Jun 20, 2019 update to the BMW 318is project car

Project BMW 318is: A Quick Shift Kit We Love

While we don’t like the stock shift mechanism on an E30 BMW—especially in worn out form—we are always nervous about short shift kits. Most tend to make shifting notchy and even harder, not easier to shift. This is especially true when in the heat of battle, say, at an autocross event.

We discussed our concerns with James Clay at BimmerWorld and he suggested their E30 Budget shifter as a good compromise for our 318is. At only $114.99 it is priced fairly well too.

Made from factory parts (reputedly from the BMW Z3) this kit retains factory quality and, unlike a lot of quick shift kits, does not overdo it.

The kit comes complete with shift lever, Delrin carrier bushings and carrier clip pin.

Installation is fairly straight forward. It’s not the most fun job in the world, especially if you have larger hands: Once you remove the console, you need to reach into the hole in the transmission tunnel to install this kit.

You can see the way the fulcrum point has changed on the BimmerWorld shifter at right. Notice we use white grease to install this shifter kit.

Out on the road, we were immediately impressed. The vague, slushy feel from the stock, worn out shifter was completely gone. And while certainly quicker than stock, this shift kit offers a nice compromise and is not notchy or hard to shift.

We finished off the installation with a new, factory leather-covered shift knob and cleaned up our original shift boot.

We cleaned up and treated the original factory shift boot and installed a new factory shift knob.

The BimmerWorld kit comes with everything you need to rebuild and improve your shift lever. The job takes about an hour and is absolutely worth the work.

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Comments
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wae
wae SuperDork
6/20/19 8:14 a.m.

I have no input to give, but being stuck at the top of latest topics just makes my ocd crazy.

Daeldalus
Daeldalus Reader
6/20/19 8:56 a.m.

If you want the shifter to feel really nice you should install a DSSR. I fully rebuilt the stock setup on both of my e30s with quality parts and both times it was good for about a 15% improvement. 

 

Last year I installed a garagistic DSSR and it is a night and day difference. Best money i have spent on the shifter for these cars hands down.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
6/20/19 9:20 a.m.

I don't know... I installed that Z3 kit in my E30 that had fairly worn bushings. It went from feeling really vague and crappy to feeling marginally less vague and crappy.  Maybe the linkage inside the transmission was worn, but replacing all of the external components of  the shift mechanism didn't really do squat. I bought a DSSR for it, but ending up selling the car before getting to install it.

Of all of the manual transmission cars and trucks I've owned and driven, the E30 shifter is one of the worst. And adjusted for age, definitely the worst.  

Tyler H
Tyler H UberDork
6/20/19 9:32 a.m.
Daeldalus said:

If you want the shifter to feel really nice you should install a DSSR. I fully rebuilt the stock setup on both of my e30s with quality parts and both times it was good for about a 15% improvement. 

 

Last year I installed a garagistic DSSR and it is a night and day difference. Best money i have spent on the shifter for these cars hands down.

+1 on the DSSR.  If you're rebuilding your shifter, this is a must-have upgrade.

 

Ian F said:

Of all of the manual transmission cars and trucks I've owned and driven, the E30 shifter is one of the worst. And adjusted for age, definitely the worst.  

You've been blessed to have never owned a VW product or a 911 with a 915 gearbox, then.  smiley

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
6/20/19 10:00 a.m.

In reply to Tyler H :

An air-cooled VW, no - but the cable shifter in my 2003 Jetta is far better than the E30, even after 300K miles of use.

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