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Installing a 5-Speed the Penny-Wise Pound-Foolish Way (which is to say, I'm an idiot)

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As it has been well-demonstrated, I'm an idiot. The little tick-tick-tick sound was due to my forgetting to remove the band around the guibo.

Unfortunately, the low dull rumbling appears to be due to my not having smacked the transmission tunnel with the hammer in exactly the right spot. The slave cylinder is just touching the body. I'm not going to drop the box just so I can smack it; I'm hoping that I can either get a pry bar in there and lever the sheet metal over a little bit (of course I'll feel bloody stupid if I snap the slave cylinder) or reach the general area with a couple of 1/2" ratchet extensions and smack the end.

We had our first New England snowfall this morning, so it's unlikely I'll get much more driving in before the tii and its new 5-speed are put to bed for the winter.

In the "what sort of a budget did your budget 5-speed have" department, these were my actual costs:

--Getrag 245 transmission: $125 (Craigslist)

--Shortened driveshaft of unknown provenance: $75 (Craigslist)

--U-shaped bracket: $50 (ClassicDaily)

--Home-shortened shifter platform and linkage of unknown provenance: $30 (eBay)

--Braided clutch hose: $30

--Used 2002A speedometer cable: $20 (eBay)

--323i throwout bearing: $40 (eBay)

--320i clutch arm, retaining spring, and pivot pin: $15

--228mm Satchs clutch kit: $213

--Clutch master cylinder: $65

--Clutch slave cylinder: $26

--Transmission selector shaft seal: $8

--320i rubber transmission mount: $0 (had a used one lying around)

As per last installment, the big take-away from the first test drive is that there's nothing obviously wrong with the bargain-basement trani and driveshaft. That's a big relief.

But even with the dirt-cheap gearbox, driveshaft, and shortened shifter, the list totals nearly $700. So much for a "budget installation," huh? The elective prophylactic purchases were the clutch (the one that was in it really was fine) and the clutch master cylinder. Subtract those and it's about $420, which starts to sound reasonable.

But I'm comfortable with that amount of mission creep. I sleep a little better at night knowing that the components inside the bell housing (clutch, t/o bearing, lever, pin) are all new, and thus the odds of needing to drop the box are slim. Plus, when the original four-speed was in, I was having difficulty shifting out of neutral and into gear once it was warmed up. I had replaced the slave and bled it thoroughly, but it made no difference, so I was looking at possibly needing to do the master cylinder even if I didn't install teh 5-speed. I suppose, if I wanted to know for certain what the cause was, I would've replaced the trani and slave first, then the clutch, then the master (yeah, right...) but the important thing is that the problem is now completely gone.

The home-shortened shifter of unknown provenance works fine, but there's no mistaking it for a professionally-built, tight, short shifter. Which is to say, it feels about like every 2002 shifter I've ever had. I can live with that. And if I want to pony up the $110 for something better at a later date, that's easy. The transmission doesn't have to come out for that.

It would've been very easy to have the mission creep include the exhaust. The one on there is old but serviceable. The muffler wouldn't separate from the resonator, so I had to leave the assembly in there during removal and installation. But every time I smacked my forehead on it, I wanted to find a rust hole so I could have an excuse to Sawzall the damned thing out.

I guess my parting words of wisdom are this: Just be reasonable. It's fine to try and hold costs down, but as you confront the problems you run into along the way, think about the tradeoff between saving money and how you'll feel if you have to do it again because you got it wrong.



First Test-Drive

Not bad.

The first thing to check for is... is the transmission I bought and just spent successive nights and weekends installing a piece of junk? Does it spontaneously lock up, as one Getrag 245 did to me? Does it make rumbling grinding sounds? Does it shift smoothly through all gears? Aside from a very slight catch on second gear, this one feels fine.

Next... does the clutch work okay? I try and suss this out as much as I can, as soon as the transmission is installed, before I bolt up the driveshaft, linkage, exhaust, etc. At least I hook up the clutch hydraulics and verify that the clutch release lever is moving. But you never really know until you drive the car and shift it. After all, these conversions require putting in a different clutch throw-out bearing. There's ample opportunity to screw it up.

Now that you've verified the basic functionality of a clutch and transmission... is there anything specific to the 5-speed installation that's not right? Is there guibo or driveline vibration? In my case, no. But I am hearing/feeling three things:

1) An occasional metal-on-metal clunk when the car is started. Likely the trani is hitting the side of the tunnel, or part of the bracket, as the engine/trani rock when the car is started.

2) There's more rumble than there should be, like a rubber mount is maxed out and the engine/transmission is resting against something directly connected to the body. Considering how far I had to pull things to get the guibo/transmission aligned, this isn't terribly surprising. I'll put the car up on the lift, start and run it, and look at both of the above issues.

3) There's an occasional exhaust thunk, which has been a long-standing issue with this car. I'd solved it before, but when the trani was out and back in, the exhaust, obviously got twisted about.

So, minor stuff.

