In all candor, just going in and replacing the shifter bushings is too much work for the rewards it yields. Now that the job is done, the only way I would advocate anyone doing the job is to do it as part of another job. In this case, I did it when I was replacing the driveshaft coupler.
Because I knew I had to pull the exhaust, heat shielding and driveshaft I replaced the carrier bearing and the driveshaft coupler, also known as the “guibo,” I figured I’d do the shifter bushings “while I’m in there.” That’s a helpful approach because there is no way to do the job without removing the exhaust and the driveshaft anyway.
Luckily, the driveshaft coupler and the shifter bushings begin to get sloppy at roughly the same mileage. That said, this job is laid out from the time I got the driveshaft out and the coupler removed from the output shaft of the transmission.
The job itself isn’t too terrible. I rate it 2.5 out of five wrenches in terms of difficulty. A couple of things make it easier. One, if you buy a shifter bushing kit from one of your favorite BMW parts suppliers, it makes it easier to do a more complete rebuild of the shifter assembly. The kit I bought from ECS tuning included all the stock replacement bushings necessary for the repairs, but also the nuts, clips and pins that hold everything together. It doesn’t cost much more to do it this way, so it’s worth what little extra it costs. If you’re working on a racecar, there are kits available with stiffer bushings.
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Two, it helps if you remove the rear transmission mounting bracket, which spans the transmission tunnel and supports the transmission mounts. Replace those while you’re in there, too. By removing the mount, you can support the transmission with a jack, and it gives you room to move the transmission around just enough to get some of the retainer pins out and back in place. That will have its own picture and caption below.
I’d also recommend taking a photo of the shifter assembly from underneath before you take things apart. This is a BMW, after all, and it only goes back together one way.
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