The old saying is never more true: when you are
at the top, everyone wants to knock you off.
B&M Racing, a well-respected aftermarket manufacturer, unveiled their newest line of BMW
shifters at the SEMA convention in November 2003. Their new products
directly target UUC Motorwerks and our BMW Ultimate Short Shifters. In
fact, B&M's new products are
undoubtedly the result of much examination of UUC's kits, as the
comparisons that B&M has put on their website clearly shows - click
Unfortunately, their comparison is wildly
inaccurate and misleading.
However, one thing that B&M seems to have overlooked: UUC Motorwerks
does not attempt to
make shifters for all cars... rather we excel at making shifters
for a select few automobiles, and in doing so keep our focus
precise and on-point. If you are reading this, chances are good that you have a BMW.
car is the car that we work on every day, that we drive every
day, and is the focus of almost all our development energy. We do not
make shifters for Hondas or Mustangs, and we do not confuse marketing
speak for good engineering practices.
UUC also had a special unveiling in November 2003:
the all-new UUC EVO3 shifter line. Working with our years of BMW
short shifter experience, the EVO3 is the next step in UUC's
Evolution series, yet it is so new, so revamped, that it shares no parts at all
with our previous EVO2. While all this is great for our customers, it is
unfortunately bad for B&M, as the EVO3 bears little similarity to the "head
to head comparison" that B&M has posted on their website.
We have corrected B&M's mistakes in the accurate "head
to head comparison" below. For accuracy, most of the information
about the B&M product used in this comparison is the information
supplied by B&M in the original form of this table.
Also, note that we have added "relevance" notes to the
table to explain why or why not some of B&M's comparisons have any
meaning or importance. In addition, we have added a few comparison
items overlooked by B&M that consumers should be aware of.
DIRECT COMPARISON B&M TO UUC
- BMW SHORT SHIFTER (B&M's 45126 to to UUC Motorwerks USCE)
UUC USCE - EVO3
||B&M: 2 different kits (or 5, depending on who supplies the information) that
fit "all models" via alternate installation options
which relocate the pivot ball on the shifter shaft using C-clips.
Depending on application, shifter height will be incorrect (too
high or too low) and shifter centering position may be off-center.
||UUC: 14 applications specifically designed for each individual BMW model.
Each application has factory-perfect shift knob height and perfect
centering relative to the transmission tunnel.
Applications for all models including new 330i 6-speed
and Xi models.
Note: all models are adjustable for personal knob-position
Correct application is critically important.
By using only a few different parts with "universal fit"
design, the B&M shifters compromise on fitment, positioning,
shift throw reduction, and selector rod geometry. The net result
is less comfort and control for the driver. It takes more effort
for UUC to design and offer a distinct short shifter kit for each
BMW model, but it ensures fitment and satisfaction every time.
||UUC: All models: 35%*
Height adjustment allows an additional 5%-8% reduction at the
preference of the end user
* UUC's 35% reduction has effort
subjectively indistinguishable similar to other brands'
of UUC's shifters offer:
- Height adjustability allowing shift knob position
to be altered by up to 3/4" (depending on model)
for perfect ergonomic comfort. This tailors the
shifter height to the individual driver.
- Perfect compatibility with all BMW models.
We offer 14 different part numbers (with more than half
a dozen sub-variations) which means that every BMW model
gets the exact shifter it needs for perfect shifter centering,
height, and shift effort requirements.
- Carrier bushings included standard with all shifters
(as required) to eliminate slop and rotation in the carrier
assembly. No matter how or where slop exists in the shift
linkage, it will be felt by the driver. UUC has systematically
identified, isolated, and eliminated slop with our BMW
Ultimate Short Shifter kits.
|Piece by piece
A. Upper Stick
B&M: billet 6061-T6 aerospace quality aluminum, clear anodized to
UUC: CNC machined from billet alloy steel.
has focused their comparison on the appearance of this part. A
shame, since this is a part with more function than form. It is
only visible during the installation process, and after that is
hidden away behind the original equipment protective rubber boot,
and then by the interior shift boot. Quite simply, the appearance
is of no concern since it is constantly protected from scratches,
and is not visible for you or your passengers to see. Calling
this an "appearance" item is meaningless.
Nevertheless, the EVO3's alloy
steel is much more resistant to scratches than the B&M aluminum.
So, what does this piece do? Two critical things: mates the
shift knob to the shift lever, and houses the levers acoustic
isolation components. Although appearance is not a factor in
either of those tasks, precision is. Anodizing
is a process which adds to aluminum a coating
of aluminum oxide. There are some types of anodizing that produce
a porous layer that can be colored with dyes or pigments to
give the aluminum a decorative color. Although the thickness
of this coating can be controlled to some extent, it is not
a precision operation. Why would anyone taking a precision machined
part, with critical dimensions and tolerances, and change its
dimension with erratic results?
