• VS Motorsports converts a E46 M3 SMG transmission to manual as a solution rather than buying a new hydraulic pump

      The E46 M3 SMG (sequential manual gearbox) is basically the exact same thing as the manual transmission except with a hydraulically actuated shifting mechanism. The hydraulic pump can fail and VS Motorsports states the replacement cost is $2500 (a bit high) from BMW. Regardless, many people have wondered how much it would cost to simply switch an SMG to manual as well as how difficult it would be. VS Motorsports answers the latter below with an SMG to manual swap.

      "If you are looking to get the manual swap done, we finished the swap for our good customer and now have the information that many people could not find. We now know without a doubt this can be done, what parts are needed, and what software to get. Having the manual will give you the piece of mind for no more guessing what the problems are, no more replacing smg relays, hydraulic pumps. accumulators, re setting smg adaptations, and worry about smg issues.

      What you will need.

      -You will need either a manual transmission or just the bell housing off a manual car. (Some people have machined the smg bell housing and inserted the necessary parts from the manual cars but we have not done this and you could run the risk of machining the bell housing wrong and then you are stuck. Then still have to buy a new bell housing or transmission.)

      Transmission with the bell housing off






      Inside the SMG Bell Housing:







      Install the necessary parts missing on a SMG car that a Manual has. We have the list already and know what needs to be ordered. Some of these parts can be upgraded to aftermarket such as the shifter (short shifter), Clutch slave cylinder line, shift boot, etc. Also this is the perfect time to replace the clutch, upgrade clutch or change flywheel.

      Manual Shift lever installed.







      Updated Software to have the car recognize that it is now a manual. This will turn off the gear indicator and the SMG fault code lights.

      Picture of the SMG indictors off.








      Lastly you will lose your neutral safety switch and cruise control. Only way to make them work is for us to build a harness to the DME since there is no harness to purchase from BMW. This would take a lot of time for us to do on the first car. So instead of doing that we can delete the neutral safety switch. By doing this it means the car will not have cruise control, and the car could potential start in gear. You will need to take extra precaution to make sure not start the car in gear or it can jump forward/backwards potential hitting a car in front or behind you. "

      Manual Transmission Installed








      Shifter boot and knob:


      This article was originally published in forum thread: VS Motorsports converts a E46 M3 SMG transmission to manual as a solution rather than buying a new hydraulic pump started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 29 Comments
      1. onig's Avatar
        onig -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
        I did this conversion on my e46 m3, had my smg bellhousing machined rather than obtain one from a manual car.

        This may save money on a repair, but creates complications when trying to resell the vehicle.

        I have a 2002 Euro M3 AA stage 2
        I want to do this swap and have all the mechanical parts.
        My concern is the dme....
        Is there any way to fool the dme or just install the manual parts
        and drive it like that?
        I would not mind driving the
        car around with the smg lights on.
        Thing is on the island we dont have any ways of reflashing the dme.

        any information will be greatly appreciated.
      1. flipm3's Avatar
        flipm3 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by onig Click here to enlarge
        I have a 2002 Euro M3 AA stage 2
        I want to do this swap and have all the mechanical parts.
        My concern is the dme....
        Is there any way to fool the dme or just install the manual parts
        and drive it like that?
        I would not mind driving the
        car around with the smg lights on.
        Thing is on the island we dont have any ways of reflashing the dme.

        any information will be greatly appreciated.
        Try contacting Matt@vsmotorsports.com

        Tell him "flipm3" sent you and he can answer all your questions. I'll be there on Wednesday getting some stuff installed, so I can ask him then as well. Feel free to PM me any specific questions you may want me to relay to him.
      1. onig's Avatar
        onig -
        [QUOTE=flipm3;267811

        Tell him "flipm3" sent you and he can answer all your questions. I'll be there on Wednesday getting some stuff installed, so I can ask him then as well. Feel free to PM me any specific questions you may want me to relay to him.[/QUOTE]

        Thanks flipm3
        If you could please ask him if there is a way around getting the DME being reflashed.
        I cant send PM's yet.

        Thanks alot for your time flipm3!
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by onig Click here to enlarge
        I cant send PM's yet.
        You can.
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Good work by VS. I've done a swap too for a friend and EVOLVE did the SMG to 6MT coding with a tune at the same time. Click here to enlarge
      1. metrik's Avatar
        metrik -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by onig Click here to enlarge
        I have a 2002 Euro M3 AA stage 2
        I want to do this swap and have all the mechanical parts.
        My concern is the dme....
        Is there any way to fool the dme or just install the manual parts
        and drive it like that?
        I would not mind driving the
        car around with the smg lights on.
        Thing is on the island we dont have any ways of reflashing the dme.

        any information will be greatly appreciated.
        I drove mine for 6 months before I found someone to do the dme flashing.

        You'll be fine. As long as I left the SMG computer plugged in, the car drove fine. If you unplug the SMG computer without reflashing the DME, that definitely puts the car in limp mode.
      1. onig's Avatar
        onig -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by metrik Click here to enlarge
        I drove mine for 6 months before I found someone to do the dme flashing.

        You'll be fine. As long as I left the SMG computer plugged in, the car drove fine. If you unplug the SMG computer without reflashing the DME, that definitely puts the car in limp mode.
        Thanks alot
        I will keep you guys posted on the progress
        Click here to enlarge
      1. v8z4's Avatar
        v8z4 -
        Are the 5 and 6 speed bell housings the same? I have a 5 speed in my 2.5i and have the option to pick up a SMG 6speed for cheap.

        Chris
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by v8z4 Click here to enlarge
        Are the 5 and 6 speed bell housings the same? I have a 5 speed in my 2.5i and have the option to pick up a SMG 6speed for cheap.

        Chris
        I wish I knew. You might want to try contacting @Mike@VAC or giving VS Motorsports a try.