M32 Gearbox

M32 Gearbox Repair / Information / Service / Upgrade

M32 Gearbox Image transparent

WG Motorworks is pleased to be able to claim that we are one of the best M32 gearbox repair services in the country. With hundreds of happy customers leaving us fantastic reviews, with local customers in Kent Essex London including the surrounding areas Sittingbourne, Maidstonstine Faversham Tonbridge Gillingham Dartford for M32 Gearbox repair near me local well as others, coming to us from far and wide! - we have customers travelling to us from as far as Spain, France, Belgium, Ireland, Guernsey even Sweden, it is clear our reputation speaks for itself.

Since 2010, when we carried out our first repair, we have completed over 2000 of these m32 gearboxes repairs /upgrades. Using all Genuine tools which we have invested heavily in, which allows us to perform upgrades to GM specs, while also enabling us to perform a quick and efficient service, while also offering one of the best warranties available on work carried out – 18months / 18,000 Miles subject to terms and conditions.

We only use the best components, bearings manufactured by Timken/SNR who are the leading bearing manufacturers/suppliers to the automotive industry. We also stock all common replacement parts to ensure a swift service without any setbacks or delays

We also exclusively use a high gear grade gearbox oil – Fuchs Titan Sintofluid 75w80. Being such a common issue across the range of models/engines, we have listed as much information on this page as possible.

Our normal gearbox repair service is offered as – Drive in drive out, while you wait same day repair, which takes under 4 hours to complete. While Gen2 Retrofit service is still offered the same day.

The M32 gearbox is a 6 Speed manual gearbox manufactured by Getrag and is fitted to a wide range of vehicles, including the common commonVauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Astra VXR. Vauxhall Astra 1.9, Corsa VXR along with, Fiat Punto, Alfa Romeo 159 and Lotus. (Full list below)
Gearbox Bearing issues:

There is a very common problem with the M32 gearbox, the symptoms can vary and some complain of whining but no movement in the gearstick, whilst others complain of movement but no whining!
Generally, this is what you should be looking out for:

  • When disengaging the clutch in 1st gear while pulling away, whilst holding the gear stick, it will move back into your hand, sometimes by 10-20mm! (the greater the movement, the worse the problem)
  • When applying the accelerator in 5th or 6th gear,  the gearstick ‘twitches’ which is especially noticeable in comparison to 3rd and 4th (although in rare cases there can also be twitching in these gears due to a different bearing issue)
  • Whining sound coming from behind glove box area
  • Specifically on Corsa, Punto and Mito models; when turning right at 30mph+ you experience what is best described as a disc rubbing noise
  • Gear lever Movement/gearbox whine, more noticeable in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th gears

The M32 gearbox issue which results in all of the above symptoms is a result of the failure of one bearing – specifically the gearbox bearing on top of 6th gear. The bearing rollers wear, which causes the movement in the gearstick, which is causing the internal gear shafts to ‘float’, and the whining is caused by pitting of the bearings, which can be seen in the image below.

It is also quite common to get a constant whine in all gears from 20-30mph onwards, regardless of whether the clutch is engaged or disengaged, which intensifies with speed. Often misdiagnosed as differential bearings, this is caused by pitted pinion bearings which can be seen on inner and outer races below.

The 2010-2012 gearboxes have seen more issues with pitted pinion bearings than earlier versions – this is due to GM changing the bearings to lower quality FAG and NGBC, as opposed to the earlier Timken bearings.

The Cause:

Bearing failure can be caused by a combination of things, mainly linked to poor gearbox design. Excessive oil temperatures along with a failure to change the gearbox oil regularly or at all(not part of the service schedule).

