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“Best” (or any) route to a 5-Speed Automatic


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I could spend an hour showing old videos of me driving a “proper” stick and explaining in medical detail why I need an automatic, but let’s just assume that I HAVE to drive an Auto and I’m not pleased about it. (It’s been 20 years, so I’m used to it, but it still sucks.)

 

Ok, I’ve seen someone on here who swapped in the 4-Speed auto from an early 318 onto the stock M10, but I saw a post or two with some issues, and haven’t been able to contact him. If he reads this and wants to give me a shout, it’d be appreciated. 

 

More to the point, guys on here have done both M20 and M42(M44) swaps with 5-Speed Manuals, but has anyone put a 5-speed Auto next to a 5-speed manual just to look at the dimensions? How big of a difference are the housings? (I wish I lived near a junkyard.) Is there a 5-speed Auto that could mate to the M10? I have no issue with getting a custom drive shaft made, so the question is “will XXX tranny fit with YYY engine to make the car a lot more fun to drive?” I’d like to keep it all BMW. I’m not looking for a monster, as I have another beast with 600hp to the wheels in AWD, but something a little more fun than an M10 with a 3-Speed slushbox. I don’t have a ton of great roads, so a little more power (even the same with more gearing) is needed to have fun in these ‘burbs before I find a rare turn I can hit hard.

 

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. 

     Seth

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I think you'll be out of luck with that option, unless you want to go down the adapter plate route, in which case in theory anything can be made to fit. I'd stick with the 4hp 4 speed. I have one to go in a 2000 coupe here. Pat in Canada successfully put one in his 02, as have others. Bloody heavy box though.

 

avaTour2.jpg.52fb4debc1ca18590681ac95bc6f527f.jpg

 

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Good stuff. Thanks, guys. It seems like it may be possible if I rebuild the whole tranny tunnel. As the budget gets bigger on this car, it makes it a bit harder to justify over just getting something else, too. (I need more parking.)

 

Henning, have you seen those digital to mechanical adapters? You’ll have to hack a bit, as they’re usually made for American trannies, but that should get your speedo running properly. 

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4 hours ago, Henning said:

Found a pic to compare:

 

A-Getr02-e30.JPG

 

 It wasn't realized because I didn't know how to drive the speedo....

 


No more outdated excuses, Hen! Two words: GPS speedometer! ??

 


Best regards,

 

Steve

 

 

Edited by Conserv

1976 2002 Polaris, 2742541 (original owner)

1973 2002tii Inka, 2762757 (not-the-original owner)

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On 5/25/2020 at 9:59 PM, Seth Horwitz said:

I could spend an hour showing old videos of me driving a “proper” stick and explaining in medical detail why I need an automatic, but let’s just assume that I HAVE to drive an Auto and I’m not pleased about it. (It’s been 20 years, so I’m used to it, but it still sucks.)

 

Ok, I’ve seen someone on here who swapped in the 4-Speed auto from an early 318 onto the stock M10, but I saw a post or two with some issues, and haven’t been able to contact him. If he reads this and wants to give me a shout, it’d be appreciated. 

 

More to the point, guys on here have done both M20 and M42(M44) swaps with 5-Speed Manuals, but has anyone put a 5-speed Auto next to a 5-speed manual just to look at the dimensions? How big of a difference are the housings? (I wish I lived near a junkyard.) Is there a 5-speed Auto that could mate to the M10? I have no issue with getting a custom drive shaft made, so the question is “will XXX tranny fit with YYY engine to make the car a lot more fun to drive?” I’d like to keep it all BMW. I’m not looking for a monster, as I have another beast with 600hp to the wheels in AWD, but something a little more fun than an M10 with a 3-Speed slushbox. I don’t have a ton of great roads, so a little more power (even the same with more gearing) is needed to have fun in these ‘burbs before I find a rare turn I can hit hard.

 

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. 

     Seth

 

Even assuming an adapter plate could be made and there were no issues with starter location etc  I struggle to come up with a RWD/longi 5-speed auto that I would characterize as "good." BMW used a GM 5-speed in the late 90s/early 00s that is complete garbage. Toyota turned one of their best 4-speeds into a 5-speed and made it quirky and troublesome. Why is a crappy 5-speed slushbox better than a crappy 4-speed slushbox? If you could even get one to fit and perform basic functions, the final product wouldn't be worth the trouble IMO.

 

Why not just have an electrically actuated clutch linkage installed on the manual transmission so you can operate the clutch from a button on the shift lever? A friend of mine is paralyzed from the waist down and he drives a manual. VW sold bugs with electric triggering of pneumatically operated clutch, so the clutch was disengaged when you pressed down the shift knob and re-engaged when you let go. It's not a new idea.

 

Cheers.

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18 minutes ago, Jimmy said:

 

Even assuming an adapter plate could be made and there were no issues with starter location etc  I struggle to come up with a RWD/longi 5-speed auto that I would characterize as "good." BMW used a GM 5-speed in the late 90s/early 00s that is complete garbage. Toyota turned one of their best 4-speeds into a 5-speed and made it quirky and troublesome. Why is a crappy 5-speed slushbox better than a crappy 4-speed slushbox? If you could even get one to fit and perform basic functions, the final product wouldn't be worth the trouble IMO.

