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Offline M308

  • Degranged

  • Joined: Aug 2008

  • Location: Adelaide
  • Name: Scott Thomson
Any potential problems that should be checked prior to purchase or any known future problems that are unavoidable?

It has up to date service history & books, original purchase invoice for $148k & currently has 114,000km with new discs & pads @ 98,000km & just serviced @ 109,000km.

Looks very neat & clean.

Thoughts & any info would be great!

Offline a.taylor

  • Joined: Oct 2009

  • Location: Wollongong
SMG on the e36 was a real dog from what I have been told, no personal experience with it though.

I have a friend who has one (manual not SMG) and knows what to look for when purchasing. I will ask for specifics but from memory there area couple of rubber hoses that are quite prone to failure with age. The rear shock mounts which are also rubber are another weak point worth checking out.

Offline CortinaD

  • Joined: Jan 2008

  • Location:
  • Drives:
+1 I wouldn't touch a E36 SMG - definitely manual only for that model.

Offline kailin

  • Joined: Jun 2010

  • Drives: 535i
  • Location: radelaide
can this get the vanos problem that screew up all those other bmw?

Offline alvchua

  • Joined: Aug 2009

  • Drives: Old junks
  • Location: Adelaide
Early SMGs are quite notorious for being problematic not to mention costly to fix. Stay away!!
Forgiveness is easier to achieve than permission!

Offline M308

  • Degranged

  • Joined: Aug 2008

  • Location: Adelaide
  • Name: Scott Thomson
Thanks for the feedback & comments guys!

I did a bit of research last night & saw a large trend of owners having continuous problems with their SMG trans & replacing it with a manual.

I also read about how unpredictable the electrics are as well......big dollars as well :scared:

Offline anotherforumuser

  • AE's voice of reason
  • Choose to take risks or settle for ordinary.

  • Joined: Sep 2010

  • Drives: A red car.
  • Location: Downunder
I was only reading last night about the US Mustangs having big trans problems with their new Chinese built Getrag autos and an M3 fan was bagging them on that forum when it came up that there was a recall on the transmission on 2500 08 M3's for software problems. Possibly once the software was updated it might have been fine.


Offline FlaTTop

  • Joined: May 2011

  • Location:
  • Drives:
The negativity towards the E36 SMG is quite perplexing. It seems more a product of chinese whispers or urban legend than actual experience or first hand account, at least in my experience. I have a '98 M3 with SMG sharing the garage with my 635CSi and it functions with typical teutonic excellence. I've always prefered a sequential shift gate in terms of feel & intellectual appeal as a superior engineering solution to the task of selecting gear ratios. Their proliferation in top-level motorsport such as Formula One would surely lend validity to this notion. As such, I found the system on the E36 M3 functioned to my expectations & I adapted to it instinctively, perhaps due to the amount of time spent riding fast road bikes. However, thats subjective & opinionated. The facts, as far as I've been able to deduce, don't support the popular opinion either. My Father, until retiring recently, was a Service Technician at the premiere BMW dealership in our city & state (lucky, huh?!). Subsequently, some of our closest family friends are the BMW Master Technicians he worked with, two of whom are probably the finest, most experienced Mechanics I've ever seen, having been a self employed Motor Mechanic most of my life, also. I also still have insider access to his former workmates in the Parts Department & the dealer computer network, for example. Having picked this considerable pool of talent & resources for information on the SMG "problems", I found none. If there were an epidemic of SMG failures as implied, there's no official record of it in service bulletins & so forth. In fact, the Master Techs I spoke to had fond & proud memories of working on the vehicles when new and none can recall EVER having to deal with any issues relating to the SMG system, despite the very large dealership they work for selling it's fair share (relatively!) of these expensive & rare vehicles, and despite regular, almost yearly trips to Germany which included maintaining connections to influential staff/friends at BMW AG.... the point I'm making is, if the E36 SMG were so bad, surely these people would have knowledge of it. They seem to be living encyclopaedias of BMW engineering in every other respect, their combined knowledge almost mind blowing. That, in addition to my personal ownership experience, makes it difficult to consider these alledged horror stories as anything more than the perpetuation of bullshite as a substitute for reality, and probably based on suspiscion & fear of something unknown. But I own one, and love it immensely, so i don't deny being biased towards it. That doesn't alter the facts. I say, if you lust after an E36 M3 Evo, and you like the race-feel of a sequential box, go for it. They work great once you're accustomed to it & learn to work with the technology. To those who prefer a traditional-gated manual gearbox, that's fine, I like them too, as an 'old skool' kind of option! Just reserve your criticism and character assassination for something truly crap, like a commodore!!!! (lol)

Offline Brenton

  • 300kph+ club
  • DJ's like a mad ...........

  • Joined: May 2009

  • Drives: Yes
  • Location: Adelaide

Offline Ferrari Fissatore

  • Soap Dodger

  • Joined: Jan 2007

  • Drives: its obsession
  • Location: under its skin
Just reserve your criticism and character assassination for something truly crap, like a commodore!!!! (lol)

actually, as much as it pains me to say it, and trust me.... it does, Commodores are not crap.

They ARE boring and soul less, and they ARE bought by spineless weak individuals that are sucked in by the brain washing marketing, and they are a big fat stamp saying MEDIOCRITY across your forehead...... but when all said and done, they're actually not bad cars to drive.

And in fact, they have better interiors than almost all BMW's.

But, regarding your post and the SMG, I've found it to be cute, and adequate, but not particularly clever or exciting.

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