BMW Fix for E46 M3 SMG problem

BMW Fix for E46 M3 SMG problem

There are 113 comments on the BMW CCA News story from Jun 25, 2007, titled BMW Fix for E46 M3 SMG problem. In it, BMW CCA News reports that:

“Fault 021. Tech found SIB 23 03 04”

The symptom was an almost instantaneous up-down-up shift from 2nd to third and back, without any request from me, starting out from a light at about 10MPH.. That happened only once, but the SMG warning lite on ... via BMW CCA News

Join the discussion below, or Read more at BMW CCA News.


United States

#63 Nov 25, 2011
I am about to purchase a 2002 bmw m3 Smg convertible 97k miles after I read this I am thinking twice about getting it... I mean from what I think the radiator and fans for the tranny are probably falty and set up in a bad location the oil probably doesn't get enough cooling...I was thinking replacing the cooling unit for a aftermarket one larger in size and put it in a better location where the oil can stay cool..I believe now its surrounded by too much heat from the engine bay. I think people should look into this.

San Antonio, TX

#64 Nov 29, 2011

Fairfax, VA

#65 Dec 11, 2011
hi man how to change km to mile on 2002 m3 ?

Lawrence, MA

#66 Dec 12, 2011
???? 2003 M3 SMG while going up hill I down shifted quickly and car when into neutral..Not good...Yellow circle light came on. car would not engage in a gear.I eventually pulled over shut car off restated it and so far it hasnt happened again.I am just concerned is this car just hit 50K

London, UK

#67 Dec 19, 2011
Hi, having a problem with my m3. I have had the same problem about 1 month ago, car was fine then one day driving home and wouldn't change gear. It went into 0 and when I switched the car off it didnt start again. I am told that the smg pump needs to be replaced by 2 garages. Can anyone help email me [email protected]

Plymouth, UK

#68 Dec 27, 2011
Hi, just bought 02 plate m3 with smg2 box on it and it makes a thud as you change gear is this normal ?
Clifford Pascal

London, UK

#69 Feb 17, 2012
Yes boys its me again a few years on with another SMG related problem.

Heres the symptoms

1.Cars been parked up overnight, outside temp around 3 celcius.
2. Start car as per normal, no problems, go for a drive
3. Drive car until it reaches the normal operating temperature as indicated in the instrument cluster
4. Now ,(heres the interesting part) turn the car off, then, turn the car on after a few seconds.....wait for it....yellow cog! car absolutely will not not crank over!
5. Now wait at least 45 minutes (possibly shorter) and attempt to start the car, normally will start and no yellow cog.
6. Alternatively if it still doesn't start, continue waiting another your, or, disconnect battery located in the boot, then wait another 30 mins minimum
7. Now, reconnect battery and attempt to start car
8. Now at this point car just might start but normally its a yes

This is now the ritual I have to go through every day for the last 3 months now (can't take no more)

My suspicions are pointing towards not enough pressure in the Hydraulic Unit which if outside of various tolerances will not allow the car to start because it will not allow the piston to engage the gear fully (as well as lots of other checks the car performs before it will allow you to crank over), going to try and add some more hydraulic liquid and see if thats a simple fix

will let you all know in due course

If anyone can contribute, would be appreciated
Duc Tran

Vancouver, WA

#70 Feb 17, 2012
Have you checked with the dealer to see if the LATEST SMG software update has been applied to your car? Mine did behave slightly similar to yours, along with some other strange SMG related issues. I called the dealer first and asked if there are any outstanding software recalls and theys said that there is an SMG software update availabe. After they update the software I never had that problem again.

On another occasion, last summer my car would not start at times. It simply would not crank/turn-over and i feared the worst, which would be the SMG pump. Had it towed to the dealer and got a call few hours later from them sayig that it was simply a "ignition switch". But in your case here, I would hope that the SMG update do the trick.

Good luck!

