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      09-22-2023, 11:52 PM   #1
ericlr1225
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RTD F-Chassis Mounted Race Shifter Kit Review (2018 F87 OG M2)

After couple months drive/test of RTD shifter V4 carbon 300mm height street version, I think I'm ready to write a review of it.

Related Info:
RTD V4 carbon sleeve Chassis mounted Shifter
Original knob height 65mm with massive weight.
Mishimoto carbon shift knob 125mm height version.


Let's start with the conclusion first:
It had me love my manual OG more than ever. Bolt action style shift is a 10/10 upgrade. It does raise my driving experience up to a different level. Have you guys ever had a feeling when you just bought your new car back home and had a hungry desire to take a short ride every night? I did felt it again when the shifter was installed. I know it's a little more expensive than OEM+ ASS kit, UUC kit or Rouge Engineering SSK but it's just different. I have to say this is the best upgrade to my car, the other one is the tune.

Pros:
1. Ultimate mechanic shifting feeling. Also tried CAE on my friends car, a great German product, track focused, more adjustable options, also more expensive, doubled the price of RTD.

2. Cleaness. Pictures show it all. It originally came with a super heavy V4 shift knob. I chose the blue color.

3. No cutting, No trimming, drop-in kit.

4. No complicated adjustment of DSSR under the chassis. It came with a fixed DSSR which is more than good enough.

5. Less metal to metal hardcore noises than CAE. Some people like more NVH in cabin, some people hate it. I'm kinda in the middle. I need the drama when I'm driving, feels more connected but I also don't like too much NVH when cruising on freeway. RTD make a good balance.



Cons:
1. Street version is 300mm height from tunnel, Race version is 360mm, CAE is 370mm. For street version, I found the shifting needs a lot more strength, especially 4th to 5th quick shift, pushing towards 2 o'clock made my elbow sore sometimes. I'm 6'1 170lb.

2. Shift shaft is a little leaning backward, just a little since the gear length got a huge reduction. When in 3rd gear, shaft is straight up. I like to sit straight close to the wheel and keep elbows 90 degree when steering (9 and 3 style), my elbow sometimes will touch the right side of my seat if pulling into 4th from 3rd hard. After chatting with RTD, he promised me to re-design DSSR by making it 6mm longer, so that the top of the shifter knob in cabin will move 2mm closer to engine side. It means all the F8x versions after this post, will shipped out with longer fixed DSSR. CAE won't have this problem cuz it's an adjustable DSSR, you can tailor your own neutral angle and position, slightly.

3. NVH is increased. I had RTD and Rouge Engineering Transmission mounts installed together, my friends CAE with poly mounts are... bad. Like I said people are different, this is only personal preference. For me, I daily my car everyday, to work, take my kit to school, crusing on freeway a lot, LA traffic a lot. I didn't get bothered. As for how much NVH increased? It's hard to measure. I can make some examples here:
① Everytime to start your engine, there is 1 sec flywheel/transmission chatter sound after pressing ignition button, once its on, sound is gone. None NVH idling.

② 1st/2nd high gear ratio gears, you would hear slightly transmission whining when accelerating hard in high rpm. I personally love it!!! Exactly like differential whining on those track cars, just 1/5 loud. You can clearly hear it with A/C off and window fully up. No vibration at all, no matter which rpm range. Volume wise, it's lower than Intake and BOV sound. In street driving below 3k rpm, you can't hear it.

③ When crusing on freeway around 80mph, 6th gear has a tiny bit gear spinning sound. Again, A/C off window fully up. It's really low volume. I have sensitive ears, and I have to hear very closely to get it. Road noise is way louder than it.

④ Attention!!
All above NVH will disappear if A/C is on, fan speed is more than 2 clicks. but windows all fully up. radio off. Except high rpm accelerating whining in low gears.
NVH gone when radio/Carplay songs on, mid to low radio volume, A/C off window closed.
Everything like OEM when window is not fully closed, No matter it's half close, or slightly open. A/C off, radio off.

