About 3 weeks ago, my clutch let go on the dyno during a run where I produced 526 rwhp (dynojet corrected). I knew I had to replace the clutch, but I felt if I had the transmission dropped then maybe I should improve some other drivetrain aspects of the 135/335. After some thought I decided that I would update the following:
1. Short Shift Kit
I have never been happy with the BMW stock shifter at all. It is tall, luggy, sloppy, and has significant side-to-side play. While in gear, I can move my knob 1/2" - 1" in all directions. In my opinion, it really is a very poorly designed shift lever and linkage. I decided this was the ideal time to replace the shifter / linkage and this launched me into my search.
There are short shift kits out there, but not all the kits address all the issues with shifter. Some only change the height, but not the pivot point, some only address the shift, some are shorter but the effort to move the shifter increases, etc. There was one company that seemed to address all the shift problems almost as a science and that was UUC. All you have to do is visit their website and spend about 30 minutes reading about their short shift kits (SSK) / double-shear selector rods (DSSR) and you realize this company takes shifting very seriously. UUC bolsters some strong positives to their shifter:
- The exact same 35% reduction in shift travel (100mm from 3rd gear to 4th gear total travel) is retained at stock height, and down to over 40% when height is adjusted to the short end of the adjustment range.
-Completely self-contained and self-adjusting primary pivot bearing assembly.
-New full-length internal vibration absorbing material that surpasses any OE or aftermarket material for longevity and retention of design specifications.
I felt I had some good info on the UUC products and I decided to make the plunge. I ordered the following:
1. UUC Short Shift Kit Evo 3
2. UUC DSSR
Experience with UUC
There are a lot of first time BMW owners because of the N54 in the 135i/335i. Many of us have no clue who UUC is and I was one. UUC has been making BMWs better since 1998. UUC is not a reseller, but a manufacturing company. They don't sell someone elses SSK and DSSR, they design and make their own SSK and DSSR. For us, this means we have BMW enthusiasts that have our needs in mind when designing the products.
I was fortunate during my order to chat a little with Rob at UUC. He immediately gave me great confidence in UUC as a company. He was tremendously knowledgable on their products and made me feel very good about my choice. Shortly after my order, I received an invoice via email from UUC and tracking info not long after.
UUC took great care to make sure the package arrived to me undamaged with superior packaging and protection.
The SSK and DSSR were protected well in a smaller cardboard box.
The smaller box conatined the SSK, DSSR, all connecting hardware, locktite, lubrication tubes, and instructions.
This is the DSSR and connecting hardware. You can tell this is a superbly machined item and I mean top notch.
To be quite honest, the shifter is nothing less than tremendously well engineered.
The shift pivot point.
The shifter locking hardware.
The alloy steel upper section of the shifter. You can see the height adjustment and locking screw.
Finally the hardware to install the short shifter.
The shipping process was easy and painless from UUC and I really have had a great first experience with UUC.
Since my transmission was lowered, some things may not completely apply to all.
UUC comes with a superb instruction manual. It covers things quite well, so I will only supplement it.
Starting the process is as simple as removing the shift knob. Do you really just pull up the knob? Yup.
Lift out the knob and remove the boot. The boot is held with 2 clips on the driver's side and 2 clips on the passenger side of the boot.
Below you see the foam surrounding the shift knob and the rubber boot that seals the passenger cabin. You will need to remove both to re-install later.
At this point, I dropped down below the car and removed the shifter assembly from the car. The shifter assembly is held in the front by two vertical clips and 2 bolts in the rear. You can see the bolts removed in the picture below.
This picture below shows the front clips holding the shifter assembly. The UUC kit replaces these, so don't worry if you damage them.
Finally just unclip the knob itself from the shift rod shown below. It is held on by a slide pressure clip that is replaced in the UUC kit so you don't have to worry about damaging it.
If you are doing the DSSR, it is a simply replacement for the stock part using the included hardware from UUC. Look at the difference between the DSSR and the stock shift rod. Just a small
Remove the stock shift rod andiInstall the new DSSR using the included hardware. Always remember to lubricate parts that will pivot.
This is what it would look like with the tranny on the car.
Install the cup according to the UUC instructions using the included locktite on the allen key screws.
Now let's get this whole kit assembled. Reinstall the shifter assembly in the car with the new locking clips for the front and the bolts for the rear.
Back into the cabin to finish the shifter. The UUC instructions describe how the components will go together in the shift cup. Don't forget to install the lower pivot bushing into the cup! Lubricate the heck out of the pivot ball and drop it into the cup noting the lower bushing is in place. The orientation of the shifter arm will have it bending forward and toward the driver's side if you install it correctly.
The locking circular clip can be a bit tricky if you don't have a good set of needle nose pliars. The locking clip has holes for a thin tip needle nose pliar set and that is what I used to lock it in place easily.
Drop back below the car and assembly the shift lever to the DSSR using the included hardware as instructed by the UUC directions.
Reinstall the rubber lower boot that seals the cabin and foam surrounding the shift level.
Adjust the height of the lever using the allen bolt on the side of the shift and lock it in place. Throw your knob back on and shift boot and your install is done.
First lets compare the stock level to the UUC short shifter.
The difference is almost comical! The UUC has superior build quality (T-304 steel), superb acoustic dampening, and better ergonomics.
When I took the car out for a drive the difference was remarkable. The UUC DSSR completely got rid of the lateral slop and I mean completely. Before I could put my car in gear and move the lever all over the place, now it is absolutely locked in place. I didn't expect the improvement to be so dramatic to be honest.
The UUC short shifter height was great for me just how it came from the factory. It centers 100% perfect on my car for neutral. The shifts are 35% shorter when the lever is at the highest adjustable height and 40% shorter when the level is at the lowest adjustable height. The shifts are tremendously precise on the UUC SSK and they are noticeably shorter.
Now it was time to take the car for a drive! The difference is immediately noticeable. You really don't realize how bad and long the stock shifts are until you get an SSK. Now, I can aggressively drive my BMW with short and accurate shifts. It really gives you more confidence in each shift and connects the driver better to the car. There is virtually no increase in pressure to change gears thanks to UUC altering the pivot point on their SSK. Overall the shifting is enormously improved!
Finally, I have to admit I have had some concern about going with a SSK because sometimes you can get a little gear noise in the cabin. The UUC SSK has superb accoustic dampening. There is no gear noise whatsoever in the cabin from the shifter at all. I did notice a slight bit more notchy feel when engaging gears every once in a while, but it is very minimal
I am really glad I got to learn about UUC and their history with BMW. My introduction into their product line was with the UUC SSK / DSSR and I couldn't be happier. Rob at UUC was very knowledgable and tremendously helpful through the process. UUC's shipment communication was fantastic, the items arrived in pristine condition, and the build is second to none. The installation instructions were very good and easy to follow with many illustrations.
From a performance standpoint, I couldn't have asked for more. This UUC DSSR completely removed all the slop that was present in my stock shifter. The UUC short shift kit reduced the travel from 35%-40% and improved the design of the stock shifter in every aspect. The shifts are now very accurate and precise with little to no increase in effort. There is no gear noise whatsoever so this is a well acoustically dampened lever. Finally, it is height adjustable to meet the driver's needs. There is a very small increase in gear "notchiness", but it is minimal at most.
I would definitely make this purchase again with all the information I now have.