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Discussion Starter #1
Recently purchased a '03 Beast.

Quite a few Dinan mods on the car to include the Short Shifter Kit.

As I have not driven enough stock or SSK vehicle for any length of time, I have a question regarding my '03 with the SSK.

I can twist/rotate my shifter about 10-15 degrees both directions. It is not the shift knob, but the entire shifter arm.

Is this normal and is this indicating that something may be worn in my shifter mechanism?

Looking at the SSK parts shown online, it appears that the shifter should not twist??

Overall, I do not detect any problems with shifting, however, this twist/rotation seemed a bit strange.

Thanks for any feedback and comments.
 

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No, that isn't normal. The shifter consists of an upper and lower metal piece that are connected and damped by a rubber bushing. Odds are the top part of the shifter is rotating on top of the bottom part, possibly due to the bushing between them. For starters, pull out your shift boot and insulation and look to see if the top part is rotating on the bottom part.



I've had the problem before, albeit with a different company's shifter:

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/149120-uuc-shifter-teardown.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your prompt reply with the pictures.

I did grab the shaft below the shift knob to make sure the shift knob was not twisting on the shaft. From your picture, I must have grabbed the larger portion of the shaft.

I will try to peak under the shift boot and see what is happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Update, I peaked under the leather shift boot to see if the upper/outer shaft was twisting on the inner/lower shaft. It looks like that is not the primary problem, when I grabbed the shifter and actually tried to act like I was removing the shift knob, then entire shifter was pulling up out of the lower shifter boot, out of the actual transmission!! I am now not sure I can actually remove the shift know without pulling the shifter out of the transmission!

So it looks like I need to review all the shifter threads here and on a few other forums. I know I have read about some clip that is hard to install and that many folks have left them out??

I am thinking that I have some real shifter repairs that are needed, until then, I need to drive somewhat easy as to not cause any additional damage.

Thanks for your help, I may be back with some more questions.
 

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The shifter and gear knob aren't bolted together. You can remove the shift knob by holding the shfiter in one hand and pulling on the gear knob pretty hard with the other, towards your chest. Because they're just clipped tightly together you don't want to hit yourself in the face when the gear knob comes free. Your homework is to use search to find what the answers you need. This board has many threads about this.

As for you thinking you're pulling the shifter out of the transmission, this is not what's happening. The picture that Bimmerbear posted shows 2 OEM shifters, one from the E39 M5 (top) and the other from a E60 545 (bottom).
Both shifters have a ball, which is clear in the bottom shifter. The top shifter has a piece of plastic surrounding it. That circular piece of plastic (bushing) sits in inside the shifting arm. When you're pulling the shifter, the ball is popping out of the bushing, thus making you think that you're pulling the shifter out of the transmission. It's normal behaviour.
You can't pull the shifter out of the transmission. There's a selector rod that connects the two.

RealOEM.com BMW E39 M5 Gearbox shifting part
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
UPDATE:

So after a lot of online research and looking at pictures and instruction manuals, I determined I have a UUC short shifter. It was unclear which UUC shifter I had until I contacted UUC directly today. What I found out is I have a EVO3 UUC short shifter, the latest version.

Based upon the discussion I had with the folks at UUC, it is likely that whomever installed the shifter in my car did not fully seat the snap ring that holds the top collar on the shifter ball, this is why my shifter was lifting out of the transmission/shifter carrier. UUC felt that if the snap ring was fully seated it would not come out of the shifter collar?? Once I was able to actually get the snap ring seated, the shifter was much more precise.

What I still need to do is get all the hardware installed for the lower shifter collar that mounts in the transmission/shifter carrier. There are currently only 2 of the 6 small allen head screws holding the collar in place at the moment. UUC felt either Loctite was not used on the 6 small allen head screws and they vibrated out, or the bolts broke off. Apparently UUC has switched to stronger stainless hardware for these 6 small allen head screws and the were very nice to drop a replacement set in the mail to me at no charge. Hopefully if I get a chance, I can try to get these 6 small allen head screws installed without getting under the car, not likely, however, I was told there have been claims this can be done with a lot of patience!! If the old screws are broken off, then I would be best served to order a replacement lower collar and replace it rather than fighting with the small, broken, hardware.

What I can say is the side to side play is now dramatically reduced, the twisting of the knob is greatly reduced and the shift accuracy is much better, especially 1st & 2nd gear. I need to tighten up the lower jam nut that sets the shift shaft height because once I was able to keep the shifter in the transmission/shifter carrier, I found out that the shifter shaft height adjustment is not all the way tight.