 

Why not just have an electrically actuated clutch linkage installed on the manual transmission so you can operate the clutch from a button on the shift lever? A friend of mine is paralyzed from the waist down and he drives a manual. VW sold bugs with electric triggering of pneumatically operated clutch, so the clutch was disengaged when you pressed down the shift knob and re-engaged when you let go. It's not a new idea.

 

Cheers.

 

 

I haven’t looked at switch operated clutches in a long time, but all of the ones that I found were for big rig truckers. Do you know what your friend used, or which Bugs had parts that could be scavenged? Much appreciated. 

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My 1958 Mercedes 220S had the factory-optional Hydrak Automatic Clutch. It was an on-the-column 4-speed. Moving the shift knob slightly disengaged the clutch. In 1958, there was not yet an optional automatic transmission on any but the largest and most expensive Mercedes, the 300d sedan. The Hydrak was a “two-pedal” option that “smoothed” the transition from manual to automatic transmissions.

 

If engineers could pull it off 62 years ago, it could certainly be replicated today. Surely a shop that handles automotive conversions to hand controls has either done this, or has the experience to do this.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

1976 2002 Polaris, 2742541 (original owner)

1973 2002tii Inka, 2762757 (not-the-original owner)

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I’m thinking of a local shop that does all of that stuff (hand controls, custom vans, ...) who would be worth a call. I think they’re more of an installation of other products type shop, but maybe they know of something or possibly have an engineer on premise. Good idea. Thanks, Steve. 

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I had a friend that used the vacuum clutch actuator from a early 70's VW with an "Automatic Stick Shift" transmission.  He fitted it to his 1985 GTI SSC race car.  He had a small switch on top of the Brake/Throttle lever on the left side of the wheel. Charlie was amazing and finished 3rd at the SCCA National Championships in 1986.  He was the 1st paraplegic driver to hold a SCCA National license.  

 

I just can't imagine trying to put a modern automatic into a 2002.  The transmission tunnel is just too small and the amount of modifications that would be needed is huge. Even BMW built a different chassis with a bigger transmission tunnel for the factory automatics back in the day.  

 

Anything that is not designed to fit directly onto a M10 BMW engine is going to need an adaptor, replaceable bell housing (with a custom bell housing made to work) or cut the bell housing and fabricate a flange to fit the M10 and then weld it all together (no small deal as the tolerances are +/- 0.002" ). Then you have to start cutting the tunnel and floor out of the car.  As much as I love my 2002s there are so many great cars out there that have Automatic transmissions as options that I would never consider converting one of my cars.  But that is a very personal opinion.  

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1970 1602 (purchased 12/1974)

1974 2002 Turbo

1988 M5

1986 Euro 325iC

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7 hours ago, Seth Horwitz said:

 

 

I haven’t looked at switch operated clutches in a long time, but all of the ones that I found were for big rig truckers. Do you know what your friend used, or which Bugs had parts that could be scavenged? Much appreciated. 

 

He doesn't know what parts were used. He bought it from another paraplegic who stopped driving it. It's not perfect. The release is regulated so it has a relatively slow engagement of the clutch to facilitate starting from a stop and starting on hills. It takes probably 1.5-2 seconds. It's not variable, it engages that slowly every time. It's not a drag racer. I presume someone with motivation could work out a control method for slow and fast release. I'm pretty sure my friend's car was converted in the 80s or even 70s.

 

The VW version used a torque converter or something functionally similar like maybe a viscous coupling. It didn't have to be shifted into neutral at stops. Implementing something like that from scratch would likely be more work than fitting an automatic, but it's possible there's an automatic out there that shares enough design with a manual that an accomplished machinist could make it happen. I recall GM studying or perhaps producing both manual and automatic transmissions based on the same design. It may just have been giving the customer an automatic that didn't shift itself and calling it a manual.

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5 minutes ago, Preyupy said:

 

I had a friend that used the vacuum clutch actuator from a early 70's VW with an "Automatic Stick Shift" transmission.  He fitted it to his 1985 GTI SSC race car.  He had a small switch on top of the Brake/Throttle lever on the left side of the wheel. Charlie was amazing and finished 3rd at the SCCA National Championships in 1986.  He was the 1st paraplegic driver to hold a SCCA National license.  

 

 

Awesome. I bet he was fun to ride with.

 

That era of VW used a cable actuated clutch so it would be less difficult to retrofit the Autostick solenoid for clutch operation. Didn't 1600s use some kind of non-hydraulic clutch linkage? Maybe someone who knows more about the differences can chime in on suitability for such a retrofit.

 

Cheers,

Jim

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Seth the big problem is most compact to mid sized cars in the modern era have switched to the fwd platform rendering most modern automatics useless for your project. I'd forgotten about the VW auto clutch a friend of mine had one in high school and it wasn't a bad set up.

If everybody in the room is thinking the same thing, then someone is not thinking.

 

George S Patton 

Planning the Normandy Break out 1944

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The autostick on the VW I drove had a torque converter...

 

I think a modern auto in a 2002 is a long shot, and might as well accompany 

the N52 it used to be attached to.

 

Which is to say, this is a biggy problem, not an adaptor plate solution.

 

t

"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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