BMW E36 Z3/Z3M Short Shift fitting guide to an E36.
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    BMW E36 Z3/Z3M Short Shift fitting guide to an E36.

    How to guide on how to fit a Z3 shifter.

    This also covers the Z3M shifter which doesn't require any bending as far as I am aware.

    6 Pot Model. Use the Z3M Shifter
    4 Pot Model. Use the Z3 Shifter

    1) The Z3M shifter fitted to a M44 100% fouls the balancer. It's not the actual shifter itself but the selector rod which rubs and causes an awful grinding noise.
    2) The 1.9 Z3 Lever doesn't offer such a reduced shift movement as the Z3M lever on 6 Pots. It is slightly shorter, and you can feel a difference but it might not be enough for some.

    This picture might help to explain things:-

    3) It has already been said that the 1.9 shifter goes on the 318is etc. (4 Pots) and the Z3M goes on the 32X/M3.

    4) You only need to purchase 2 things. A new bearing and the lever. I would suggest new cir-clips also but that is up to you.

    I have fitted both the Z3 and Z3M to my 1992 325SEi. I did not bend the lever at all in either case and did it all in my driveway in an hour without having to remove the heat shield or exhaust as stated by some.

    OK, the parts you need are:-
    4 Pots:-
    Z3 1.9 Shift Lever - 2511752725


    6 Pots:-
    Z3M Shift Lever - 25117527254

    Bearing - 25111220600

    I also got new circlips - handy if you lose or break one while you are doing this - 25117571899

    Tools Required:-

    A couple of different flat head screw drivers of a decent length.
    A Jack / axle stands
    Some white grease

    1) Remove the gear knob by twisting and pulling up. Mine came off easily, try not to hit yourself!

    2) Remove the leather gaiter, it just clips out at the sides:-

    3) Remove the insulation foam, it just pulls out:-

    4) That will leave you with a rubber boot which goes round the gear lever. This was a bit of a pain to take off just because it was tight. I used a screwdriver to help but don't rip it. It does eventually pop off:-

    5) Now you will see a clear view of the white bearing, holder and down through the floor of the car to the ground:-

    6) If you look toward the head of the screwdriver here, I'm pointing at where the selector rod goes through the bottom of the lever. It is held on with a circlip. Couldn't really photo this, but you'll see it yourself when you do it:-

    At this point, I felt what way the clip was facing, turned it so it was coming off downwards, popped my screwdriver on top and gave it a hit. It popped off no problem. Like I say, I had new circlips so didn't bother me if I lost or broke it.

    7) This is the point when you need to get under the car. You'll see where the hole in the floor is so get your hands up towards the shifter rod. I then popped a screwdriver in and levered the rod from the bottom of the lever. It took a bit of effort and there isn't much room but it came off eventually. Someone stopping the lever from moving would have been useful.

    8) You now need to remove the lever from the holder by taking the white bearing out.

    This was a bit tougher than I thought but if you look at the picture above to where my screwdriver is pointing, you can see a couple of tabs which clip into the holder. If you turn the bearing, the tabs should release and then you can get a sharp ended screw driver in and prise it out.

    Alternatively, you can just attack it with a screwdriver until it eventually pulls out which is what I did because it's a tricky little swine: Again, you are replacing it so it doesn't matter. Just be careful not to damage anything else:-


    9) You should now be left with this:-

    10) Take your new bearing and new lever, and pop the bearing under the lever and clip it into the ball joint. Remember, it goes on from the bottom.

    11) Now pop your new shifter and bearing into the holder:-

    Remember those little tabs on the outside that were causing you trouble while removing it? Well, make sure they clip into the sides of the holder.

    12) Get back under the car and pop the shifter rod through the bottom of the new lever. It may help to have someone to stop the lever moving about in the car. It's a bit tough but it will go through.

    Also remember that the nylon washers that were on it are no longer needed so don't reuse them. You don't need to with the Z3 shifter so take them off the shifter rod if they are still there. Then refit the circlip.

    13) Now check you can get all the gears including reverse. Then sprayed some grease into the ball joint to keep things smooth.

    14) I then cleaned all the bits of plastic bearing I had destroyed from the interior.

    15) Refit the rubber boot - Again, this could be tricky so I used some washing up liquid which describes how I found this whole process!



    16) Refit the insulation foam:-

    17) Refit the gear gaiter:-

    18) Refit the gear knob, just push it on:-

    19) Take it for a drive, change gear more than necessary and wonder why you hadn't fitted it before!



    Sits perfect without bending the shifter rod on a 325. Much slicker and no downsides I can think of.

    This really is not too hard to do, was a bit fiddly cause there isn't much space but it's worth it.
    Last edited by Tefal; 21-12-2013 at 17:17.

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