ä5,300 locally. No internal part available, so maybe take it to a specialist or replace completely.
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      09-15-2018, 01:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderguts View Post
Funny, I actually just ordered some Redline ATF-D4. I'll probably throw that in there over the weekend and see how it goes. The Motylgear has friction modifiers to help worn synchros engage like the GM Synchromesh, but maybe both are too thick. The ATF-D4 may produce better results.

What gives me hope is that the right fluid can absolutely make a huge difference in shifting. When I got my Honda back from the dealer, they replaced the smooth-shifting GM Synchromesh with Honda MTF. The car was virtually un-shiftable. It was a shocking difference. Once I replaced the Honda MTF again, everything was perfect.

Fortunately gearbox oil is something that's both relatively easy and inexpensive to swap out.
I tested Castrol 75w-90 and B75W and the shifts are notchy.

After researching i found out that the 75w-90 is not BMW approved and the B75W is MTF-LT2 approved where the transmission on my car required MTF-LT3, so i still have the incorrect fluid.

No redline or AC brands here in Germany, i am considering picking up LT-3 directly from the dealership now, since i can not find any brand offering this specification.

I will do the valve delete in Spring when i replace the brake fluid, as well as new ABE approved SS lines for the brakes.

I found this brand:
https://www.amazon.de/RAVENOL-MTF-3-...s=BMW+MTF+LT-3

I think this is an alternative to purchasing directly from BMW? should i go for it?

Last edited by Zombie_Head; 09-15-2018 at 02:02 AM.
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      09-16-2018, 12:31 AM   #18
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The three oils I found that work the best are Pennzoil Synchromesh, AC Delco Synchromesh (friction modified), and Redline ATF-D4. Unfortunately I doubt that any of those are readily available in Europe. I was going to try the Ravenol, but never ordered it after I tried the Redline. This is about as good as it's going to get I'm afraid.

Crikey! Those are expensive transmissions! I've seen the rebuilt ones go for around $3,500 USD here. I'm thinking about finding a junked one to send as a core so I can keep my original and maybe open it up one day to try to rebuild it.
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      09-16-2018, 01:29 AM   #19
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Thank you, i searched around some German 3 series forums, they stated that MT-2 can be replaced with Castrol B75W, however MT-3 must be purchased directly from BMW.

So i will bite the bullet and get 2 liters on Monday and replace the transmission oil next week as well.
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      10-14-2018, 06:35 AM   #20
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After you did the CDV delete, did you bleed it properly? That alone will make a huge difference as a clutch which does not fully disengage will also produce stiff shifts
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