UUC uses an alloy steel that
does not require anodizing. We know that just a bit too short
a dip in the electrolytic bath and your shift knob will constantly
pop off, or a bit too long and the internal damping components
will not fit properly.
Additionally, the anodizing
process which B&M is so proud of is often misused for its
appearance enhancing properties with no consideration given
to the effect of the aluminum's properties. In fact, anodizing
has the net effect of increasing the aluminum notch sensitivity
and makes it more prone to stress related failures. UUC
does not agree with choosing form over function in this or any
situation, nor do we think the word "aerospace" is
needed to distract attention from good material selection and
B. Vibration isolation system
|B&M: fully rebuildable high compression Buna-n (nitrile) o-rings
that meet or exceed ASTM D200, SAE J200, and Aerospace Standard
(AS) 568A for complete 6th axial damping (100% isolated).
||UUC: fully rebuildable silicone damper that meets or exceeds ASTM
Contrary to B&M's analysis of UUC's previous generation
shifter, the EVO3's damping components provide 100% shifter
lower shaft coverage and 100% isolation. Additionally, UUC has
designed and integrated a 100%-isolated rotational load stop
into our standard locating pin system.
comments: The UUC piece does allow up to _� knob height adjustment
but in doing so sacrifices 100% vibration isolation and creates
a varying damping compression pre-load of the isolation material.
This means that the vibration isolating properties and the upper
to lower stick �flex� set at the factory can and will change depending
upon whether or not you choose to adjust the shifter. The B&M
unit is 100% isolated to tight tolerance compression as calculated
and modeled by the B&M engineering department. Ensuring a
constant factory setting means no vibration and less upper to
lower stick �flex� than the UUC unit
B&M is mistaken.
EVO3's 100%-coverage damping insert provides nearly the same
vibration and sound absorbing characteristics as the BMW original
cast-in rubber insert. The 100%-coverage unit is flex-free
and constant-dimension. Vibration-absorbing characteristics
do not change at any time, and are superior to any partial-coverage
Compare this to certain B&M shifters: "Part
Number 45125 is a full race version shifter that directly links
the driver to the transmission without compromise. Part Number
45126 is an isolated version of the race shifter, damping some
of the vibration and noise associated with race vehicles use
a solid metal shifter lever, known to transmit and amplify internal
Feel free to read
this quote yourself in B&M's installation
manual. If they admit that their shifter only damps some
of the vibration and noise associated with race vehicles,
then who are we to argue?
C. Lower stick
|B&M: billet 416 heat treated high strength stainless steel
||UUC: billet 303 high strength stainless steel
All materials; metal, plastic, ceramic,
composite, or Martian, will flex, bend, and break. The important
question to ask is under what conditions will those results occur,
and which one will happen first? When selecting a material, there
are other considerations beyond strength, such as corrosion resistance
comments: The B&M unit has a yield strength (point
at which the material starts to deform and cannot return
to its original shape) that is 3 to 5 times stronger that
the UUC unit.
B&M's claim may be absolutely
right... in a short sighted way.
Anyone can look up the properties of a material
in a table. But it takes a little more effort to examine
all of the stresses a part will be subject to, including
the environment, and choose the correct material.
This process has a name: engineering.
Unfortunately, since B&M
has opted not to disclose the form of treatment that
their steel is subject to, there is no way to make an
accurate strength comparison.
Perhaps they are not sure themselves, since they can't
quote a single specific number... 3 to 5?
UUC's use of 303 stainless
steel was not a lightly made decision. 303 is readily
identified for its ease of machining and excellent resistance
to corrosion in rough environments. Unfortunately, B&M
has not thought very far away from their California
offices to consider the BMW enthusiasts all across the
country and the world who own snow tires and are faced
annually with the salt monster. It is hard enough keeping
your BMW clean during a New England winter; do you really
have time to worry about the condition of your aftermarket
A 400-series steel will rust, it's simply
a matter of how long.
This is a simple example
of choosing the right material for the job. With a yield
strength of 30kpsi (you read that right: thirty thousand
pounds of pressure), 303 stainless steel is more than
sufficient for use in a BMW shift lever. Maybe not for
a 4-speed Muncie rock crusher, but UUC has yet to examine
a BMW so equipped.
D. Center pivot bearing
|B&M: Raised pivot point to keep shift rod angle at original position.
