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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 04-28-2010, 10:51 AM   #1
delmarco
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Cool DCT Sport Steptronic LED Shifter Retrofit: Pictorial DIY!

This DIY will demonstrate my knowledge on attempting to retrofit the DCT Steptronic Sport Package Shifter onto a non-DCT car. My car used is a 2001 330i but this mod can be applied to any BMW from 2000 to 2010 that comes with regular steptronic transmission.




The goal of this project was to install the DCT shifter and wire the knob to the existing indicator plate so that the led on the knob itself could light up and indicate the gear that the car is in. The desire for this mod comes from the fact that the shifter looks damn good, modern and will not just be an eye candy mod as it serves a purpose in your car.

The expense of this project may not be as much as you would think. The knob itself costs just under $200 at many dealerships and you can get it cheaper on eBay or the junkyard from a salvaged E60lci or E70.
NOTE: This project only uses the DCT Shifter from the SPORT PACKAGE DCT Vehicles. This is not the M3, M5, M6 DCT SMG knob, nor is it the normal non-Sport Package Steptronic Shifter on the E60lci and E70 vehicles.




The rest of the expenses run from getting the 5 pin connectors and wiring from the dealership. Also if you have a pre 2002 BMW you will need to get an updated indicator plate with the newer up/down shift pattern and swap some wires under your indicator plate (as described later in the DIY). So when said and done this DIY should cost you in the range of $150 to $300 depending on where you get your parts from.


As for DIY time this DIY is split into three parts. First you will have to prep the knob. This entails removing the original boot and/or adding your own boot. Also dremeling, filing and getting the knob to fit the way you want it to. Out of the box the knob will fit onto your car but it may sit too high for some and that will depend on your preference for the way you want it to look in your car. Second it the prepping the wiring harness. This encompasses some basic splicing of the wiring and creating connectors that will tap into your car's indicator plate and power/ground sources. This turned out to be tricky but a lot easier than I anticipated. Last will be getting everything into your car.

That said, I never quite completed this DIY before I removed the knob from my car with intentions of selling my 2001 330i and buying a Sport Package DCT 2008 535i later on. I wasn't going to even create a write up but many people are also attempting this retrofit and I will share everything I know below.

I will take a moment here to thank all the folks at e90post; allan, phattbam, and others who inspired this DIY.

Also much thanks to my e46Fanactics/Bimmerfest family; ADA, ///Flash, SubzeroE46, Nachos23, the Steves (SNA77 and Steve325i), SolidJake and work previously done and documented by e46MIT, and everyone else who lent support and advice.

PART ONE: Getting to know the DCT Shifter. Boot Removal, opening up the knob to see what is inside and filing down the neck to get a nice fit over the Steptronic stalk in your car.















































http://img188.imageshack.us/g/dctal.jpg/

Last edited by delmarco; 04-28-2010 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #2
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PART TWO: The wiring.








































http://img404.imageshack.us/g/dctb.jpg/
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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PART 3: Updating your Indicator Plate on 2001 and earlier BMW 3 and 5 series to match up with the shift pattern on the DCT knob.
























When said and done:




http://img143.imageshack.us/g/dctd.jpg/
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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PART FOUR: The finishing touches



With the correct indicator plate and everything installed. The wiring that I did was inconsistent and worked some of the time. At the moment I never fully completed it to the point that all the led indicators lit up all the time. I believe the knob uses more power than previously thought relative to the power-draw for the existing indicator plate in the car.






Finish product looks clean and functional.
Also you can choose to use a Manual boot or even use the SMG Console Boot Plate if you choose. I kept the OEM Steptronic boot because it looked good the way it is.





You can also use Plasti-Dip or paint to paint over the indicator plate on the car so it doesn't look like PRND m/s overkill.



Here is how the DCT Sport Package Shifter will look in the 2011 3 Series.


http://img718.imageshack.us/g/dctc6.jpg/
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:19 AM   #5
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Really impressive stuff!! Good job.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:23 AM   #6
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That's quite a bit of work!
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:48 AM   #7
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Great Job
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Got my knob today! Gonna try to make work this week. One thing I'm going to try differently is to try and tap the wires going into the current PRNDL display. They should have all the required power and signalling in one location. Is there a reason you didn't use this approach?
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachos23 View Post
Got my knob today! Gonna try to make work this week. One thing I'm going to try differently is to try and tap the wires going into the current PRNDL display. They should have all the required power and signalling in one location. Is there a reason you didn't use this approach?
That area under the shift plate is extremely tight and the moving parts make it even tighter and can easily snag any wiring in the way.

I also approached this "tap-in" method initially but switched to the long snaking wire connector harness approach.
This adds more to the DIY but it ensures all the wiring is securely clipped in and out of the way of the moving shifter parts.
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #10
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great write up dude. but you say your wiring is inconsistent? can you elaborate, or did you fix it?
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:51 PM   #11
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This is great.

I hope to do this soon. I still have a question though. What wires do we have to pick up from the dealer?
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRANKDAT325ci View Post
This is great.

I hope to do this soon. I still have a question though. What wires do we have to pick up from the dealer?
Look at this link

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...80&hg=61&fg=15

or below it will be 2 and 3 in the pictures below for the 3 pin male/female connectors and 6 and 7 in the pictures for the 4 and 5 pin male/female connectors. They should come with pin wiring pigtails attached to them or you can just ask the dealership for pin wire pigtails to go with the connectors.





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Old 05-29-2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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Have you given any thought to swapping your Steptronic faceplate/boot for a manual faceplate/boot? It would clean things up a bit.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:00 AM   #14
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great job!

my question is about Parking mode 'P', how do you unlock them with E60 Shifter ? the light of 'P' indicator in Shifter come up ? (I don't find any pictures in your topic about this mode)
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:48 PM   #15
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This thread may help with your wiring.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:58 AM   #16
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damn you are always on these DIY's! good stuff man!
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:12 AM   #17
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thanks!
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:52 AM   #18
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Hey guys. Got the circuit working on a breadboard. Playing with voltages, etc to make it look the best day and night. Using PN2222A transistor to convert the open ground of the e46 lighting to a switched power; common ground required to power DCT shifter. DOne some test fittings of the final look.... Check them out!!





going to get leather professionally stitched @ my tailor to close opening in front made to accomodate signifcantly larger DCT shifter. Going to cover-up the current PRND M/S lights on console using that spray on plastic stuff (can't remember name). Then assemble original circuit board and inverter circuit board into a small enclosure which will mounted to left of shift selector under console.

Hopefully have it done tomorrow (Sunday)........ Will post more pics when it's further along.
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:46 PM   #19
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Nachos that looks good.
Congrads man!
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:26 PM   #20
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Great write up dude.
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