Boy, when you're spinning four grand at 70, it's awfully nice to have another gear to shift into.


The longer T-slot bolts arrived, and allowed me to stack four washers (0.26") above the center support bearing and still put a big washer and lock washer underneath the nut to make sure it stayed tight. With the long bolts and the washers allowing me to adjust the CSB down, and with the holes in the CSB elongated to the point that the right side of the CSB is literally against the body of the car, the guibo and driveshaft flange align fairly well.

I had one eye-opening experience when I lay beneath the car checking the alignment carefully. I noticed that two of the flange ears were further from the face of the guibo than the other two. Crap, I thought. This was a used Craigslist shortened driveshaft of unknown provenance. This seemed like clear indication that the flange wasn't welded on straight. I looked at it and looked at it, though, and couldn't see any wobble in the flange itself. I thought maybe two of the ears were bent. I was about to take it out and try and beat the ears into submission with a small sledge when I thought... maybe the guibo face isn't flat. I took some White-Out and marked the two flange ears and guibo holes that were out of alignment. Then I took the bolts out and rotated the flange 180 degrees, using the white marks to verify that I was doing it correctly. Sure enough, the white-marked flange ears now looked fine, and the white-marked guibo ears were slightly misaligned. The take-away message from this is: get it as close as you can, but the guibo is a piece of rubber, not a machined surface. If there is asymmetry as you spin around, it is more likely to be in the guibo than in the driveshaft. Be certain which one it is before you do anything drastic.

I tightened up the guibo and bracket bolts and thought, whew, tough part is over -- just bold on the headpipe, connect the exhaust, and you can drive this baby. I began connecting the headpipe, and immediately saw that I had a problem.

My headpipe has an oxygen sensor that connects to an air/fuel meter (indispensable for dialing in the Kugelfisher injection). It protrudes from a bung that's welded onto the headpipe. The recommendation is to have it at a positive angle relative to the horizontal so moisture doesn't accumulate in it. The location and angle I chose were selected when the four-speed was in the car. I hadn't given a moment of thought to how this would interact with the 5-speed... until now. It was clear that the O2 sensor pointed right at the transmission support bracket. Would it hit the bracket, or clear it? I gently tightened the three nuts where the headpipe bolts to the manifold, waiting to see whether that would pull it into the bracket or away from it.

Once the headpipe was tightened, the O2 sensor either just clears or barely hits the bracket, depending on whether you're a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full guy. In addition, the clearance between the bung and the U-bolt clamp that bolts to the bottom of the transmission is also tight (again, the bung location was chosen when the four-speed was in, when that U-bolt clamp was 3.6525" forward of where it is now). Given the choice of cutting the notching the transmission bracket (you can see the magic marker outline of where I'd need to cut), or buying a new headpipe and welding a new bung into it in a different place, or buying a different transmission mounting bracket, or just mounting it as-is...

Well, no surprise which is my default choice. It's all bolted up and ready to go. I'll give it a whirl and check how things look after a few drives... as soon as it stops raining.


It's ironic, but the guibo -- also called a "flex disc" -- isn't really built to withstand a whole hell of a lot of flexing. It's built to withstand short-duration flexing, like when the car hits a bump and the engine rocks on its mounts. But it's not a universal joint. It's not designed to run in a flexed position. It's designed so that the back of the guibo should be perfectly parallel -- and flush -- with the front of the driveshaft flange. If it's not parallel -- if, say, the back of the transmission is too low so the bottom-most ear on the flange is too far from the guibo and the top-most ear is bending the guibo toward the engine -- that wubba-wubba-wubba on the guibo will be happening 6000 times a second at 3000 rpm in 4th gear, and will tear the guibo apart in a few thousand miles.

When these cars left the factory with the shorter four-speed trani, it's not that the driveshaft and guibo were laser-aligned. They weren't. And, even in their prime, using OEM German parts, 2002s were certainly known to go through guibos. However, the 5-speed is longer than the 4-speed, there are not stock mounting points for the 5-seed, the cars are now 40 years old and things sag, many people say OEM German rubber isn't what it used to be, and many aftermarket guibos are crap. These things all exacerbate the problem. The U-shaped bracket comes closest to giving you stock mounting points because at least it bolts to the stock mounting points, but 1) Tom Jones says that the U-shaped bracket puts the trani slightly too low and that the original design had a kink at the support bushing to kick it up slightly, and 2) even if it's at the right height, the back of the trani can still be off substantially left-to-right.

If you search the FAQ for "5-speed guibo alignment," you'll find dozens of posts. They all tell you to install the 5-speed, install whatever rear bracket you're using, bolt the guibo to the back of the transmission, install the driveshaft at the rear, loosely attach the center support bearing, do NOT bolt the guibo to the driveshaft, and then put the trani in neutral, lie beneath the car, slowly spin the driveshaft, and look at how the transmission flange's ears touch the face of the guibo. If all ears touch simultaneously, it's aligned, you're done, tighten up the guibo and CSB, go beat on it. But if, say, the top ear is pushing the guibo forward but the bottom ear is not touching, it means that the bottom ear has to come closer. You can do that by raising the back of the transmission higher with washers under the rear support bushing, or by lowering the driveshaft by putting washers beneath the CSB's attachment points. Similarly if there's a gap on the right ear, you can loosen the bracket and shove the back of the transmission to the right, or slide the center support bearing to the left.

