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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-05-2011, 09:58 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thumbs up DIY: E39 Short Shifter Kit using E60 545i shifter

DIY: E39 Short Shifter Kit using E60 545i shifter

This DIY applies to all E39 models with manual transmission. You can always replace your loose shifter with another stock shifter but personally I like the Short Shifter from E60 545i better. Thanks to Mark and Jared at EAC Europarts.

Get this kit (E60 545i Short Shifter) from "EAC Europarts" for $76.
It is worth every penny!

http://www.eaceuroparts.com/catalog/product/465

Use diagram below for reference. Basically this kit includes (The # refers to the items in the 1st picture):
#1...One 25-11-7-546-373.....545i Short Shifter
#3...One 25-11-1-220-600.....Shifter Cup
#6...Two 25-11-7-571-899.....Clips: you only need 1 circlip.

In retrospect, I should have bought the Rubber Boot (PN 25111434181) beforehand.
It was broken at 115K miles. Get this at dealer for $20 or so.
But no big deal, you can always install this later.





NOTE:

- This Shifter DIY has been written before in different forums, you can always search for more info. But I will show you the easy way.

- After 100K miles, the stock shifter is loose, mostly from the worn plastic bushing at the very bottom of the shifter that gives you the "vague" feeling.
After the new shifter is installed, it was a night-and-day difference!

- If the driveshaft ad muffler are removed for other jobs, take the opportunity to replace the Shifter because the job is much easier.
However, you can definitely do this even with driveshaft and muffler in place. Just read on.


TOOLS:
- 10-mm socket
- Long Flat Blade Screw Driver, at least 17 inches long!
- Telescopic magnet in case you drop the circlip (I did!). If you ever drop the circlip, don't panic, get back into the cabin and it will be likely on the shield. Just use the magnet to suck it out.
- 2x4 piece of wood about 4" long.
- Wheel-bearing Grease
- Flashlight
- Rubber gloves






PROCEDURE:

- Get some Cardboard to lay on.

- This is how I did it: Jack the FRONT of the car, then lower it on wood ramps as shown. NOTE: that most driveway inclines outward, so I place my wood ramps in such a way that if the car rolls, it is stopped by the "Wood Stopper" on the wood ramps. The E39 is notorious for bad Parking Brake at this age, so if your Parking Brake is bad and if you are not careful, the car WILL roll while you are underneath = Serious injury or even death!
- Also, remember you are working on the shifter so you cannot use the gearbox to stop the car! The ONLY thing that stops the car is the Parking Brake and the "Wood Stopper" if you do it my way….......but there is an alternative:
- Alternative: Jack Stands + place tire under the car.
- Whatever you do, SAFETY FIRST!





- Alright, enough talking, let's get to work.

1. Lift Shift Knob upward.
2. Remove leatherette boot
3. Loosen the 10-mm bolt and remove the metal sleeve.
(Using a Sharpie pen, mark the existing setup of the metal sleeve to duplicate its position during re-installation).
4. Lift up the small carpet and remove it.
5. Remove the Rubber Boot. Dig in with your fingernail and it will come out. Mine was cracked (torn), I should have bought a new rubber boot but no big deal, you can always install the rubber boot later when you have it.





6. Now: shift to 5th gear, this will put pressure on the driver side, freeing up pressure on the circlip (which itself is on the passenger side) for you to remove.
- Look at the new circlip and it is very easy to understand how it works. Now, get under the car with flashlight, you will see the old circlip: wear rubber glove on (L) hand to rotate the circlip so the open end faces you. Then with (R) hand holding the long screw driver: push the circlip out. The reason for rubber glove on (L) hand is to protect your hand in case the screw driver slips.





7. Now examine the NEW plastic cup, you will see two (2) tabs that hold it in place. Now you need to use a small screw driver and slowly pry the old plastic cup out. Be patient.
I use a combination of screw driver and pick to pull the old plastic cup.

8. Installation is simply the reverse of the steps above. NOTE the following points:

- The LOWER end of the shifter faces rearward a bit, very much like when you bend your knee. See the 1st picture. Insert a bit of grease inside the Shifter Bushing (at the Lower end).

