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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 07-19-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
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DIY: Rogue Engineering Octane SSK & transmission mounts

Here's a DIY for the RE Octane SSK kit as well as the RE transmission mounts. I noticed there are some DIY's available for SSK's, but they were either for an M3 or a UUC Evo SSK. As the UUC and RE short shifters seem to be the two most popular brands, here's one to complete the series.
That said be sure to review the install instructions on UUC's website as they show some detailed images of the various connecting elements on a transmission removed from the car. Some areas are very hard to get to, let alone see. Therefore some of my pics from under the car will be of limited use to you.

Note that this is for a 328Ci with a 5 speed transmission. There will be some differences from one gearbox to the next, most notably that this one includes a new shift carrier (so you can just swap it for the old one). When in doubt, either follow the manual or ask me.

The install of the RE tranny bushings requires no extra tools and only two extra bolts to remove. This is the best time to replace your tranny bushings (either OEM or aftermarket). Note that they are not included in any SSK kit and have to be purchased seperately.

Required tools:
13mm socket
13mm deep socket
1/4" ratchet
1/4" torque wrench up to at least 21Nm / 15ftlbs
13mm spanner
Assortment of flat blade screw drivers
Philips screw driver
Needle nose pliers
Circlip pliers (not required but definitely recommended)
Jack & jack stands & some wooden blocks

Required parts
1x RE shifter
1x RE shifter carrier
1x RE weighted selector rod
2x RE transmission mounts (not included in SSK kit)
2x delrin shift carrier bushing (already installed)
1x shifter pivot bushing
1x replacement shift carrier pin
2x replacement circlips
2x replacement yellow plastic washers
1x curved spring washer
1x flat metal washer
1x dose of synthetic grease (not shown, but is included)

Removal procedure
1) Remove shift knob. If you have never installed an aftermarket shift knob, the OEM knob is just held on with friction/glue. Pull hard on the knob until it lets go, but be careful not to have it knock your teeth out. Best to put it in 2nd or 4th gear and pull it towards your stomache.
Aftermarket knobs (like mine) usually have a hex screw to tighten it. Loosen that and remove the knob.

2) Remove the shift boot. This is held in place by a few clips. Squeeze it together at both sides.

3) Remove the 2 philips screws that hold the shifter trim in place. Unhook the two connectors for the electric window buttons.

4) Remove the foam insert. Just pull it out.

5) Remove the rubber boot that keeps the dirt out. This rubber boot slips into a circular groove in the chassis and requires some firm pulling to remove. Be careful not to tear it; just use your hands.

6) Jack up the car. Be sure to get the car high enough up so you have some room to work under. This is one of those jobs where a lift is not just a luxury, so make sure you can get comfy under there.
Always use jack stands instead of a jack to support the car. Death or serious injury can result if you are too thickheaded to heed this warning.

7) Use the jack to support the transmission as you proceed to remove the transmission brace. Be sure to protect the transmission by using a couple of wooden blocks.

8) Remove the transmission brace. First, loosen the top nuts (1 on each side) holding the transmission to the brace with a 13mm spanner (space will be too tight to use a ratchet with socket). Then, loosen the four nuts (2 on each side) holding the transmission brace to the chassis with a 13mm socket & ratchet.
Remove the brace with the transmission mounts. Put the assembly aside for now, we will return to this later.
You can now lower the transmission slightly to allow some more room for the next steps. Do not expect too much movement, mine went down 1 inch at the most. Make sure that the jack actually supports the transmission.

9) The shifter carrier is held in place by a rubber sleeve in the rear and a clip in the front. Removing the front clip will allow the whole assembly to slide out of the sleeve.
This clip is very tricky to remove. Observe the shape of the new clip in your package to understand its construction. I have circled in in red in the picture of step 8.
Best way to get this clip out is to put a flatblade screwdriver under it and lift it up. Once it breaks free, put the clip in a vertical position so you can slide it out from the other side.
Use the largest flatblade you can fit under it for extra leverage.
This image shows the clip on its way out.

10) Now remove the circlip on the forward end of the selector rod (no picture as you have no line of sight to this thing). First feel around, then use circlip pliers or a flathead screwdriver to push the clip out. Then slide the selector rod out of the joint it's connected to. 2 yellow plastic washers may/will fall out as you do this.

11) A similar assembly is present on the rear end, attaching the selector rod to the shifter. Follow the same procedure as step 10 to disconnect it.