FAQer Marshall Lytle explains this all particularly well. ALL that matters, Marshall says, is getting the guibo and driveshaft parallel. Transmission centered in the tunnel? It just doesn't matter. Back of the shift platform centered in the gearshift hole? It just doesn't matter. Center support bearing has to have slots cut in it and slid all the way to one side and dropped down by half an inch? It just doesn't matter. The driveshaft has TWO UNIVERSAL JOINTS in it, Marshall says. Let them do their work so the guibo -- ahem, the "flex disc" -- doesn't flex.

I completely agree with Marshall. And I'm reminded of Bill Murray in Meatballs shouting "IT JUST... DOESN'T MATTER!"

And yet, for some reason, my '72tii is mocking me, and has vexing guibo alignment issues.

In order to get the guibo/flange aligned left-to-right, I had to push the back of the trani very far to the left. That wasn't enough, so I had to cut a slot in one side of the center support bearing, elongate the hole the other side, and mount the CSB so far to the right that the left side of the CSB is barely grabbed by the nut and the body of the CSB is hitting the body of the car,(see pic). It's almost as if the engine is cocked to the left. I loosed the engine mounts and tried to shove the engine to the right, but there's not any real adjustment in those mounts, short of removing them and elongating the mounting holes. I thought I had the eureka moment when I discovered that the driver's side engine mount was installed backwards, but since the front-to-back dimension is identical when measured back-to-front, turning it around the correct way made no difference.

Then, with the guibo close to aligned left-to-right, it was still too low, with a gap at the bottom-most flange ear (see pic). I put one of the fat 0.16" washers (the one that's meant to go on top of the support bushing) underneath the bushing, between it and the U-shaped bracket. That helped, but it wasn't enough. I put a second washer under there, which nearly closed the guibo/flange gap, but when I looked in the engine compartment, raising the back of the transmission tipped the engine forward enough to cause the fan to hit the radiator. My car has a triple-core radiator that has caused me clearance problems even before the 5-speed went in.

I went back to using a single 0.16" washer between the U-shaped bracket and the bushing and tried instead to lower the center support bearing. I used one standard 1/4-20 washer per side. Not enough. I tried two. Not enough. Three. Closer, but still not enough. And that that point, the nuts on those funny T-bolts holding up the CSB were not biting onto a lot of threads.

So... I need longer T-bolts. The stock ones are listed in realoem as "M8-18 square-headed bolt," part number 23711130250. Now, I'm usually quite adept at finding generic sources for metric hardware, but this one has me stumped. I've measured the base of the T-bolt -- the part that slides in the groove -- and the base of the bolt is 0.31", the groove in the body is about 0.34". The nearest thing I can find are T-slot bolts made for holding things in slot-based machinist jigs. McMaster-Carr has an "M6 T-slot bolt" 25mm long that fits into an "M6 slot." You have to look at the T-slot nuts in the McMaster catalog to see the size of an "M6 slot." It's 8mm, which is 0.312". Might fit. But, sheesh, the bolts are nearly $15 apiece. And the CSB is held on by13mm nuts, which usually means M8, not M6. A detail, but enough to give me pause in ordering longer T-slot bolts that might not work.

I looked further for a BMW alternative for a longer bolt. Right there in realoem it lists another "square-headed bolt," this one M8x21, part number 26111205004, used on later 2002s that have the heat shield over the guibo, and on larger cars up through E24s. And more like $5 a bolt.

I've ordered two of these. When they come, I'll install them and see if they're long enough to let me put a fourth washer beneath the CSB. I'll also loosen the differential again and smack it forward, since every time I lower the CSB, the driveshaft flange pulls slightly away from the guibo.

There may well be something with the engine alignment I'm not seeing. But I'm close enough to be able to drive it around that I can smell it. Besides, even if the engine is cocked slightly, it JUST... DOESN'T... MATTER...


In And Out

Yeah, 55 years old, and I still have the mind of an 8th grader.

If you're doing a 5-speed swap, you probably don't need me to tell you how to remove and install a transmission, but there are a few tricks.

Removal is simple enough. The Getrag 232 4-speed is small and light enough that you can just basically guide it onto your chest.

On installation, however, the 245 is heavier. I never had luck with simply man-handling it into position. You can try to maneuver the trani into place with a floor jack, but because of the 245's extra length, there's not a lot of room to spare in the transmission tunnel. A transmission jack with adjustable fore-and-aft tilt, or at least a decent floor jack adapter, is extremely helpful.

