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      04-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
GrayFoxM3
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Question Newbie M3 owner needs advice

Hi, Everyone,

Hope this is an appropriate place to post this. Also, please forgive me in advance for any faux pas (don't know the plural spelling).

Just became a proud (first-time BMW) owner of a 2010 M3 Coupe with the "double-clutch" AT. First, can someone clarify the correct name for that tranny, as I've heard it called multiple things from different sources, including my dealer.

Anyway, this is quite the departure for me, inasmuch as the last car I owned with much German influence was a 1971 Mercury Capri, with the German-built 4-cyl. (that also was a great car in its day). I should probably also say, at this point, that I bought the M3 based mostly on an emotional impulse, rather than a lot of pragmatic research.

Wow! is this car different from *anything* I've ever driven! It is, without a doubt, the most fun I've had behind the wheel, ever! But, of course, all of you already know that. Having never owned any such vehicle, much less a (or should I say *the*) BMW, I do have a few questions, however. I suppose I should ask my BMW dealership first but, fair or not, I'm always a bit skeptical about getting completely honest information from dealers.

Here's my assessment of the drive-train so far: the small displacement engine is very, very rpm-happy, torque-unhappy, mastered by computer and other electronics, somewhat cantankerous, and doesn't like to idle very smoothly when cool. Once everything is properly warmed up, and all the electronics are communicating happily, "all is good, under the hood".

Then we have the tranny - I'm sure it's a real marvel of engineering and programming, but - it just often seems to be confused by what's going on in front of it. For example: I start the engine in the garage and pull out into the driveway to allow parts and lubricants to start moving properly. Right now, our morning temperatures in Florida are around 60. After about a half-minute warm up, I proceed with the tranny in "D". Leaving the driveway, I slowly accelerate, but don't see a shift into 2nd until the revs are around 3000, and the car making quite a noise for the neighbors. The next shift is likewise delayed until revs are higher than I would expect for a cool engine. Most often, I will make nearly a half mile with the tranny never shifting beyond 3rd. If, instead, I manually shift up at a lower (2K or so) RPM, the whole drive train causes a slight "lurching" that, again, smooths as the revs climb. My last complaint is that there are times, almost exclusively when auto-downshifting from 3rd to 2nd, that the engine revs momentarily with no real change in momentum; feels something akin to "slipping" the clutch in a manual.

So, please forgive me for being such an uninformed newb, but is all this normal? I've actually poked around in different places on the web and discovered after-market solutions for behaviors described much like my experiences. Is there a real market for these products and, if so, why? I realize this is a modern and very capable sports car that isn't designed to operate like a Lexus LS (which is why I didn't buy one of those). I merely want to determine if such idiosyncrasies are to be expected and, therefore, enjoyed, rather than be a source of concern.

Please "school" me on all matters M3, and thanks very much for letting me join your community!
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      04-07-2011, 11:12 AM   #2
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Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) In Short.

Sorry your post is too long. ill read some more in a bit.

oh congrats on the car..... now start modding it.
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      04-07-2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean05 View Post
Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) In Short.

Sorry your post is too long. ill read some more in a bit.

oh congrats on the car..... now start modding it.
Thanks, Sean05,

Yeah, sorry for the long(ish) post. Newbie-itis... appreciate the patience.
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      04-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #4
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Congrats on your new M3 Gray I don't have a DCT so I can't tell you what is normal or not, but the way you describe things, I'll take a shot and hopefully someone with a DCT can follow up.

The DCT has several settings on it, I'm sure if you set it to the least agressive setting it will shift earlier for you and not be too noisy etc. The manual, or a DCT owner will tell you which settings are most agressive and least agressive. I believe there are 5 settings for each of the automatic and manual modes.

The way you describe the revving when the car downshifts leads me to believe the transmission is rev-matching, allowing for smoother and faster downshifts. I think rev matching only occurs in the more agressive settings on the DCT.

