February 23, 2016 TFRyan

Project: SMG E46 M3 Manual Conversion + 280Z & R32 GTR Updates

Where is the third pedal? A common question in the car enthusiast community, referring to the belief that a car with an automatic (using that term loosely, DSG and SMG fall under this category) transmission is not a true driver’s car. There’s no denying the evidence that having a flappy paddle gearbox means more efficient up and down-shifts, which translates to faster lap times. Super car manufacturers such as Porsche, Nissan, McLaren, and Ferrari have almost phased out the traditional gearbox in favor of the newest shifting technology. Purists will always prefer to do the work themselves as far as shifting goes; there is something satisfying about nailing that perfect heel-toe downshift that allows you to rocket out of the corner; it’s a much more involved process and it comes down to the feel.

Excuse the mess, the car has yet to be registered and much less cleanedRAL_5327WEB

The latest addition to the TF fleet is a 2004 BMW M3, stock car with a CSL type bumper, sub-100K miles… and the SMG transmission. The E46 M3 came in two different transmission variations; either standard 6 speed transmission, or the SMG II drivelogic transmission. Although the paddle shifters give you that “race car feel” the SMG is prone to go out as these cars surpass the 100K mile mark. Even now, a decade since the discontinuation of the E46 generation M3, to replace the SMG pump (notorious for going out) is an unbelievably expensive task. We picked up this car to learn the process of actually replacing the whole SMG unit for the standard 6 speed option. By doing this R&D on our own, we will be able to offer this service to other SMG owners who would like to venture over to the other side.

RAL_5297WEBCarbon Fiber CSL touches
RAL_5341WEBWe love LED tail lightsRAL_5311WEBThe infamous SMG II…
RAL_5323WEBFlappy paddle shifters


Christine’s 280Z

Don’t worry, the 280Z has not been left out. We are still fabricating and grinding on the Z daily getting it closer and closer to completion. Lately, most of the work has been cleaning up the engine bay of holes and car cancer, fabricating a custom intake manifold, and small touches such as the coil pack tray and the custom battery tie down in the trunk area.
RAL_5230WEBIt’s amazing to see the manifold progress from this…
DSC_2642WEB…to this over the course of a few days.
RAL_5210WEBBeautiful battery tie down; also check out the ancient tire run-flat technologyRAL_5237WEB



Jon’s R32 GTR

As we wait for the crank collar and the oil pump gear, the GTR sits on the lift without a front end as more and more parts arrive to our door step daily

DSC_2223WEBIn the past week alone we’ve received a plethora of parts for the car such as Manley rods, CP pistons and the absolutely necessary Tomei HICAS lock for R32 GTR.

RAL_5222WEBWe also did some powder-coat work on the engine, as well as ceramic coating on the Garrett twin turbos and the Tomei turbo elbows. That blue POPS.




Keep following the blog, updates will come as more and more parts roll in for the cars and more progress is made! 


Tagged: , , , ,