Because I have a mid-rise scissors lift, I make use of it for trani removal and installation. The body of the lift itself is in the way of a transmission jack, but if you have a lift table, a few milk crates, and a stout board, you can make it work (see http://thehackmechanic.blogspot.com/2013/11/removing-installinga-transmission-using.html).

Even with the lift and the transmission jack, I employ a few tricks that makes mating the trani to the engine easier:

  1. It's important that the engine be tipped back on its mounts. I wedge a piece of wood between the front of the engine and the nose to force it back.
  2. I loosen the six 17mm bolts (three on each side) holding in the front subframe. Take the middle one completely out first, then screw it in a couple of turns so you can see how far to unscrew the other two. Then unscrew the two on either side of the middle one. You can drop the subframe, and with it, the engine, about an inch. This helps make it so the back of the transmission isn't hitting the top of the underside of the tunnel when you're installing it.
  3. Put the transmission in any gear so you can rotate the output flange on the back which, in turn, will rotate the input shaft, which you may need to do to get the splines to line up with those in the clutch.
  4. Using guide rods makes the process much easier. At a minimum, buy some wooden or metal dowels just smaller than the 17mm bell housing bolts. Cut them about 6" long and stick them in the bell housing holes on the left and right sides of the block, then guide the transmission onto the dowels. The really trick thing to do is buy some threaded metric M10 and M8 rods at McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) and some nuts. Then you can cut 6" sections of the threaded rods and screw them into the block. The beauty of this is that, in addition to using them like the dowels to guide the transmission into place, once the ends are through the holes in the trani's bell housing, you can put nuts on the ends, tighten the nuts, and pull the trani right in. Works like a charm.

(next: my guibo alignment from hell)


Below are my opinionated but hopefully useful thoughts on selecting a rear support bracket and shortening the driveshaft.

The Rear Crossmember

There are basically four ways to support the rear of the 5-speed: 1) Weld or drill-and-bolt on a new set of factory tabs, 2) drill-and-bolt on a commercially-available rear brace, 3) use a no-weld no-drill-and-bolt U-shaped bracket, or 4) roll your own.

As per Ben Thongsai's bible (http://www.bimmers.com/02/upgrades/transmission.html), you can buy the factory transmission support brackets (part number 41 12 1 808 830), new, for about $15 a side, relocate them behind the original ones and 80mm up from the bottom of the frame rails (this is how it's described in the blue BMW 2002 factory manual), weld or bolt them to the transmission tunnel, and simply shorten your existing rear cross-piece to accommodate the fact that the tunnel is narrower further back. This is mechanically stable, since it supports the back of the transmission by locating the brace and tabs right there, at the back of the transmission. And it sounds easy and cheap. On paper, it is the least expensive option. But I tried it, and getting the bracket locations correct was more difficult than I thought, and my skills using a wire-feed welder to hold them in place were laughably poor, so I wound up having to drill holes in the transmission tunnel and bolt them in place. Plus, the old brackets are still there. I don't care, but if you have a concours car, you might. If you or your shop's welding and grinding skills are good, you could probably remove the old brackets, grind and touch up the spot where they were, weld on the new brackets, paint, and have the whole thing look factory. And that's how you turn the least expensive option into the most expensive option.

The next option is to use a commercially-available bracket/cross-piece that is meant to be bolted to the tunnel at the back of the transmission. One is the Ireland Engineering rear cross member ($110, http://www.iemotorsport.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ie&Product_Code=025spcross&Category_Code=2002-clutch-driveline), which is basically the same in form and function as the factory brackets and a cut cross-piece. The other is the Top End Performance rear crossmember ($110, http://www.racetep.com/5speed.html) that differs from the Ireland product in that it attaches to the original brackets AND ALSO bolts to the tunnel. I haven't used either the Ireland or TEP products, but it's my assumption that the TEP piece is probably self-measuring. That is, I assume that you bolt it to the transmission and to the existing support brackets, then mark the location of the rear holes, and drill there. In contrast, I assume that the fore-and-aft and height of the Ireland piece needs to be measured, just like using new factory tabs.

The third option is to use one of the methods that do not require relocating the support brackets or drilling holes in the tunnel for new ones. There are two that I am aware of. One is the U-shaped bracket pioneered by Rob Torres at 2002Haus. 2002Haus does not appear to be selling these currently on their web site. If you're interested, I encourage you to contact Rob Torres directly (he's a great guy). For many years, Rob did not sell the U-shaped bracket a la carte; he only sold it as part of his 2002 5-speed kit. Because of this, for better or worse, some people copied the U-shaped design and began selling a similar bracket ($45, http://www.classicdaily.net/products-page/bmw/bmw-2002-5-speed-bracket/). As I said, the advantage of these brackets is that they go right in without drilling or measuring. The disadvantage is that they do not support the weight of the transmission at the back; they support it by cantilevering the load on the original mounting tabs. Some folks have reported that, on cars that are tracked or aggressively driven, the tabs have bent or broken from the cantilevered load. My personal opinion is that, for a lightly-driven car, it's fine. I've used both the 2002Haus bracket, which went in with flawlessly with no modification whatsoever, and a copy (I can't remember if it was from ClassicDaily or just some guy on eBay), which required me to elongate the holes in the bracket for both the mounting tab bolts and the rubber mount, as they did not line up with the pieces in my car. Still, a trivial installation. Drilling holes in 2002s gives me the heebie jeebies, especially if there's an acceptable alternative.

