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Subject: <E36/5> Lets short shift my '96 328is

Myself, Alan Alfano (and mostly his machinist Dad) came up with our version (don't know the original version) of a M-Z3 shift lever bending tool. To duplicate the stock lever position in my '96 328 the M-Z3 lever has to come back ~ 3/4" and towards the drivers side ~ 1/2". By positioning the lever in the holding fixture at the proper angle (~12 degrees) you can make the compound bend with one horizontal pull. For a look see of this tool connect to Dale's image page: and check out shiftd4.gif
Alan dropped off the tool today, and somehow (not planned) we ended up bending the M-Z3 shift lever and M3/328 selector rod. We installed the result in my 328is. The tool worked perfectly the first time. Alan's Dad did a great job.
Here is the interesting part. The following is the message I sent to Alan a few days ago.
>>>I disconnected the selector rod from the shift lever. I shifted between third and fourth by grabbing the selector rod. When the selector rod was held in the position of the stock shift lever, shifting was smooth. As expected, when the selector rod is angled down to where it will be with the M-Z3 lever it hangs up. With more force it goes. Interesting.<<<

The rear of the selector rod on my 328 is bent ~ midway, downwards ~ 1". This keeps the front portion of the rod in-line with the front in and out shift mechanism on the transmission housing. Since the M-Z3 lever I installed is 9/16" longer, the front end of the selector rod is now, no longer in-line (Its angled down). So now, the in and out shift mechanism is now going in and out as well as up or down depending which direction from neutral you are going. The shifting is very notchy (more like binding). Alan and I agreed to bend the selector rod down the additional 9/16" to accomodate the 9/16" longer M-Z3 shift lever. This brings the front of the selector rod back in line with the front in and out shifting mechanism. Doing this also moves the top of the shift lever back a little (think about it). Before bending the selector rod, it took more then 8 lb (full scale of the gauge I used) to pull the M-Z3 lever back from neutral to fourth gear. With the selector rod bent it now pulls back at 6 lb. No more notchiness. The difference was obvious to Alan and me.

I purchased the BMW shift lever removal tool 88 88 6 251 100. I also made up a couple of versions of Ken Dobyn's 1" copper pipe coupling (great idea) tool. After numerous removals, Alan and I agreed that, a properly made copy of Ken's tool was the easiest of the three to use. A detailed how to of the above will be at my home page, compliments of Dale Beuning, once I put it together.

Thanks go to Alan and his Dad. Thanks go to Ben for his great discovery. Thanks go to Ken for his great idea. FLY BMW