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Pelican Technical Article:

Shift Knob Installation On the BMW E30 3 Series
Jared Fenton
Wayne R. Dempsey

Difficulty Level: 2
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

     In this article, we will discuss installation of an aftermarket shift knob in the E30 3 Series BMW. A popular modification these days, installing a new shift knob not only improves the looks of your carís interior, it can even improve your driving. In this case, we will be installing This beautiful aluminum shift knob from UUC Motorwerks. This shift knob features a weighted top, which helps you shift faster and more precisely.

     The first step in replacing the shift knob is to remove the old shift knob. In this case the previous owner had installed a lighted M3 style shift knob. As you can see, the knob has seen better days. The lighted portion of the knob, which is supposed to illuminate when the headlights turn on, is broken as well.

     To remove the old knob, simply pull up on the old knob. It will pull off. Keep in mind that you may need to use a considerable amount of force to get the knob off. Also be careful not to let the knob hit you in the face when it does finally come off the shaft. In this case, once the knob is removed, you will see two wires coming out of the knob and running down under the shift boot. These are the wires for the light in the top of the knob. Simply cut these wires, tape the ends off, then stuff the wires back down into the shift boot, you may want to change back to a lighted shift knob at a later date.

     Now look at the new UUC knob, it is held in place with a single set screw at the bottom. In order to ensure a tight fit on the knob, I decided to run a piece of electrical tape around the shaft as a bushing, and also to provide the set screw with a good surface to dig into. One wrap around should be enough.

     With the tape in place, simply slide the new knob onto the shaft and over the tape. Push it down as far as it will go. Once on the shaft, orient the knob, so the set screw is facing directly front. The gearshift pattern on top of the knob should be facing forward.

     When the knob is place, slowly tighten the set screw in front using a 3mm Allen key. Tighten it snug, but DO NOT over tighten as you can cut into the shaft itself and your new shift knob will forever be loose on the shaft.

     Here are some before and after shots of the installation. I personally love the all-aluminum look of the new knob, as compared to the worn leather of the old knob.     

     Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all.  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.

Comments and Suggestions:
swamprock Comments: Gday Any info on a replacement auto shift on an E30 to get rid of the T bar which is Ok for LHD but awkward for RHD Hope you can advise Cheers. JIM
February 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts

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