The other no-drill bracket is from Metric Mechanic. They no longer show it on their web site, but I asked Metric about it a few years ago and they still sell it, though it was expensive. There are photos of it here (http://www.bmw2002faq.com/topic/93371-seeking-5-speed-conversion-information/page-2). It attaches to both transmission tabs and has adjustment built into it via a clever sliding mechanism.

Lastly, you can roll your own. Look through the FAQ and you'll see things put together with angle iron. When a U-shaped bracket is $45, I don't see the point.

Keep in mind that, even with the U-shaped brackets that I say "do not require drilling or measuring," ANY of these methods will almost certainly require final adjustment to get the guibo aligned with the face of the rear flange. This generally involves using washers to raise or lower the back of the transmission or the center support bearing, and will be the subject of a later post.

So, which should you use? If you're not going to be happy unless the underside of your car looks factory-stock (except, I guess, for the Getrag 245 and all those other conversion parts :^), go with option 1 with new factory tabs welded on, the original tabs removed, and everything cleaned up and painted all pretty. If you track or beat the crap out of your car and are concerned that supporting the trani from the original mounting tabs isn't going to be strong enough, then use option 1 or 2 with a bracket that goes straight across the back but requires welding or drilling. But if your car is lightly-driven and you want something quick, easy, and inexpensive, then use option 3, the U-shaped bracket.

The Driveshaft

It is well-documented that the driveshaft must be shortened by the difference in length between the 4-speed and the 5-speed -- 3.5625" -- then balanced. If you look on the Top End Performance web site, they rant that anyone who uses this canned number rather than fitting the 5-speed and measuring the flange-to-flange length from differential to transmission on their car doesn't know what they're doing because each car is different. I've tried measuring it myself, and due to questions on exactly what constitutes the flange face, sag of the tape measure, inaccuracy of the first 1/4 of the tape measure due to motion of the little right-angle tab, and other things, I KNOW that I can't measure that distance to within 1/8". Hell, I've tried measuring a driveshaft laying on the ground, and due to the same issues, plus lack of parallelism between the front and rear flanges (they're on universal joints), I know I can't do it accurately. Thus, my personal opinion is that the danger you'll get the measurement wrong is greater than the danger your car has a differential-to-transmission distance grossly different from other 2002s.

Plus, there's a secret to this.

Are you ready?

The differential location is adjustable fore-to-aft by almost 1/2". Undo the six bolts holding up the differential. Go ahead. It's not going to fall out; it's still sitting in the carrier. The holes those bolts go in are oblong.

So here's what you do. You get your driveshaft shortened by a reputable shop by the magic, correct 3.5625". You loosen those six differential bolts. You bolt the guibo to the driveshaft and test-install the shaft, bolting the rear of the shaft to the differential, putting the snout of the driveshaft in the rear transmission flange, but leaving the center support bearing nuts loose. Then you push forward, hard, on the back of the differential (I position a block of wood on the beefy part of the case, then tap it forward with a small sledge). Then you look at the space between the front face of the guibo and the rear face of the transmission flange. If some ears on the flange are touching the guibo, you're good, and the only remaining issue is the driveshaft-to-guibo alignment that any 5-speed installation needs to deal with. But if NONE of the ears are touching the guibo, the differential and driveshaft have to come further forward. If the diff is all the way forward in its oval slots and there's still space, you can try pulling the engine back on its mounts a bit.

Once I've pushed the differential forward and verified that the guibo and flange touch, I put in the four bolts attaching the guibo to the flange, tighten them (but not torque them down) so the driveshaft and rear end are pulled forward, THEN tighten the six differential bolts, THEN take the four guibo bolts back out and check for guibo-to-flange alignment.

Before I leave the driveshaft, a word on used versus rebuilt versus grease-able. The universal joints in BMW driveshafts are long-lived but are not easily rebuild-able by the do-it-yourselfer. Further, they do not have grease nipples. When you need to have a shaft shortened, you can a) simply have your existing shaft shortened, B) buy an exchange shortened shaft, c) buy a shortened shaft in which the universals have been rebuilt using the original-style non-grease-able joints, or d) buy a shortened shaft built with joints with grease fittings. Obviously the costs increase as you move up this chain of options. No value judgement here, but after owning 25 2002s, including ones that have lived hard New England daily driver lives, I've only ever swapped a driveshaft once because its universals were bad or noisy. If I'm having a shaft shortened, I just hand-rotate the front and rear universals, and if they're smooth, I don't worry about it, but if you're restoring a car from the ground up and want more, I understand.

(next: enough talk! so remove and install the damned thing already!)


