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Ive noticed recently that my shifter (when in neutral) is off center to the right. This is only until the car warms up and then things seem to be normal. Does anyone know what could be causing this?
 

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Ive noticed recently that my shifter (when in neutral) is off center to the right. This is only until the car warms up and then things seem to be normal. Does anyone know what could be causing this?
Its generally referred to as the "5th gear sticky issue"

Its got to do with piston sizing, one of the pistons sticks when its cold - a lot of E36 guys have it. If you don't find the answer here try searching Bimmerforums :thumbsup:
 

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i have the same exact problem when cold; but i also have to put the car in reverse when its cold outside while the car is off, or it makes a horrible crunching noise.
 

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I've also heard it called 'fifth gear flop' - my '00 323 does the same thing, only it has absolutely zero spring back to the center when cold. As it was explained to me, the problem lies in the shift detants within the transmission. As they wear and collect dirt, the mechanism that is used to guide and center the shift selector stick. Though mine is certainly worse in the cold, it will sometimes act up in warm weather as well.

Again, as I understand it, the fix involves opening an cleaning this mechanism - but this requires dropping the trans. Unfortunately for me, my issue didn't surface until after my clutch/flywheel install - which would have been the perfect time to fix that.

If someone has a more accurate description or write up, please share it. My understanding is fairly basic.

Ken
 

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Yeah, I get this as well. It sometimes makes it hard to find 3rd gear so I accidentally upshift from 2nd to 5th. It goes right back when after about 10 minutes of driving when everything is warmed up.
 

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Yup..have that exact problem.. I thought my trans was going. I was downshifting from 5th to 4th, and i try to go to 3rd and the stopper isnt there so i go back to 5th. Usually works if you move the shifter side to side for a little bit. It comes back into place for me.
 

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