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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok...general questions on E39 M5 transmissions:

1) When does one know it's time to replace the car's transmission? TRanny occasionally slips out of gear? Chronically slips out of gear? Won't go into a given gear? Funny noises?

2) Most people I've spoken to say that you must get a remanded transmission from BMW (core charge is the transmission case - all internals are new. Is this true or can the transmission be rebuilt by someone who knows what they are doing?

3) Are there reputable third party sources who rebuild transmissions and who can sell me a "remanded" transmission (preferably with a warranty)?

I value your input....

Jeff
 

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You've been around these machines longer than me, but since I've owned manual transmission cars for my entire life, I've found the following out. Slipping in and out of gear and not going into a geat smoothly is "normally" a worn or bent shifter linkage matter. Noises coming from the throw out bearing can seem to be coming from the tranny and I try to avoid my habit of keeping the clutch in at stop lights instead of shifting into neutral to save the throw out beaaring.
I've read many threads about not being able to rebuild these transmissions, but if it's made by man it can be disassembled and reassembled by man, but at what cost and with what capability is in question. I have seen M5 transmissions regularly on Ebay. Sometimes changing fluid can help and I found an oil change with Royal Purple made my transmission much smoother - although my wife thinks it was the placebo affect. If you think you have bearings whining or a missing tooth in your tranny then you may need another one. My son had a Fiero (don't laugh he loved it) with a gertag manual and the dealer told him the same thing, it couldn't be rebuilt and he'd have to get another one from Pontiac, but he took it to a transmission shop and they found a few missing teeth and got him a new one from an old parts car for one half the price of a new one or rebuilding it. They were up front with him telling him that the gertag manuals are labor intensive to rebuild and we all know the hourly cost of a qualified mechanic isn't cheap!
 

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You might want to PM board member AMP to get a professional opinion.

GL
 

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Jeff,

I am not aware of any third parties that rebuild the transmissions in the M5. I believe the major problem is that BMW doesn't sell the part for the transmission over the counter. That is why many are forced to purchased a remanufactured tranny from BMW. There is a board number on here who was able to source upgraded rebuild parts for his transmissions, but I don't believe he builds these for anyone but himself.
 

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^^^ Lscman. Look up his comments on rebuilds.

I know if nobody doing rebuilds commercially outside of BMW channels.

And it is remanned...not 'remanded'. (The latter being what happens after you are arraigned. ;) ...damn spellchecker)
 

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Ok...general questions on E39 M5 transmissions:

1) When does one know it's time to replace the car's transmission? TRanny occasionally slips out of gear? Chronically slips out of gear? Won't go into a given gear? Funny noises?

2) Most people I've spoken to say that you must get a remanded transmission from BMW (core charge is the transmission case - all internals are new. Is this true or can the transmission be rebuilt by someone who knows what they are doing?

3) Are there reputable third party sources who rebuild transmissions and who can sell me a "remanded" transmission (preferably with a warranty)?

I value your input....

Jeff
1) probably, yes, yes, yes

2) No, BMW reman's are done by a shoddy 3rd party outfit. I have bought rejects from BMW dealers and found serious assembly errors and worse. I'm convinced they have poorly-trained idiots doing the work. Virtually every part found within tolerance is reused. It's not new by any longshot. BMW sees significant warranty rework/callback due to excess gear whine which I think is caused by reusing gears without maintaining gearset match. The basic design weaknesses are not corrected, so stiff shifting, jamb in gear, grind and popout symptoms manifest themselves quicker than new tranny would.

3) why not do some searching? I don't do simple rebuild/reman because the same issues will manifest themselves over and over again. Properly modified and upgraded, these trannys will last forever in the toughest duty. Racers come to me begging for track spares & I simply can't meet demand. I don't turnover jobs quick because it's just a hobby, so I can't often help street car owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...I believe the major problem is that BMW doesn't sell the part for the transmission over the counter. That is why many are forced to purchased a remanufactured tranny from BMW...
Thanks. Since my original post I learned that BMW won't sell internals for trannys as you've stated. Being forced to go with a remanned unit is a pain and, as pointed out by LSCMAN, a potentially expensive "adventure".

