UUC’s EVO3 Short Shifter for a manual transmission BMWs is one of my favorite upgrades on a bimmer. It shortens the trows of the shifting pattern by 35% while it also drops the height of the shifter and creates a superb mechanical engaging feel when selecting gears. The one purported downside of a short shift kit is that it can increase the effort it takes change gears. I’ve tried many brands of short shift kits and never found the increased effort to be distracting, though can see why BMW might not make these standard in a production car.
A few BMW models come from the factory with excellent shifters, such as the 1 Series M Coupe, E46 330i ZHP, Z3M and E90/E92 M3. All these models have well weighted short throws and nice stubby shifters. However, there are a few BMWs that, as my old editor from Roundel would say, have a “long spoon in the tapioca” feeling. This is where an aftermarket short shift kit. like the one reviewed here from UUC, can make a huge difference. Further, UUC gives you an height adjustable 3/4” range in which you can adjust the shift kit. I prefer to set it as low as it goes.
So what’s this short shift like to install on your own? Well, it’s not for the faint of heart or those short on the proper tools. I am not going to recreate a DIY guide as there are plenty very good ones on the web. The UUC EVO3 short shift kit even comes with excellent detailed seventeen pages of instructions.
I did find a couple of things with the install that were invaluable in retrospect. One of the most important things is having access to a lift. We used a 2-post 9,000lbs lift. The second most important thing is to find a bud to help you. While, I suspect if you’ve done this several times, and you could probably do it on your own, I found it helps to have one person in the car and one person underneath. A second person is very helpful for removal of the heat shield and center section of the exhaust.
In the E46, the notorious bitch clip pictured here is actually much easier to get out than the E36 bitch clip. The derlin shifter bushings were easy to install in the linkage arm but a bear to line up correctly for reinstall of the arm on the transmission. This took us much longer than anticipated. It took one in the car adjusting the position of the of the linkage arm while the other person tried to push the bitch clip back through the center. Changing these to the derlin bushings helps decrease the side to side motion that worn out bearings can cause, so I thought it is worth the effort.
There are other good short shift kits out there such as ones from B&M, Autosolutions but in my opinion the UUC is best. It is precisely machined stainless steel, has sealed bearings and includes Delrin shifter carrier bushings. It costs about $350 and can be purchased from Bavarian Autosport, Turner Motorsport or even UUC themselves. With the proper access to good tools and help you can even install it yourself.
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