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Short Shift Kit

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by az3579, Jul 20, 2008.

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    az3579

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    I've been looking into installing a short shift kit into my E30. The shift throws I feel are way too long and I wanted to replace the bushings and such while I was in there so I could get that crisp shift feel back. It's really sloppy now and you could practically move the shift lever almost halfway across the gearbox (left to right) while in gear.



    I've been looking at a Z3 shoft shift kit on eBay. It is OEM and not aftermarket. A sale just popped up on it today and now I have to decide whether I want to get that or another one. The price is currently about $125. In the description, it says that it would reduce throw by about 30% in an M3, which I think has a shorter throw than the rest of the E30 range. It also comes with "...new bushings, shims, and selector rod joint couple with this kit..." so I assume that will fix the sloppiness.


    Are there any other kits I should consider? I'm very price conscious at this time. I know I saw a kit on Ireland Engineering's website for $110. Here's the link:
    http://store.nexternal.com/shared/S...t2=772559762&CategoryID=3&Target=products.asp

    There's another one from Bavarian Autosport. I can't link because it won't work for everyone. Price is about $180.



    I'd rather get the Z3 kit because I have comfort in knowing that it will include necessary components to eliminate the slop from my shifts. I don't know if the others do, but has anyone had any experience with any of these? I have 15 hours for the eBay item before the price goes back up (10% is a lot to me)...
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    steven s

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    Get yourself a shift lever for a Z8. Cheaper than you think.
    I love mine. I don't feel like I'm driving a step van anymore.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Do you have the steel shift tower or the aluminum one (depends on manufacture date, I think.) If your shift is sloppy and you have the steel tower, you probably need the support bushings more than anything else. I don't personally like to go too short on the shift throw because it can wear the synchros faster. Take a peek under your shift boot at the support for the shift lever and let us know what type you have.

    Also, read this. It is very cheap to get shorter throws without buying all that other stuff if you don't need it:

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Short_Shift/E36-Short_Shift.htm

    And this

    http://www.understeer.com/shiftlever.shtml
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    az3579

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    I don't know what kind of shift lever it is. I do know that the car has a 9/86 build date. A steel lever would be heavier, right? My shift lever feels pretty light to move around; perhaps this description would help.


    I've got a few hours left on the sale. I already read the first website you posted (the Pelican article) and will be using that as a guide to installing the kit. The second link is telling me to get the Z3 shift lever, which is what I am currently looking at. Thank you for the websites; those are just reinforcing my idea to purchase the Z3 lever. Is there anything else that needs to be said before midnight?
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    mooseheadm5

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    Not the lever itself, but the thing that holds the lever to the transmission. Post a link to the auction so I can tell you if it is what you need. Everyone else says that the lever itself is cheap (far cheaper than $125) so I want to know what else you can get and if you can even use it. You should have the stuff pictured here (aluminum shift support:)

    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=1254&mospid=47308&btnr=25_0074&hg=25&fg=05

    Most likely part number 13 is worn out, about $30 from the dealer, less online. Part 10 is $26, and the lever itself should not cost more than about $55. I have never seen a worn out part 6. So, unless you get more stuff (which you will not need) then I suggest going to someplace online and just ordering what you need (like alloembmwparts.com who get there parts from Worldpac (and maybe SSF) and ship for free if you buy over $100.
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    az3579

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    mooseheadm5

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    Not a bad price overall. A little more stuff than you need, but you can use all of it because you have the correct shift tower. Since shipping is free, I would say it would be more effort than it is worth for you to source these parts elsewhere.
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    az3579

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    Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have a 10% of coupon, so I could get 10% off the already 10% discounted price, bringing the grand total to $113.39. :D


    I just don't know what I'm getting myself into re: installing a short shift kit. I keep wanting to buy things but get turned off because I don't know how to do anything. But, I conquered my fear and ordered the Z3 kit from eBay for the amount noted above. And, to top it all off, I also ordered a ZHP shift knob to complete the package. I got an amazing deal on it; $60 shipped via UPS, not the crappy postal service.

