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Installing an Aftermarket Shift Knob on Your BMW

Pelican Technical Article:

Installing an Aftermarket Shift Knob on Your BMW


15 minutes15 mins






Allen key and set screws included in shift knob kit

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

MOMO chrome sphere

Performance Gain:

Jazz up your interior with a chrome shift knob for your manual transmission

Complementary Modification:

Replace your shift boot with a new BMW leather boot ($60)
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the most popular and easiest upgrades for your car is the addition of an aftermarket shift knob. Let's face it, the steering wheel, gauges, and shift knob are the three main items on the car that you have a personal interaction with. Why not spruce them up a bit - I personally find the BMW OEM shift knob in particular to be quite boring. The shift knob chosen for this article was the MOMO chrome sphere, available for about $85 from Installation literally takes about fifteen minutes, and the kit includes all of the tools that you need for the install. The only caveat to this project is with the M3 shift knobs, which have an internal light. You need to disconnect this and stash the harness out of the way if you are installing a non-lighted aftermarket knob. When you replace your knob, it's also a good time to replace your leather shift boot. Original BMW ones are about $60 or so and simply snap out of their retainer in your center console. Some people looking for a color coordinated interior replace both their steering wheel and shift knob at the same time, using equipment from the same manufacturer that is designed to match.

If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure 1

This photo shows the assembly sequence for installing a new aftermarket shift knob on your manual transmission.  A- This shows the MOMO shift knob sphere chrome, complete with all the parts that are included in the installation kit.  B- Remove your old knob by simply pulling upwards on it - be careful not to accidentally smack yourself in the face!  Install the small rubber boot on the shaft.  C- Place the collar on the shaft, and then place the knob over the rubber boot.  Tighten the setscrews in place (you should only need the short ones that were included with the kit).  D- The finished product - way cooler than that ugly stock OEM knob!

Figure 2

Wish you had a way to get that manual trans look, but without having to give up your automatic or change your transmission? JJL Customs offers a unique new product for automatic transmission owners.  This shift knob works the same as your old pistol or "T" handle shift knob. Instead of squeezing the trigger, you simply pull up on the spring-loaded knob to move the shifter through your gear detents.  A simple leather boot covers the mechanism beneath.

Comments and Suggestions:
Danomite Comments: I have a 2004 325I I ran the codes and it has misfired on every cylinder. The engine light was on and it was missing and jumping and then it has lose of power. I've replaced the spark plug. Can you give me a hand at what it might be wrong or what I might do to correct this.
February 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to isolate the misfiring cylinder. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Blue e30 Comments: How does one remove the Automatic Shift Selector Lever? I know there is a screw but it there anything I need to know about the selector lever engagement hole alignment etc... ? so I can put it back and have it work properly?
September 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Inside the vehicle or on the transmission? I am not 100% sure what part you are referring to. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rb Comments: mine just spins around and sounds like I crunched something inside? Now can't shift?
August 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The knob is faulty, pull straight up to remove it. It does take a lot of force to remove.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
OT & OM Comments: How do I adjust the linkage on my 94 525i auto/manual transmission?
May 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is it a auto or a manual trans?
- Nick at Pelican Parts
OT & OM Comments: I have a 94 525i auto/manual transmission and i needed a new shifter because the button broke in the pushed in position. when i went to pick up a used one the machanic simply took out one little screw and pulled it straight out. do I just push it in and put the screw in, all done?
May 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Dorp in on and make sure it is set in place and tighten the set screw.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Ted Comments: How do you change the boot at the same time?
December 26, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should just snap into place, you can change it once the shift knob it removed.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Casey Comments: Pulling the knob isn't easy. I ended up punching my roof pretty dang hard when the one in my 93 e36 let go.
November 2, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shift knobs are hard to pull off, it does require a lot of force.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Cesar Comments: Does the knob for an 86 E30 detach simply by "pulling upwards on it"? I've kinda tried it but it gives quite a resistance and i dont want to damage anything.
September 13, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hi there. You should be able to just pull it off. I would eat some Wheaties! It took some significant force to remove mine! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 2/23/2018 02:06:19 AM