From now, I think everyone already have a basic idea how much NVH it will bring.


4. RTD is from Lebanon. Shift knob thread is M16x2.0. Just like other shift knob companies, they don't use universal sizes like M8, M10, M12. For example, Raceseng is using some M17, Likewise uses M19 and shit, to let customers buy adapters and to avoid market competition. Universal thread are basically for Japansese shifters. The one you see on picture, is MISHIMOTO Matte/Gloss carbon shift knob 125mm and It's M16x1.5. They have 75mm 95mm options too. Knob thread is thicker than RTD's. I can't thread it all the way down but it is enough to work perfectly, so I stop over think about it.

BTW, I know a lot of manual drivers like heavy shift knobs and you guys really gotta try a lightweight carbon shift knob. It changes feeling a lot. As I mentioned above, I haven't try 360mm race version, but there is a CON of street version is it's shorter and it requires much effort to shift. I feel like once apply enough force to shift, the shifter is like slamming into the gate, very solid without palm feedback, I couldn't feel the gate resistance at all sometimes. some people may like it, but I not a fan of it. I'm a skinny lazy Asian. LOL. When low mass 2oz carbon shift knob got put on, I feel it's refined. It has no play just like original set up but add a "suck in" character. Once the shaft get close to the gate, you can feel it, then apply 50% of the original force, shaft just get sucked in steadily. Save me a lot of strength but still keep mechanical shift feeling. Shift force wise, 20% more than OEM. 50% less than RTD requires. I post a short video down below to show the shifting motion with one or two finger. (carbon knob).

RTD has custom build shift knob service, they will send you design graphics ahead to confirm. They are not pretty active to reply messages on social media. I think my shifter set-up is clean and cool enough, so I don't think I will custom build one knob. It's just I wish my knob is blue accent. ^_^


OK, Let's wrap it up. Installation is easy, I suck at mechanical stuff, changing spark plugs would take my max effort, so I spent $350 to the shop. I bet most of you can finish installation within 3 hours max. And there is a guy Sideway_N55 shot a F80 installation tutorial on youtube, very detailed.
I believe there are a lot of you who want to upgrade shifter, having concerns of "what's after", mainly as: Is is too hard to shift, Is it gonna worth, how is the build quality, how bad is NVH, is it an overkill. I had those questions too. So I'd like to share all my experiences. Hope everyone who owns manual gearbox BMW can improve your driving experience to the maximum and fall in love with it again!!


P.S: I'm not sponsored or paid by anyone and this is my first product review in my life. Never review on Amazon too LOL, You guys can see how this shifter made me excited about driving again. If you guys have more questions about the shifter or daily use concern, please comment down below. OK, Imma turn off the screen and take a spin in Mexico after. Cheers!

https://youtube.com/shorts/qET7AnYuq7w?feature=share




Pictures with slightly tilted backward knob are in Neutral, little bit more backward are in 4th. Straight up is in 3rd.
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      09-23-2023, 03:18 PM   #2
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"Less metal to metal hardcore noises than CAE." ???

The CAE definitely clicks into each year, but it's less obtrusive of a noise and more of a positive sound of engagement. I don't know about more NVH though. It's indiscernible. But your friend did change out to more aggressive bushings, so of course NVH would increase quite a bit. And yes, the CAE for double the price, it'll retain it's value better than RTD when it's time to sell.

Glad you like the RTD though. For those that don't want cutting, it's a nice alternative option. It doesn't reduce the throw like an Autosolution though.
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      09-23-2023, 04:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by to_riffic View Post
"Less metal to metal hardcore noises than CAE." ???

The CAE definitely clicks into each year, but it's less obtrusive of a noise and more of a positive sound of engagement. I don't know about more NVH though. It's indiscernible. But your friend did change out to more aggressive bushings, so of course NVH would increase quite a bit. And yes, the CAE for double the price, it'll retain it's value better than RTD when it's time to sell.