    The shift feel was the only thing I could find wrong with my car presently and hopefully that will be fixed in the coming week. This car is starting to take shape into what I want it to be. Tonight I painted my instrument cluster needles red with my touch-up paint (which is actually completely useless - it's really obvious certain spots have been touched up) so now the needles match the color of the car.




    That Pelican article makes installing the kit a lot harder than I thought it would be. Does it just look hard or is it really something to spend a good part of the afternoon doing? You think someone (like me) who religiously tries to following a Bentley manual doing things (in other words doesn't know what he's doing) can pull it off alone?
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    Brian A

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    About the only thing I'd add since the prior thread on this topic (http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1489), is that some short-shift kits probably improve the bushings connecting the shift lever to the transmission. Really, though, replacing parts 6 and 10 and 13 as mentioned above will probably take you 99% there. However, once you've taken the whole thing apart, it would be pretty tempting to fix up everything (which is what I did).

    I followed the Pelican Parts instruction and used their rebuild package (although did not put in a shorter-throw lever). There still is some "play" left in the lever, but it really is trivial slop; not the "spoon in spaghetti" feel that a 20 year old mechanism can take on.

    As far as the difficulty of installation, its a reasonably simple process (if you are at the level where you routinely put your car on jack-stands etc) except for that one darned clip (mentioned in the above link), which usually requires you to drop the transmission a bit (could be as much as 1 inch).
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    az3579

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    I completely forgot I posted a thread on the topic already... oops. :eek:


    About that clip - is there any way to do it without dropping the transmission? That's where things are a bit more complicated than I'm willing to handle alone...
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    mooseheadm5

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    I didn't read that other post but if you are talking about the clip with the pin that holds the shift support to the trans, it is a PITA. You don't need to drop the trans, but it only takes 4 bolts and will not come down too far by itself anyway. I suggest you drop the trans to make your life easier. You will curse and throw tools if you have never done this before, but you will be rewarded by a sweet shifting car.
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    Brian A

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    I just meant that you need to lower the transmission about an inch. I used a bottle jack to support the transmission, undid the 4 bolts on the transmission support that moosehead refers to, then eased the transmission down a little.

    For me that was less than an inch, so I did not feel too concerned about letting the engine and transmission rotate on the engine mounts (and my driveshaft was detached at the time). I'm not sure how far you can lower the transmission this way without excessively stressing the engine mounts, although I would guess (a guess only!) its over an inch and maybe two inches.

    You need to get clearance above the transmission because the infamous clip has a release lever that flips upwards and you need clearance for the lever to swing. It won't come off until it has room to swing fully upward. You're lowering the transmission if necessary to create this space between the top of the transmission and the bottom of the floor pan.
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    az3579

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    Well, I just fully read the Pelican article word-for-word and it didn't mention dropping the transmission at all. After reading it, I feel fully confident that I can do it. It doesn't really look like a hard job, just strenuous due to the under-car work involved. That article prepared me for the dreaded clip you guys mention. If there is enough room to work a flathead, I think I can get it off eventually. Now I know how it attaches and knowing that, it shouldn't be too hard to remove.


    The article did mention that the pictures are with the driveshaft removed. Is it hard to remove the driveshaft? My Bentley's at home right now so I can't look it up...
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    Brian A

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    The Pelican article indeed does not mention the need for clearance to get the clip off. That is an oversight in the article.

    Getting the driveshaft off IS a lot of work, however, just removing the flex disk is easy and will have the same effect. I'm not sure if you actually need to disconnect the driveshaft to lower the transmission the one inch; others will have to advise.