United States

#71 Feb 21, 2012
GeorgeM3 wrote:
I'm very new to this forum but am at the point of cracking up! I own a 2005 E46 M3 SMG. About a month ago I was driving and using the sequential mode of the gearbox. I was accelerating in 2nd gear and when I shifted up to 3rd gear the display consel flashed 3 for a couple of seconds then stopped flashing but then took about 4 seconds to actually engage. When it did engage the SMG tell tale light came on and then I only had options of 2nd gear and 6th gear....nothing else. I pulled up and turned the car off for a minute or so. When I turned it back on the tell tale light disappeared and the gears seemed to be ok. As soon as I accelarated and tried to change gear it did exactly the same thing. I took the car to Holland Park BMW and they told me that the fault logged was due to the clutch which I subsequently has replaced. I collected the car yesterday and to my dismay it's doing exactly the same thing apart from it now only gived me options of 2nd gear and 4th! Help! Does anyone else have this problem?
Did you figure out what it was?! I'm running into the same exact thing... I've had my m3 smg for 4 years no problems and now this.. I doubt it's the clutch because if driving on low rpm it shifts normal
Clifford Pascal

London, UK

#72 Feb 22, 2012
Personally I don't think its a software fault. surely if it were a software fix then how comes its only showing its head now? surely it should have happened from day 1, I'm not convinced. Do you know exactly what the software fix does at a technical level?


by the way, still haven't found a solution yet!
Duc Tran

Vancouver, WA

#73 Feb 22, 2012

I am definitely not saying that it's a software issue here. I was just telling my experience, but the SMG software does plays a significant role in the entire SMG system. I was experiencin various issues from the car not going into "0" while parked, to the SMG pump not priming after the car had been turned off for a period of time.

The intermittent SMG pump priming probem indiated that the hydraulic pump is bad, but once i had it towed into the dealer, first thing they tried was to flash the SMG ECU to the latest update and from that point on, they weren't able to reproduce all the SMG issues that I was having and since then I still haven't had that problem.

The only problem that I am having now along with many other SMG owners out there, which is what this thread was originally for is the issue with the SMG shifting into neutral by itself while driving in hot weather. But we found a work-around on this one by bypassing the SMG hydraulic fluid temperature sensor.

Since: Feb 11

Uttoxeter, UK

#74 Mar 23, 2012
Its called a Gear Identification Switch! It connects onto the actuator. About £280 to buy, this will stop the flashing and manages your gears.

Since: Feb 11

London, UK

#75 Mar 24, 2012
Once you have changed the switch then you need to update the SMG software! The thing is though I recommend you change the compression spring and gear identification switch together, they can be a pain if done just individually. Then update the SMG Software as the new switch only reads and works on current software.

Indio, CA

#76 Mar 27, 2012
the problem u all are having is, either your smg relay or pump is dead or dying. just finally got mine running again. at first the yellow cog will appear and the transmission will behave strangely, ultimately it will get to a point where it will be stuck in or out of gear.:'[ good times

Norristown, PA

#77 May 28, 2012
lak wrote:
hi I'm having same problem with my m3 it only happens when the car engine is hot. i think it has something to do with smg heating too much and safety feature to put the car in nutral so it can cool down let me know if you have any comments email me [email protected]
had the same problem there is a salmon color relay in the fuse box under the hood. replace that and you should be good to go.part cost 30 dollars.

Portland, OR

#78 Jun 28, 2012
Frank Rogers

San Diego, CA

#79 Aug 23, 2012
While towing 2200 lbs uphill on hot day BMW X3 shuts it self off with no warning and after 30 minutes you can restart
what makes it turn off?

Walsall, UK

#80 Nov 16, 2012
Joey wrote:
hey i got the same problem as you, but mine is a little different. when i turn on my BMW M3 it just stared with 2nd gear but not 1st gear. and it wont shift to 3rd or 4th or any of the gears. Then i have accelerate to high RPM then when its in high RPM it automatically changes to 5th gear then i can switch to all other gears. But as i slow down toward stop light or stop sign i can hear a click then it does the same thing goes back to 2nd gear and wont shift. then i have to repeat and or do the same thing like accelerate back to 5th gear till it lets me change gears again. do you think you know anything about this? if you can give me some advise it will be great. Thanssss...
I am the owner of the BMW E46 M3 2003 SMG.Since two weeks I have exactly the same problem, and I'm already helpless.Could you write me how you fix gearbox in your bmw m3?because in none of the garages I can not fix my bmw.Already spent a lot of money and no one is able to help me.Only someone who had such a problem can help me.So please help.My e-mail address [email protected] tel 07864802453
Liam Muldoon

Houghton Le Spring, UK

#81 Jan 20, 2013
I have a 03 smg and I have no power in my electric widows no wipers and no dash lights has any body come across the same fault

Johannesburg, South Africa

#82 Feb 24, 2013
I want to buy SMG 2001 with 105000

What do recomend or advice me to do, as i love this car M3

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