- The circlip only fits one way, the flat side of the circlip faces the shifter. Use same technique with rubber gloves. Remember the screw driver now pushes the smooth side of the circlip to push it in. Here is the trick, gently wedge the small piece of 2x4 wood on the driver side so it pushes the "Selector Rod" (#4 first diagram above) against the shifter. This pushes the end out so you can easily install the circlip.

- You can grease the Shifter Ball first or at the end; up to you.

- The Stock Shifter has 2 plastic washers; when measured the Stock Shifter + these washers = 19.7mm total.
The 545i Short Shifter uses NO washers because by itself, it already measures 19.7mm.
So do NOT use any washers with the E60 545i Shifter!






Now go for test drive and you will love the E60 545i Short Shifter. This is one of the BEST mods you will ever do for your E39!

Get home and drink some Heineken beer LOL.....
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Last edited by cn90; 06-09-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:18 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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Glad to hear you are happy with the short shifter Cam! It certainly transforms the way the car shifts and takes that "rowing the boat" feeling away from the shifter.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:23 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mark,

Thanks for the recommendation, I am very happy with it.

I just ordered a Rubber Mount (#11 above) from local dealer for $25.
For now, all I have is the leatherette boot and nothing else below it until I get the rubber boot.
So I hear the road noise, engine noise etc.
So I took my son to soccer game and lifted the leatherette boot to show him the driveshaft and road moving below the car and he says "cool"...like a Flintstone movie... LOL!
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2011, 06:28 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Hey Mark or anyone familiar with this thing.

Parts #3 (plastic cup) and #1 (short shifter) are brand new.
It is now much better than before this job, but I still feel a slight looseness in the shifter.

I suspect part #7 (Gearshift rod joint) PN 25 11 1 222 688 is loose. Anyone thinks I should replace this part?
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2011, 06:51 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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Cam-

You may be getting some slop from number 14 in this diagram you posted:


It is a rubber bushing that the shift linkage slips into and then the bushing is clipped up to the underside of the trans tunnel. Next time you are under there see how much movement you can get out of that. It should have some wiggle room but I have seen them become pretty sloppy on some of the cars I have worked on. If you feel the slop in the shifter itself I would suspect that bushing more than anything as it is the closest attachment point to the lever.


http://www.eaceuroparts.com/parts/pa...%20222%20015/3
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:09 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thnaks Mark for #14!

So you rarely replaced #7?
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2011, 12:59 PM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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Cam,

I have never replaced number 7 though I have seen some aftermarket parts that claim to eliminate slop from that linkage connection. Not saying it never wears out, but I would suspect the rubber bushing to go first.
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  #8  
Old 06-17-2011, 03:20 PM
franan franan is offline
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Cn90 you are one of the best demonstrators on the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Thnaks Mark for #14!

So you rarely replaced #7?
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2011, 12:19 AM
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redbull713 redbull713 is offline
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So how much does this come out to total?
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2011, 12:27 AM
z168 z168 is offline
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Wish I had this much technical and detailed help in the other forums I go to for help for my other cars. Cam, thank you
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  #11  
Old 06-18-2011, 10:25 PM
sjgreco sjgreco is offline
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I had the conversion kit installed today at the local BMW dealer. The service tech said he did not think the new shifter was much of an improvement, I disagree but wanted to know if there is marked difference from the factory original. The more important question is can the kit be installed incorrectly therefore not have a noticeable difference. Thanks.
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  #12  
Old 06-19-2011, 08:56 AM
fabby318is fabby318is is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjgreco View Post
I had the conversion kit installed today at the local BMW dealer. The service tech said he did not think the new shifter was much of an improvement, I disagree but wanted to know if there is marked difference from the factory original. The more important question is can the kit be installed incorrectly therefore not have a noticeable difference. Thanks.

What was the exact part # of the shifter you had installed?
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  #13  
Old 06-19-2011, 04:36 PM
sjgreco sjgreco is offline
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Same parts as listed above from EAC.
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2011, 04:13 AM
pipe7284 pipe7284 is offline
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Just installed this kit last night on my `98 528i and took me about 1 hr. Review.....LOVE IT.....everyone should do it. Very inexpensive and excellent "mod".
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  #15  
Old 11-17-2011, 09:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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UPDATE,

Small detail correction: someone pointed out to me an error in the last picture showing the Vernier Scale.

