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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 09-07-2012, 06:47 AM   #1
SpoonerDee
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DIY: How to disassemble the shift knob on an automatic.

Why? Old knob is cracked or worn, or you don't like wood. So you buy a new knob or used one and find that it does not come with the shifter rod that keeps it locked into gear. Thus if you are driving you can bump it and the shift knob could potentially go flying into reverse or park or whatever.

Parts: New or used replacement knob. I bought a used OEM E39 half wood, half leather knob.

Tools: Flat head screw driver, flash light, maybe a rag.


First remove the knob from car by putting the key in, turn to position two (do not turn car on) put the car in drive and put on the ebrake.

With the help from the gods, pull with all your strength and yank that sucker off, careful not to crack your windshield or your face (be sure to press the button in).

Now go to a well lit area and get a flash light, and a flat head screw driver.

Here is the culprit


Turn the knob upside down and under the button you notice a slot. If you aim the light behind there you can see that the rod sits on a metal pin. As you depress the button, the metal pin goes up, pulling the rod up.


Now with take the flat head screw driver (you may want to use a thin cloth as well if you're afraid of marring up the plastic or wood) and put it just behind the slot

With the screw driver in the gap behind the button, pry it out towards you. I found that since this knob had never been taken apart before it was in there really tight. So I pried it out a bit, the pushed it back in then pried it out a bit again (kind of like wiggling it) until the beast finally let go.

Once the button is out the rod will simply fall out. Pictured here is the hole in the rod and the metal pin it sits on


Now to reassemble the knob or transfer the rod to your new and improved shift knob start by inserting the rod into the knob (man this sounds dirty) until you see the hole of the rod in the opening of the knob (gettin kinda steamy in here ).


Now slide your button back into place and using your flashlight line up the metal pin with the hole in the rod. Take your time with this.

Once you feel you're in the right place, simply push the button in as if you were shifting and bam, you are done. Mine isn't totally finished in the last picture so the button is sticking out a bit. Don't worry once done it will look totally normal again.


And for those curious about the inside of the normal wood knob have a look.



Now that your new knob is together go back to your car, slide it on then with a good whack from your fist, slam it back down into place and enjoy!

Last edited by SpoonerDee; 12-26-2012 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:13 AM   #2
Htcchrisb
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Do you know how to swap the Automatic shifter for a manual shifter, and just put a manual boot on or is that even possible with an automatic?
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:30 AM   #3
SpoonerDee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Htcchrisb View Post
Do you know how to swap the Automatic shifter for a manual shifter, and just put a manual boot on or is that even possible with an automatic?
You can put a manual shifter and boot on. Others have done it. It's the same principle as removing the knob then putting a new one on, minus the rod (since there isn't a button on the manual knob).

As for the boot, there are DIY's on how to remove the boot from the from the center console, then swap it for one from a manual and hook it all back up.

I've never personally done it, so I can't fully comment on it. Hope the info above helps though.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:54 AM   #4
WJLEGG
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wanting to change mine to an e92 shift knob, would i need to replace the rod or not because the e92 one should have it?
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
Sansho
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Quote:
... With the help from the gods, pull with all your strength and yank that sucker off, careful not to crack your windshield or your face.
I found that pressing the button on the shift knob enabled it to release and come out much easier, when I replaced my knob recently.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:40 AM   #6
SpoonerDee
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Originally Posted by Sansho View Post
I found that pressing the button on the shift knob enabled it to release and come out much easier, when I replaced my knob recently.
Should have mentioned that I pressed the button when doing so. Mine came off easy, but others have reported it being extremely difficult.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:43 AM   #7
SpoonerDee
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Originally Posted by WJLEGG View Post
wanting to change mine to an e92 shift knob, would i need to replace the rod or not because the e92 one should have it?
Only one way to find out. No idea if they are "built" the same but I would venture they are close enough. Others have swapped on e92 knobs, no idea if they carried over the rod though.
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