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      09-24-2020, 11:29 PM   #1
lazyleo
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Question Hard to shift into 1st or reverse gear from standstill

Hi folks - hope everyone is staying safe in these uncertain times!

My 435i has recently started giving me trouble shifting in the 1st or reverse gear from a standstill. Shifting is smooth when the engine is off, but when the engine is on, I have to push the stick quite hard to get the gear to engage. Interestingly, getting into a first while rolling (about 10kmh) is a lot easier.

I've been researching a bit about this, and I am starting to suspect that it is the clutch. Is it possible that the clutch does not fully disengage when the pedal is pressed in? This could explain the fact that shifting is easy when engine is off.

I've been fairly gentle on the clutch, didn't do any burn outs or towing. The car is only at 59000km, so it would really suck that I have to replace the clutch so early. That said, I did purchase this car used at a dealer two years ago, when it had 45000km on the clock.

One more observation, sometimes after a lot of driving (like a few hours in the city driving), I did notice that the car shakes a bit as I disengage the clutch -- which could indicate that the clutch is slipping.

Lastly, the car is under the BMW extended warranty (Canada) -- but I'm likely out of luck for clutch replacement?

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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      09-24-2020, 11:59 PM   #2
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Sounds exactly like clutch not disengaging all the way, especially if its easier to shift into first gear while rolling (speed matches RPM). You are going to wear out the syncros fast if you keep driving it with the clutch dragging on shifts, and these 6MT are not serviceable.

Warranty for clutch is unlikely since its a wear item, you would need to prove a defect essentially, but worth a call at least to try. Could also in theory be a master/slave issue and not the clutch itself, which might indeed be a warranty item.
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      09-25-2020, 12:26 AM   #3
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Change the gearbox oil with fresh OEM fluid before you do the clutch. I had the same symptoms when a shop put the wrong fluid in my gearbox during a flush.
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      09-25-2020, 12:48 AM   #4
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If you hadn't mentioned the shaking, I would suspect hydraulic issue (master or slave cylinder) since mileage is low for disk wearing out, but this sounds like the disk is worn out. Maybe the first 45k km were driven really hard or by someone who didn't know how to shift. If you had mentioned just shaking and not hard shifting, I might suspect rear engine seal (oil gets on the disk)
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      09-25-2020, 01:41 AM   #5
lazyleo
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Thanks everyone for the helpful responses.

If there's a chance that this is not the clutch (like the master/slave cylinders) and may be covered by the warranty, I think I better call the dealer to see how much they charge for the diagnostics, instead of going to a smaller mechanic right away.

Changing the oil sounds like a good idea also. Even with a clutch replacement, it probably wouldn't hurt. I'll call my local mechanic and get a quote.

Any idea how much I should expect to pay for a clutch replacement? This is certainly very dependent on the location, but a ballpark would help.
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      09-25-2020, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyleo View Post
Thanks everyone for the helpful responses.

If there's a chance that this is not the clutch (like the master/slave cylinders) and may be covered by the warranty, I think I better call the dealer to see how much they charge for the diagnostics, instead of going to a smaller mechanic right away.

Changing the oil sounds like a good idea also. Even with a clutch replacement, it probably wouldn't hurt. I'll call my local mechanic and get a quote.

Any idea how much I should expect to pay for a clutch replacement? This is certainly very dependent on the location, but a ballpark would help.
Check some of the clutch slip/upgrade threads, and highly consider doing an upgrade at the same time if you are planning to tune the car at all in the future as a stock replacement will not hold on even the strongest OTS maps.
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      09-25-2020, 10:00 PM   #7
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Time for a new clutch assembly.
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      09-27-2020, 12:35 AM   #8
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When in such situation,

I find that you should not force at all, in fact

I find it much easier if you very gently and very slowly push it into gear..

Do this for several times during the drive, and eventually it will somehow become easier...

Never force it into gear.


Alternatively, if you don't want to push through the harder resistance than usual, I also shift it into second gear without ever releasing the clutch and then I find that you can easily put it into first or reverse...

I find doing so "unblocks" something in the transmission...

Good luck....

I think it's pretty natural... And I have observed that with all of my 3 series up until now ...


Manual transmission clutch don't wear out that easily of fast, unless you really don't know how to do it and have been abusing it, but otherwise it should last at least 150,000 or even 200,000 miles...based on my experience.
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      09-27-2020, 11:34 AM   #9
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Shift into second and then into first gear. Sometimes that's happens when trying to go into first or reverse randomly. Never force it into gear.
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      09-27-2020, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivenByE30 View Post
When in such situation,

I find that you should not force at all, in fact

I find it much easier if you very gently and very slowly push it into gear..

