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Discussion Starter #1
There is this cetain part of I-35 when coming into Dallas, you need to steer very carefully due to the dips, huge ass cement barricades, and hauling ass merging traffic coming from behind. Everytime I drive through here, I pray to the mighty Car God that I can shift down to slow down a bit w/o hitting the brakes, gain enough speed, make the turn by the barricades, go through a couple dips, shift up and be able to merge into the traffic with out crashing.
So I start thinking, how much easier it would be if I didn't have to take my hands off the steering wheel to shift? I know there are certain cars that have paddle shifting steering wheels, but I've never driven one before.
Does anyone have any info about these steering wheels? Is it possible to install one? Call me crazy if you want, but its just a thought... :lol:
 

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It's not the steering wheel. It's the car. The whole steering column, some tranny parts, and whatever else. Usually paddle shifters are only on REALLY expensive sporty cars like Ferraris or Aston Martins and such like that. I've never heard of anyone "installing" such a system on a car that wasn't meant to have it in the first place, but I guess that wouldn't stop you from trying though. IF there IS a installation like that, it's probably custom-made, aka very $$$. :-\
 

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I know M3's and the new E46 3-series have that, but BMW has an entirely different transmission.

you can read more here: http://bmwnation.com/ARTICLES/e46_2002details_01.html

or more specifically from page 3 of that article:

It comes from Formula 1, made its first appearance worldwide in the BMW M3 in 1997 as a brand-new feature in this road-going sports car, and is now available in modified form in the 330i and 325i saloon and coupé: BMW’s sequential manual gearbox or SMG for short.

SMG appeals primarily to the passionate sports driver so far obliged to choose the conventional manual gearbox in his pursuit of maximum power and performance. Now SMG takes these customers into a new dimension, enabling the driver to shift gears in 150 milliseconds, about the “time” you need to blink an eyelid. Doing without a clutch pedal, SMG shifts gears, engages and disengages the clutch faster than most drivers would ever be able to do by hand, using powerful, ultra-precise hydraulic control for this purpose. At the same time the sequential gearbox totally avoids the risk of gearshift errors in any conceivable situation, thus ensuring for this reason alone that the sports driver always has maximum power and performance at his disposal. The less ambitious driver also benefits from the pleasant knowledge that he will never make mistakes in shifting gears, since such fool-proof operation of the transmission also means an enhancement of driving safety not to be underestimated.

The SMG sequential manual gearbox also featuring a cruise mode with an automatic gearshift must not be seen, however, as an inexpensive alternative to the automatic transmission. On the contrary – SMG does not seek to compete with the unique shift comfort of an automatic transmission with a converter lock-up clutch, and is not even in a position to do so. Rather, it appeals above all to the motorist with a penchant for shifting gears manually.

Operating as a shift-by-wire system without a mechanical connection between the gearshift lever and the transmission and without a clutch pedal, SMG enables the driver to shift in the P-R-N-+/– mode by means of two new shift switches or paddles on the steering wheel, or the conventional way by means of a shift lever in the centre console. This allows the driver to concentrate in full on road and traffic conditions at all times, especially as SMG automatically operates the clutch and engages the desired gear by itself.

The SMG sequential manual gearbox is based on BMW’s proven five-speed manual transmission and serves in technical terms as an add-on solution: The entire electrohydraulical gearshift unit is placed on top of the gearbox like a kind of “bell”. The SMG control unit, in turn, communicates with the engine management and controls engine power and torque while shifting gears. Precisely this is why the driver is able to keep his foot on the gas pedal during the actual gearshift process.

Electrohydraulic control operating the clutch and shifting gears.
The SMG experience starts for the driver at the very beginning when unlocking the car by remote control: A mild humming sound from the transmission area tells the driver that the electric pump in the clutch and shift hydraulics is starting to work. The system builds up a pressure of 55 bar in the process in order to operate the clutch and shift gears at the desired speed.

To start the engine the driver must first move the shift lever to N. Since SMG, like a conventional manual gearbox, can prevent the car from rolling downhill by keeping a gear in mesh, the driver is required in this case to first press down the brake pedal and then move the shift lever to idle. Only after doing this is he able to start the engine. The current position of the gearbox is presented both by fixture points in the gearshift gate and optically in the display beneath the rev counter.



For safety reasons the driver is also required to press down the brake pedal when shifting from idle while the car is at a standstill. Should he fail to do so, the shift lever will not move.

To shift to reverse, the driver moves the gearshift lever to the front left into position R, to drive forwards he moves the lever to the central +/– position for the manual gearshift or to the right into position C for automatic. This cruise mode is available as a comfort program especially, say, for driving in the city, where the driver is able to transfer the entire job of shifting gears to the system.

Shift-by-wire from the shift lever and paddles on the steering wheel.
The core function of SMG is nevertheless its manual gearshift with unparalleled precision at a speed the “normal” driver would never be able to match. The driver can perform this function in two ways, either through the gearshift lever as before or through two paddles on the steering wheel. The sequence of gears, as the name indicates, is always sequential, that is with one gear behind the other as on a motorcycle, and not with random, direct selection of gears as with a conventional H-configuration. The big advantage is that this rules out the risk of shifting errors even when changing gears very quickly, while still allowing the system to shift instantaneously from one gear to several others. To shift up, the driver merely pulls back the gearshift lever or pulls one of the two paddles in his direction. He shifts down in the opposite direction, that is by pressing the gearshift lever or the paddles forwards. A further advantage provided by the paddles is that they enable the driver to shift gears without taking his hands off the steering wheel. Indeed, he is not even required to take his foot off the gas pedal.

Since the driver can shift up and down on either of the paddles, he can use his other, free hand to switch, say, from the high-beam to the low-beam headlights, to operate the direction indicator, or to control the windscreen wipers. This control concept on the 330i and 325i SMG sequential manual gearbox intentionally distinguishes the system from the SMG unit in the BMW M3, focusing more on the general preferences of the 3 Series driver in everyday traffic rather than the typical style of the sports driver oriented more towards the race track.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmmm M3's...

I saw an '02 convertible M3 yesterday in town, the wheels were way phat and the front grille was a looker too. Oh I almost had good intentions on cutting through that convertible top and driving it away.
I didn't bother to peak inside of it though to see if it had the paddle shift. :-\
 

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ww.levelten.com has a button shifter kit but this is only for auto's... I read a while back that some JA company has a stick shift car with a button on the top of the shifter so you dont have to depress the clutch. All you needed to do was push down the button and shift. Pretty cool stuff. ;)
 
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