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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 12-05-2019, 04:35 PM   #21
dutchhome
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Thanks for the reply! Looks like the eBay price is only $5 more so definitely nicer than setting up a new account. I'll give it a shot and report back.

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Old 03-26-2020, 10:44 PM   #22
GreaseJunkie
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Wow! A lot of information here.

Questions: Can you really do this solely from inside the car? If I wanted to, could I do this from underneath without taking my whole car apart? If it's not possible, is it really worth it? I've been researching this and I'm excited about the possibilities, but I put in a new slave cylinder - twice - and I'm quite done staring up at the drive shaft, on my back, for any extended amount of time. Wow, that sounds dirty. It was, but not like that.

One more: Is anyone very happy with their purchase/choice in short shifter for their xi?

Stay strong and safe and sane! Crazy times, kids!

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Old 03-27-2020, 06:25 AM   #23
dutchhome
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I have limited experience here but I'll share what I know. We installed a UUC short shifter in my son's old E46 325xi. My son liked the feel, but the shifter was rotated slightly (this was pretty noticeable when looking at the selector diagram) and the shifter boot stretched quite a bit and didn't want to stay locked in place.

Based on the recommendation in this thread, we have purchased the modified Z4 shifter to install in his current E46 330xi. We haven't installed it yet but definitely curious to see if it will have similar fitment issues.

We have not been able to replace it from inside the car due to the larger plate the shifter ball sits in. I have read it is possible so maybe we will give it another go when it warms up. Priority now is the M3 we are restoring.

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Old 03-27-2020, 07:16 AM   #24
GreaseJunkie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchhome View Post
I have limited experience here but I'll share what I know. We installed a UUC short shifter in my son's old E46 325xi. My son liked the feel, but the shifter was rotated slightly (this was pretty noticeable when looking at the selector diagram) and the shifter boot stretched quite a bit and didn't want to stay locked in place.

Based on the recommendation in this thread, we have purchased the modified Z4 shifter to install in his current E46 330xi. We haven't installed it yet but definitely curious to see if it will have similar fitment issues.

We have not been able to replace it from inside the car due to the larger plate the shifter ball sits in. I have read it is possible so maybe we will give it another go when it warms up. Priority now is the M3 we are restoring.

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I'd like to hear how that turns out.

So with that UUC, did you have to move the exhaust, drive shaft, etc?

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Old 03-27-2020, 07:48 AM   #25
dutchhome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseJunkie View Post
I'd like to hear how that turns out.

So with that UUC, did you have to move the exhaust, drive shaft, etc?

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We were changing the clutch and it seemed like the perfect time to install a short shift kit. The clutch in the 330xi is still good so we don't have the same excuse.

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Old 03-27-2020, 08:05 AM   #26
GreaseJunkie
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Man, I wish I would have thought about it when my clutch was done.

I'm going to have to take a look at it myself. I was in that area for two days with my two slave cylinders and did not think to look. I'm thinking that if I can see it, it can be done. Maybe with a really long pair of needle noses.

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Old 03-29-2020, 09:22 PM   #27
Lacuna
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My Ride: BMW E46 330xi
Year: 2004
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Auto -> 6mt
I'm doing a 6 speed manual swap on my xi in this coming week and am curious on the z4 3.0 shifter, however I am confused about the whole bending part of the linkage. How much do I bend it, can someone sends picks of theirs bent. Any info is appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:25 PM   #28
dutchhome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacuna View Post
I'm doing a 6 speed manual swap on my xi in this coming week and am curious on the z4 3.0 shifter, however I am confused about the whole bending part of the linkage. How much do I bend it, can someone sends picks of theirs bent. Any info is appreciated. Thanks
They are being sold pre bent:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/120498843686

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Old 03-29-2020, 09:47 PM   #29
Lacuna
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Year: 2004
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Auto -> 6mt
Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchhome View Post
They are being sold pre bent:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/120498843686

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So is the bottom half of the shifter the only thing that needs to be changed?
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:48 PM   #30
dutchhome
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That's my understanding. Read the first couple posts carefully for the details.

