The fact that I missed last year's Fixit day due to a emergency at work increased my anticipation levels for Fixit '03. Having a box of new parts sitting in wait made the waiting more intense. This year I wanted to have Daniels install a Ron Stygar short shifter and a Dinan Cold Air Intake. Afterwards a visit to Rigalis leather care would repair the wounds to my driver's seat bolster.
The short shift:
I had recently installed Doug Whalen's highly polished stainless steel shift knob and loved the reduction in the shifting throw offered by the shorter, heaver knob. I quickly realized I wanted more.
Ron Stygar, the UnofficialBMW engineering guru, creates short shifter kits for Z3s.
Ron recommended that I replace the stock shifter on my 2.3 with a modified shifter from a 2.8 that would give me a 22% reduction in shifting throw -and a 22% increase in shifting force. The top of this shifter is approximately 3/8 inch lower than stock. Ron also bends the shift lever to duplicate the stock lever's neutral position.
Richard Carlson describes the physics of a short throw shifter in his article here.
A few days after ordering from Ron, I received a package with a crimped, bent shift lever, one nylon cup suspension unit, two yellow spacers, one circlip and some SuperLube grease.
Mike, my technician at Daniels, told me this was his first short shifter install, and his eyes brightened when he opened the package and saw the modified BMW parts. I was a bit apprehensive about crowding the tech and taking photos at first, so I didn't get any shots of the removal of the shifter.
He removed the shifter, nylon cup suspension unit, two yellow washers that act as spacers for the selector rod, and the circlip that attaches the selector rod to the shifter.
Once the stock shifter was removed, a side by side comparison with the short shifter shows a longer area below the pivot ball on the modified lever at top.
Before installing the new shifter, Mike attaches the nylon cup suspension unit. Liberal amounts of the SuperLube are applied to the pivot ball, nylon cup and the hole where the selector rod and yellow washers go.
Mike is using an extendable tool to help insert the selector rod into the bottom of the shifter.
After the selector rod is connected, it's held in place by the circlip, just barely visible below the shifter.
Thanks to Rich Carlson for this photo of the circlip in place.
This is an e36, but it look sthe same on the Z3
Next, it's time to reinstall the rubber inner dust cover, foam insert and shift boot.
Note the orientation of the inner dust cover, the red arrow points to the arrow on the dust cover.
As he was finishing the shifter install, Mike noticed that the cover on the passenger side of the console was loose. The internal post holding it in place was broken, so Mike applied a rubber caulk-like substance as an adhesive.
At this point, I was dying to go for a test drive, but it was time for the Dinan CAI install...