Project E36 M3: Part 6 – Short Shifter and Engine Mounts
After reading the glowing magazine reviews for two and half years in the mid-90s, I finally test drove my first BMW E36 M3 back in 1997. That drive was all I could think about until July of 1999 when I finally gave in and bought my first M3. I was coming from a 1994 DC4 Acura Integra LS, so everything about the E36 M3 was incredible to me… Except the shifter. The first thing I remember from that very first test drive was the feeling of churning butter just to shift gears. The overall feel was acceptable, but the length of the throws was ridiculous compared to the notchy goodness of the Acura, so that was the first thing I changed on my original ’99 M3, and it’s the first thing I’ve changed on each E36 I’ve owned since then.
The shifting feel on this Project E36 M3 was off more than previous cars, and finding gears often took more time and effort than it should, so I knew the bushings on the transmission brace were shot, and I just happened to have a set of my old BimmerWorld transmission mounts that I was able to clean up the feel with in a hurry.
The very first short shifter kit (SSK) that I had on my first M3 didn’t last very long. The quality just wasn’t there, so for my next kit on that car I ponied up for the Octane SSK from Rogue Engineering. That one went through multiple track seasons and carried over to my race build with no issues, so that’s the route I’ve taken with each BMW I’ve had since then.