Last-Minute R53 Getrag Transmission Replacement Advice/Pep Talk - North American Motoring


Last-Minute R53 Getrag Transmission Replacement Advice/Pep Talk

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Old 10-12-2017, 10:06 PM
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Last-Minute R53 Getrag Transmission Replacement Advice/Pep Talk

Hey guys, I'm gearing up to replace my failing Getrag 6-speed this weekend, starting tomorrow after work. Do any of you seasoned clutchmasters (pun intended) have any advice for transmission/clutch/engine removal? Thanks in advance!!!

Here are the parts I have purchased so far (with part numbers for the future ones):
  • 2003 R53 Getrag Gearbox
  • Valeo SMF Clutch Kit (bolts included) #52151203
  • OEM Guide Tube #23117551719
  • OEM Upper Transmission Clutch Fork Bushing #23110530904
  • OEM Lower Transmission Clutch Fork Bushing #23117509744
  • Cortico 36x58mm (Right) Output Shaft Seal #23117518638
  • Cortico 38x52mm (Left) Output Shaft Seal #(Pelican P/N)01033808OB-INT
  • Cortico 26x40mm Input Shaft Seal #23117518633
  • Victor Reinz Crankshaft Rear Main Seal #11111492244
  • FTE Clutch Slave Cylinder #21516777428
  • ATE TYP200 x2 DOT4 Fluid
  • Redline 75W80 x2 Transmission Fluid
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:54 PM
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a few tips

A few things come to mind:
  • To remove the OE clutch you will need a female torx socket as they use these strange bolts. I don't know the size. They are tiny.
  • To properly torque the new SM flywheel onto the crank you will need a mean to lock the crankshaft in place. My neighbor loaned me a special tool for that.
  • Be very careful when you install the rear main crank seal so not to mess it up.
  • If you choose to remove the entire drivetrain to replace the gearbox and clutch, you can remove it without removing the engine main harness and most of the ancillaries. All you have to do is to disconnect the big plastic circular connector on the driver side.
  • Use plastic bags to separate different groups of fasteners and small parts and label them.
  • Be thoughtful when you apply the clutch bearing grease, and not to apply it to places you shouldn't.
  • You will need some loctite red on some fasteners like the bolts for the flywheel to the crank.
  • A set of spring hose clamp pliers will save you a lot of time and cussing. They are really cheap on Amazon.
  • ATE Typ200 fluid is barely better than generic DOT 4 so save your money next time.
  • Change the crank position sensor o-ring if you haven't done it already.
  • You will need to make a fixture gadget to properly bleed the clutch slave cylinder without blowing it.
  • If your slave cylinder bolts are rusted in place be very careful not to break the aluminum flange like many did.
  • Triple check that no remaining harness, hose, etc before hoisting out the drivetrain. A bit more care can save a lot of sorrow.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:49 AM
sevin sevin is offline
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Did you consciously buy an ‘03 trans as opposed to a facelift? I would have thought the shorter gears would be more desirable.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevin View Post
Did you consciously buy an ‘03 trans as opposed to a facelift? I would have thought the shorter gears would be more desirable.
Not always. The best is to have both and able to change the gears on a dime in the pit, like the Formula Ford gearbox.

I think he got the earlier box for a price he couldn't refuse.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:27 AM
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More tips:
  • Before you can disconnect the gearbox from the engine there is one pesty bolt that is hidden behind the infamous octopus of the engine harness. You have to remove a steel bracket and the MAP or IMAP sensor near it. Be very gentle or else you can break expensive things.
  • I was able to remove the entire drivetrain together with the engine oil cooler.
  • If you keep the engine/drivetrain harness with the removal you only need to disconnect the B+ cable at the starter.
  • Be very gentle when disconnecting and reconnecting the gearbox shift cables at the tranny. Gentle does it not to damage the plastic parts.
  • If you are short on money or cheap like me, you can catch most of the engine coolant and reuse it. Just carefully filter out the foreign particles. Renewing the coolant every 2 years is like checking your fire extinguisher every month they tell you to - because the "anti-corrosion additive is consumed".
  • Be careful when re-installing the driver side axle. Make sure you fully seat it into the transmission. There is a circlip that need to snap into place.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:04 PM
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sarom058 sarom058 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevin View Post
Did you consciously buy an ‘03 trans as opposed to a facelift? I would have thought the shorter gears would be more desirable.
Yeah, I did. I was seriously deliberating it--Bahman has a great low mileage '05 gearbox that I was going to drive out to Texas and grab, but I'm time and money limited, seeing as my 53 is my daily.

