The MCoupe Gets a 6 Speed Part II

With summer drawing nearer and nice driving days getting more frequent, it was nice to finally finish with the 6 speed swap on the MCoupe and take it out for a spirited drive this weekend to test everything out but more of that at the end.

Swapping out to a lightweight flywheel, HD pressure plate and a clutch with a much higher holding capacity is not something that most people do for street driven cars but ClutchMasters does a very good job with there dual use street/race setups.  The FX350 Formula Button clutch, pressure plate and aluminum flywheel is very streetable and holds extremely well for quick shifts.

Slightly used pressure plate, clutch disk and flywheel installed

Slightly used pressure plate, clutch disk and flywheel installed

Getting the new transmission installed was a tight fit.  It's quite a bit wider at the back and it's longer as well but with the help of a friend and a jack, it really wasn't too bad.  With the 5 speed on it's mount, I could fit my fingers in-between the base and the transmission tunnel.  With the 6 speed, I can barely shove a piece of cardboard in-between the tunnel and transmission.

The two transmissions.  The 5 speed on the left, 6 speed on the right

The two transmissions.  The 5 speed on the left, 6 speed on the right

New transmission installed. 

New transmission installed. 

I sent off my OEM shift support and selector rod to Zionsville AutoSport to have a new one for the new transmission made as they have most of the measurements already and are extremely good at welding aluminum (their aluminum expansion tanks are works of art).  Almost a month later, the parts arrived.

Modified shift support from an e46 330i

Modified shift support from an e46 330i

Installed in the car with the shift lever and selector rod to test fitment

Installed in the car with the shift lever and selector rod to test fitment

And of course, it's the small details that make this project worth doing.  With the swap being an OEM plus type of project of course I'm not going to use the stock 5-speed lighted shift knob insert with my lighted ZHP knob so a friend made a query on ZPost and a very kind forum member shipped out a knob from a Z4 MCoupe for free.  After pulling out the insert and a few coats of black paint on the back to get rid of any light bleedthrough due to removal, it was ready to stick in the knob.

The most important part

The most important part

My first thoughts post swap are "why didn't they come like this from the factory?"  There's a few reasons but it really is a very solid upgrade and worth the money to do it if you plan on keeping your MCoupe for a while like me.  The upshifts are quicker and more solid, the heel-toe downshifts are easier and the car itself is quicker without really changing the top speed.  It really is a much better setup than the stock one for a track and autox without loosing any of the streetablilty of the car.