It should be 22.5mm or 22.7mm so (I said 19.7mm because I was looking at the wrong area of the Vernier Scale!).
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  #16  
Old 11-17-2011, 10:11 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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One last thing ...

I, too, installed the 545 shift lever. It was far too stiff, evem when warm, since I run MTL. Seems like those who are pleased with it run Royal Purple.

I went with the E39 M5 lever, and am very pleased.

Yes, replace the rubber boot.
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  #17  
Old 11-17-2011, 11:23 AM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
One last thing ...

I, too, installed the 545 shift lever. It was far too stiff, evem when warm, since I run MTL. Seems like those who are pleased with it run Royal Purple.

I went with the E39 M5 lever, and am very pleased.

Yes, replace the rubber boot.
Interesting comparison Ed. Mr thinks the ZF 5-speed likes the 373 stub because it's already an easy row whereas the Getrag is more precise. I use Red Line in my ZF and it shifts like buttah with the 373 stub.
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2011, 07:55 AM
ForrestS ForrestS is offline
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i got mine installed together with new clutch, cdv from zeckhausen, and now it feels like a different car, more like a BMW feel.
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2012, 09:19 AM
nakedpants nakedpants is offline
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I followed the DIY instructions today and think that two very important points need further explanation/improvement.


Do you pull the thick rubber boot out or do you press it down?

-> My wasn't cracked but so stiff that I couldn't retrieve it without destroying it. Furthermore the only way which I managed to remove it was to press it down. This piece of rubber is a tough motherf*****, so be prepared. Before I could press it down I removed the shifter bearing and shifter by using a flathead scredriver and a small hammer to destroy the notches of the shifter bearing which are holding it in place. I had to do this with the rubber boot still installed as I couldn't simply pull it out and initially tried not to destroy it.

--> So you better buy a new rubber boot in any case. I suggest to simply cut the old one in half, removing the shifter and pressing the old rubber boot down after it.


How exactly does the shifter bearing has to be removed?

-> How does it look like? No pictures in this thread. Where are the notches mounted? Again no pictures in this thread . Over here I read now that you can remove the shifter bearing by "taking a needle nose plier, rotating the bearing about 1/4 counterclockwise, inserting a flathead screwdriver into the slot on the clip, and pulling gently" Anyway, I made a few pictures which explain the construction a bit better.


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  #20  
Old 02-08-2012, 09:32 AM
ForrestS ForrestS is offline
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well you were right, it was a little painful to remove the rubber boot, but a little bit of WD40 spray between the shifter and the rubber did the trick easier to pull it up.
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  #21  
Old 02-15-2012, 01:03 AM
nakedpants nakedpants is offline
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Does anyone know what the green plastic cable is for?

I assume it will help when removing the rubber boot again?

Or is it just for the installation and has to be removed afterwards?
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2012, 05:38 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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The green cable (ring) is supposedly used to help with the install, I found it useless and discarded it.
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  #23  
Old 02-15-2012, 06:07 AM
nakedpants nakedpants is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
The green cable (ring) is supposedly used to help with the install, I found it useless and discarded it.
Hmm.. I thought it would be more benefical when removing the rubber boot as I had many problems to do so with the old one...
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  #24  
Old 02-15-2012, 06:49 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakedpants View Post
Hmm.. I thought it would be more benefical when removing the rubber boot as I had many problems to do so with the old one...
- Removing the old boot: if stuck then use a knife to cut it off.

- Re Green Plastic Ring, cut it off and throw it away, you don't need it. I installed the whole thing w/o that goofy green ring.

Browse through here for detail, BMW does not even mention that Green Plastic Ring:

http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/e39/52..._transmission/
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  #25  
Old 02-15-2012, 07:16 AM
Qbrozen Qbrozen is offline
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I didn't need a new boot, hence I had no green ring, and I managed just fine. Getting the old one out took some effort (mainly becuase I was afraid to pull too hard and rip it), but getting it back in was a breeze.
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