Glad you like the RTD though. For those that don't want cutting, it's a nice alternative option. It doesn't reduce the throw like an Autosolution though.
Yes, after test driving both cars back and forth. CAE actually creates more hardcore noises under the boot when cruising(windows up, AC off, Radio off) on freeway, just a slightly bit louder metal vibration. I know track guys won't care or even notice it while driving in high load.

Thank you, RTD is working really well for a regular street/daily driver. And CAE is more track focused, flawless mechanic system. It has the ability to block the play for side gears. I bet it would help shift consistency during highspeed corner in track.

As for the throw, 125mm Carbon shift knob make the shifter same 370mm height as CAE, maybe higher cuz I couldn't threaded all the way down. From my experience, they both have similar throw.

Last edited by ericlr1225; 09-23-2023 at 04:33 PM..
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      09-23-2023, 04:35 PM   #4
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I think the setup in your friends skews the NVH value since I don't have harder bushings with my CAE, so it's definitely YMMV in the setup of a vehicle. Yes I track, but I also do a ton more street driving before relegating my CS to primarily weekend/track duties and I never notice anything from the shifter, valves open or closed, the CAE is a non-factor with NVH
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      09-23-2023, 04:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by to_riffic View Post
I think the setup in your friends skews the NVH value since I don't have harder bushings with my CAE, so it's definitely YMMV in the setup of a vehicle. Yes I track, but I also do a ton more street driving before relegating my CS to primarily weekend/track duties and I never notice anything from the shifter, valves open or closed, the CAE is a non-factor with NVH
It's not fair to say that, may be you don't have sensitive hearing or you already got used to it, or maybe stock trans mounts helped.
But the truth is all chassis mounted shifter will increase NVH no matter what. I guess you were in another shifter thread bunch of guys figuring out putting sound deadening material into shift tunnel right? I tried it too and improvements are...little to none.

This review is to give an idea of what are the CONS, so that people can be prepared for what's coming. I bet people like you or me don't care about the NVH it made that much but some people definitely do.

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      09-23-2023, 05:16 PM   #6
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No, I don't have any sound deadening material in my shifter well.

I certainly am sensitive to NVH, which is why I don't bother upgrading my bushings and would rather stick to OEM in that regard, but the CAE is not loud. With my exhaust, valves closed, I certainly can make out noises in the cabin, and even then the CAE is but a whisper. It's not annoying, nor present enough to think about on long journeys.

I welcome you to come test my shifter, you're in LA. Everyone keeps saying that the CAE is overkill. Overkill for enjoyment in shifting the best and smoothest H-pattern engagement? lol
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      09-23-2023, 07:20 PM   #7
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Thanks for the offer and It's good to know that we can leave stock mounts in, maybe I'll switch back to stock transmission mounts when upgraded DSSR arrives soon. Do it together and test it. I don't think Rouge Engineering mounts would help much for chassis mounted shifters anyway, just like you mentioned. I know they do make difference in OEM+ shifters so I installed both at the same time. I'll keep updating.

Last edited by ericlr1225; 09-23-2023 at 07:26 PM..
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      09-23-2023, 07:33 PM   #8
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Just to clarify, all noticed NVH mentioned above is in really low volume, all captured under really quiet environment or driving conditions. I tried to record them by phone while driving but it's hard enough to hear from the video.
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      09-25-2023, 06:22 AM   #9
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I have one sitting in a box from end of May and haven't gotten a chance to install yet for my F30, wonder if they're changing the length for the dssr. I will shoot them an email. thanks for the review.
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      09-25-2023, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike082802 View Post
I have one sitting in a box from end of May and haven't gotten a chance to install yet for my F30, wonder if they're changing the length for the dssr. I will shoot them an email. thanks for the review.
I don't think there is an issue with F30, DSSRs replacement only happen to F8x platform. No worries.
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