The lurching you describe is common to both DCT and 6mt transmissions when the engine is cold. You will learn to modulate the throttle to avoid it in time.

So I guess the answer is you need to set the DCT to less agressive settings when you want to be calm and to agressive settings when it's time to be a hoon.

Enjoy!
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      04-08-2011, 02:11 PM   #5
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Thanks, AMOCHOSTO,

I guess I failed to mention that I've already explored all the DCT settings for both manual (S) and automatic (D) modes. For getting to and from the corner grocery, with wife as passenger, I use the most conservative automatic settings available. The M-Drive settings are just the opposite; the most aggressive available, aside from not using the S6 setting which I've decided should be reserved for launch control . Essentially, no matter how conservatively things are set up, I get the same behavior every single time that the car is started after having not run for 15 minutes or longer. I think now, though, that I must simply be paranoid about something not being what it should be. The car seems to be fine any other time, so I'm just going to ignore the oddities for now.

One last question I've had concerns exhaust noise. Immediately after starting, (hot or cold) particularly with the driver door open, the exhaust sounds as if it's flowing through some sort of dump mechanism just aft of the engine. After 30 or so seconds the noise disappears and the exhaust note is almost entirely from the rear of the car. Normal?

Thanks again!
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      04-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #6
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The noise after startup is the engine running rich (or is it lean) to heat up the catalytic converters to operating temperature, nothing to worry about.

Hopefully someone with a DCT can pipe in as to whether the other stuff is normal for DCTs

Have fun.
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      04-08-2011, 02:24 PM   #7
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Yes this is normal. Very loud at first, but quiets soon. I'd suggest just letting it go through it's morning rumble before starting your drive if are convened about your neighbors. As for the lurching, it's all a touch issue with the pedal. You can control once you get used to it

EDIT: after re-reading your post I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about with the lurching... I don't ever use D mode though, but shifting at 3k doesn't seem to be out of line for what it should be doing
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Last edited by jmflukeiii; 04-08-2011 at 02:52 PM.
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      04-08-2011, 05:08 PM   #8
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To tune or not to tune?

Thanks, AMO and jm,

All sounds like good advice. I'll just try to relax. Past rides have been less car, so less complex. I should just be enjoying the new sophistication, huh?

So, now how about a fun question? What's the story about "upgraded" software? I've found a few sources like DINAN which you appear to have, jmflukeiii. Do they all do about the same thing and, other than $$$, why pick one over the other? Or... why pick one at all? Sounds like they could make some improvement in the overall driveability of the car, if not a great deal of performance improvement. How do these affect the warranty? If you tune, then have some drive train issue, how does the dealer service affect the tune?

On my G8 GT, I tuned the car myself with a SuperChips programmer, then reset to the factory tune before service work. Otherwise the service techs would trash the tune and the programmer would be useless until a $200 "refresh" was done. Kept everything kosher from the dealer's point of view, too. Know of anyone that's bought a second ECU to hold the aftermarket tune and kept the stock one to flip back and forth as necessary?

Any other reasonably priced, good value mods to make initially? Blowers and the like will have to wait a bit. If there are already threads on this stuff, please point in the right direction. Thanks!
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      04-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayFoxM3 View Post
Thanks, AMO and jm,

All sounds like good advice. I'll just try to relax. Past rides have been less car, so less complex. I should just be enjoying the new sophistication, huh?

So, now how about a fun question? What's the story about "upgraded" software? I've found a few sources like DINAN which you appear to have, jmflukeiii. Do they all do about the same thing and, other than $$$, why pick one over the other? Or... why pick one at all? Sounds like they could make some improvement in the overall driveability of the car, if not a great deal of performance improvement. How do these affect the warranty? If you tune, then have some drive train issue, how does the dealer service affect the tune?

On my G8 GT, I tuned the car myself with a SuperChips programmer, then reset to the factory tune before service work. Otherwise the service techs would trash the tune and the programmer would be useless until a $200 "refresh" was done. Kept everything kosher from the dealer's point of view, too. Know of anyone that's bought a second ECU to hold the aftermarket tune and kept the stock one to flip back and forth as necessary?