Recently, in the main forum, a poster asked the question "can you do a 5-speed installation cheaply?" This is now my fourth. In my first installation, 20 years ago, I told Jim Rowe at The Metric Mechanic to just send me everything I needed, which was the antithesis of cheap, but the other three have been performed while trying to hold the cost down. This has meant:

--sourcing and installing transmissions entirely on the basis of low cost, with no provenance or guarantee

--buying non-pedigreed shortened shift platforms

--reusing many components

Can you save money? Sure. How much risk do you want to take on? As per the story in the first post in this blog, I once installed a bad 245 and had to remove it, eat the cost, and source another one.

Let's start over. The usual parts list for a 5-speed installation is:

  • Getrag 245 5-speed transmission
  • 320i clutch slave
  • 320i clutch slave hose (either flexible hose and rigid pipe, or Ireland braided hose)
  • Throwout bearing (323i bearing for a 228mm clutch; 320i bearing for a 215mm clutch)
  • Shortened driveshaft with output flange that matches that of the transmission
  • Shortened shift mechanism (shift platform, linkage rod, and diagonal brace)
  • Long speedometer cable from 2002 automatic
  • Transmission support bracket (either the stock mounting tabs relocated backwards, combined with a shortened cross-brace, or the 2002Haus U-shaped bracket, or the Metric Mechanic bracket, or the Top End Performance bracket, or roll your own)
  • 320i rubber transmission rear mount
  • Fresh transmission fluid (I like Redline MTL)

If your Getrag 245 didn't come with the clutch release arm, plastic pivot point, and retaining clip, you'll need those too.

To the above list, you add the while-you're-in-the-neighborhood parts:

  • Guibo
  • Driveshaft center support bearing
  • Clutch and disc
  • Pilot bearing
  • Resurface flywheel
  • Engine rear main seal
  • Transmission shifter rod seal
  • Transmission input shaft seal
  • Transmission output shaft seal
  • Transmission shifter bushings

So, what's the absolute minimum you can get away with? Let's say you find a cheap trani, find someone to shorten the driveshaft, have access to a welder so you can cut and shorten your own shift platform and linkage, and you reuse as much as possible. It plays out like this:

  • Transmission: ???
  • 320i slave: $25
  • 320i hose: $30 (Ireland)
  • 323i throwout bearing for 228mm clutch: $65
  • Shortened shaft: $100 (rock-bottom estimate for taking the front half of your driveshaft to someone local for shortening)
  • Stock bolt-on transmission support bracket: $15 x 2 (though personally I'd spend the $45 on a U-shaped bracket instead; see next installment)
  • Speedometer cable: $70 (Ireland)
  • 320 rubber mount: $10 (the cheap UroParts one if you're trying to save money)

That totals $330. Without the transmission. And most people aren't going to shorten and weld their own shift platform and linkage, so add another $150 for Ireland's or someone else's. I don't see how you can do it for less. I was fortunate to find a 323i bearing new in open box on eBay for $40 shipped, and a speedo cable used on eBay for $20 shipped. But you can't count on that.

Of course, this is just the bare minimum. Unless your center support bearing is recent, the conventional wisdom is that you're penny-wise and pound-foolish if you take the driveshaft apart, send the front half in for shortening, and don't put in a new center support bearing (and dear god don't buy a UroParts one; they're crap). Similarly, most folks will tell you it's false economy to reuse the guibo.

Or is it? One way to think about it is this: Driveshaft, shifter, or guibo parts can be installed without having to drop the trani. If you want to reuse them, and they go bad, the downside isn't too awful. But you don't want to be wrong about the clutch or other stuff in front or behind it. My clutch looked nearly perfect, but the 1989 dates on the plate and disc gave me pause. The Sachs KF138-01 clutch kit is $213 from AutohausAZ. My flywheel looked fine so I left it. Typically if I don't need to pull the flywheel and if there's no evidence my engine's rear main seal is leaking, then I leave it be, but if the flywheel has to come out to be resurfaced, I'll usually do the rear main seal. Similarly with the transmission's front and rear seals; if they show evidence of leaking, I'll change them, but if they don't I won't. I always, however, change the little $8 seal where the shift lever comes out the back of the transmission end cover, as they always seem to leak over time. My trani didn't come with a clutch lever or pivot so I needed those (cheap).

Aardvarc's (2002parts.com, Dave Varco is a great guy) 5-speed kit, sans transmission or clutch, is about $900. Ireland's, if I'm adding the numbers right, is $925, also without clutch or transmission. These are big numbers. It's not unreasonable to ask if you can get away with less. You can. But you need to accept 1) the risk that used parts will fail, 2) that, in taking driveshafts to inexpensive local sources who have never shortened and balanced a BMW driveshaft, you may need to pay for it twice when the first one has problems, 3) that used parts with no particular provenance are not going to look clean and sexy like the well-photographed setups on vendor's web sites, and 4) that homebuilt or scrounged shift setups probably aren't going to shift as crisply with zero play as commercial products.