Do this for several times during the drive, and eventually it will somehow become easier...

Never force it into gear.


Alternatively, if you don't want to push through the harder resistance than usual, I also shift it into second gear without ever releasing the clutch and then I find that you can easily put it into first or reverse...

I find doing so "unblocks" something in the transmission...

Good luck....

I think it's pretty natural... And I have observed that with all of my 3 series up until now ...


Manual transmission clutch don't wear out that easily of fast, unless you really don't know how to do it and have been abusing it, but otherwise it should last at least 150,000 or even 200,000 miles...based on my experience.
Gently pushing into gear unfortunately does not work. It is like there is something preventing it going into gear.

It only started happening abouht a week ago, and I stopped driving to avoid putting the stress on the transmission until I have it looked at.

Agreed about the clutch expected longevity. I would like to think that I was fairly gently on in, but this is a 2nd hand car, so you never know what was the 1st owner like..
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      09-27-2020, 12:42 PM   #11
lazyleo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sqwinny View Post
Shift into second and then into first gear. Sometimes that's happens when trying to go into first or reverse randomly. Never force it into gear.
I read about this trick, and I did try it. Unfortunately, when the engine is on, it is as hard to push into 2nd or higher gear.
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      09-28-2020, 11:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivenByE30 View Post
When in such situation,

I find that you should not force at all, in fact

I find it much easier if you very gently and very slowly push it into gear..

Do this for several times during the drive, and eventually it will somehow become easier...

Never force it into gear.


Alternatively, if you don't want to push through the harder resistance than usual, I also shift it into second gear without ever releasing the clutch and then I find that you can easily put it into first or reverse...

I find doing so "unblocks" something in the transmission...

Good luck....

I think it's pretty natural... And I have observed that with all of my 3 series up until now ...


Manual transmission clutch don't wear out that easily of fast, unless you really don't know how to do it and have been abusing it, but otherwise it should last at least 150,000 or even 200,000 miles...based on my experience.
150k-200k miles on a F3x clutch seems insanely high. Even if the car is launched VERY rarely and is never tuned, never track driven, and just babied its entire life low 100k is likely going to be end of life. Throw a tune on, some launches every once in a while, and/or an inexperienced or aggressive driver (nearly everyone on the forums falls into one or more of these) and you're looking at 50-75k, perhaps less if more than one applies. Buying a car 2nd hand with unknown history of the first driver i would say budget/plan on that range, and if it lasts longer, great.

If OPs issue started suddenly, i would say its pretty likely there is an 'actual' problem and not something he can just work around. I know the 2-1 does work on a lot of manual trans car when there is a weird resistance going into 1 that happens rarely/occasionally (feeling like something is temporarily blocking for some reason as you alluded to), but OPs problem doesn't sound like that.
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      10-05-2020, 07:52 PM   #13
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So, I dropped off the car at a dealer over the weekend and got a call back today. The service advisor said that the technician topped up the transmission fluid which resolved the issue.

What kind of surprised me was that the BMW extended warranty that I have on the car does not cover this work. I found this odd because BMW does not recommend changing the transmission fluid. So, I feel that whatever work that involves the transmission fluid should be covered by the warranty.

I know that it is still recommended to change the transmission fluid (which I probably will do at some point soon). But, what are your opinions on the extended warranty coverage? I don't really want to argue about it with the dealer, but I'm interested to hear people's opinions.
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      10-05-2020, 08:35 PM   #14
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I have a similar issue with 1st gear from standstill. Searched a bunch of forums and mine is most likely a generic bmw synchro issue most ppl experience. When I tap 2nd or release and press the clutch again it goes into 1st. Just hit 60k
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      10-06-2020, 09:33 AM   #15
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On a previous car with this issue I found that if I slowly engaged the clutch while trying to put it into gear there was a "sweet spot" that allowed it to slide into first gear easily. You could try that while addressing the issue, instead of forcing it. Again this was on a completely different car.
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      10-06-2020, 08:10 PM   #16
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So, I went to the dealer today to pick up the car. The shifting is better, but still hard. Left it for more diagnosis. Let's see... Hopefully whatever it is is covered by warranty..
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      10-20-2020, 03:26 PM   #17
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The slave cylinder was replaced, and it is all good now.
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      10-22-2020, 06:27 AM   #18
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That makes sense. Thanks for the update.
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