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Installing a Short Shift
Installing a Short Shift
Published by 1996 328ti
Default Installing a Short Shift

Originally contributed by Bob Collins. Bob sent this to the original 318ti website several years ago.

The shift knob and shift lever boot must be removed first.

Once this is done, the work under the car begins.However you plan to work under your car, make sure you do it in a safe and controlled manner. Please do not put your car up on jacks, use real jackstands, or better yet, see if you can use a lift at a local shop. Even if it costs you a few dollars, that money is well spent. The gold linkage bar must be disconnected from the shift lever. This is accomplished by removing the circlip. Then slide the linkage bar from the shift lever. Now is the hard part, remove the nylon/plastic retainer cup that holds the shift lever. This item is turned into the shift lever holder by about 1/8 turn or less. There is a special tool for this, but may be accomplished from above, if one is truly determined. I do not know if it has been done, but it might be possible. Otherwise this item has to be released by turning. Once this is removed, separate this from the lever, remove the rubber boot from the lever, grease the retainer cup with white lithium, and install the new ///M Roadster lever. Then slide the rubber boot back onto the shift lever.

Now place the lever back into the retainer cup with the tabs on the carrier/cup at 3 and 9 o'clock, press straight down. Back under the car, turn the retainer cup back into it's locked position. For the 1996 and later ti's, temporarily connect the linkage bar to the shift lever and place the gear lever into 4th gear, do this from inside the car. Then go back under the car to mark where the linkage bar needs to be bent. You will know exactly because the linkage bar will be pressed against the damper ring. Mark it just past (to the rear of the car) the damper ring. Disconnect the linkage bar and then remove the linkage bar at it's front mount point. Again, I think this is a circlip item. This is a fairly tough job, as you will be working where you can barely see what you are doing. Now, you will need to bend the bar a touch, so that it clears the damper ring once it is reassembled with the new lever. The new lever places the linkage bar to lever connection about 2" lower than the stock ti shift lever. Picture 3 shows the ti, ///M3, and ///M Roadster levers, left to right. Notice the closeness of the pivot point (ball) to the linkage joint (sleeve) on the ti lever versus the roadster lever. That geometry is what makes the difference. Replace the linkage bar and circlip, if removed, and reconnect the linkage bar. The circlip will probably have to be hammered back into place with a small ball peen hammer. Make sure all items are securely reconnected, as you do not want to have your linkage bar unlinked to the gearbox!

Once all the underside parts are assembled, check to make sure the linkage bar is clear of the damper ring by having a helper run through the gears while you observe the travel of the bar. It should touch nothing. If the linkage bar is clear, congratulate yourself and go topside to close up the lever boot and place the gear knob back in place. Now account for all your tools and old parts, clean up, and go for a drive. Be careful, the shift is VERY short! Enjoy, and feel free to do this project your way. Drop me a line if you have any questions.

Another article:
Article originated from, resides on and is provided by www.pelicanparts.com
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By L84THSKY on 12-05-2005, 02:31 AM

I have a few comments about this procedure, since I did it.

1. Depending on which lever you end up using, will make a difference on the position the lever sits when installed.
2. If you use the m-coupe (lever on the right), you will want to bend the shift selector rod, to get the lever to sit dead center. I had to bend it alot, since the lever was sitting about dead center of the 3rd 4th gear vertical line, and not dead center of 1st - 4th gear.
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