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Thread: Short Shifter retrofits

  1. #1
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  2. #2
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    1997 BMW 540i 6 speed
    I finally settled with the E39 M5 shift lever, very satisfied. I tried the E60 lever, but it was like arm-wrestling with the trans, which is using RL MTL.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

  3. #3
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    I put these together for the DIY Quicklink list.

    Parked: E39 DIY Quick Links
    jamesdc4

  4. #4
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    Thanks James. I'm still doing some research on what type of upgrade to put in my M5. I like the height of it now & the throws are not that bad. I mainly just want to get rid of/eliminate all of the side to side & minimal front to back slop that it has. Do you know how much more a M5 shifter lever is then a 540i lever/stick... ?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjack View Post
    I finally settled with the E39 M5 shift lever, very satisfied. I tried the E60 lever, but it was like arm-wrestling with the trans, which is using RL MTL.
    Change out your RL and you'd love the 545i shifter.
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnyost View Post
    Change out your RL and you'd love the 545i shifter.
    Does the Red-Line tranny fluid really create that much of a difference... ?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Da Clean1 View Post
    Does the Red-Line tranny fluid really create that much of a difference... ?
    Yep. I couldn't come close to counting how many 545i kits we've sold and we'll get the occasional notch/trouble shifting complaint. Once we get them to swap out their fluid, all is well. NOTHING shifts as good as Amsoil MTF or Royal Purple Synchromax. You'll have to change the RP much more often to keep the shifting smooth but either is a huge improvement over anything else we've tried.
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

  8. #8
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    BMW 540I, CR Sebring
    Love my Royal Purple. It really smoothed up the box. But with 130K miles on the tranny it was too notchy with the 545i kit. I kept the old shift fork but swapped on the new shift knob. It takes you about 1/2 the way to the short shift throw.

    Just drained the trany and replaced the RP with new. It came out a dirty purple. The rear diff oil looked brand new.
    1997 E39 540i aka the 2nd Generation America Bomber...
    1983 528e (long gone)
    1971 R75/5 (long gone)

  9. #9
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    528it/5
    EAC hooked me up with the 545 and ZHP knob. Could not be happier.
    2000 528it/5

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaltimoreBimmer View Post
    EAC hooked me up with the 545 and ZHP knob. Could not be happier.
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

  11. #11
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    15 WRX
    ooo thanks for the post.
    This is on my to do list for the new years!!!

  12. #12
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    01 540i6 Sport
    Got my 545i shift kit in from EAC today along with new timing chain guides and gaskets!! Cant wait to install everything..

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    '98 540i/6, '00 Miata
    I installed my 545i shifter last night, and have driven 40 miles on it thus far.

    By way of background, I have had the ZHP knob on for quite some time and have gotten used to it. I have been running RP Synchromax for about 30K.

    My initial impression is that I like it and prefer it over the original, but it does not make shifting perfect in every respect.

    It feels more harsh with each shift. You can really feel the "notchiness" of the linkage/transmission with this shifter. Perhaps over time I wil l grow completely used to it. Initially, I wished the length above the fulcrum was half an inch longer. Now I am not so sure I would want it different than how it is now.

    There is something about the "harshness" that seems to fit very well with other mods I have made to the car, particularly the H&R Race springs and the louder muffler. These mods make me feel more connected with this great car, which is what I am looking for.

    I'd give this mod 8.5 Roundels out of 10.
    Oxford Green 1998 540i/6
    BMWCCA No. 425591

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnyost View Post
    Yep. I couldn't come close to counting how many 545i kits we've sold and we'll get the occasional notch/trouble shifting complaint. Once we get them to swap out their fluid, all is well. NOTHING shifts as good as Amsoil MTF or Royal Purple Synchromax. You'll have to change the RP much more often to keep the shifting smooth but either is a huge improvement over anything else we've tried.
    I will have to give it a try then. Thanks for the info & this is something I had no idea about. I'm glad I was informed... !

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petes540i6 View Post
    I installed my 545i shifter last night, and have driven 40 miles on it thus far.

    By way of background, I have had the ZHP knob on for quite some time and have gotten used to it. I have been running RP Synchromax for about 30K.

    My initial impression is that I like it and prefer it over the original, but it does not make shifting perfect in every respect.

    It feels more harsh with each shift. You can really feel the "notchiness" of the linkage/transmission with this shifter. Perhaps over time I wil l grow completely used to it. Initially, I wished the length above the fulcrum was half an inch longer. Now I am not so sure I would want it different than how it is now.

    There is something about the "harshness" that seems to fit very well with other mods I have made to the car, particularly the H&R Race springs and the louder muffler. These mods make me feel more connected with this great car, which is what I am looking for.

    I'd give this mod 8.5 Roundels out of 10.
    If you are not truly happy with it, then you should try the Z8 shifter. I have had it in mine for a couple of years and it is awesome.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/mmm635/Z...rInstallation#



    Last edited by mmm635; 12-30-2010 at 09:12 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmm635 View Post
    If you are not truly happy with it, then you should try the Z8 shifter. I have had it in mine for a couple of years and it is awesome.
    Do the '97-'00 528i and '01-'03 525i have the same 5 speed transmission?

    Is there a version of the ZHP shift knob with a 5 speed pattern?

