5 speed transmission swap


Cost: $500 or more


Time: 16 - 30 hours

If your automatic transmission gave up, or you want to install a turbo in your car or just like the extra power, whatever the reason you might one day want to install a 5 speed transmission ino your car.

This isn't a small procedure, this is a lot of work, and you are dealing with heavy components. If doing a clutch job scares you, you might not want to tackle this job.

Things to prepare

The first thing to do is to get all the parts needed for the swap. Knowledge of BMW drivetrain is a major plus. 

Get from a part car: transmission, transmission brackets, clutch (might want a new one), flywheel (might want a lightweight one), pressure plate, every single parts and bolts attached to the transmission, driveshaft, reverse switch wiring, clutch hydraulic, complete pedal assembly, driveshaft, differential.You also want the special relay so you can start your car.
Buy new: rear crankshaft seal, flywheel bolts, pressure plate bolts, clutch bearing, transmission mounts, bitch clip, shifter weareable parts, driveshaft center bearing, guilbo, transmission seals, gear box fluid, diff fluid, diff side seals.

Check and double check that you have all the parts because you do not want to get stuck in this project if it is your daily driver.

The electrical complications

To make it all work and so your car can start, you need to fix a couple of wires and relay:


1- Making the car start (no neutral switch):
You need to replace the relay, found in the relay box under the hood with the relay (the one with a stipe from the 5 speed car.
95 model years are different, here is the information from bimmerforum

2- Disable Trans program error, disable Gear indicator display, enable removal of trans computer.
To acheive this, you need to gound pin 10 of the female side of the X506 12 pins connector. This connector is located under the gearshift once you remove the whole automatic shifter mechanisme.
You can take out the brown ground wire from the blue connector (pin #5) of the A/M switch.

Remove the grey wire #10 from the 12 pins connector.

Insert the brown wire from the blue connector into the 12 pin connector and reconnect both side of X511 back together.

3- Cruise control.
This is a really easy one, the white plug for the clutch pedal switch is located around the bundle of wire, it is a two wire plug. Remove the end of it (plug with wire shorting both sides) and kept it, you will need it for the reverse light wires. Plug the clutch wiring to the switch. Done.

4- Reverse light switch
If you are lucky you have the wires from the 5 speed car, else get two lenght of wires and connect some female spades to their ends.
These wires needs to be connected to the black 8 pin connecteur under the shifter console (X511) to pin 6 and 7.

This is what I did, the stock 5 speed reverse wire and the wire connector I got from the clutch pedal switch wires

Cut the loop from the clutch wire connector, cut the old female connector from the stock 5 speed wire and solder then shring wrap it all

This is the connector X511 8 pins, you want to connect the reverse light wires to pin 6 (Green/black) and pin 7 (Blue/Yellow)


I used a zip tie to secure my connectors together. The reverse lights are now working perfectly.

Connect the other end of youre wire to the reverse switch of your gear box (there is a grommet if you have the stock wire)


Removal of the automatic transmission

These are not detailed step by step procedures are they are well detailed in the bentley, more like a guideline

1- Place the car on jack stands as high as you can because you will need to clear the automatic transmission out from under the car.
2- Remove the 10mm plastic nuts holding the O2 sensor wire metal shield. Disconnect the O2 sensor and zip tie it to the exhaust. Remove the exhaust (check your exhaust hangers and get new ones if need be). Set the exhaust well away from the work area.
3- Remove the exhaust shield (6 x 13 mm bolts)
4- If you are changing the center bearing, loosen the 19mm bolt that is attaching both pieces of the driveshaft with the car in gear and the handbrake on.
5- Remove all the nuts connecting the driveshaft to the differential.
6- Remove the bolts and nuts connecting the flex disc to the driveshaft and connecting the flex disc to the automatic transmission.

7- Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the center bearing and remove the driveshaft.
8- Drain the transmission from it's oil
9- To disconnect the transmision from the engine, you need to remove 3 bolts connecting the flywheel to the torque converter.
Put the car in gear and remove the plug on the transmission housing to access the bolts. Rotate the engine until you can see the bolts.

