I did the BMW OEM SSK install but I couldnít find anywhere a DIY guide for the Shift Arm install. I could find information on the shift lever alone but the difficult part was the Shift Arm so I decided to post a quick DIY guide for those wanting to do this mod.
Keep in mind that this is what I did and not official BMW installation steps. Please be sure you are always safe and that the car is secured when lifted.
The SSK includes the shift lever (5), Shift Arm (7) and Boot & Knob which are not required. Hereís a diagram. The difference of the SSK Shift Arm and non-SSK is in the the highlighted red portion which is wider. This raises the link location of the shift lever and shortens the throws.
Now, this DIY is a continuation of this great DIY for the SSK shift lever mod by jahwerx:
Please follow that guide which is for replacing the lever ONLY. For the shift arm keep reading.
Total Install time was around 2 hours. I could do it faster now that I know what to expect but it maybe was more than that. I didn't have to drop the exhaust or the driveshaft although dropping the driveshaft would've helped a lot.
Installing the Shift Arm was a pain but it is doable. The main difficulty was in taking out the rear support bushing of the shift arm. Also putting the new shift arm, around the driveshaft, in place was tricky (very tight, I felt like I was doing a puzzle...).
You should follow jahwerx guide, lift the car, remove the plastic panels underneath and remove the OEM shift lever.
At this point you can drop the Cross brace that supports the transmission. It's no big deal, just 4 bolts that maintain the cross brace in place and you don't need a jack or anything to sustain the transmission (Iím not responsible for any injuries, please be careful. Iím just describing what I did). It'll give you a little bit more clearance when putting the new shift arm in as you can pull an extra inch or 2 the driveshaft down. It's easier to reach securing the pins too so you should do it.
You need to bend the heat shield back as well, further back than if you were just changing the lever. After you take off the plastic covers you need to bend it back to have access to the back of the Shift arm. If you have a lift for your car, great. If not then make sure it's lifted high enough from the front so that you can fit comfortably (right...) when reaching the back of the shift arm to pry it off, that's what I did.
As a reference check this diagram of the original non-SSK shift assembly in the 335i:
The arrow in the bottom right corner of the figure points to the front of the car.
Once you get the kit you'll see how the rear end (end towards the rear of the car) of the Shift Arm looks like, itís simply a straight ďrodĒ (to the left of #6 above). The front end (end that points towards the front of the car) is supported by two pins, #3 and #4 that you will re-use.
The real deal is taking out the rear bushing, #5 above, that holds the shift arm (#1) in place. Donít bother removing the front pins (#2,3,4) yet since if you canít remove the bushing thereís no point in disassembling more.
The rear end is simply a straight rod as I said which is inserted into the cylindrical rubber bushing #5. This bushing's cover is metallic but its inside is rubber. The metal cover has a horizontal slot on each side where tabs (#6) are inserted to hold it in place. To take it off you need to compress the bushing so that the slots are released from the tabs. Once you do this you're good and the rear end is loose. To compress the bushing you need to insert a flat screwdriver or small rod in the little opening that you'll see on the tabs. My screwdriver was too big, I ended up using an allen wrench as it was small enough to be inserted there, short enough for me to handle it and strong enough to not bend. Be persistent and with force it'll pop off. You don't need to or can't detach the tabs from the car (they have screws holding them in place but there's no room) you gotta pry the bushing off. This cross section diagram that I did shows what needs to be done:
Thatís it, if you have done it this far then the worst is over. You can now take off the front pins. Ruber bushings (#2) will be reused as well in the new part. Simply re-insert #5 in the rear end and the part is ready to go in.
The new shift arm was tricky for me to put in place... there's not much clearance but you CAN do it, around the drive shaft. I placed it from below the car, not from above inside the cabin.
Once you have it in, replace the holding pins and press the #5 bushing back into the tabs attached to the car (#6). Youíre almost done!
The new SSK shifter will snap in place in the Shift Arm. Put in the pin #11 to hold it in place but donít secure it yet with #12. You should check that in Neutral the lever is centered correctly and not to the side. If this is not the case you can detach the pin #11 and rotate the lever 180 degrees very easily and test again. You canít miss it, itís easy to see if the lever is installed correctly or needs to be rotated. Once you are satisfied, clip in #12.
Just a note: The rubber cover of the lever (#10) was pretty tight. Have patience and pull it off forcefully. I used a flat screw driver to help me remove it, just don't rip it although it's pretty strong rubber. The original shift knob was also a b** to pull off. Try and try, donít rotate it as it has a guide that can break if you try to rotate it. It will come out.
A few pics and how it looks installed!
This is how the original lever looks like (I'm selling the OEM assembly
And this is how the one from the 335i SSK (which I installed) looks like:
This picture is taken from this thread, you can check part numbers and the realoem link there too: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354733
You can see that BOTH have the bent lever although they are slightly different.
Now these are the pictures of my SSK install. I bought the M-Tech perforated leather shift knob instead of the kit's one.
NEUTRAL from rear seat:
Neutral from exactly above:
3rd gear from above:
4th gear from above:
1st gear from above:
1st gear from the side: