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      11-30-2010, 03:18 PM   #1
James T. Kirk
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DCT driving me nuts

Ok. I know DCT is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but I am having an issue with the timing of the automatic down-shifting.

I just got a new M3 after trading it in for a fantastic 335i. My 335i was an automatic to which I always utilized the sport shifter. The 335i never messed with the gears unless I came to a full stop. The M3 is a totally different story.

In the M3, when coming in hard to make a 90-degree turn, I do all my braking on the straight-away like a good boy. As a I turn the wheel into the turn, the gear indicator on the dash is obstructed by the steering wheel, the DCT throws me into either 2nd or 3rd gear, and I have NO IDEA what gear I'm in when throttling out of the turn.

This is particularly bad when I think I'm coming in from 4th gear and move to downshift only to find out that the DCT has already put me in 2nd and I inadvertently downshift into 1st! The result is a brutal demonstration of my seatbelt.

Can one of you more experienced DCT guys, help me learn how to drive this thing?
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      11-30-2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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You know... you wouldn't have these issues with a 6 speed *Joking*

I believe there was a list of people who had submitted a claim(s) to the appropriate party to address this.

Have you contacted your dealer?
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      11-30-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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One thing that has a huge impact on DCT is the 5-level sport setting for your manual mode and drive mode. I like full-on 5 for both.

I can't comment on racing technique. I'm still getting used to it, and now that the break-in period is behind me, it's getting to be (more) fun.
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      11-30-2010, 03:35 PM   #4
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Is this a problem or just a characteristic of the DCT?

The manual does describe the following:
"It [DCT] offers you the following functions:
> Either manual or automatic mode: sequential mode or drive mode
> Automatic downshifting and protection against incorrect gear selection, even in sequential mode
> Launch Control
> Automatic throttle blip"


I'm hoping that there may be a work-around with either one of the DriveLogic settings.
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      11-30-2010, 03:38 PM   #5
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Does the S5 setting keep things in gear longer? I don't mind downshifting. I just want a reliable way to know what gear I'm in.
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      11-30-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
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6MT!!!
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      11-30-2010, 03:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
This is particularly bad when I think I'm coming in from 4th gear and move to downshift only to find out that the DCT has already put me in 2nd and I inadvertently downshift into 1st! The result is a brutal demonstration of my seatbelt.
?
When your driving aggressively, you should use atleast D4/S4. It seems you weren't doing that since the downshift to D1 resulted in a brutal slowdown. If you were in D4/S4 or higher, it would rev match. Plus, it would always keep the revs high and not downshift so easily.

Read the manual before you use it
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      11-30-2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
Ok. I know DCT is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but I am having an issue with the timing of the automatic down-shifting.

I just got a new M3 after trading it in for a fantastic 335i. My 335i was an automatic to which I always utilized the sport shifter. The 335i never messed with the gears unless I came to a full stop. The M3 is a totally different story.

In the M3, when coming in hard to make a 90-degree turn, I do all my braking on the straight-away like a good boy. As a I turn the wheel into the turn, the gear indicator on the dash is obstructed by the steering wheel, the DCT throws me into either 2nd or 3rd gear, and I have NO IDEA what gear I'm in when throttling out of the turn.

This is particularly bad when I think I'm coming in from 4th gear and move to downshift only to find out that the DCT has already put me in 2nd and I inadvertently downshift into 1st! The result is a brutal demonstration of my seatbelt.

Can one of you more experienced DCT guys, help me learn how to drive this thing?
It could have to do with your Miami location and proximity to the equator... Ya see the DCT tranny works great in Tampa and up shifts and down shifts flawlessly as I am farther from the equator than you...... You'll get use to it go mess with what I now know is the drive logic button behind the shifter, it changes the shifting both up and down, throttle matches and also effects clutch engagement speed.
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      11-30-2010, 04:06 PM   #9
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Yes... perhaps it is the equator. LOL.

I should adjust my characterization of the downshift as it did rev-match, but I'm not sure what S-mode I was in. I guess it was more unsettling than physically brutal. You can imagine the feeling of accidentally hitting 1st gear at 30 MPH.

I assure you I've read the manual cover to cover many times over. Every review. Alot of threads. I have a PhD in M3! But as in any academic study, I'll need some more experience to get used to things. I'm going to experiment with S4 and S5 more methodically and see which mode better compliments my driving style.

Any recommendations for an after-market heads up display? ;-)

Last edited by James T. Kirk; 11-30-2010 at 04:28 PM.
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      11-30-2010, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
In the M3, when coming in hard to make a 90-degree turn, I do all my braking on the straight-away like a good boy. As a I turn the wheel into the turn, the gear indicator on the dash is obstructed by the steering wheel, the DCT throws me into either 2nd or 3rd gear, and I have NO IDEA what gear I'm in when throttling out of the turn.

This is particularly bad when I think I'm coming in from 4th gear and move to downshift only to find out that the DCT has already put me in 2nd and I inadvertently downshift into 1st! The result is a brutal demonstration of my seatbelt.
Based on your second paragraph "...move to downshift...", I have to assume you are in S mode, right?

If that's the case, then you should be doing the pre-turn downshifting yourself as well. Maybe I am missing something but I don't understand why you'd want to take the turn in the wrong gear to begin with. If your exit speed requires second gear to properly accelerate, then you should hit second gear as soon as your RPM falls to a reasonable level to allow it, IMHO.

Also, as others have said, make sure you are in S4 or S5 (or S6 if you are driving with DSC off). Otherwise the downshifts will be slow and leisurely with some clutch slippage instead of fast and snappy with rev-matching.
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      11-30-2010, 04:29 PM   #11
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Try shifting before you make you turn in. I have never had mine shift unexpectedly in a turn...even on the track. It will however shift down if you are going way to slow for a particular gear in S mode.

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      11-30-2010, 04:29 PM   #12
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In manual mode DCT will downshift automatically if it thinks the gear is too high. At this point there is no turning back until you either stop or accelerate again. It seems like you are trying to downshift too late, so DCT takes over for you. Try downshifting earlier while breaking for the corner. What you describe happens to me when I am lazy and approaching a red traffic light.
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      11-30-2010, 04:30 PM   #13
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So it sounds like you are not angry about the downshifting...but the fact that you can't see the gear you are in...?
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      11-30-2010, 04:33 PM   #14
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It won't automatically downshift to first unless you are practically stopped. You will usually hang in second for a quick stop sign, even if you do lose all momentum for an instant.

If your revs dropped enough to force a downshift in s mode during a turn you were in too high a gear going into the turn ( by 2?) or you turn like a soccer mom on Sunday. Pick your own explanation!

Last edited by Locksmythe; 11-30-2010 at 04:44 PM.
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      11-30-2010, 04:47 PM   #15
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1) For a 90 degree corner, downshift to 2nd just before the turn.
2) using S5 will always let you know when it downshifts cause you gonna hear a huge blip between 2nd and first.
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      11-30-2010, 04:49 PM   #16
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Angry about my M3? Are you kidding?? I'm so in love with my car that when my friends ask me how is my baby, I have to ask them if they're talking about my child or my M3!

I'm just trying to figure out how to better suit my car. Not the other way around. I've owned manuals and auto transmissions including the former M3 SMG. This DCT is in a class by itself.

I was taught, however, not to use downshifting as a means to braking. So say I'm driving in 6th gear... I normally slow for a turn using only my brake and then quickly downshift to my exit gear (usually 2nd or 3rd) to pull out of the turn with some good torque.

Should I be downshifting through the braking process? I feel like I don't know how to drive anymore! LOL.
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      11-30-2010, 04:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post

Should I be downshifting through the braking process?

Yes. Otherwise DCT will do it for you.

Have fun... how is your baby btw?
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      11-30-2010, 05:06 PM   #18
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Downshift before you turn the wheel or you will give up some turning traction to the shift. There are some annoyances to not being able to control the clutch. Just have to set the mode to let the computer know how you would prefer it control the clutch on your behalf. Read the thread on dct lag to see how bad it used to be.
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      11-30-2010, 05:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
I was taught, however, not to use downshifting as a means to braking.
In D5, the DCT will downshift as a means of braking on its own. I like that, as I've been cruising in drive mode and had to stop suddenly. The DCT downshifted, adding to the stopping force. Very nice!
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      11-30-2010, 05:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
Ok. I know DCT is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but I am having an issue with the timing of the automatic down-shifting.

I just got a new M3 after trading it in for a fantastic 335i. My 335i was an automatic to which I always utilized the sport shifter. The 335i never messed with the gears unless I came to a full stop. The M3 is a totally different story.

In the M3, when coming in hard to make a 90-degree turn, I do all my braking on the straight-away like a good boy. As a I turn the wheel into the turn, the gear indicator on the dash is obstructed by the steering wheel, the DCT throws me into either 2nd or 3rd gear, and I have NO IDEA what gear I'm in when throttling out of the turn.

This is particularly bad when I think I'm coming in from 4th gear and move to downshift only to find out that the DCT has already put me in 2nd and I inadvertently downshift into 1st! The result is a brutal demonstration of my seatbelt.

Can one of you more experienced DCT guys, help me learn how to drive this thing?
Leave it at S5, and if you're in 4th gear as you start to brake, just hit the downshift paddle quickly twice as you're braking, then turn and accelerate.
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      11-30-2010, 05:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
Angry about my M3? Are you kidding?? I'm so in love with my car that when my friends ask me how is my baby, I have to ask them if they're talking about my child or my M3!

I'm just trying to figure out how to better suit my car. Not the other way around. I've owned manuals and auto transmissions including the former M3 SMG. This DCT is in a class by itself.

I was taught, however, not to use downshifting as a means to braking. So say I'm driving in 6th gear... I normally slow for a turn using only my brake and then quickly downshift to my exit gear (usually 2nd or 3rd) to pull out of the turn with some good torque.

Should I be downshifting through the braking process? I feel like I don't know how to drive anymore! LOL.
The S mode is not going to auto downshift until you are well out of the power band. So yes, if driving in a spirited manner, you need to assume the shifting responsibility. Settings 4-6 will all rev-match for you, so each downshift will be essentially perfect. If you need to downshift several gears between your initial throttle lift before turn in, and the point at which you come back on throttle, then I believe it is generally advisable to shift down sequentially through each gear. Obviously, that is not the most efficient technique with a traditional manual, but I find it works better than double clicking twice for two gears, although that can be done in an acceptable manner too.

As you mentioned, you have to know your gear. Also, you need to know exactly where you are in that gear, since the car really falls off rapidly in torque if you let the rpms down much. But, without the left foot occupied with a clutch, you can left foot brake, which is the real key to a seamless transition from braking to throttle, since you can modulate either, or both, as needed. And with the comfort of knowing the downshift is not going to upset the suspension, you have more flexibility in timing your shifts, sometimes taking one when you would not with a conventional manual.

Good luck with it. DCT is a great technology, but its not perfect, and it has to be learned.
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      11-30-2010, 05:23 PM   #22
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Isn't there a fancy upgraded steering wheel that shows you what gear you are in amongst other things ???
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