10- Place a jack under the transmission to support it
11- Remove the 13mm bolts to remove the transmission bracket and the transmission mounts. The 525i has a front and rear bracket...
12- Lower the transmission using the jack so you can access the transmission bolts.
13- Use your super long extention to remove all the differnent torx bolts holding the transmission, these are the only thing holding the transmission.
14- Remove that "oups I forgot" 10 mm bolt holding the transmission shield to the transmission (passenger side behing the tranny).
15- Disconnect all electrical connections from the transmission.
Don't forget to remove the gear selector from the transmission, while you are at it, you might as well remove the whole shifter selection from inside the car.
16- disconnect the transmission oil lines from the radiator, remove all the clamps and disconnect the lines from the transmission... or cut them if you can't.
17- Ok, the torque converter is full of transmission oil and the transmission is really really heavy so be careful when you remove the transmission.
The transmission should be strapped to your jack or a proper transmission jack should be used.
Wiggle the transmission until it comes out, start lowering the jack while keeping the transmission straight.

18- Place the transmission far away from the working area, next to the exhaust and the blue bag is fine

19- Remove the flywheel (impact gun works great)

Enjoy, you are 1/3 of the way to have your car to be 5 speed... Take a break, drink a beer.

Clutch installation

Nothing tricky, make sure you have a clutch disc center tool and a known working or new clutch. The flywheel should be resurfaced if used.
1- While you are there, use you seal puller and remove the old crankshaft seal and replace it with a new one.

2- Install the new bearing in the center (see picture, bearing installed)
3- Install the new flywheel and torque it down to the proper value (70ftlb for the 525i), I use a transmission bolt and one of the flywheel stud, a wrench between both keeps the engine from turning while I am torquing the fllywheel.

4- Use your centering tool and install the clutch then the pressure plate and torque the pressure plate down.

And you are done for the clutch. Easy right?

Clutch pedal installation

If you have a 535i then you are in luck, you do not need to change the whole pedal assembly because the pedal assembly has the metal piece welded for the clutch pedal return spring. If in doubt, change the whole assembly.

1- Make sure the battery is disconnected. Remove the panels around and under the steering wheel column.
2- Disconnect all the connectors on the left side of the steering column, not two are the same so no need to lable them.

3- If you have airbag, there is a orange plug near the steering wheel, so remove the lower steering wheel cover and disconnect it and set it aside

4- Ok, remove the large nut that is at the base of the steering shaft all the way down.
5- Now you need to remove a special stupid "impossible to remove" bolt. But if you get the #7 sears or snap on bolt removal tool, you can get it off. The bolt is located mid way down the steering column

6- Now this was the hardest part, remove the last two bolts at the front of the steering colum and set the steering column aside

7- Remove the old pedal assembly, pull the clips that retain the throttle bar and pull it out out of the pedal box. then unclip the brake pedal and knock the pin out.
8- Install the new pedal assembly, remove the sensors so you do not break them. The spring for the throttle bar is next. you need to start the end that goes into the pedal box while holding the loop end up, once both side are on, put the bushings into place on the pedal box, then sit in the seat and push each side home with your feet. Attach the clip over the pedal bar

What I did with the master cylinder was to connect it to the metal clutch line prior installing the pedal assembly, this is really a major pain because you need to drain the fluid reservoir, pull it out, cut a little bit of the nipple, insert the master cylinder feed line and then the grommets... painful.

5 speed transmission installation

Ok, now the fun part, the 5 speed transmission is pretty light... well compared to the atomatic transmission.
1- Clean the transmission up and change all the seals while the transmission is on the ground, rear seal, shifter selecting rod seal and front seal.Yes I know that tiny selecting rod seal is a pain to remove... but do it... I didn't do mine and then once the transmission was on the car full of oil, it leaked.
2- Install a new clutch release bearing lightly (LIGHTLY) greased.
4- Place the transmission on the transmission jack and wiggle it in place.
5- Bolt it in (good luck with the starter bolts on 525i)
6- Install the shifter parts

7- Install the shifter arm, the bitch clip, the new yellow washers and clips. Look into the car to make sure that you placed the shifter in the correct direction and that you are happy with the shifter.

8- Install the slave cylinder, replace with a new one if you are not sure if yours is in good shape. (Yes I need to change mine)

9- Install the transmission support brackets with new bushings, connect the reverse light wires and remove the jack.

Ok, this is done, I do not install the driveshaft because I want to make sure that everything is working well, so if you want, you can install the pedal assembly and then run the car (yes it is loud without exhaust and yes kind of safe). Go through all the gears to make sure that all works great.

Now you just have to install the driveshaft, flex disc, new differential, FLUID in the gearbox and differential, the exhaust shield, exhaust and you are done.

Start the car and enjoy shifting the gears yourself hehehe.

Big thanks to attack eagle 
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