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Manual Transmission Selector Shaft Seal Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Manual Transmission Selector Shaft Seal Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

***

Tools:

18mm socket and wrench, 16mm deep socket, flathead screwdriver.

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Manual transmission fluid, Selector shaft seal.

Hot Tip:

This seal causes an oil leak down the rear of your manual transmission

Performance Gain:

Remedy a fluid leak

Complementary Modification:

Replace manual transmission fluid

The longitudinally installed BMW Z3 drivetrain came with a choice of two styles of 6-speed transmission: manual with foot-operated clutch and automatic (Steptronic).

The selector shaft or selector rod for the manual transmission is the connection between the shifter and the transmission. Where the shaft enters the transmission, there is an oil seal located in the transmission housing that tends to leak over time. When this seal leaks, it creates an oil leak down the rear of your transmission. This seal is often mistaken for a leak at the transmission output shaft seal. When looking for the source of an oil leak, always look for fresh clean oil. This will direct you to the problem area. 

To gain access to the selector shaft seal, it is necessary to lower or remove the exhaust system and remove the heat shields that protect the transmission and the chassis from the heat of the exhaust. You also have to disconnect the rear driveshaft. The exhaust system and driveshaft removal are covered in separate tech articles.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the selector shaft seal on BMW Z3 models with a manual transmission.

Jack up your vehicle and support it using jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

In the beginning of the article I mentioned removing your driveshaft.
Figure 1

In the beginning of the article I mentioned removing your driveshaft. I donÂ't always do it this way. Depending on the vehicle condition, especially the exhaust studs (if rusted) near the manifold, I will drop the exhaust down, then drop down the driveshaft. You can see I have the driveshaft hanging and the exhaust supported (see next photo for jack placement on exhaust). This allows access to the shift rod (green arrow).

This photo shows the jack (green arrow) supporting the exhaust.
Figure 2

This photo shows the jack (green arrow) supporting the exhaust. Allowing access to the shift rod.

This photo shows the leak and what to look for.
Figure 3

This photo shows the leak and what to look for. You can see the grime from dirt sticking to the gear oil. It was hard to see with the driveshaft installed on my vehicle, but if you look at the selector shaft, usually you can see fresh gear oil dripping.

First, remove the shift rod clip.
Figure 4

First, remove the shift rod clip. You can unlock using your fingers and slide clip off (green arrow).

This photo shows the clip you have to remove, green arrows point to the area you have to unclip before sliding off.
Figure 5

This photo shows the clip you have to remove, green arrows point to the area you have to unclip before sliding off.

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft by sliding it out of the coupler.
Figure 6

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft by sliding it out of the coupler.

The connecting joint for the shift rod has to be removed next.
Figure 7

The connecting joint for the shift rod has to be removed next. It is held on by a connecting pin that is retained by a spring clip. Use a small flathead screwdriver and remove spring clip (green arrow).

Then slide pin out through top and remove from connecting joint (green arrow).
Figure 8

Then slide pin out through top and remove from connecting joint (green arrow). Once out, remove connecting joint from selector shaft. Then clean the area surrounding the seal thoroughly.

This photo shows the connecting joint components.
Figure 9

This photo shows the connecting joint components. Connecting joint (red arrow), pin (green arrow) and spring clip (yellow arrow)

Now it is time to remove the seal.
Figure 10

Now it is time to remove the seal. I use a small flathead screwdriver and slowly lever the seal out. You have to stick screwdriver into seal, then lever, then stick it in deeper and lever. Now be careful not to damage the transmission housing and work gently and slowly. This photo shows my screwdriver in place and how I am levering out the seal.

To install new seal, use a 16mm or 17mm deep socket and tap seal in until it bottoms out in transmission housing.
Figure 11

To install new seal, use a 16mm or 17mm deep socket and tap seal in until it bottoms out in transmission housing. Work slowly and gently. Before installing, check that your socket is a good fit for this procedure. If it is larger than the seal, find one that will fit better.

Once seal is installed, I install the spring clip (red arrow) onto the connecting joint as shown in photo.
Figure 12

Once seal is installed, I install the spring clip (red arrow) onto the connecting joint as shown in photo. Then once placed on selector shaft I slide the pin in, then engage the spring clip.

Reassemble remaining parts in reverse order of removal.
Figure 13

Reassemble remaining parts in reverse order of removal. Be sure insulating washers (green arrow) go on the outside of the shift coupler, between the shift rod and rod clip. The photo shows one, there will be one on each side. Then top up or service your transmission fluid.

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:06:34 AM