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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
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Shift Knob Replacement in a BMW X5

Contributed by: TurnAround

Stock Automatic Shift Knob Replacement



Got my Momo "Anitomico" shift lever installed. Took 10 minutes. I'm
thrilled with how it looks, and how much better this shifter feels than
the stock shift lever.



There are quite a few BMW shift levers I don't care for, but I have to
say that I really liked the one that comes stock with the X5. Great
quality leather, and I like the design. What I didn't like was the wood
insert, because it was plastic coated. I use the sport shifting mode a
lot, so for me, the plastic gets "tacky" from even the slightest
perspiration (and.. I'm not someone who has sweaty hands. To the
contrary actually). I also have the same stock shift lever, but with the
alloy insert (like on the 4.6is and 4.8is). Much better feel. Doesn't
get sticky. But still... I wanted to see if there was a way to just put
a lever on there from the HUGE selection of stick shift / clutch levers.
Get rid of the finger release mini-lever on the shifter. Plus the clutch
model shifter just look way cooler.



Turns out, it's no problem at all to just remove the old lever (pull
straight up.. on a warm day), and put on ANY lever of your choosing. When
the stock lever comes out, it releases the mechanism down inside the
shifter console. In other words, it thinks you are pressing in the
finger release lever... all the time. This has no ill effects on the
car. The "press you foot on the brake to shift" mechanism is still in
place, and is not effected by the absence of the finger release lever on
the shifter at all.



My X is waaay more fun to shift now. I find myself using sport mode even
more. The shifter always feels cool and dry. I love the Momo leather,

and baseball stitching.One other thing too...



All their shift knobs come with 4 rubber shaft tips (hmm... why does
that sound funny). The outside diameter is the same on all 4. This OD
matches up with the inside diameter of the shifter knob. The inside
diameter is different on all 4 tho. It's so that you can match up the
closest fit to your shift lever shaft. So.. ya find the one that fits,
pop it on there, and then put the shift knob over that. The purpose of
the the rubber tip is to provide a rigid install for the knob, so that
it can't move around at the top (the set screws take care of rigidly
mounting the bottom half of the knob). So, this little guy has an
important job. You want the shifter knob to feel rock solid.



For BMW applications, you use the second thinnest wall rubber adapter.
The very thinnest walled one rattles around.



One little problem though. Even though it's the best fitting adaptor, ya
still have to press it on the shaft purdy snug. That makes the outside
wall diameter of the adaptor bulge out just slightly. Enough, so that
putting the shift knob on is kinda tough. Nice snug fit.. but hey...
what if you have to remove the shift knob later on? This is actually
quite likely. There are a number of "operations" on your car that can
require removing the shift lever and then the boot. When you go to pull
that thing off of there, it's going to "leave" the rubber adaptor up
inside the shifter knob (ask me how I know :-P). Well see.. the car's
shift lever shaft isn't long enough to rest up hard against the top of
the hole inside the shifter knob. There's a half inch of space left over
up in there. That's how they get it to fit so many cars. So...when you
go to put the shifter knob back on later, all yer gonna do is jam that
rubber adapter way up inside the shifter knob. It's NOT going to seat
properly over the shift lever shaft, and this will compromise how the
shifter performs and feels.



The solution is to lubricate the OUTSIDE of the rubber adapter before
the first time you put the shifter knob on there. Also lubricate the
inside of the shifter knob. You do NOT want to lube the car's shift
lever shaft. In fact, I'd clean it off with alcohol first to make sure
the rubber adaptor sticks. You want it, so that when you pull the knob
off some other day, the rubber adaptor will stay on the car.



For lube, I used bicycle chain wax with Teflon in it. I wouldn't use
standard bearing grease. That's bad for rubber parts. You can use a
specialty grease made for motorcycle and bicycle shocks (like, "Slick
Honey grease"). It's friendly to rubber parts. In a pinch, I suppose you
could use baby powder.





"I'm out there and I'm lovin' it Jerry!".





- T















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