I plan on installing a DSSR link and possibly replace some of the shifter carrier bushings in the Spring unless I can get time and a place to do this work over the winter.

From my experience it clearly looks like the the shifter installation was an epic failure on someone's part. It is hard to screw up something like the UUC shifter installation, however, it clearly looks like that is what happened in my case. Luckily I am quite qualified to properly resolve the issue, just have not been hands on for many years, but a lot of things are coming back from deep in the "database"!

Bimmerbear, if you want to shoot me you e-mail via PM, I can give you some input about your shifter and maybe outline some of the items I found.

Overall no complaints about my UUC short shifter, it just looks like it was improperly installed and a bit of time and effort, I should have everything back to normal. I am planning on installing a ZHP shift knob that I plan on retrofitting the lighted shift pattern. So I have a few things to keep me busy over the next few months.

Also going to replace the 7 year old original battery this week, just for good measure. Ordered an Interstate that should ready for pick up tomorrow. I was watching the battery Voltage from the cluster and it appears the battery has a weak cell, would expect as much after 7 years, 9 months!!

Many things to do to get the new to me car in proper order.
 

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Sounds like the verdict is still out on the UUC piece. I keep hearing mixed reviews on it...
If you're going to buy an aftermarket short shift kit right now, get the Rogue kit. From my personal experience, I think it's the better design.

People get too carried away with brand names and shops on this forum. Take those away and compare the kits solely on design and engineering. If you look at the pictures in my thread it's pretty obvious which one is better thought out.

I don't have to tell anyone anymore that I think the UUC design has major flaws, but if y'all want to keep swinging on their nuts, be my guest. It's your money.
 

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If you're going to buy an aftermarket short shift kit right now, get the Rogue kit. From my personal experience, I think it's the better design.

People get too carried away with brand names and shops on this forum. Take those away and compare the kits solely on design and engineering. If you look at the pictures in my thread it's pretty obvious which one is better thought out.

I don't have to tell anyone anymore that I think the UUC design has major flaws, but if y'all want to keep swinging on their nuts, be my guest. It's your money.
I agree that many of us get hung up on a particular brand sometimes & it tends to cloud up or perception of the actual product. I figured that since Turner-Motorsports carries/offers it then it should be a well respected & thoroughly well though out shifter. Can I combine the Rogue shifter with the UUC DSSR? I want a great unit that is direct as can be & one that will eliminate most of the slop. Needs to be highly durable too...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Final update

Well just wanted to update the final progress with my shifter woes.

Turns out that at the end of the day, there were may issues, however, with time and perseverance I have prevailed!

So in December I ordered my UUC DSSR shifter linkage, just needed to wait until the weather and my schedule cooperated.

I had also decided to replace all the rubber bushings for the shifter support fork as well, 2 small bushings up front and larger round bushing pressed into floor pan in the rear. I was told by someone these bushings do not go bad, well I think they are wrong.

So yesterday I pulled the shifter out, the shifter support fork and went to work. Yes it is a pain in the backside doing the job on my back, but I was able to do it. Had to drop the trans cross member to gain some access, but did not pull the exhaust. Lets just say if you have large hands, you may have some issues without going further than I did to access the parts.

Once everything was out, time to clean up and inspect. One note, I was only able to get the shifter support fork out because I popped out the rear support bushing, otherwise, I think the exhaust would need to be pulled?

Was not sure about the rear shifter support bushing, but in the end, not too bad to get out. I used a screwdriver and gently pried the old on out and had to use a large 2 foot long screw driver to leverage the bushing back in.

So what I found was all the shifter fork bushings were dried out, shrunk, loose and the rear bushing was sagging badly. I think the problem with these cars is with all the plastic under panel shields, the hot exhaust kind of slowly cooks a lot of the rubber bushings and parts?

Once the shifter support fork was removed, I replaced the 2 smaller front bushings, they were each to push out with the end of some needle nose pliers. To install the new front small bushings, a spray of silicon and just pushed them in with my thumb.

Next was to remove the existing UUC shift collar, clean up everything and properly re-assemble. The original shifter installation did not use Loctite on the 6 small Allen screws, so over time 4 of the 6 fell out, which is the way I received the car. I decided to use Loctite along with some small flat and lock washers that I had laying around from some computer D jacks, they really supported the screws better and kept them from cutting into the shifter support fork slots.

