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  • European vs US Gearbox

    Hi all, I'm new here although I'm not new to E30 M3s - I owned a lovely black '86 in the UK a few years ago. I've recently moved to the US and am looking for another M3 (no Euro 'hot hatches' over here, and the Elise is about double the cost compared to the UK!).

    One difference I've noticed during my search is that the gearbox fitted to US models isn't the Getrag dogleg first 'box that helps distinguish the Euro model from it's lesser brethren. Does anyone know why this 'box isn't used in the US? Does the US spec 'box have any reliability issues (the Euro 'box was designed to handle much higher torque and is consequently pretty bullet-proof)?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by growers View Post
    Hi all, I'm new here although I'm not new to E30 M3s - I owned a lovely black '86 in the UK a few years ago. I've recently moved to the US and am looking for another M3 (no Euro 'hot hatches' over here, and the Elise is about double the cost compared to the UK!).

    One difference I've noticed during my search is that the gearbox fitted to US models isn't the Getrag dogleg first 'box that helps distinguish the Euro model from it's lesser brethren. Does anyone know why this 'box isn't used in the US? Does the US spec 'box have any reliability issues (the Euro 'box was designed to handle much higher torque and is consequently pretty bullet-proof)?

    Thanks.
    My understanding is that the US box is the much stronger of the two boxes. The main application for the US box was on a variety of six cylinder BMWs that had far greater torque than any N/A S14 will ever have.

    The issue is kind of moot though. The S14 has so little torque that it is pretty easy on gearboxes. I am sure either gearbox is strong enough.

    As to why US cars don't have the dogleg, I am not sure. I think it was just BMW's perception about the US market, and the perceived ability of the average American driver to adapt to the different shift pattern. Same reason all US cars have leather upholstery and A/C I suppose.

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    • #3
      Interesting thanks. Also explains why I havn't found any cloth interiors!

      I found the following extract (from this link):



      "...
      on European-market cars was a Getrag 265 close-ratio dogleg gearbox with direct-drive top, taken from the M535i, plus the 24-valve M5 and M635CSi. Power was fed to a special ZP limited-slip diff with 25 per cent lock up and a tall 3.25 ratio. USA model M3s used a standard pattern 260 gearbox based on the manual 735i unit with the conventional gate pattern, plus a 4.1 ratio diff was fitted."

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      • #4
        I have read many times that the US cars were equipped with a different tranny because BMW felt that US drivers would not be comfortable with a dogleg tranny. Also, the US trannies have gearing that's better for acceleration in the lower gears, whereas the dogleg trannies are "close ratio" and provide a more even spread of speed across the gears - a better motorsport tranny, as opposed to the US tranny which was a better street tranny, in other words.
        -AJ

        -'88 Henna Red-

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        • #5
          interestingly, the us-spec cosworth 190e 16v has a dogleg CR tranny which I believe is more or less identical to the euro E30 M3 box.
          Seattle, WA
          currently:
          1988 M3, ex j-stock
          1984 911, RoW 3.2
          1990 Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9
          http://cars.g93.net

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
            My understanding is that the US box is the much stronger of the two boxes.
            That is NOT true. Close ratio box is also from six cylinder model.

            Do you really want to know, why US-models are without dog-leg boxes :hee:
            Last edited by Muke; 08-04-2009, 10:08 AM.

            M3 Sport Evolution 1990
            M3 Late Model 1990

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Muke View Post
              That is NOT true.

              Close ratio box is also from six cylinder model.
              I know they were both used on sixes.....

              My information comes from Jim Blanton who has rebuilt thousands of these transmissions. According to him, the US spec OD box is vastly stronger and more durable than the CR/dogleg version.

              I am just parroting what he said. I have no independent knowledge one way or the other. Like I said, the question is kind of moot anyway unless you have a turbo with about 5 bar boost.... Both transmissions are clearly of ample strength for the N/A S14.
              Last edited by Ironhead; 08-04-2009, 10:10 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ironhead View Post
                My understanding is that the US box is the much stronger of the two boxes. The main application for the US box was on a variety of six cylinder BMWs that had far greater torque than any N/A S14 will ever have.
                This has been said / written in a NUMBER of places. I have heard the same myself - maybe one is more complicated than the other, internally, I don't know?

