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UUK SSK installed.

1728 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  The HACK
First, a very big "Thanks" to The HACK for his invaluable help in getting this installed! :thumb:

I bought the kit through the last E46Fanatics group buy late last year (thanks, guys), but didn't install it until today, after deciding the first time back at the end of the year that I'm gonna need some help with it.

I'll start with my impressions, then go onto some of the install details. It definitely works as advertised. I can grab every gear without lifting my arm off the armrest if I wanted to. However, I can't say that I absolutely recommend it for everybody. Shift effort and notchiness go up a lot (the ERK doesn't apply for my version of the kit) , and if that's not something you want, I would say to not get this particular kit. If you want a rock-solid, crisp shifting experience this is for you.
Its hard for me to come up with a good analogy, but I would say its a bit like comparing a generic, crappy computer keyboard's keyfeel to an old-school IBM Model M clickety one (like the one I'm using to type this, in fact). I do expect it to smooth out a bit, and HACK and others suggestion of putting a heavier shiftknob on it would probably also help. I really like the fact that the nice, distinct feel of the stock gate position isn't lost. I misshift on occasion when I drive Hondas 'cause I feel their gates are a bit too close together. No worry of that here.

Onto the installation...

It seems simple enough, and UUC includes a fairly well-written set of instructions, as well as some extra bits and pieces you might lose or break in the process. But here are some things to watch out for:

The Clip From Hell: This is the one that holds the carrier assembly to the top of the tranny. You need to remove this to get the delrin bushings in to reduce the lateral slop in the mechanism. The combination of its location way up at the top of the tranny, and its unwillingness to come off make this the singlemost biggest pain of the whole process. Tips? Well, I don't have any. We broke mine in the process. Thankfully UUC realizes this and includes an extra, which is actually redesigned to make future removal a lot easier. You could actually gain most of the benefits of the SSK without even touching this, and leaving the stock rubber bushing in, IMO.

The pivot cup. The UUC instructions aren't actually clear about how much you need to turn this to get it out, but the Bentley does. Turn it 90degrees counterclockwise (looking from under the car), then tug on the lever, and it will come right out. The 'tabs' that UUC mentions during its reinstallation (they include a new one of these, too) need to be rotated from being perpendicular across the width of the car to parallel along the length, hence the 90 degrees.

Lower cartridge bearings: I don't think these optional bits are really necessary, but with the Group Buy, it seemed silly not to get them, so I did. The tolerance between the bearing and the pin that goes through its center is very tight. We had to sand down the diameter of the pin to make this a smooth fit. Makes reinstallation much easier.

Rubber shifter boot: It doesn't seem so tough at first. Then you realize that its designed to fit over the top lip of the carrier arm to keep crud out of the ball/cup. We almost left it disconnected from the carrier, as its nearly impossible to get the boot over it with the carrier up in the car. UUC says to stuff it all in, then hook it up. Well, that didn't work for us either, we found a way by having one person look from under the car and the other person feel and push the rubber lip over from the top, that it seems to work much easier then pulling it over from the bottom.

That's about it. Took just around 3hrs of actual work time, a lot of it being spent on the stupid Clip from Hell. We did it with the rear of the car on ramps and the front end on jackstands, but a lift would have made the job somewhat easier.
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Instead of calling it "clip from hell" I'd say a proper description would be "demon spawn from the 9th level." I thought everything went pretty smoothly except for the damn clip. My advice? Break the damn thing. It's like $5 new from any local dealer, if your particular short shift kit does not come with one get one. The upholstery plug remover thingy with the forked tongue and the bent tip really helps, it allowed for some flexibility to manuever in that tight spot and allows for a bit of leverage. One thing that I think may help remove the clip is if you can jam something in from the top front of the clip, and be able to get some leverage in that tight space, you CAN push the clip toward the driver's side and shove a small screwdriver inside. But since the inside of the clip has the little "tab" that holds the clip in, there is simply no way to remove that without breaking it.

Also, I think it probably would have been easier to assemble the rod and the rubber boot first and then shove everything back up, if we tilt the selector arm all the way into the 3rd gear position and wiggle it up there. I think eventually when I do mine I'll snap some shots and write up something a little bit more detailed, unlike my "brake writeup". :)

And I think I should thank you for letting me work on the short shift kit with you. It is, if nothing else, fun for me to work on the car. This gave me a good opportunity to figure out how the short shift kit works and how to install it properly on my car.
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I must add, as far as difficulty for a HACK mechanic like myself, it's not too bad. I thought it would be one of the most challenging projects but it's just a bit harder than the stainless steel brake lines. Here are my ranks of difficulties:

Short shift kit - 8

Stainless Steel Line - 7

328 Brake upgrade - 5

Coupe interior trims -5

Swaybars - 2

OEM aluminum pedals - 1.5


Shark Injector - 0.25

0 meaning even Dubya can do it with his hands tied behind his back.

10 meaning you should probably have 911 and the fire department on speed dial before you start this project.
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Kaz said:

Huh... I woulda ranked sways at 5 and the SSK at 6.
That's 'cause you guys bought the RD w/o the end links. If you have the end links and don't need to remove the stock end links it's a piece of cake.
TD said:

Okay, which is it guys? I am considering getting the UUC SSK and would be DIY-ing it. Since I have essentially done sways, I'd rather believe Kaz. Sways were challenging but far from impossible. If, as Dan puts it, the SSK is significantly more difficult, then I will be SOL on a DIY.

Anyone else who has done both care to chime in?
I think Kaz ranked the SSK lower because HE didn't have to remove the damn
Demon Spawn from the 9TH level clip. That thing was IMPOSSIBLE to remove. Everything else was a piece of cake, but the clip took me about an hour and a half to figure out how to shove a screwdriver underneath it.
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