(next, my opinion on rear cross-braces)


Filling The Gaps

I had the Getrag 245, the shortened shaft, the shortened shifter and platform, the long clutch line, and a long speedometer cable. I found an old U-shaped bracket I had in the parts bin, a knock-off of the 2002Haus one that I'd bought years back after I'd met Rob Torres at 2002Haus and bought the real thing. I was fortunate to find a new-in-box 323i clutch release (throwout) bearing on eBay for $40 shipped. I ordered a new clutch slave and clutch release arm.

As per posts in the main forum, I ordered a new Sachs KF138-01 clutch kit with disc, plate, throwout bearing I don't need, and pilot bearing at Rockauto for $203. I probably would've just reused the existing disc and pressure plate, but the "89" date stamp gave me the heebie jeebies.

I ordered a new clutch master from BMAParts for $65. A few years ago I had the clutch slave go bad on my E9 and had to do the start-it-in-gear-to-get-it-home thing. I'm not afraid of having to do that for an around-town car, but I want to take some road trips in the tii in the spring, so I thought I'd do it prophylactically.

When I pulled the foam rubber cover off the pedal bucket to change the clutch master, the outside of the bucket was flaky and rusty. I'm pretty good at not sliding down the slippery slope. Rather than pull and rebuild the pedal bucket, I hit it with a Scotch Brite wheel and gave it a quick coating of "Zero Rust." I like this stuff. It doesn't have the cache or the bullet-proof encapsulation of POR-15, but it's very easy to work with. I lay it on with a brush. And it comes in colors; I have black, white, tan, and green.

The posts here on the FAQ say that, when you're installing a new clutch master, you should put the metal tube from the reservoir into the rubber grommet in the master before bolting the master to the bucket. I did, but I guess I was really man-handling the rubber line because, before I knew it, it was in my hand -- it had ripped the cloth hose holding it to the reservoir at the top. I got the bottom end in the grommet, and threaded the top end up near the brake booster, then, with my son inside the car and me beneath it, bolted the master to the bucket.

Tonight, I thought I'd clean up some odds and ends before installing the trani. One was replacing the ripped section of cloth clutch hose. But when I lowered the car off the lift and looked at the metal line from the top, I could see that I'd threaded the damned metal clutch hose behind the bracket that holds the brake booster to the fender wall. The line is supposed to go in front of the bracket. I suppose I just should've pulled the master back out, but I thought, no, I don't need to do that -- instead, I can just remove the bracket. Besides, neither of my kids were around to help me man the wrench on the other side of the bucket (yes I know I can just use a Vice Grip).

Bad idea. What a pain in the ass. It would've been much easier and quicker to pull the master back out. The bolts holding the bracket to the firewall came out easily enough, but the two nuts holding it to the booster have to be reached from beneath the car, and one of them has very restricted access. It's one of those where you use an open-ended wrench, turn it 1/8 turn, then flip the wrench around and get another 1/8 turn. And then, when that nut is backed off, it hits the bracket itself, preventing it from turning. Then, after the two nuts were off, the bracket still wouldn't come off; it was pinched by the other piece of the booster bracket. I finally realized I needed to loosen the two other nuts holding the booster to its bracket (on the top) in order to pull the studs forward to get the bracket out. When I finally pulled it out, I took the Dremmel tool and ground a notch in the bracket above the left hole to afford better clearance going in.

I was about to put the metal line on the correct side of the bracket and put it all back together when I noticed that brake fluid that had leaked out of the reservoir over the years had eaten away the paint in a good long section below the reservoir, leading nearly down to the frame rail. Well, now or never. I took a Scotch Brite pad and gave it a very cursory cleanup, then found the white "Zero Rust" paint and a cheap brush and slapped it on. Hey, it's better than nothing, and I'm not about to pull everything and refinish the engine compartment. Good enough for now. But now I need to let the paint dry before bolting the bracket back up.

And that is enough for tonight.


And So It Begins

Actually, it began quite a while ago. I've been posting tidbits to the main forum. Last night, someone politely said "dude, this stuff really belongs in a blog instead of a new post every night." He's right.

So let me rewind the tape.

I've had about 25 2002s, but because I had a one-car garage for nearly 20 years, and that garage held my 3.0CSi, I was 2002-less for those 20 years. When my new garage got built in 2005, the sheetrock literally wasn't up on the wall before I started to buy 02s again. My first one was an Agave '73 tii, largely rust-free, that I bought to flip. It had just been repainted but the owner had a disagreement with the body shop over a run in the paint, and yanked it out with all the glass, trim, and interior out of the car. I bought it and reassembled it. While that was ongoing, I happened into a cheap Getrag 245 and thought, what the hell, I've done this before.

Wait, how did I do this before?

And then I remembered -- the last 5-speed I did was 20 years prior, when I was young and childless and flush with more disposable income, and I simply called Jim Rowe at The Metric Mechanic (when Jim still wrote for Roundel) and said "send me everything I need." So the shortened shift platform, the weird Metric cantilievered mounting bracket, shortened driveshaft, everything, all came from Metric.