    Bwaahahahaaaa!!!
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    mooseheadm5

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    You don't HAVE to remove the driveshaft, or even take it loose, or lower the trans, but it helps. Wear goggles or you will have all sorts of stuff dropping into your eyes. No, the clip is not easy, and you may even break it, but you can use a bolt and locknut if that happens.
    You can let the trans hang by the engine because the engine touches down on the cross member to stop it. You may wish to use a block or jack or something to support it. Enjoy!
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    az3579

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    I got my kit in the mail today. This is what it consisted of:

    [IMG]


    Is there anything missing or should I have all I need to install the kit and restore the crisp feel of things?
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    mooseheadm5

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    That is everything you need. You may not need the plastic ball cup, but it is nice to have in case you destroy yours. I use a pair of screwdrivers or a large pair of needle nose to twist it out of the holder. It is a little bit of a PITA, so let us know if you need advice.
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    az3579

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    I was just told by someone that I need a helluva lot more parts than that if I want to restore the crispness of my shift. I don't want to have to go through this and then find out that it's still sloppy. He also mentioned that he recommends Delrin carier bushings, but I looked it up online and saw them for a whopping $25. The whole point of buying this package was the price and that plan is now effectively slipping down the drain if I have to buy more parts because it gets more expensive and I wouldn't be able to complete this project this weekend like I had planned.


    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=1113&mospid=47309&btnr=25_0074&hg=25&fg=05


    He mentioned replacing parts 8, 13, 17, and mentioned that 13 and 19 are sold together from BMW now, so I assume I should be replacing that as well.

    The scariest part that he mentioned was that the driveshaft would probably have to be removed to provide proper access. It is my understanding that the driveshaft is quite a bit of work, especially for an idiot like me. I'm getting more and more put off by this job...



    I know there are lots of parts that could cause the sloppiness, but I simply don't have all of them and don't have the time to get all of them if I want to complete it this weekend. What are the chances of these supplied components solving the sloppiness problem?
    I know you've answered this many times but I just can't be at ease with the different answers I'm getting ('yes, what you have is enough' or 'you are missing parts and the sloppiness might still be there'). :(
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    Brian A

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    Personally, I think you are okay

    To me it looks like you get the major wear points. You DO have item 13, BTW according to your photo. Item 19 is probably the only "missing" item that would be nice to also change.


    Yeah, I replaced a lot more using the Pelican Parts rebuild package, but some of it is just convenience such as getting a new "dreaded clip" (part 25111221849) and some of it is just "insurance" (I can't image that part 25111220707 really wears out). Here is everything in the Pelican Parts package:

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/smart/S-mart.cgi?command=add&weight=0.56&itemid=PEL-SKSBE30-02N&itemname=Shift%20Bushing%20Kit%2C%20%33%32%35%2Fe%2Fes%2Fi%2Fis%2FiC%20%28%30%37%2F%38%36%2D%38%39%29%20&itemprice=69.75&itemquant=1

    You're going cheaper, and taking a bit higher risk: the price you pay.

    Something you'll be surprised at is that the pivot "ball" on the shift lever for an E30 is metal; it looks like your Z3 replacement is plastic. I take it this is just a design change.
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    mooseheadm5

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    You should have 13 AND 19 already. 19 is just a little foam piece you put a couple of drops of oil on that keeps the linkage lubed. It usually comes with 13, but is just a piece of foam rubber. I have restored the crispness of dozens of customer's cars with only part 13/19 and without removing the driveshaft. Trust me, add the shorter shift to the equation, and you are golden! The parts that wear are actually the bushing in #13 and the bushing at the bottom of the shift lever. To a lesser extent part 10 wears but only very little. Since you have new shift lever and new #13, you will be happier than a pig in plop when you get it done. Let me know if you need any advice. First bit of advice is this: Buy a small flat blade screwdriver and a pick set. It really helps you get the original spring collar off of part 13 (which is now just a clip on your new one.) When reinstalling the new 13, the foam piece 19 (which you should put a couple of drops of motor oil on) will need to be squished pretty heavily for it to fit easily. I usually use a drift or long (but small diameter) screwdriver to line up the hole from the bottom while dropping the pin in from the top. This bit is easily the most frustrating, because you will drop the pin at least once. If you just try to push it on, you will shift into 4th gear and lose some clearance on the shifter.

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