  • It is commonly thought that high torque output causes the bearings to fail on remapped cars etc. – but this simply is not the case. We have cars running 350-400lbft without issues, yet we have seen low output engines (1.3 CDTI / 1.8 non-turbo etc) experience issues. It is true that the greater the power, the more heat will be generated in the gearbox, but a high percentage of the cars we repair are run-of-the-mill cars, which still run into the same gearbox issues. Essentially, doing long distances on the motorways, during which 95% of the time is spent in 6th Gear, transfering the engines torque all the way down the input shaft, across to the 6th Gear (closest to the end on the output shaft) and then back down to the final drive, put maximum load on this small top bearing.
  • The bearing which commonly fails and causes issues sits on top of one of the two output shafts on this 6-speed gearbox. Gears 1, 2, 5 and 6 are all on this shaft – hence why the issues typically manifest in these gears. Reverse and 3rd and 4th gear are situated on the other output shaft. In extremely rare cases we have seen issues with these gears instead, but this is only the case for >1% of repairs we have carried out.
  • When driving with the gearbox issue, we advise to use avoid using 5th and 6th and stick to 3rd and 4th gears mainly, as this will transfer the engines torque across the other output shaft, taking load off of the failing bearing.
  • It is also worth bearing in mind that failure can occur over time as well as mileage- if your car has failed with relatively low mileage, it could be down to the age of the bearings rather than the number of miles covered. It is equally possible that the bearings of a high-mileage new car and low-mileage old car can fail.
  • If left unattended, the outer bearing race can start to spin, which causes the wear on the casing, eventually popping out of 6th gear (stripping the gear) which can then finally punch a hole in the casing. Once this happens, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to repair your gearbox, due to the internal damage caused, making the repair uneconomical. Our advice is therefore to always catch the issue early, and book in for a repair as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage and associated costs.

Gear selection issues

Completely separate issue to the bearings mentioned above, and typically more common on the VXR / more powerful models due to the nature of the way that they are driven.
With selection issues most common on 2nd, 3rd and 4th, issues to look out for are<

  • Popping out of gear, once selected and power is applied the gear stick returns to neutral
  • Crunching when attempting to select gears, usually worse at high rpm
  • Poor gear change / Selection

The cause is typically down to wear and tear, mainly caused with more enthusiastic gear changes. The engagement teeth on the problem gear / hub wear down and lose their engagement points becoming burred / rounded as seen below, if these issues are not addressed eventually popping out of gear will occur. Occasionally these issues can also damage the nylon fork guides, which then also require replacement.

Generation gearboxes

Generation 1 – 2004-2013. Then ‘Gen 1’ M32 Gearbox is the most common gearbox we see for repairs, with the main issue being related to 6th gear bearing as detailed above, A limited number were produced with bearing manufacturer change and guides added in 2010, however, these did not resolve the problems as they still utilise Gen2 larger Top bearings.

Generation 2 – was released from MY12.5-MY2017 (2012 – 6 months in), although some cars were not equipped with these until 2013+. These 2nd generation gearboxes come complete with improved oil galleries and, more importantly, larger bearings (55mm vs 62mm OD, as seen below) with a dramatically increased bearing surface area. But…..we still see these gearboxes in for repairs with the ‘All gear whine’ from pitted pinion bearings. The larger bearings help dramatically with the common 6th gear bearing issue – to date we have not seen a bearing issue bar a few light wear marks when inspecting gearboxes in for pinion bearing repairs.

Generation 3 – MY17-Present With the 3rd Generation in the latest vehicles GM have introduced the 3rd Gen end casing consisting of different bearings again, however, little information or parts are available currently.
Below is an image of a M32 Gearbox Generation 2 casing (Left) the easiest way to identify one is the large gallery vein which can be seen running from the Center to top left, and lack of oil filler/level bung on the lower left-hand side, where it is situated on the first-gen units.


One popular gearbox upgrade we offer at the same time as our repair service is the 4H-Tech short shifters, with minimal labour charges incurred if installed at the same time – 4H Tech Short Shifters
We also have a range of Limited Slip Differentials (LSD’s) – LSD Options to maximize traction and dramatically improve handling, with minimal labour costs incurred to install while the gearbox is removed.

For those looking to replace slipping or worn out clutches, or for those simply wanting to upgrade with more power in mind, we have several options from OE replacement, or uprated friction plates / paddle clutches along with solid mass flywheel conversions. Please get it touch with you model / engine or search under "Clutch / Flywheel" on our shop

We also offer a 6th gear ratio change for £90-£120 (+£80 If ECU cruise control programming required) - Please enquire

Gearset ratio change – Please enquire

Gearbox oil breather – From £150

Vehicle List - The 6-Speed M32 Gearbox is fitted in the following models (some may not be listed)

Mito 1.4 Turbo
Mito 1.6 CDTI