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Thread: Thoughts on ZF trans "shift detent rebuild kit"

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Thoughts on ZF trans "shift detent rebuild kit"

    Folks,

    Since I was in there anyway for a new pressure plate, I decided to go ahead and also do the shift detente repair kit yesterday. Below are my thoughts:

    If you're not familiar with this kit, you can find her here (where I ordered it):
    http://www.bimmerworld.com/ZF-Transm...epair-Kit.html

    1) The directions here are really quite good:

    https://webspace.ringling.edu/~dplas...hift_pins.html

    There is one change that I made, which I felt was easier than what was suggested. Rather than try and find a small slide hammer, instead I simply found a screw with a wide washer on it. After drilling the hole(s), insert the screw, then tighten until they are flush with the tranny, then go a little further with tightening, and they will loosen up enough that you can just pop them right out by hand.

    2) Buy the tools you need from Thayer Motorsports, here:

    https://thayermotorsports.com/collec...nt=28393447175

    You may be able to do the job without the tools, but seriously, just buy the tools. Peace of mind that you got it all back together is worth the $70.

    Also, really good idea to have long needle-nose pliers, and a pair of circlip pliers as well. Again, possible without, but no bueno.

    3) As far as I can tell, there's really only one gotcha here.... but it's a hum dinger and yeah, you don't want to screw this up.

    For Reverse and 5th, you'll be basically deforming the existing sleeves out of a bore in the side of the tranny. To do this, you'll be taking a chisel, hammering (carefully) on the sleeve until they deform, then pulling the deformed sleeves out of the bore with needle-nose pliers.

    For 5th gear, you can pound away almost fearlessly, until the thing deforms, then extract it with your pliers.

    Unfortunately, for reverse, it is quite possible to pound the sleeve so far down into the transmission, that you cannot get it back out.

    YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL HERE. IF YOU DRIVE THE SLEEVE INTO THE TRANS, YOU ARE PROBABLY BUYING A NEW TRANS.

    So at that point, you're either buying a junkyard tranny, or hoping to find someone who has way more skills than I do, who's willing to hack that thing up deep inside the transmission and pull it out a tiny hole in the side.

    What I did here is, WATCHING CAREFULLY as you are deforming the sleeve for reverse, at some point you will notice you are no longer deforming, but now driving the thing into the transmission.

    STOP HERE!!!

    I then went to my bag of tricks and got a much smaller (disposable if necessary) eyeglass-style screwdriver, and drove that between the side and the sleeve. Using the screwdriver between the bore and the sleeve allowed me to much more easily deform the thing, without knocking it further into the tranny. I'd suggest attempting to extract it with your pliers very often - say once every couple hammer strokes.

    For the weak of heart, you can simply skip the reverse gear and do all other 4 detente repairs. However, I think you should man (or cowgirl) up and carefully do the job correctly so you can enjoy the amazing new shift feel you'll have when you're done.

    That's all for now - I just wanted to write this up while it was all fresh in my mind.

    YMMV - I'll try to answer any questions I can - plus feel free to post your experiences.

    --Bill
    Last edited by CoMZ302; 04-30-2017 at 12:31 PM. Reason: optional
    2002 BMW M Roaster.
    1998 BMW 328is SCCA E Production road racer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    E39M5, E500 4WD, E30race
    Thank you Bill, for that excellent write-up, and the great links!

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, owner of German Motors of Aberdeen
    BMWCCA 274412

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Odenton, MD
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    1997 BMW M3 Sedan
    If I didn't replace the bushings and only replaced the spring loaded detent pins, would that see any improvement in the shift feel?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    36 Cylinders
    The bushings go together with the springs, because the bushings have a different internal diameter because of the coating on them.
    -Abel

    - E36 328is ~210-220whp: Lots of Mods.
    - 2000 Z3: Many Mods.
    - 2003 VW Jetta TDI Manual 47-50mpg
    - 1999 S52 Estoril M Coupe
    - 2014 328d Wagon, self-tuned, 270hp/430ft-lbs
    - 2019 M2 Competition, self-tuned, 520whp
    - 2016 Mini Cooper S

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Seattle
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    99 M Coupe
    Are these kits identical?