    Gotta upgrade my shifter, way loose and rubbery. The shift pattern insert on my wood shift knob (sport package with ///M logo) has separated, and it's not available as a separate part to replace (at least through the regular channels).

    Might consider the Amsoil if it improves my shifting. I have a notchy 3rd gear, probably a worn synchro from 145,000 miles on the original oil. Any friction reducers that actually work (such as moly?)
    --
    2009 E92 335i 6MT - current ride
    2000 E39 528i 5MT/Sport - sold to a good home


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTempoLimit View Post
    Do the '97-'00 528i and '01-'03 525i have the same 5 speed transmission?

    Is there a version of the ZHP shift knob with a 5 speed pattern?

    Gotta upgrade my shifter, way loose and rubbery. The shift pattern insert on my wood shift knob (sport package with ///M logo) has separated, and it's not available as a separate part to replace (at least through the regular channels).

    Might consider the Amsoil if it improves my shifting. I have a notchy 3rd gear, probably a worn synchro from 145,000 miles on the original oil. Any friction reducers that actually work (such as moly?)
    Yes, there are 5 speed knobs too.
    http://www.eaceuroparts.com/catalog/product/465

    The Amsoil helps a bunch.
    Amsoil MTF
    Last edited by jnyost; 04-17-2012 at 12:01 AM.
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

  18. #18
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    2006 BMW Z4 3.0si 6MT
    Great repost. I have a UUC SSK on order. It is backordered. From reading this post, I'll replace my transoil with Royal Purple. I used to use their engine oil in my S2000.
    Brian

    2006 BMW Z4 3.0si Premium/Sport

    "Life is fun with the top down!"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTempoLimit View Post
    Do the '97-'00 528i and '01-'03 525i have the same 5 speed transmission?

    Is there a version of the ZHP shift knob with a 5 speed pattern?

    Gotta upgrade my shifter, way loose and rubbery. The shift pattern insert on my wood shift knob (sport package with ///M logo) has separated, and it's not available as a separate part to replace (at least through the regular channels).

    Might consider the Amsoil if it improves my shifting. I have a notchy 3rd gear, probably a worn synchro from 145,000 miles on the original oil. Any friction reducers that actually work (such as moly?)
    They do not - the 528/530 have a ZF Tranny and the 525 has a Getrag. There is a big difference in the shifts between the 525 and 530, even with an upgraded shifter. The Getrag in the 525 shifts much better than the ZF. However, I am not sure the 528 and 530 share the same ZF tranny.

    I use Royal Purple for tranny and diff in all of my cars and never have problems shifting.
    Last edited by mmm635; 12-30-2010 at 08:48 PM.

  20. #20
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    1999 540i/6
    I just followed the DIY for the 545i shifter. It was super easy and only took about 20 min. The only thing I did differently than the DIY is a removed the cup from the top with needle nose plyers in stead of from the bottom. Getting the clip on/off wasn't as much of a problem for me as some others seemed to have. I also changed out the MTF with Amsoil. I definitely recommend using a pump to put in the new fluid. The pump cost me about $8 at autozone and fit perfectly on the Amsoil bottle. Very easy mod and well worth the money.
    Sometimes its better to make a good run than a bad stand.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmm635 View Post
    However, I am not sure the 528 and 530 share the same ZF tranny.
    I believe they do.
    Manual transmissions:
    • BMW 525i 2001-2002 M52TU, M54: Getrag S5D 250G
    • BMW 540i 1997-2003 M62: ZF/Getrag S6S 420G
    • BMW 528i 1997-2002 M52: ZF S5D 320Z
    • BMW 530i 2001-2002 M54: ZF S5D 320Z

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcdavis View Post
    I just followed the DIY for the 545i shifter. It was super easy and only took about 20 min...
    Just looked at the DIY's for this. Looks good. I really needed a inexpensive fix/upgrade for this. Sick of my loose rubbery shifter.

    Anybody know where I can get just the plastic insert for an E39 5 Spd M-Sport shifter? I have the wood one and the paint/glue has separated on the plastic part. Also I did a little heat damage warming it up with a heat gun so it would come off. I might be able to polish it out, but it would be easier to just replace the part.
    Last edited by NoTempoLimit; 01-03-2011 at 03:09 PM.
    --
    2009 E92 335i 6MT - current ride
    2000 E39 528i 5MT/Sport - sold to a good home


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTempoLimit View Post
    Where is this DIY?

    The 545i shifter works with the 5 Speed ZF transmission on the '97-'00 528i?
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=19393042

    Yep.
    http://www.eaceuroparts.com/catalog/product/465
    Last edited by jnyost; 04-16-2012 at 11:53 PM.
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

  24. #24
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    Thanks jnyost! I found the info after I posted that, which is why I edited my post.

    BTW, thanks for the great deal on the factory xenon fogs. I'm running the Hella ballasts now as my low beam ballasts, but still plan to install the xenon fogs in the future (I'll use an aftermarket ballast for that).
    --
    2009 E92 335i 6MT - current ride
    2000 E39 528i 5MT/Sport - sold to a good home


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTempoLimit View Post
    Thanks jnyost! I found the info after I posted that, which is why I edited my post.

    BTW, thanks for the great deal on the factory xenon fogs. I'm running the Hella ballasts now as my low beam ballasts, but still plan to install the xenon fogs in the future (I'll use an aftermarket ballast for that).
    Fyi, we have one more HID fog light kit left....
    "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti"

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