As I started that 5-speed install in about 2006, I read Ben Thongsai's page on bimmers.com (http://www.bimmers.com/02/upgrades/transmission.html, still in my opinion the bible) and followed his advise on simply using a set of factory mounting tabs. I liked that. I can be very enamored of inexpensive, simple solutions. But, oh my word, the measuring... I spent several nights beneath the car trying to get that magic "80mm above the frame rail" measurement correct. I borrowed a wire-feed welder to tack the tabs in place. I'd never used one. What a horror. What an abomination. The welds looked like they'd fall off at any moment. I wound up drilling through the transmission hump to brace the tabs with nuts and bolts. I always felt badly that I'd done that to the car. True to my deal with myself, I sold that car, a month before the economy tanked in the summer of 2008. I felt like a freaking genius.

Then, tii values started their rise, and I felt like a freaking idiot.

I bought another 2002, a beater, not-quite-a-rat-rod, that I promised to myself not to try to turn into something it wasn't. I failed miserably. I found a CL ad by someone local selling a full 5-speed kit he pulled out of a rusty car. I met the guy. He knew BMW CCA founder Michel Potheau and other old-timers I'd met. I got everything -- the Getrag 245, the driveshaft, the shortened shift platform, the long speedo cable -- for $300. Seemed like a nice guy. Seemed like a steal.

Except that, #1, everything isn't really EVERYTHING. There's the new guibo, new clutch slave, new clutch hose, new clutch disc and pressure plate, new center support bearing, and of course as many of the rubber seals as you want to prophylactically attack, so it's never cheap.

And it didn't include mounting tabs or a center support bracket. At that point I found out about Rob Torres at 2002haus and his U-shaped bracket. I ordered one and used it for the installation. I loved the easy, no-drill mounting, and for a lightly-driven car, the cantilevered design didn't concern me.

But the real problem was that, after I installed the trani, I took the car for a drive down the street, and BANG! The rear wheels locked up. And then they unlocked. It was bizarre. I went twice around the block, thinking "what the..." and then it did it again. I put the car up on the lift and revved it up, but could never catch it in the act while it was up. I thought, well, not sure what to make of this... and drove it again, and it happened again. BANG! I e-mailed the seller and he claimed the box worked when he pulled it out of the car. And who knows, it probably did. But he didn't offer to kick me back any money. Ah well. Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.

I had little choice but to pull the trani out. I could've put the four-speed back in -- there was nothing wrong with it -- but I was in for a penny, in for pound. I found another inexpensive Getrag 245 that was mislabeled on eBay. I bought it and waited for it to arrive. A week went by. Nothing. I e-mailed the seller. Nothing. A month went by. I was about to escalate things to a formal dispute when the guy contacted me and said that his son had just been in a terrible automobile accident and he and his wife were caring for him, and that he didn't give a shit about the trani, he'd refund my money if I wanted, or if I wanted to wait him out, he'd eventually send it, but not soon. It was one of those moments where you realize that, if you're impatient with someone because they're not hopping to meet your needs, or if they're non-responsive, you never really know what's going on with them. It could be something tragic has just happened, and you don't want to be that person who puts the hammer down on them. I waited him out. And, true to his word, he sent it. People are usually like that if you give them a chance.

About a year and a half ago I bought the '72tii I have now. The 4-speed in it is flawless. No second gear munch. Recently rebuilt shifter. Tight. I had no reason to change it to a 5-speed.

But, I was on a business trip where I had to drive a truck towing a 32' trailer from Boston to Niagra Falls. I methodically checked eBay in every city on the way there and back for interesting things to buy. Seats. Wheels. And drivetrain components. After all, I had a trailer. I found another Getrag 245 in Buffalo for $125. You can't pass that up, right? Right. (Unfortunately I got caught in lake effect snow on the drive back, and felt like a bloody idiot that I'd jeopardized the drive by stopping for a transmission I didn't need, but that's another story.)

Having the trani, over the course of a year, I cruised eBay and CL for the other conversion parts. I found a long speedo cable on eBay with a $20 BIN that didn't list whether it was from an auto or stick. I messaged the seller the question, and when it came back "auto," I bought it immediately. I found, also on eBay, a shortened shifter kit of dubious provenance for $30. I found a shortened shaft locally for $75, from an abandoned project, painted with flames (!). I bought one of Mark Preisendorf's braided clutch slave cylinder lines for $30 before he absconded with some folks' money (including mine, by the way, for an '02 radiator).

As some of you know, I was planning on driving the tii to The Vintage this past Memorial Day, but was felled by last-minute cooling system problems. After those were solved, though, I did get to drive it a fair amount around New England in late summer and fall. Enough to remind me how tiring it is to hear the engine spinning 4200 at 70mph for hours at a stretch (though the engine doesn't mind it at all).

So, about a week ago, the tii went up on the lift, and The Great 5-Speed Installation began.

(to be continued...)