Thanks
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And it is remanned...not 'remanded'.
My bad...especially since I once corrected someone for making the same goof. Lscman has responded as you can see.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1) probably, yes, yes, yes

2) No, BMW reman's are done by a shoddy 3rd party outfit. I have bought rejects from BMW dealers and found serious assembly errors and worse. I'm convinced they have poorly-trained idiots doing the work. Virtually every part found within tolerance is reused. It's not new by any longshot. BMW sees significant warranty rework/callback due to excess gear whine which I think is caused by reusing gears without maintaining gearset match. The basic design weaknesses are not corrected, so stiff shifting, jamb in gear, grind and popout symptoms manifest themselves quicker than new tranny would.

3) why not do some searching? I don't do simple rebuild/reman because the same issues will manifest themselves over and over again. Properly modified and upgraded, these trannys will last forever in the toughest duty. Racers come to me begging for track spares & I simply can't meet demand. I don't turnover jobs quick because it's just a hobby, so I can't often help street car owners.
Lscman. Thanks. If I understamd what you're saying, buying a BMW remanned tranny may end up being a monumental waste of time and money.

When you say I should search, are you recommending that I look for someone selling a working tranny and swap it with my origonal or find a damaged tranny and have someone rebuild/refurb and then swap. After which, in both cases, have my original tranny refurbed and kept as a spare? Or are you suggesting something completely different?

Jeff
 

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Ok...general questions on E39 M5 transmissions:

1) When does one know it's time to replace the car's transmission? TRanny occasionally slips out of gear? Chronically slips out of gear? Won't go into a given gear? Funny noises?

Jeff
All of those problems suggest a mechanical failure of some sort (syncros) and would need to be rebuilt if possible. Keeping clean fluid, and smart shifting should, as lscman suggests, lead to a very long life. I wouldn't worry unless you have some symptoms?

lscman- I know you can't offer your services for rebuilding transmissions, but maybe as an alternative you could suggest parts to upgrade/replace, and where to source them from? If this has been discussed just post the link and I'll be quiet.

Thanks!
 

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Lscman. Thanks. If I understamd what you're saying, buying a BMW remanned tranny may end up being a monumental waste of time and money.

When you say I should search, are you recommending that I look for someone selling a working tranny and swap it with my origonal or find a damaged tranny and have someone rebuild/refurb and then swap. After which, in both cases, have my original tranny refurbed and kept as a spare? Or are you suggesting something completely different?

Jeff
Jeff,

No, I'm not saying a BMW reman is a waste of time. They are warranted if you get the work done at a BMW dealership, so objectionable operation or function will be corrected for free. I'm only saying it may have a latent issue that might cause failure after a few years due to marginal quality control. This total job could push $6K at a dealership. The number of reman rejects is alarming, based upon what the Tech's tell me. I've bought a few for parts.

Used is very scary & you need to be a wise shopper. As I pointed out in many threads that you could review....you should ideally find a good tranny with no trauma still in a wrecked car with low miles. That way you can verify miles and reasonably deduce the tranny was not somebody's pulled core (trouble) being misrepresented as good. A tranny sitting in a salvage yard or somebody's cellar is a potshoot.

Ebay is a total nightmare when it comes to motors and trannys. Exceptions are rare. Good luck verifying history & condition.

I'm a perfectionist w degrees in Physics ands Engrg who likes improving designs, so I've always tinkered with trannys...for myself and friends who are mostly track enthusiasts. I've done this for almost every manual tranny car I ever owned since about 1978. Before that it was dirt bike motors and trannys spanning from AJS to Suzuki lol. The car list includes Muncie, Toploader, BW, Tremec, RUG, RAD, ZF, Getrag etc.