    $82 www.bimmerworld.com/ZF-Transmission-Detent-Repair-Kit.html
    $96 https://thayermotorsports.com/collec...vice-parts-kit
    $122 www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-bmw-parts/transmission-shift-pin-repair-kit/23117525048kt

    This is not a small project. Please advice whether it makes sense for a mechanic to do this in a shop with provided instructions https://webspace.ringling.edu/~dplas...hift_pins.html
    If not, pay the shop to drop the transmission and save $$$ to do this myself at leisure time in own garage? How many man hours are we talking about to complete this with given tools https://thayermotorsports.com/collec...vice-tools-new

    Probably a good idea to replace clutch at the same time with 130k on odometer.

  6. #6
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    08 E90M3; 99 E36M3 Turbo
    It’s several hours for a first timer. Some get the original 5th and reverse sleeves out no problem and others struggle. With the driver tools, it’s easy to set the new ones. I have done 4 trans. Dropping the transmission is a few hours for a first timer as well, and less if you have done it before. I can drop one a ZF320 from an E36 in about an hour.

    Your clutch may still be fine at 130k but it’s 20 years old. I would replace at least the related parts like pivot and throw out and pinion bearing. And maybe the clutch and/or flywheel depending on how they look. Maybe the slave and hose as well. Almost certainly refresh the linkage— selector shaft coupler, bushings, etc.

  7. #7
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    drift tools not available anymore anywhere, where can I get them?

  8. #8
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    Jan 2011
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    Odenton, MD
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    1997 BMW M3 Sedan

    Drift tools

    Quote Originally Posted by importbanana View Post
    drift tools not available anymore anywhere, where can I get them?
    I have them. Email me at: beachmedic78@yahoo.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    95 m3+, 03 ZHP, Mk4 Tdi
    yeah, the drift tools are definitely still available....
    '95 325iS - auto to manual swap done!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    e36
    beachmedic i'll get back to you if i cant find a shop, thanks

    shadowpuck, which shop sells them?
    Last edited by importbanana; 01-05-2021 at 04:38 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    95 m3+, 03 ZHP, Mk4 Tdi
    i found them here - redirect from thayer...

    https://streetdrivenindustries.com/c...-service-tools
    '95 325iS - auto to manual swap done!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
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    e36
    I know about that, doesn't work. that's a shady website. Only 7 articles. No street address. I've emailed them long ago about shipment to canada and never received a reply.

    btw what are your "..." at the end of your posts about? It implies you want to say "I think you're too stupid". Is that your intention?
    Last edited by importbanana; 01-06-2021 at 08:23 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    95 m3+, 03 ZHP, Mk4 Tdi
    *shrug* ok. everyone's risk tolerance is different, i get it.

    no - just an idiosyncrasy...
    '95 325iS - auto to manual swap done!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
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    e36
    Even if I would want to order from them, they're not replying about shipping to Canada, so I can't order there, which means the tools are not available anywhere. At least for me in Canada. I'll probably have to get them manufactured for me.
    Last edited by importbanana; 01-06-2021 at 04:25 PM.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2021
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    New York
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    1999 BMW 328is
    Guys quick edit here idk if anyone will see. I just did this job and was having trouble with my blind bearing puller. I wrapped the collet in a thin layer of 160 grit sand paper and the detent pulled right out. I also marked up the bore of the first one I did (reverse) pretty good and had to file so on the second one (fifth) I separated the bushing sleeve and used the thin screwdriver to lightly tap all the way along the seam till the sleeve popped out on its own. I only had to clean up that one strip of the bore and all went back together smoothly.

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