Thursday, November 12, 2009

53. BMW E36 Short Shifter

So, short shifter is one of the most popular modifications on an E36. And it's one of the most useful ones too. Also, it's one of the best-value modifications you can do to your car.

Original BMW Shifter components

This image is just for reference. This is how your stock shifter is assembled. We'll mostly talk about the part #1, and in the end, about #4.

What is a short shifter?

A short shifter - also known as a short throw shifter is the result of an automotive after market modification of the manual transmission stick shift either by modification of the existing stick shift or, alternately, by the replacement of the entire part.
The purpose of the modification is to mechanically reduce time between the changing of gears while accelerating or decelerating and thus improving the cars performance.
(source: Wikipedia)

What are the available options for my BMW E36?

There are basically three options:
  • A home made short shifter
  • An after-market short shifter kit
  • An OEM BMW short shifter   
Home made - DIY short shifter

This is the cheapest way to get a short shifter, but at the same time, the hardest, and the most risky as well.

Building your own short shifter is the best when you really know what you want, and can't find an after market product that suites your needs. I've found this picture on a BMW SLO forum:

 As you can see, it's adjustable. Looks don't matter, since it's hidden under the leather booth.

After market short shifter kits

There are a lot of after-market options available. I'll just give you a few links where can you get them.



OEM BMW short shifter

I'm sure that, right now, you're thinking: 'There's no such thing as an OEM BMW short shifter for my E36'. You're right. And not. The idea here is to use an original BMW shifter leaver, but from a 'better' model.
Most E36 owners go for the Z3M shifter. To use it, you have to modify it a little...
Here's a picture that will explain everything:

The Z3M shifter is the one on the bottom. But, the problem is, that other are slightly bent, and the Z3M is straight. So, before installation, you have to bend it. In the end, just another useful info: the part number from this picture is not valid... Here's the new part number: 
Shift lever

Price: €32.80/ $49.19
Part number: 25 11 7 527 254

Old part number: 25 11 2 228 384

I'll go for this solution. It's cheap, and I know a lot of people who tried it... So, for me, this is the best option.

Right, but, there's one other option for improving that shifter feel...

Take a look at this:

And how they perform:


(Click on the images for animation)

I've sourced out this selector rod here: Turner Motorsport

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