12) Slide the shifter carrier forward to pull the rear section out of the rubber sleeve in the chassis of the car. Remove the carrier together with the shifter out of the bottom of the car.
From inside the car you can now enjoy the same view as Fred Flintstone!
(the rubber sleeve was not replaced in this procedure. After installation of the SSK kit, there was still side-to-side play / rotation noticable in the entire assembly. I believe this is because this rubber sleeve was also due for replacement. I did not do this but you are well advised to do it during this procedure)

Installation procedure
13) Slide the new shift carrier (with the new delrin bushings installed in the front hole) into the rubber sleeve, then position it in such a way that the hole in the front lines up with the holes on the transmission (this will involve some trial and error using the new clip as a guide).

14) Use some of the supplied grease to lube the pin on the new clip. Insert it into the hole and ensure that it slides in correctly. When the pin is fully inserted, rotate it downwards until it clicks into place.

15) Use the remaining grease to lube the pivot ball and the new pivot bushing. Insert the shifter into the pivot bushing until it fits snugly. Apply some grease to the inside of the bushing on the bottom end as well.

16) From inside the cabin, insert the shifter & bushing into the carrier. Observe the extending tabs on the pivot bushing; ensure that these are +- lined up horizontally with the grooves in the carrier. Using a screwdriver or needle nose pliers, push on these opposing tabs until they click into place. Then rotate counter-clockwise until they snap into grooves in the carrier.

17) Install the new weighted selector rod to the shifter, with the selector rod on the driver side of the car (like stock). Ensure that the end marked by the yellow sticker is facing the rear side of the car.
Observe the following order of parts when attaching the rod:
- selector rod
- curved spring washer
- flat metal washer
- selector rod
- circlip

18) Link the selector rod to the selector joint on the transmission in the front of the car. Apply a new yellow plastic washer to each side of the joint, and finish the connection by sliding a new circlip into place. Make sure it clicks and cannot be removed without force.

Transmission mounts
19) Skip this step if you are not replacing your transmission mounts.
Using a ratchet & deep 13mm socket, remove the two transmission mounts from the brace you removed earlier. Replace them with the new RE mounts.
Observe that on one end of the mounts, there is a cutout that fits into a notch on the brace. Make sure the mount is installed in such a way that it cannot rotate.
Tighten the 13mm nuts to 21Nm / 15 ftlbs.

20) Reinstall the brace under the car (you may need to raise the transmission into it's original position first). Make sure the threaded rods on top line up with the holes in the transmission. Tighten the four 13mm nuts on the bottom of the brace, and torque to 21Nm / 15ftlbs.
Place the two supplied nuts on top of the threaded rods on top, and tighten with a spanner. Should approximate 21Nm / 15ftlbs as well, but you will most likely not be able to get a torque wrench into that space.

Tidying up inside the cabin
21) Before lowering the car, reinstall your shift knob and make sure all gears engage properly. You will notice the throws are shorter and crisper, but do not require a lot more effort than normal. There should be no grinding / notchiness if you lubed everything as instructed.

22) Remove the shift knob if you performed step 21, and reinstall the rubber boot. Because the RE shifter has a power band installed around the top section of the shifter, you may or may not be able to get the boot to clear it. A small cut in the tighter section can solve this problem.
To reinsert the boot into the groove in the chassis requires some desperate pushing and trial & error. Use a large screw driver to assist, but be careful not to puncture the boot.

23) Reinstall the foam, shifter trim, shifter boot, and shift knob. If you haven't done so already, lower the car.

24) Test drive!
Vehicle history
1999 BMW E46 328Ci TS2
1992 BMW E36 316i Sold
1987 Suzuki VS1400
1996 Suzuki LS650 Sold
1984 Kawasaki 305CSR RIP

Went from 305cc > 650cc > 1400cc > 2800cc
No prizes for guessing what my next engine will be...

Last edited by Safar; 07-19-2009 at 12:42 PM. Reason: typos...
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Very nice write-up. Thank you
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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This is helpful. I'll be putting in new shift lever carrier bushings (delrin) and a rod joint soon. So, no need to disconnect the driveshaft, right? A dude at the dealer just told me I might want to let the exhaust hang in the rear... I hate having to run back to get one time use nuts.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:07 AM   #4
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Well, the driveshaft is a pain in the ass but as you can see in the DIY, it can stay in place if your hands are nimble enough. Removing it will make the job easier, but it's not necessary for the SSK install.
I didn't replace the rod joint itself, but it does sit even closer to the driveshaft than the shift carrier, just behind the guibo; so I'm not sure. You should be able to get to it, but no promises.

I found that the exhaust did not get into the way at all. It's one of those things you should loosen if you take out the driveshaft. If you're not touching the driveshaft, leave the exhaust alone.