Then I had to get the shifter support fork back in the car. Not so easy as you are working mostly by feel that this point, or at least I was. I used silicon grease on both ends of the shifter support fork in case I ever need to remove it in the future. This way the rubber does not stick to the hardware. Getting the rear shifter bushing back in the body was a bit tricky. It on goes in 1 way, arrows up and toward the front of the car, backcut to rear of the car and up. Put body tab in one side of the bushing then rolled the bushing upward toward the driveshaft tunnel and used a long, large screwdriver/pry bar against the driveshaft to push the bushing into place. Once you get the bushing moving, it pops into the body quit nicely.

Then on to the shifter re-installation. Made sure everything was still clean, used Moly lube in the shifter pocket, on the shifter ball and on the top shifter collar. Re-assembled spring, washer and made sure the snap ring was properly seated in the shifter pocket. Then I added a bit more Moly lube to the top of the exposed shifter ball, so it can work its way in over time.

Next was the UUC DSSR. This was a bit tricky as the pins were VERY tight going into the DSSR. I ended up using 400 grit paper on the pins and on the inside of the DSSR rod and as it is stainless steel, it is not easy to size, but it helped. I also ended up putting the pins in the freezer for about 1 hour as I knew that space was very tight under the car and I needed the pins to move easily. Lubed up the ends of the DSSR and placed it into position. I quickly realized that the DSSR needs to be supported on 1 side to keep it from falling when moving hands around. You could use a bent coat hanger to temporarily slide through the rear part of the DSSR and the bottom of the shifter to keep the DSSR up in

So after getting the pins from the freezer, installing the plastic washers and putting a small amount of grease on them, then the blind put the pin in the hole game started. A bit frustrating at first as the trans shifter interface is a bit flexible, but after some perseverance, I had success. Then it was on to the shifter pin, this was a bit easier is you have more room, easier to see and you know you are almost home. Again, took pin from freezer, installed washer, lube and install.

Check Guibo clearance on DSSR just because it is close. Some DSSR have a small backcut to clear the Guibo. I guess the good news is if the Guibo starts to fail, it can easily hit the DSSR and you will probable have some advance warning?

Test out shifter before finishing up, things seem fine.

Now properly install the rubber shifter boot. While car is still up in the air, you can then get under the car and make sure it is properly positioned and sealing up nicely. Note, the rubber shifter boot has and arrow that should point toward the front of the car as well as he smaller pocket seals over the shifter support pocket quite well. Make sure you seat the boot around the shifter fork pocket to keep dirt and water from getting in the shifter ball. Note, I have a newer rubber shifter boot as the original was torn due to sloppy work and the larger shifter shaft. The newer book has some nice rigid plastic rings to hold its shape better and a plastic ring to help when removing the boot.

Next installed the shifter sound proofing, new tri-stitched leather shift boot and ZHP weighted shift knob.

Then button everything up under the car.

Final thoughts: Well you need to understand where I started with the car. It is hard to believe that something as simple as a shifter could be so screwed up and perform so lousy. Well I had the poster child for a MESS.

Not only was the original UUS EVO3 shifter so poorly installed it was ready to fall out, the adjustable UUC EVO3 shaft was never tightened down! I had the original shifter knob and lets just say for the $300 (UUC DSSR, ZHP knob, new tri-stitched boot, replacement bushings) I have spent getting it where I am now was well worth the time and money!!

I can now say this car shifts like it should, precise, short, positive and is really transformed. Given the shifter is the single item that gets worked and worked in these cars it is really an important piece and gives the drive a lot of feel and feedback.

I will say that although the short shifters are nice, I really think adding the mass of the ZHP knob and the DSSR, along with the straight line geometry makes a HUGE difference.

I also changed the trans fluid last week with Royal Purple SyncoMax. I had searched a bit and it seemed that many have used this. The fluid that came out of the trans was some form of ATF, not the original fill, but the change did seem to improve shifting as well. Although I am somewhat happy with the SyncoMax,I am now considering using a 50/50 mix if SyncroMax/MTL as I have read about some mixes that have been used successfully.

For what ever reason, it seems any manual transmission car I have ever purchased over the past 30 years that was now new has had issues with shifter and clutch linkage. The good news is I am pretty well versed in resolving these problems and now have a car that shifts quite well.
 
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