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M2 Technical Topics > Cosmetic Modifications > shortened gear lever

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      11-13-2019, 04:17 PM   #1
KevM3UK
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shortened gear lever

A bit of E30 M3 lives on again! I made a short gear lever today, I've always hated the oem M2 gearknob so i used my ol' E30 gearknob, It's been a family heirloom for centuries now and has been carefully passed down through generation to generation of M3!

So after owning three E30 M3's in the past i sort of miss them and I've always liked the gearknob , think its much better than the current ones BMW offer, so I set about a challenge of fitting one (and finding one , they are obsolete from bmw now), so i managed to find one after trawling ebay and came accross and bought this (six years ago now mind for the E46)



Its a bit scabby but after an email before i bought it , jack at royal steering wheels said he could recover it for 25, and recover it he did!

Next thing up now was the lack of a 6 speed emblem to go on top and my ocd wont allow the std 5 speed to remain! so the options are.. buy a 6 speed and make it fit or fit the storm 6 speed one ! not so sure on the font on the storm one and also the colours dont look right either so i took the stanndard round one and double sided taped it back to back on the oval 6 speed and set about filing the shape to match the original round one



when it was all filed to size I then made it smoother with 400 then 200 grit paper ,then i polished it up with some plastic polish.

That was about 6 years ago I made that , fast forward to today and this is how it all unfolded, I couldnt straight swap the E30 M3 knob like for like as it sat about 10-15mm taller and looked silly ,so the only option was to shorten the shaft!

measured the height of the whole shaft



the outer aluminium shaft is bonded or vulcanised onto the steel inner shaft, the only way to remove or break the seal was to twist it to break the seal using mole grips!



once that was removed you're left with this




after removing the console to gain access and to stop it getting damaged I set about cutting the inner shaft, I removed 1" or 25mm




left with this



i also cut 1" off the bottom of the outer shaft and removed all the old rubber , not pictured though

I couldnt really bond it back on yet as it is very hard to keep it all level and dead centre without an intermediate inner bush to keep everything concentric and on the same plane!
I just happened to find two nuts that will act as a guide with an inner diameter of around 12mm that fitted lovely over the inner shaft without too much play/wobble and then push fitted them with some gentle persuasion inside the outer shaft ! before fitting the shaft I filled it full of Tiger seal for a permanent bond!
Its now around 35-40mm shorter now ,so accounting for the extra 10-15mm taller height of the E30 knob all in all the overall height is around 25mm shorter than the oem gearknob !

I carefully removed the alcantara gaiter from the gearknob turned it inside out and cable tied it to the E30 gearknob, here it is all fitted ,havnt driven it yet as its still curing (vulcanising), I always found the oem gearknob to be far to long and looked like something out of an allegro!

heres the new one all fitted










Here's a pic of it all settled and cured now , i have to say its great ,much shorter throw now and feels good
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      11-16-2019, 05:15 AM   #2
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Doing it in-situ seems drastic.

Cosmetics aside, had you considered the effect on shift quality as a result of the reduced leverage?
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      11-16-2019, 05:24 AM   #3
KevM3UK
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shifts fine, just a shorter throw, I havnt altered any length below the pivot ball, thats when problems arise !
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      11-17-2019, 10:09 PM   #4
RocketBoots
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It looks... uncircumcised...
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      11-18-2019, 10:14 AM   #5
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I understand why you've done it but can't imagine the end result feeling very natural

Good luck trying to explain to future buyers or the dealership what happened lol
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      11-18-2019, 11:08 AM   #6
KevM3UK
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easy, the oem one will fit straight on as i havnt cut the alcantara gaiter ,and i can always buy a new shaft from bmw
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      11-18-2019, 03:03 PM   #7
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If it was that easy, why didn't you remove it from the car to work on it?

Just curious.
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      11-19-2019, 03:03 PM   #8
KevM3UK
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coz its even easier in place ,thats why! anyway im continuing the legacy with it
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      11-19-2019, 08:00 PM   #9
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Totally agree with you on the height and throw length of the stick. Bravo.
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