Payment Successfull, your order is being processed. All styles covered all models, and engines. It is in the cross-platform PDF document format so that it works like a charm on all kinds of devices. The belt-driven pump circulates coolant through the system whenever the engine is running. Thermostat An electrically heated thermostat regulates the engine coolant temperature and is controlled by the DME control module.

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One point of contention was that it was only ever available with the divisive SMG transmission. Clarkson had introduced it as possibly the most extreme road-car BMW had produced to date. He chose the Isle of Man, a place that is arguably known only for its extreme motorbike racing event that takes place every year, as the venue. When the review hit our scenes, I was barely seventeen years old and only just old enough to drive in the UK.

At the time, prices were still pretty reasonable and so I took literally all of my money out of the bank and spent it on my dream car. I get it. I was never happy with a computer doing all my hard work for me! At this point it feels like the car is firing the gears at you with a canon from somewhere behind the rear bumper. When the SMG makes a bad gear change, you end up annoyed that you could have done it better yourself and it can do this a lot at anything less than full speed.

I enjoy driving my car on the road and rarely use the car on track. I guess the main question people will be asking is, why did you do this? Why not just modify a Manual M3 instead of hacking your classic car apart?

Well firstly, I like the way the CSL is put together. All it needed was a clutch pedal and a real gear stick. SMG is fine! Fast forward again to five and a half years later. I was falling out of love. As fate would have it, I decided instead to do a few things to get the CSL back up to scratch.

After the first raft of work, we soon realized we had a lot in common and quickly became friends. Over a beer some weeks later, we started to cook up a plan. I began researching and already knew that people had been converting standard M3s from SMG to Manual. The engineering is undeniably clever — the base gearbox is the same. The difference is that the SMG has an ECU and hydraulic pump to move the gear selector, whereas the manual has a clutch and gear lever.

Some guys on the US M3Forum had already done the hard work of researching the parts required, it was just a matter of sourcing a bellhousing to add the springs required to centre a gear lever they can also be machined to convert them, but finding a genuine manual one takes away some uncertainty.

So I got to work. I bought all the parts I needed and checked off my list until I was ready to bite the bullet. Since very few had ever been done at time of writing, there may only be four in the world , Darragh and I decided that it would be good to document the process. The first step is to make some space under the car. We removed the undertrays, exhaust, propshaft and heatshield from the transmission tunnel. We then removed the original transmission and put it onto the bench next to the donor.

Removing both bellhousings gave us the opportunity to inspect the gears and have a look at what else was different. We also decided to tap the gear position sensor to go full OEM with the job. The next job was to remove all of the SMG paraphernalia. This included the actuator, pump and reservoir which all came away as one system once the gearbox was out of the way. The bellhousing was swapped onto my original SMG box — a couple of other bits were changed just because it was easy to do so whilst it was on the bench and it was ready to go back in the car.

Now for the scary part. The body-in-white is essentially the same from an SMG to Manual — the only difference is a blanking plate that the SMG controller bolts to where the linkage would normally pass through the body. The underseal was removed, the welds were ground off and the plate was free to be removed.

The area was then treated and painted. With the gearbox refitted it was time to tackle the other body difference — the linkage bracket. Again, the area was treated and painted to return it to factory standard. This may change in the future if I ever decide to make the modification more permanent.

In this case however, all that was required were a couple of wiring adaptations and for some extras to be added when we routed in the clutch line. Next, the pedals went in. Amazingly, the SMG pedal box simply has an empty axle on the side where the clutch pedal would sit. All brackets are present for springs and switches. As luck would have it, we found a donor pedal box pretty easily, meaning we just needed to buy a clutch master and slave cylinder.

Finally, after the clutch was bled, it was time to code the car. This is where the CSL was a little tricky. The DME was just different enough that it threw up some errors and, in the end, a remote desktop session from Martyn ECUworx saved the day. And now, time for a drive. When I really want to, I feel like I can actually change gears just as quickly as the SMG box, but this time, I know exactly how long each will take.

I just have to change the way I drive. From the perspective of someone who works in the car industry, I can understand why. I consider the M3 CSL to be a truly great road car — and mine just got a whole lot better.


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