The shift linkage is not adjustable on the E30 or E36 models, however it can be replaced without removing the transmission and must be removed if the transmission is to be removed.
Removal & Installation
- Remove the shifter knob and boot.
- Remove the rubber cover from the shifter pivot. Remove the snapring, if equipped. Remove the shifter pivot.
- Remove the snaprings holding the shift rod and pull the rod off.
- Remove the bolts holding the shift arm or pry up the clip holding the shift arm. Remove the shift arm. The entire shifter assembly will come out.
- Install the shifter arm and linkage. Replace the snaprings, pivot and rubber cover. Install the shifter and boot.
The shift linkage is located in the transmission tunnel of the vehicle and with exception of the shift knob, is accessed from underneath the vehicle. Because the linkage is located above the transmission there is very little space available to access the upper retaining pin. If just the linkage is to be removed, it may be necessary to partially disconnect the exhaust system and driveshaft and support the transmission with a suitable jack and remove the rear transmission support to allow the transmission to be lowered enough to access the linkage pivot pin.
- Remove the shift knob as outlined in this section. If desired, remove the leather trim, sound deadening and rubber shift boot.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle.
If removing the transmission:
- Disconnect the exhaust system at the exhaust header, disconnect the oxygen sensor(s) and remove the exhaust system as a unit.
- Remove or partially remove and support the driveshaft.
In not removing the transmission:
- Disconnect the exhaust down pipe from the exhaust manifold and the transmission support bracket and support as necessary.
- Remove the driveshaft from the transmission output flange and support it away from the transmission.
- Support the engine or transmission with a suitable jack, then remove the transmission support bracket fasteners. Carefully lower the transmission assembly about 3-4 inches (75-100mm) to allow adequate room to access the linkage locking pin.
- Label the shift lever bushing direction to ensure proper assembly, as the shifter is installed from under the vehicle.
- Remove the snaprings from the shift linkage at the gear shifter and the transmission selector shaft, then remove the shift shaft. Be careful to not loose the shifter bushings, the circlips and if installed any thrust washers.
- Locate the mounting pin for the gearshift support bracket at the top rear of the transmission and using a small suitable flat-bladed prytool, release the lock clip on the right side of the pin and pivot the lock clip upward. Move the lock clip back and forth while pulling on it from the left side to remove the pin from the transmission and support bracket.
- Once the lock pin is removed, push the bracket upward and slide it forward to release it from the rear support bushing. Carefully lower the bracket complete with the shift lever from the vehicle.
- Installation is in reverse order of assembly noting the following. Thoroughly clean and lubricate the shift linkage bushings and support bracket bushing, inspect the circlips and replace as necessary.