The manual gearbox may be a dying breed, but BMW is making efforts to keep the clutch pedal alive. The M3 and M4 still offer a stick shift, and it’ll be a similar story with the upcoming M2. This original 8 Series comes from a time when enthusiasts couldn’t even fathom the idea of all-auto sports cars. Such is the case with the E31 riding on air suspension as the car was built with the five-speed auto transmission.
The car’s owner decided to spice up his 840Ci by ditching the automatic in favor of a manual. Not just any manual gearbox, but one sourced from an M5 E39. The talented British folks from 777 Garage have never done such a swap before, but they were up for the challenge. To make it happen, the owner purchased all the necessary bits and pieces through a BMW dealership. In addition, the mechanics also installed a limited-slip differential from an E32 750i.
After getting rid of the exhaust and propshaft, they took off the transmission together with the torque converter. All four were removed from the E31 in about an hour before taking out the gearbox cables and pedals the next day. Per the owner’s request, 777 Garage replaced the output and input shaft seals.
The Owner Can Now Row His Own Gears In The E31
The BMW dealer might have taken advantage of the owner since about half of the items he bought turned out to be unnecessary. Ironically, some of the new parts were ultimately replaced with used components from an E39 bought for cheap. The 25-minute video goes through the whole process of fitting the six-speed manual, including the pedal assembly.
The manual conversion turned out to be a straightforward process and now the E31 has a six-speed manual to echo the 840Ci sold in Europe with three pedals. It works as intended, including the traction control system and with no vibrations. The owner can hit 60 mph in second gear while the speedometer remains accurate after the swap. At 60 mph in sixth gear, the engine is at a little over 2,000 rpm.
777 Garage can remap the ECU to extract a bit more power, but that’s up for the owner to decide. The E31 had 282 horsepower back in the day, regardless of whether it had the 4.0-liter M60 or the 4.4-liter M62. However, the latter had slightly more torque (420 Nm vs 400 Nm) and was thriftier.
All things considered, the owner must be enjoying his 8er to the fullest since he can row his own gears.
Source: The 777 Garage / YouTube