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Which B&M shifter?

953 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  operknockity
I'm a little late to the E46 party, but I love my new used 330i with the 5 speed. All except for the shifter, which feels like spaghetti.

My budget is pretty tight, which is why I want to go with B&M. I don't need perfection but just some improvement in feel which I bet was better in this car with the stick shifter before it had 76k miles on it.

There are 3 shifters that will work:

45125
45126
45172 "Technik" with the selector arm

Does anone have experience with one of these, or better yet, experience to compare them?

Thanks,
Charlie
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The 45125 is the "racing" shifter. AFAIK, the shift arm is straight rather than bent (the stock arm is bent), which will offset the shift knob quite a bit and it probably not what you want.

The 45126 is the "street" shifter and has a bent arm like the stock shifter.

The 45172 uses the same arm as the 45126 but includes n integrated selector arm and requires that the tranny be dropped to remove the old selector arm and install the new unit.

Myself and several others that I know have the 45126. And I know 1 person (doeboy) that had the 45126 and switched to the 45172. I've never driven his car with either shifter, so I don't know how the two compare. but I'm told the 45172 is a bit shorter and a tad more precise. Maybe he'll chime in here when he get's back from the DE class in Las Vegas.

The 45126 is less expensive and much easier to install than the 45172, especially if you are going to do it yourself and have limitted access to a lift and other tools. And since you said you are on a budget...

I had one problem with the 45126 and that was that it in combination with the stock knob tended to conduct more noise in to the cabin in the lower gears. I suspect that this was a problem where the shorter arm would resonate at a different frequency than the stock arm in combination with a somewhat loose fitting knob which tended to buzz. I got a Whalen Shift Machine knob and all of that noise is gone! One other person has told me that his was acting the same way and his issue went away when he too got a WSM. But I know other folks that have had no problems with the stock knobs.
CharlieG said:
My budget is pretty tight, which is why I want to go with B&M. I don't need perfection but just some improvement in feel which I bet was better in this car with the stick shifter before it had 76k miles on it.

There are 3 shifters that will work:

45125
45126
45172 "Technik" with the selector arm
operknockity, thanks for the very detailed response! :thumbup:

I'm doing this myself, so I'm definitely going to go with the 45126 option. Can't wait to give it a try!

-Charlie
Good luck!

If you know what you're doing, you can do the install in about 10-15 minutes. The HACK installed mine and he's done so many of them that he can do them with his eyes closed!

Just be careful with the "bitch clip" that holds the selector rod in the bottom race on the shifter arm.
CharlieG said:
operknockity, thanks for the very detailed response! :thumbup:

I'm doing this myself, so I'm definitely going to go with the 45126 option. Can't wait to give it a try!

-Charlie
I've got the race shifter in my 323 (it is bent), and I like it a lot. You do get a significant increase in noise, but I like listening to my synchros.

...of course, the 323 will be a track car.
Yep... Nick is right. the 45125 is bent. It just doesn't have some of the isolation that the 45126 has.

BTW... my shifter feels about the same in throw as the 45126.
Nick325xiT 5spd said:
I've got the race shifter in my 323 (it is bent), and I like it a lot. You do get a significant increase in noise, but I like listening to my synchros.

...of course, the 323 will be a track car.
I stand corrected. I have never actually seen a 45125, so I was just going by the picture off the B&M web site.
doeboy said:
Yep... Nick is right. the 45125 is bent. It just doesn't have some of the isolation that the 45126 has.

BTW... my shifter feels about the same in throw as the 45126.
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