If you happen to get this done, could you please post the extra step required to replace the rod joint (tools required etc)? Will be helpful in making this DIY even more complete!
Vehicle history
1999 BMW E46 328Ci TS2
1992 BMW E36 316i Sold
1987 Suzuki VS1400
1996 Suzuki LS650 Sold
1984 Kawasaki 305CSR RIP

Went from 305cc > 650cc > 1400cc > 2800cc
No prizes for guessing what my next engine will be...

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Old 10-07-2009, 03:30 PM   #5
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Location: Vacaville, CA
Posts: 67
My Ride: 2000 BMW 328CI
I'd be happy to post pix / notes as soon as i get my dssr in my hands. btw i've already changed selector rod linkage washers, shift lever bearing, removed & replaced the c clips. ex. and ds. did not need to be removed. noticed a rather tight squeeze by the upper end of tranny. pretty soon i will be in that situation again. new parts don't install themselves. looking forward to doing some repairs soon.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:08 PM   #6
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The reason it took me so long is I was waiting on my buddy to bring me his pickle fork as I wanted to get my control arm ball joints and bushings done at the same time. Eventually I just said screw it and I bought a pickle fork set from Kragen for about $25. My buddy did come through while removing my rod joint however.

I didn't exactly install a weighted selector rod or short shift kit but the main goal of this particular upgrade was a double sheer selector rod, new rod joint, and delrin shift lever carrier bushings. While I was at it, I upgraded my transmission mounts from 3 series to M3. They look exactly the same, but now I can feel more engine vibration while engaging the clutch at low rpm. Overall a bit more aggressive shift transitions are what I noticed from the mounts. The new carrier bushings combined with the new rod joint and dssr (dssr only serving to prolong the life of the rod joint) work WONDERS for my shifting. I can actually get the damn thing in gear EVERY TIME! Eventually I do want to put in a short shift kit, at which point I will once again replace my shift lever bushing. The one I have now I just put in maybe a year ago, so it's still good. OK, on with the pictures...

Transmission crossmember removed with new M3 mounts resting on top.

Transmission / driveshaft from the left with the exhaust bracket removed.

From below, shift lever carrier with shift lever and bushing still in place. Shift lever boot partially removed, gear selector rod removed.

From the left, shift lever carrier where it mounts to the transmission, with the pin and bushings still installed. The pin was a royal p.i.t.a. to remove.

Same thing, but from the right. I just love how they decided to put that little extension of the transmission there at the top so you have even less access to the clip you need to pry off in order to remove the carrier pin.

Same thing, but looking forward. I believe the switch / connector you see is the reverse light switch. After an hour or two of struggling and wearing my index finger's knuckles, I finally figured out the best way to remove the pin was by prying up with a short flat blade screwdriver, here's the real ticket, from in front of it. Not the left, not the right, not the rear, but you actually have to come at this thing from the front, with a flat blade screwdriver. And yes you do have to have small hands.

In order to replace the shift lever carrier pin / bushings, the carrier needs to be removed (only after the successful removal of the pin of course). In order to remove the carrier, it must be slid forward out of a rubber hole under the center console. Because it is such a tight space, the shift lever needs to be removed before this can happen. Before that can happen, the shift lever bushing (round white thing surrounding the ball of the lever, mounted inside the carrier) needs to be removed. In order to remove that, one needs to take a small flat blade screwdriver and push the tabs on the bushing inward from the slots cut in the shift lever carrier. These tabs are located 180 degrees apart. You may need to rotate the bushing slightly from above, using a screwdriver. Saddly, in the process, since you need to move the shift lever boot up on the lever a bit for access, I ripped the boot apart. However I am OK with that since I plan to upgrade my shift lever anyway.

The new parts are on the right and also the M3 transmission mounts toward the bottom.

Same thing, but more of a 3D effect.

Shift lever carrier with new delrin bushings installed (this is the front end of the carrier).

Same thing, closer view.

View of the shift lever hole from below, left. Before installation of new parts and before removal of the p.i.t.a. gear selector rod joint.

From the left, the gear shift lever carrier is installed on the transmission with its new bushings, before installation of new pin.

Before my buddy Joel worked on this problem, I told him I was looking for some snap ring pliers. Because guess what - the ring that locks the pin in place in the rod joint is a ring not unlike a piston ring in basic design. However it is listed as a "snap ring" by BMW so naturally I had Joel take me to the store to get some snap ring pliers. That was a mistake. True snap rings actually have small round indentations at their ends, as to accommodate the small round points on the nose of a pair of snap ring pliers. This ring does not fit that description. So I spent 20 or 30 minutes modifying this tool with a metal file. Needless to say it didn't work to remove the ring from the rod joint.

