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Thread: E39 Shifter Not Returning to Center Position

                  
   
  1. #1
    Member vagabond's Avatar
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    E39 Shifter Not Returning to Center Position

    Has anyone experienced this in a 3.0l w/5 speed trans? If I'm in 5th and go to downshift to 4th, I have to gingerly 'feel' my way to 4th. From there it's due north for 3rd, but it still feels like I'm guiding it, it's not just going there.

    I move toward reverse, wiggle it around a little, then it seems OK until I get up to 5th, then the problem shows up again. I only have 46k miles on it, and while I drive somewhat aggressively, I am very sympathetic to my mechanicals (Power shift into 5th? Never!).

    Looking at my Bentley manual, I see some bushings and circlips, and I also see some stuff about removing the exhaust. So... before I start getting crazy, are there any quick and dirty things I should check?

    Or, is this a sign from above that it's time to get a short-shifter kit?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a similar issue we have during warm up with both our E36 and our E46. In our cases, the shifter does not return to the 3-4 neutral position following first using 5th gear while cold. Once the tranny warms up all is normal. I have my theory; 5 gear shift detent is binding in the housing bushing. ZF sells a repair kit for such but replacement requires removal of the transmission as the sealling caps exposing such are on the top-side. So we just live with it until there's another reason such as clutch replacement or such requiring removal.

    Greg

  3. #3
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    My E36 had the return springs replaced.
    I couldn't live with it anymore.
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

  4. #4
    Member vagabond's Avatar
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    Thanks guys- I think I'll live with it as long as I can. It's not killing me (yet), and sometimes it doesn't happen at all. Steven, how much was it to get it fixed? I'm just trying to determine if this is something I can use federal bailout money on, or if I should just dip into my 401(k)

  5. #5
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    I don't recall how much, but it wasn't cheap.
    It's pretty much all labor.
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

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