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Manual Transmission Shift Rod Seal Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Manual Transmission Shift Rod Seal Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

*****

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Manual transmission fluid, Shift rod seal.

Hot Tip:

Warm transmission by driving for 3 miles before beginning

Performance Gain:

Remedy a fluid leak

Complementary Modification:

Replace manual transmission fluid

The selector shaft or shift rod for your manual transmission is the connection between your shifter and the transmission. It is a steel rod that extends into the transmission housing and is responsible for moving the shift forks.

There is an oil seal located on 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 driveshaft output seal. When looking for the source of an oil leak, always look for fresh clean oil, this will direct you to the problem area.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. 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 rear wheel drive BMW Z4M models with a manual transmission. Other manual transmission models are similar.

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

Remove the exhaust system. See our tech article on exhaust system removing.

The selector shaft or shift rod for your manual transmission is the connection between your shifter and the transmission.
Figure 1

The selector shaft or shift rod for your manual transmission is the connection between your shifter and the transmission. There is an oil seal located on 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 driveshaft output seal. When looking for the source of an oil leak, always look for fresh clean oil, this will direct you to the problem area.
This photo shows the leak and what to look for. You can see fresh gear oil dripping from selector shaft and oil residue on coupler and shift rod (red arrow).

With the exhaust removed, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield to the right of the transmission mount bracket (purple arrow).
Figure 2

With the exhaust removed, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield to the right of the transmission mount bracket (purple arrow).

Working at the rear of the exhaust heat shield (red arrow), remove the two 8mm mounting fasteners (purple arrows).
Figure 3

Working at the rear of the exhaust heat shield (red arrow), remove the two 8mm mounting fasteners (purple arrows).

Next, remove the 10mm nut (red arrow) on the heat shield to the Left of the transmission mount bracket.
Figure 4

Next, remove the 10mm nut (red arrow) on the heat shield to the left of the transmission mount bracket.

Working on the left side of the body, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield.
Figure 5

Working on the left side of the body, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield. Then remove the 8mm fastener (purple arrow), remove this fastener on the right side as well. Support the heat shield as you remove the final fastener.

Remove the exhaust heat shield toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow).
Figure 6

Remove the exhaust heat shield toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow). Store it in a safe place, do not bend it when removing. Then remove the driveshaft flex-disc. See our tech article on driveshaft flex-disc replacing.

Next, remove the shift rod clip.
Figure 7

Next, remove the shift rod clip.

You can unlock using your fingers and slide clip off (red arrow).
Figure 8

You can unlock using your fingers and slide clip off (red arrow).

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft by pulling out toward the left side (red arrow).
Figure 9

Then remove shift rod from selector shaft by pulling out toward the left side (red arrow). Once detached, place it out of your way.

The connecting joint for the shift rod has to be removed next.
Figure 10

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 (or a pick) and remove spring clip (red arrow). Rotate the spring clip so the split end is near the bottom of the coupler. This allows room for the screwdriver.

Then slide pin (red arrow) out through bottom and remove from connecting joint.
Figure 11

Then slide pin (red arrow) out through bottom and remove from connecting joint. Once out, remove connecting joint from selector shaft.

Now it is time to remove the seal.
Figure 12

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 (red arrow).

To install new seal, use a 16mm deep socket (red arrow) and tap seal (green arrow) in until it bottoms out in transmission housing.
Figure 13

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

This photo shows the connecting joint components.
Figure 14

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

Once seal is installed, I install the spring clip (red arrow) onto the connecting joint as shown in photo.
Figure 15

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.

Be sure the shift rod coupler clip is properly seated.
Figure 16

Be sure the shift rod coupler clip is properly seated. It will engage, then press it in a little further until it snaps into place. Reassemble remaining parts in reverse order of removal. Then top up or service your transmission fluid.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:05:51 AM