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Thread: Shifter FYI

  1. #1
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    Shifter FYI

    We've all known for a while that the 1.9 Z3 shifter could be installed in an e21 to shorten up the throw, but as it turns out nearly all BMW shifters are interchangeable. Here's a lineup of the shortest ones. Remember the longer the shaft below the pivot, the shorter the throw. I assume the Z3 M one will hit the driveshaft on an e21, but the rest should probably work. I can't remember if our stock one has the bend in it or not.
    Last edited by Layne; 11-08-2008 at 04:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    '78 320i M42
    i wonder what the E36 M3 shifter looks like compared to an E21 SSK...

  3. #3
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    e61
    IIRC correctly the Z3 shifter has been used successfully..... but it looks too long to me. Was on my "to do" list for this winter.

  4. #4
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    the Z3 M shifter wouldn't work at all...even if it didn't hit the driveshaft below it, it doesn't have any bend to it. if anything the E21 needs more of a bend. a straight shifter wouldn't even clear the US center console

  5. #5
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    good lookin on your part Layne. Where did you get that resource anyways? Does anyone know what the price point is on these shifters? Are they cheaper than buying an aftermarket SSK?

  6. #6
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    The credit for that belongs to an e32 enthusiast known as Gale (I think that's his last name). Here's his tip site: http://www.nmia.com/~dgnrg/page_2.htm
    Definitely cheaper than a SSK, about 50 bucks at the dealership for the z3 1.9, probably similar prices on the others.

  7. #7
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    88 M3 DiamondSchwartz
    I originally remember seeing that pic and many shifter discussions from Ron Stygar at Unofficial BMW. I believe he is responsible for starting many vendors selling the idea after him. Popular upgrade for the E30 at $40-60 from the local dealer is a no brainer SS kit.

    You can go as long on the bottom of the shifter until your contacting the driveshaft. Bend is important to avoid knuckles into the radio area. If using solid bushings, and the tray is bolted upward as far as it can go, the shifts can get real short. My E21 is setup this way. Some say it's notchy, but those are mainly street drivers(no offense). The lever is custom stock lever Fred lengthened back in our hayday. Finished product has a few thousandths clearance to the driveshaft. Non bushing linkage and tray. Nothing exceeds like excess right.
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    "If it flys, floats, or f*cks, rent it!"

  8. #8
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    81 323i Baur, 98 M3/4, 8
    I stole this from the net, but I forget from where, it has the picture layne posted as part of it. I'm running a Z3 shifter in the Baur and is it nice. the only thing you have to do is cut the spring cup and bend it of the e-21 shifter and wind the sping off, then wind the spring back on the e-21 shifter and put the spring cup back on and bend it shut...

    Some of the parts are for e-30s and some of the numbers have changed, prices are way higher, but you can get the correct numbers from Real OEM.
    -------------------------------------------------

    Two issues on the e21 shifter

    to use the later e30 shifting rod you need to cut two notches in the openning to allow the end to extend through.

    The e30 does not allow the knob rod to rotate like the e21 so that is a big improvement.

    Here is some short shifter information.

    Short Shifter


    I use the UUC and the roller bearings and it is smooth.
    I have the length of the shifter set to the lowest possible.
    It is as very good but if I did want even smoother I could use a weighted shift knob, see the UUC site.


    But if budget limited:



    The distance above the pivot point if short will make the throw shorter.

    Just like a teeter-totter on the kid’s playground.

    Also if the shifter is longer below the pivot point it moves farther for the same distance movement above.

    So both will change the shifting.

    You should not require a new rod from the shifter to the transmission unless you have the Guibo mounted balance, then clearance can require a change or rod modification.

    You can reuse your plastic bushing also but you will need to cut it on one side plus the washer and thread the spring off. I would also recommend a lot of white lithium grease to provide long term health.

    I would recommend the z3-2.8/3.0 as the best of both worlds.
    Shorter on the top, 4 inches to the pivot point, and somewhat longer on the bottom.


    These will mount in the sheet metal, early up to 87, and the extruded aluminum shifting plates, after 87.

    This is a DIY project for most owners.

    The Z3 has a slight bend and is more ergonomically correct. It puts the knob a little aft of the others.

    Distance from the pivot to the lower rod bearing point is the major change in shortening the shift distance. Remember any change in length is increasing the needed force.

    Here are the P/N for the later extruded shifter

    (1) 25-11-1-221-977 (E36 M3 shift lever) - $35.40
    ”(1) 25-11-1-220-832 (bushing) - $9.20”
    (3) 25-11-1-220-439 (yellow spacer) - $0.41 each
    (1) 25-11-1-220-379 (clip, i think) - $0.56
    (1) 25-11-7-501-309 (front joint assembly) - $18.32
    (2) 25-11-1-221-243 (O-ring) - $1.00 each
    (1) 07-11-9-932-863 (lock washer) - $0.06
    ”(1) 25-11-1-220-912 (front console bushing, i think) - $9.68 “
    (1) 25-11-1-469-397 (shift lever plastic cup) - $5.96
    (1) 25-11-1-220-837 (reverse light wire retaining clip) - $0.30
    ”(1) 25-11-1-220-707 (rear shift console support) - $14.80”
    (1) 07-12-9-946-400 (hex nut) - $0.20
    (1) 25-11-1-203-682 (bushing of some sort, possibly felt tab) - $1.20
    (1) 25-11-1-434-194 (washer) - $0.40

    Total Cost: $99.31
    “” are those not required for earlier sheet metal shifters. Before 6/1987.

    For sheet metal shifters here are the additions:

    (1) 23-41-1-466-110 (Upper sheet metal plastic bushing) requires cutting to install.
    (1) 25-11-1-207-744 (Lower plastic bushing) big wear point.
    (1) 25-11-1-204-422 (Aft shifter rubber mount)
    (1) 25-11-1-220-581 (Rubber dust cover) gets torn every time, needed?
    Last edited by AlaskaBimmer; 11-09-2008 at 05:00 AM.

    The Frozen Baur (AKA The Frozen Ground) now on Netflix (John Cussack is driving the Omega behind the Baur)

  9. #9
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    only the kids e30s
    you can use any shifter from any new bmw. i bought a 335 shifter off ebay for 5 bucks and it was a lot shorter then the e30 318 in my 84 318 i used to have. i put a z3 in my 89 325i but had the bend the linkage because it rubbed on the shield around the guibo.
    no e30s of my own, but I am financing two for my kids

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by busemans View Post
    you can use any shifter from any new bmw. i bought a 335 shifter off ebay for 5 bucks and it was a lot shorter then the e30 318 in my 84 318 i used to have. i put a z3 in my 89 325i but had the bend the linkage because it rubbed on the shield around the guibo.
    Well, except 30% will put the shifter in the wrong position and 90% will make it ridiculously short and hard to shift or have no change at all, and 100% will loosen up in 6 months and get sloppier than your E21 shifter.

    The 335 shifter is going to be leaning forward and to the right when installed in your E21, and be taller in the console.

    - Rob

  11. #11
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    1981 BMW 320i
    this is interesting. may have to get one of those for my 320i

  12. #12
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    only the kids e30s
    maybe i said hte wrong model then. it was a little shorter and shift alot shorter. almost enough for me to swap back to the normal one but the guy who wanted to buy the car from me liked it so i left it in
    no e30s of my own, but I am financing two for my kids

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