That, and the fact that in addition to swapping the facelift trans in, the shifter housing and cables from a facelift 53 are required in order to drive, and an ECU/facelift ECU flash is required to keep cruise control. I'll keep my eyes out for facelift bits in the next few years, and maybe eventually make the conversion, but for now, I just want a 3rd and 4th gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pnwR53S View Post
A few things come to mind:
  • To remove the OE clutch you will need a female torx socket as they use these strange bolts. I don't know the size. They are tiny. Torx E8 (Thanks Pelican)
  • To properly torque the new SM flywheel onto the crank you will need a mean to lock the crankshaft in place. My neighbor loaned me a special tool for that. (Pelican photo for DIY reference)
  • Be very careful when you install the rear main crank seal so not to mess it up.
  • If you choose to remove the entire drivetrain to replace the gearbox and clutch, you can remove it without removing the engine main harness and most of the ancillaries. All you have to do is to disconnect the big plastic circular connector on the driver side.
  • Use plastic bags to separate different groups of fasteners and small parts and label them.
  • Be thoughtful when you apply the clutch bearing grease, and not to apply it to places you shouldn't.
  • You will need some loctite red on some fasteners like the bolts for the flywheel to the crank.
  • A set of spring hose clamp pliers will save you a lot of time and cussing. They are really cheap on Amazon.
  • ATE Typ200 fluid is barely better than generic DOT 4 so save your money next time.
  • Change the crank position sensor o-ring if you haven't done it already.
  • You will need to make a fixture gadget to properly bleed the clutch slave cylinder without blowing it.
  • If your slave cylinder bolts are rusted in place be very careful not to break the aluminum flange like many did.
  • Triple check that no remaining harness, hose, etc before hoisting out the drivetrain. A bit more care can save a lot of sorrow.
  • Before you can disconnect the gearbox from the engine there is one pesty bolt that is hidden behind the infamous octopus of the engine harness. You have to remove a steel bracket and the MAP or IMAP sensor near it. Be very gentle or else you can break expensive things.
  • I was able to remove the entire drivetrain together with the engine oil cooler.
  • If you keep the engine/drivetrain harness with the removal you only need to disconnect the B+ cable at the starter.
  • Be very gentle when disconnecting and reconnecting the gearbox shift cables at the tranny. Gentle does it not to damage the plastic parts.
  • If you are short on money or cheap like me, you can catch most of the engine coolant and reuse it. Just carefully filter out the foreign particles. Renewing the coolant every 2 years is like checking your fire extinguisher every month they tell you to - because the "anti-corrosion additive is consumed".
  • Be careful when re-installing the driver side axle. Make sure you fully seat it into the transmission. There is a circlip that need to snap into place.
Holy cow, pnw...thank you so much. I'm going to a Home Depot now to get the tools and fashion a slave cylinder bleeding tool. I've watched the ModMINI clutch videos twice now, and taken notes, and I'm currently adding all of these tips to my list as well. I'll do my best to take notes while I'm working this weekend, and I'll add any notes that weren't already covered for the future swaps that occur. Maybe this thread can one day be the definitive "how to swap a Getrag" DIY.

Anyone know where I can find all the torque specs for the swap, short of scouring through ModMINI's video?

Last edited by sarom058; 10-13-2017 at 02:07 PM. Reason: slowly adding bolt sizes, torque specs, photos, and other specifics
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:40 PM
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For the clutch bleeding fixture, it does not need to be fancy. All it does is to keep the piston from over extending and blow out the plastic cylinder housing. Just 2 long bolts and an angle iron of sort.

All the important torque specs are in the Bentley but they are scattered in their respective sections. For the less important fasteners I just torque to German specs with my calibrated arms.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:24 PM
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Still more tips:
  • You don't need to break the hydraulic lines of the clutch nor the brakes. The clutch cylinder is designed to swing out of the way if you look carefully. Very considerate on the part of the engineers.
  • The fuel line to the fuel rail is equally easy to detach without the need to mess with the injectors. You should know since you changed the cylinder head.
  • No need to remove the spark plug coil pack either.
  • Do need to remove the intercooler.
  • Be careful with the compressor and the condenser. They can be swung out of the way to get the engine out.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:23 PM
r53coop r53coop is offline
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Going to move this to the How-to/DIY section.

As always, thanks to the great members here for the responses.
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