It didn't work with flat tips or when I bended the tips at an angle. The tight space above the driveshaft didn't help much either. That's when my buddy was nice enough to help me get the ring off. I'm still not even sure how he did it. He used to have his own auto repair shop and now he works on busses. He knows what he is doing. I think he said he used a couple of small jewelers' screwdrivers from my toolkit to manipulate the ring in some strange way, I think he actually was able to bend it out of its groove. Then when there was a big enough gap, he shoved a pair of pliers in there and bent it the rest of the way off. I can tell you that I certainly went through some hell for 2 or 3 hours trying to get this ring off and while it may serve its purpose well, I wager it may do it a little too well. No doubt part of BMW's scheme to keep making money. The rod joint itself goes bad while used in conjunction with the stock gear selector rod, and to top it off they make it harder than a rock's erect penis to remove said rod joint. Don't even get me started about how evil I think BMW is for labeling their transmissions "lifetime lubricated" or whatever the exact wording may be. However I will say that my rod joint didn't show much wear in the hole that the selector rod occupies. On the other hand, I did notice a vast improvement of the shifting after its replacement. These are just some notes of mine. Do with them what you will.

Shift lever removed, torn boot and all. The ball is looking rather scratched up...

Same thing, closer up.

From the right, the shift lever carrier, bushings, pin, shift lever, and new double sheer selector rod are installed. Installing the new rod joint was only slightly easier than removing the old one. The ring of course is an easy install, so long as you aren't dumb enough to slide it in its groove before securing the pin to the gear selector shaft. Unfortunately, I had to remove my new selector rod before getting the rod joint to install on the shaft. The rod just added extra opposition to the process. It was difficult enough getting the joint on the shaft without it being attached to the rod. In retrospect, it's obvious. Install the outer parts first and then put in the inner parts. This of course, being an image in my brain from the left of the car, left to right: gear selector shaft, gear selector rod joint, gear selector rod, gear shift lever. The rod of course, being the inner part(s). It makes it easier. The rod joint has a foam "pillow" inside it that makes lining up all 4 holes for the pin to go through a bit tricky.

Same thing, different angle, LED illumination.

Look how sexy that new DSSR is. Doesn't it make you want one? It makes a nice ring like a bell or a tuning fork, when you tap it. It has to be out of the car of course.

View of the new DSSR from the left, where it mounts to the gear selector shaft of the transmission. One thing I noticed about the new shift lever carrier pin, is that I could not get it to sit all the way down. There was no "click" when I pushed on it with all my might. There is now maybe a 1/8"-1/4" gap in the front, where it is supposed to fit snugly onto the transmission. Any suggestions here? However I also noticed it took a considerable amount of force to get the clip to rotate rearward from its current resting place. So I just left it alone.

From the left, new DSSR installed in the shift lever.

From the rear, transmission crossmember installed, with new M3 mounts.

From the rear, exhaust bracket mounted to exhaust and transmission. I used anti seize on the upper threads of the bolt that secures the lower bracket to the upper one, on the exhaust end of the bracket. It was looking rusty, and made some squeaks. One of these days I'll be getting new and improved exhaust, no doubt. You can't just let that go rusting away forever. It's all about long trips. You want the pipes to heat up enough to evaporate whatever water might be inside. Otherwise the bottom end of the pipes will get rusty over time. Well I'm sure they all do, just some quicker than others. Short trips are bad for cars with gasoline engines - end of story.

Installing the now 2-piece shift lever boot, using a flat blade screwdriver as an aid.

Shift lever boot installed. Need to vacuum. I'll do it later. Nevermind those red and black wires. You don't have those.

Shift lever boot protector? IDK the proper name, but mine is green suade apparently. Yeah it looks faded and dusty, I need a new one, I know. One of these days. The knobs and switches are an amateur attempt on my part to substitute an oxygen sensor "enhancing" device necessary for running a hydrogen cell. This setup only alters the signal from the mass air flow meter. It's really quite primitive. If you turn a knob too far clockwise (about 1/4 of its full travel), the engine will stall. So in conclusion, my MAF interceptor knobs really serve no purpose other than looking cool. I haven't had the money for all the things my baby needs to run hydrogen / oxygen boosters so I've just been upgrading other things when I can.

I apologize if this has been said before, and if I made any inaccurate notes please feel free to correct them. In conclusion, I wish I had more tools. Also the difference in shifting is night and day!

Last edited by patrick328; 10-24-2009 at 08:46 PM. Reason: error
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:15 PM   #7
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Oops I just realized I didn't even need to remove the shift lever carrier in order to replace its bushings. But I did it anyway. Damn, that could have saved my boot.
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