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BMW 3-Series E46  
BMW M3 CSL BMW E46 3-Series
BMW 3 Series Short Shifter
Written by: Tim Jones May 02, 2001

Tools and Parts Needed:
Allen wrench
Long thin flat head screw driver
Flat head screw driver
Phillips screw driver
Jack
Jack stand
White lithium grease or other type of lubricant
Silicone spray (optional)

Estimated time: 2 hours


1. Remove shift knob. The stock knob is basically just stuck on the shift lever. To remove it just yank on it. It will take some work but it does just pull off.
2. Aftermarket knobs are attached with setscrews; you probably know how to take it of because chances are you put it on.
3. Remove the shift boot by pushing the edge in and pulling up. It is held in by small plastic clips and should snap out.
4. Remove the two phillips screws holding the trim surrounding the shifter. This gives you room to work and you do not have to worry about scratching it.
5. Pull the trim up and disconnect the connectors for the window buttons.
6. Pull the large block of gray foam out.
7. Reach in and start pulling the black rubber dust shield out. Start from the back and pull as close to the floor as you can. It takes some work but it does come out.
8. With the dust shield out you should be able to see the ground. Now it is time to get under the car.
9. Jack up one side of the car and use a jack stand to support it.
10. Slide under the car, and get under the shifter. The problem here is that the drive shaft(blue) is right in the way. Above the drive shaft you should be able to see the selector rod(behind the drive shaft in this photo) and the connection to the shift lever(green arrow). Also highlighted is the shift lever(red) and the shift lever control arm(yellow).
11. Have someone use a long thin screwdriver to push down on the clip that holds the selector rod to the shift lever. Rotate the clip if needed so the person pushing with the screwdriver can help push the clip off.
12. With the clip off pull the selector rod(red) out of the shift lever.
13. The Auto Solutions short shifter came with a tool to help remove the pivot bushing. The tool lock into four notches on the bottom of the bushing and you turn the bushing counter-clockwise. This is very hard to do under the car; the way we did it is use a screwdriver from inside the car in one of the notches in the bushing to turn the bushing. This is hard to do, but so it trying to turn the bushing from under the car.
14. With the bushing turned the shifter lever and bushing pull out. You are half way done.
15. The Auto Solutions shifter has a sleeve that raises the shift lever mounting point so the selector rod is still inline with the transmission. Insert the sleeve into the stock mounting point.
16. The sleeve is held in by four allen screws, these need to slipped into the side (shown here with on screw in). This requires sneaking them in the side and turning them while adjusting the height of the insert sleeve. This could also be done with someone holding the sleeve from inside and another person under the car.
17. With the four allen screws in place tighten them with an allen wrench from under the car, or use a needle nose pliers to tighten them from inside the car.
18. Now put the new plastic bushing that came with the kit (or pull the stock one off the stock shift lever and reuse it if your kit didn't come with one). Put it on from the bottom, it should snap onto the ball on the lever.
19. Insert the short shift lever into the sleeve. Line up the plastic tabs on the pivot bushing and snap it in place.
20. Slide back under the car to reconnect the selector rod(red). Check the end of selector rod for any stock washers. It may have fallen off or be stuck to the side of the stock shift lever so don't worry if it isn't there. Remove any stock washers and replace with new washer that came with kit (if kit didn't come with washers reuse stock washers).
21. Slide selector rod into shift lever, it helps to lubricate the end of the selector rod. This may take some jiggling I had problems with the selector rod and the shift lever binding. Just keep working at it.
22. With the shift lever and selector rod together put the second plastic washer on (again reusing the stock washer if the kit didn't come with them).
23. Use either the stock clip or if one came with the kit use that to secure the selector rod to the shift lever. I use the stock washer because it looked easier to take off if I ever wanted to change something.
24. The lever is now functional; give it a few shifts to see how it feels.
25. Start reassembling the interior by putting in the rubber dust shield. Line the arrow on the dust shield towards the front and start by pushing the center down over the shift lever. Next stuff the rubber down the opening; if the car is older it may help to lubricate the rubber with silicone spray. The boot wants to fit in the opening, it may not seem like it at first, but it will get to a point then just pop in.
26. Put in the gray foam.
27. Reconnect the two plugs for the window buttons.
28. Reinstall the trim with the two Phillips screws.
29. Put the boot back on and snap in the bottom.
30. Reinstall your shift knob and take it for a spin. If the new shifter is considerably shorter make a few slow test shifts so you don't grind or miss shift.