                But as Ironhead said, they're both suitably strong for an E30 M3. It's just a matter of how long they may last, when driven / taken care of the same.
                -AJ

                -'88 Henna Red-

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Low Level View Post
                  This has been said / written in a NUMBER of places. I have heard the same myself - maybe one is more complicated than the other, internally, I don't know?
                  I don't know either, but I suspect it's true. Blanton stated it from his personal experience, he has no reason to spread gossip. He certainly knows these transmissions as well as anyone and better than almost everyone.....

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                  • #10
                    some info if you care...

                    http://www.s14.net/forums/showthread.php?t=40362

                    there are more info out there
                    Euro M3'87 NogaroSilver / Euro E34 M5 '93 / Porsche 993 TT 97' Euro / Porsche 993 Carrera 95' Euro / Skyline R33 GT-R

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Muke View Post
                      That is NOT true.
                      It is absolutely true. The U.S. box is definitely stronger than the dogleg box, and anyone who's rebuilt both will confirm it. I had this very conversation with Jim of Metric Mechanic, who's rebuilt plenty of both over the years, and he explained the how and why in detail.
                      2003 Mitsu EVO VIII - 2.0L / 600+whp
                      1988 BMW M3 turbo - Work in progress. . .
                      1986 SVO Mustang - Work in progress. . .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ted B View Post
                        It is absolutely true. The U.S. box is definitely stronger than the dogleg box, and anyone who's rebuilt both will confirm it. I had this very conversation with Jim of Metric Mechanic, who's rebuilt plenty of both over the years, and he explained the how and why in detail.
                        If you have an old overdrive 265/5 on your car, that box is not stronger than 265/5-cr box.
                        But there is one stronger overdrive box from E32/E34-3,5L and that box is 260/6. IF this box stays in M3 US models, itīs stronger, but hard to believe that factory had used this 260/6 box in M3 US-model.
                        Tell me, maybe Iīm wrong. Or is there something more that I donīt know.
                        Last edited by Muke; 08-04-2009, 06:45 PM.

                        M3 Sport Evolution 1990
                        M3 Late Model 1990

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Muke View Post
                          If you have an old overdrive 265/5 on your car, that box is not stronger than 265/5-cr box.
                          But there is one stronger overdrive box from E32/E34-3,5L and that box is 260/6. IF this box stays in M3 US models, itīs stronger, but hard to believe that factory had used this 260/6 box in M3 US-model.
                          Tell me, maybe Iīm wrong. Or is there something more that I donīt know.
                          Have you been inside both of these gearboxes and know for a fact? Or just speculating? Two seperate transmission rebuilders here in the US, who HAVE been inside both many many times, disagree with you.

                          Jake

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Muke View Post
                            Tell me, maybe Iīm wrong. Or is there something more that I donīt know.
                            Originally posted by Jake View Post
                            Two seperate transmission rebuilders here in the US, who HAVE been inside both many many times, disagree with you.

                            Jake
                            OK. If this is true itīs true, thatīs all.

                            I was wrong. Iīm very very sorry.
                            Last edited by Muke; 08-05-2009, 12:45 AM.

                            M3 Sport Evolution 1990
                            M3 Late Model 1990

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No need to be sorry, it's just about having accurate information. This very topic came about when I was inquiring about the torque capacity of the U.S. box with MM, in which they informed me of what machining steps and bearing upgrades they employ to maximize durability. In the same breath, they advised me that the gears and bearings of the Euro CR box are smaller/less durable, and that transmission would be unsuitable for my application as a result.
                              2003 Mitsu EVO VIII - 2.0L / 600+whp
                              1988 BMW M3 turbo - Work in progress. . .
                              1986 SVO Mustang - Work in progress. . .

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