This hobby cost me money; I'd make better money flipping burgers at mcdonald's. The number of manhours I spend per tranny is rediculous. The 420G gets many modifications and upgrades to improve shift quality and longevity. I don't do simple rebuilds, period. I sell trannys for almost cheap as the junk selling on ebay so I have folks begging me to help them all the time. I got stuck with a couple trannys where impulsive owners sold their car while I was building a tranny for them & they sold dirt cheap. However I don't have an M5 tranny assembled at this moment, so I can't help you any time soon. If you can't find anything good for reasonable price, shoot me a PM and I'll try to assist. About 90% of the time I can't help folks due to lack of time. When it's fun, I do charity work. When it feels like work, I stop taking requests. I rebuilt about 30 to 35 tranny over 3 decades, so the avg# per year is about 1. My success rate is 100.0% with zero complaints. I intend to maintain that record, so I don't do shortcuts.
 

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Yea, but for $2K you should be getting a good, strong warranty. I wouldn't pay more than $500 for as-is mystery grab bag. Unfortunately the typical salvage yard will keep locating you trannys for their exchange warranty, forcing the customer to eat in and out labor over and over again. A poor sob came begging to me a few years ago after such an event and I built him one. Luckily he won his case in court against the salvage yard and they returned his $2500. Sadly he was out about $2K in rework labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jeff,

No, I'm not saying a BMW reman is a waste of time. They are warranted if you get the work done at a BMW dealership, so objectionable operation or function will be corrected for free. I'm only saying it may have a latent issue that might cause failure after a few years due to marginal quality control. This total job could push $6K at a dealership. The number of reman rejects is alarming, based upon what the Tech's tell me. I've bought a few for parts.

Used is very scary & you need to be a wise shopper. As I pointed out in many threads that you could review....you should ideally find a good tranny with no trauma still in a wrecked car with low miles. That way you can verify miles and reasonably deduce the tranny was not somebody's pulled core (trouble) being misrepresented as good. A tranny sitting in a salvage yard or somebody's cellar is a potshoot.

Ebay is a total nightmare when it comes to motors and trannys. Exceptions are rare. Good luck verifying history & condition.

I'm a perfectionist w degrees in Physics ands Engrg who likes improving designs, so I've always tinkered with trannys...for myself and friends who are mostly track enthusiasts. I've done this for almost every manual tranny car I ever owned since about 1978. Before that it was dirt bike motors and trannys spanning from AJS to Suzuki lol. The car list includes Muncie, Toploader, BW, Tremec, RUG, RAD, ZF, Getrag etc.

This hobby cost me money; I'd make better money flipping burgers at mcdonald's. The number of manhours I spend per tranny is rediculous. The 420G gets many modifications and upgrades to improve shift quality and longevity. I don't do simple rebuilds, period. I sell trannys for almost cheap as the junk selling on ebay so I have folks begging me to help them all the time. I got stuck with a couple trannys where impulsive owners sold their car while I was building a tranny for them & they sold dirt cheap. However I don't have an M5 tranny assembled at this moment, so I can't help you any time soon. If you can't find anything good for reasonable price, shoot me a PM and I'll try to assist. About 90% of the time I can't help folks due to lack of time. When it's fun, I do charity work. When it feels like work, I stop taking requests. I rebuilt about 30 to 35 tranny over 3 decades, so the avg# per year is about 1. My success rate is 100.0% with zero complaints. I intend to maintain that record, so I don't do shortcuts.
Lscman...thanks for the valuable info. At the moment, based on all the threads I've read, including several by you, regarding tranny's, I think I'm ok at the moment. My concern was that I had one event where the car popped out of gear in 2nd, I think due to the shifter not fully engaged. If things deteriorate further, I'll send you an IM through this board and we can discuss some ideas.

BTW...I'm meticulous aabout maintenance. My car gets oil every 3K (it's tested too); and all other fluids (tranny, diff, coolant, brake, and P/S) once a year or every 6K, whichever comes first. Maybe overkill, but it hasn't done me any harm (other than the wallet, which, in the grand scheme of things isn't bad - I consider it insurance againts a more costly expense later). Air filters get replaced every 10K miles or once a year.

I'm probably going to need new brake rotors and pads sometime in the next year, which I will do when upgrading my front calipers to Stoptech 6 piston cals.

BTW...PhD in Physics and BA in Math here...so we share a common passion/interest.

Thanks again!

Jeff
 
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