Any other reasonably priced, good value mods to make initially? Blowers and the like will have to wait a bit. If there are already threads on this stuff, please point in the right direction. Thanks!
Well, for me, I only like to put Dinan stuff on a BMW. I think they do a good job of blending their products with BMW original driveability.... I've heavily modded cars before and they always feel kind of "strapped together", not like they do when they first show up in your hands. With Dinan, I personally feel its a different story, it only amplifies BMWs original intentions with the vehicle as opposed to imposing their own intentions upon it, if that makes sense.

So that's one reason; other than that, Dinan got rid of the check engine light that comes from me removing the cats (with Dinan's mid-pipes) as well as throttle remapping and bumping the rev limiter up 200k to 8600. Their HP gains are modest in comparison to some of the other tuners (9hp), however, I thoroughly believe Dinan's claims as opposed to some of the other manufacturers (just read some of the posts around here.... you'll see what I mean). And check out Dinan's site and read some of Steve Dinan's writings; obviously a smart guy and explains logically the reasoning behind the changes they make to the car.

I'm not saying you have to go with Dinan and nothing else works; I just personally believe that Dinan produces a product that better coincides and co-exists with BMWs existing product. Plus, my dealership has no issues with Dinan products being on a car (they tried to sell me them 2 minutes after buying the vehicle).
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      04-08-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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Well, jm, I don't know if you work for them or not, but you've pretty much sold me on Dinan in one post. There web site is very informative and I like the fact that they have an authorized dealer within a 45 minute drive. There prices are certainly an attraction also. At some point I'm sure I'll be interested in more extensive speed mods like blowers, gear changes, and exhaust, but for now I like the idea of simply making the drive train work as well as is possible, while keeping the core of what's already there. Thanks for the honest (if maybe just a wee bit biased ) review and recommendation. I'm really loving my first BMW and this mod should make it even better.
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      04-09-2011, 09:26 AM   #11
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Lol, I should work for them they way I talk about their products. But alas, I do not, and am just a big supporter because I believe and trust the products they have. I love my car and it sounds like you do too, and I would have no intention of putting anything on my car that I don't feel is tried and tested as extensively as they do. And their website is great, very informative. Good luck with the modding, I have no doubt you'll enjoy the Dinan products if you enjoy your car; like I said, they feel like just an extension of what BMW had started not forcing it to be something else. Supercharged and whatnot, that's your decision, but not something I would do with this car. The Dinan 4.6 stoker engine???? Yes please. (bit of a different price range than a supercharger kit though, but keeps the car NA).
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      04-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #12
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I also left out your desire for gear changes... Look into the Dinan differentials.... The 3.62 LSD will change your car drastically; 14.9% increase in torque to the wheels throughout the entire powerband. I don't have one yet, but have been in 3 cars now with it, and it's so much quicker down low in the RPMs which is where the car is lacking the most. It will slightly lower your top speed, but I doubt you'll be doing much driving above 180
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      04-09-2011, 08:52 PM   #13
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4.6 stroker... Ahhh, yeah. I paused a while myself on that little jewel. Is just a bit pricey, though. But, hey, who knows? My son and I have been building a '68 Chevy Nova 383 stroker for a little over a year, now. It's been a load of fun, but has also been a money pit. Best we've done on our little home-grown NA motor so far is 10.8 at 123. Just finishing up some induction changes (still NA) that should get us into the low 10s. Next will be a 150-shot so we can shoot for a 6.0 index in the 1/8th mile and maybe low 9s in the quarter. I'm really tempted to get the M to the track for a few passes. We've seen several Ms on street drag night sporting blowers and nitrous. None of that for me, thank you, but I'm pretty sure I could beat my son in his 750+hp Shelby (MT, so no traction). One of the taller Dinan diffs would be just the ticket, lol. It's an absolutely fantastic car just the way it is, though!
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