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Old 03-31-2020, 01:13 PM   #31
Melbowski
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My Ride: '03 325Xi
Year: 2003
Model: 325Xi
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseJunkie View Post
Wow! A lot of information here.

Questions: 1 Can you really do this solely from inside the car? 2 If I wanted to, could I do this from underneath without taking my whole car apart?

3 One more: Is anyone very happy with their purchase/choice in short shifter for their xi?
1) Yes, from my experience you can install stock shift levers from the top. I swapped mine twice this way, but ymmv. The instructions are in my post #5 highlighted in green:

Contrary to popular belief, you absolutely can install and remove a stock shift lever from inside the car on an Xi without dropping anything underneath. I used two small screwdrivers to push in the tabs and remove the plastic ring around the ball, then holding the lever up, I looped a bread-tie through the clip to ensure it didn't fall (don't drop that or you'll regret it!), pushed the clip off with a screwdriver, and then pushed out the linkage to pull the shift lever out. I used a metal coat hanger to form a hook to hold the linkage for reassembly. It wasn't the easiest job, but it was a hell of a lot faster than dropping the exhaust and transfercase! This of course only works for the stock levers, the aftermarket ones will require you to drop the transfercase since they mount from the bottom. Anyway, on with the show!

2) I can't imagine you could do anything from underneath without dropping the exhaust and t-case. That said though, anything is possible with the right tools, or if you're related to Stretch-Armstrong and/or Slenderman.

3) I was extremely happy with my pre-bent Z4 shift lever and illuminated ZHP knob; definitely the 2nd best mod to my car, only behind the 6-speed swap. It felt great, shifts were precise, throws were comfortably short, it was the perfect height, and it just looked fantastic. (highly recommend the illuminated ZHP/F10 knob for aesthetics) I've had a few other people drive the car and they all liked the shifter as well, but really it will come down to your own personal preference. Pictures are in my post #10.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacuna View Post
So is the bottom half of the shifter the only thing that needs to be changed?
I wish I had an answer for this, but you'd have to ask RedBull since he bent his own. I didn't have an original Z4 lever to compare it to, so I can only speculate. Based on what I saw in RedBull's thread, above the ball needs to be bent back (he bent the shift linkage too, which I didn't) and under the ball needs to be bent to the side. I'd buy the pre-bent version personally as it's not much more expensive and it fit like a glove for me.

Best of luck gents, if you do buy/install any short-throw be sure to leave a review with fitment details and I'll add it to the first post.
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:22 PM   #32
desdain
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My Ride: E46
Year: 2000
Model: 330Xi
Transmission: 5-speed manual
It seems that there are very few oem shifters that fit the early model 5-speed and unfortunately I only saw this thread after I had ordered the 545i shifter.

I removed the shifter from the top, but I had to break the lock ring (bearing) into two parts in order to get it out. No problem, as I had a new one that I could use.

I measured the available space between the shifter lever and the transfer case and determined it was about 10mm. I then cut a slit in the shift lever ball with a dremel cutting disc. With a screwdriver I could pry the ball apart enough to move it up 10mm. I test fitted it in the car and decided that it would be okay.

Then I mixed up som slow curing (24hour) epoxy and I applied it to the metal bar and slid the ball in place. I also filled the slit in the ball so that there was enough to sand smooth. After curing, I dremeled away the excess epoxy and sanded the ball smooth and finally gave it a polish with a polishing wheel.

I struggled a bit with the installation as the new lock ring didn't allow for access to the shift linkage when it was installed on the ball, therefore not giving me access to get the clip back in place. I was, however, able to reuse the old lock ring and it clicked firmly in place (even if it was in two pieces).

This reduced the 3rd to 4th throw about 1" (end throw about 3.9"), which is about max on the early model 5-speed it seems. It felt really good and didn't get too harsh or notchy.

It was surprisingly easy to modify the original shifter and I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to save some money. I've attached a couple of pics showing a comparison between the 545i and unmodified shifter, the 545i and modified shifter, and a closeup of the modified shifter ball.
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Last edited by desdain; 04-30-2020 at 01:41 AM.
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