True spherical bearing consisting of an oil impregnated
sintered bronze sphere and Nyloy (high temperature resistant
nylon based fiber composite) race, which creates a slight
preload for ultra-smooth precision operation and a self-cleaning
and lubricating seal. This spherical bearing is specifically
designed for long-term high stress operation over millions
of cycles. With the pre-loaded design and self-lubricating
there is no end-play or �slop� in the bearing to race
construction and there are no maintenance concerns over
the life of the vehicle.
||UUC: Raised pivot point to keep shift rod angle at original position
(most part numbers including USCE, USCE2, USSE32, USSE6,
USZ6E, USSE8, USSIX, and custom-built variations).
Pivot height precisely calculated for each of 14 different
applications for exact linkage geometry corrections.
The EVO3 has a true self-adjusting pivot
bearing, consisting of polished stainless steel sphere
captured by a self-lubricating, automotive-grade race
material, creating a constant low friction load regardless
of wear or temperature, which creates an ultra-smooth
and precise feel for millions of cycles.
With the self-adjusting design and self-lubricating there is
no end-play or �slop� in the bearing-to-race construction
and there are no maintenance concerns over the life
of the vehicle due to the sealed nature of the pivot
bearing. You are provided with 100% protection, including
beneath the pivot. The whole assembly is fully
rebuildable in case of damage or removal for transferring
to another vehicle.
This is a critical element
to the shifter assembly's smoothness and long-term durability.
in design between these two units is primarily seen in one place:
the self-adjusting feature of the UUC design prevents
the loosening of a fixed bearing that is likely to create a
vibration or a buzz in the shifter assembly.
comments: The UUC bearing construction is a very good
design for sealed, low-temperature environments and is
employed in many of B&M�s short throw shifters that
are inside the vehicle or in enclosed housings away from
high-heat and the environment. Unfortunately, in this
application, the main pivot is located in an area directly
above the drive shaft and exhaust where it is subject
to high-heat and contamination. Unmodified (white) nylon
has an operational temperature range rating of �40�F to
200�F over which the material begins to deteriorate rapidly.
Also, over time, unsealed exposed lithium grease will
attract contaminants into the pivot area pushing out the
grease and eventually causing wear, rough movement, and
�slop� or excessive free play as seen in older stock shifter
applications that uses this exact same bearing construction.
The B&M unit eliminates all of these problems by using
a spherical bearing specifically designed for high-temperature,
road dirt and contaminant environments. This bearing is
maintenance free since it is self-lubricating and self-cleaning
and will not compromise smooth and accurate movement over
the entire life of the vehicle.
comments: B&M is mistaken again.
EVO3 models (as listed above) do not use the BMW
original nylon cup design (originally specified by BMW,
so we will ignore the comments about the material's temperature
B&M's comments have no relevance to the EVO3.
The automotive-grade materials used in the UUC bearing
have been long-term tested by UUC for many years with
no degradation in performance. The bearing design
is self-cleaning, retains internal lubrication, uses self-lubricating
material, is entirely slop-free, and will continue to
provide smooth and precise movement without variation
over the life of the vehicle.
In contrast, B&M's bearing design is a fixed
unit that, by definition, will change characteristics
as it wears, resulting in slop and vibration.
E. Lower change rod
|B&M: German made high precision T-500 high temperature self-lubricating
||UUC: Japanese-made ultra-high precision ABEC-standard cartridge
bearing, rated to withstand hundreds of
pounds of static load and over 30,000rpm. Sealed
and internally lubricated.
comments: In an area of only a few degrees of axial
rotation and extreme axial point loading, a ball bearing
(which is designed specifically for high speed rotation)
will eventually �flat-spot�. Only one or two of the �balls�
in the ball bearing cartridge will bear the full force
of shifting over the entire life of the vehicle, which
could possibly be millions of shifts! Yes, a cartridge
ball bearing will initially feel smoother than a bushing
due to less initial internal friction, but over time a
cartridge bearing will simply not hold up to the force
and pressure. B&M�s self-lubricating high-temperature
bushing is designed for extreme pressure and abuse that
racing and day-to-day driving will create.
comments: B&M is mistaken again.
All UUC bearings (including earlier EVO2) are rated at
hundreds of times the static load of the application,
and speeds over 30,000rpm, with a tolerance of +0 to -.008".
Comments about "flat-spot"
effects are without relevance and unfounded. With
literally thousands of these components in use for many
years, no such effects have ever developed.
This is another critical
element to the shifter assembly's smoothness and long-term durability.
Through our years of testing on the BMW shifter design, we have
learned that almost no bushing material is free of deformation
effects; the bushing hole ovalizes or loosens due to the repeated
side-loading forces of the selector rod pin. The only type
of bushings not subject to this type of degradation over time
would be so hard as to be an unsuitable choice for this area where
low friction is critical. All other bushings wear in this environment
from exposure to road dirt and grit under the car.
B&M bushing can avoid the fact that this is a wear area that
quickly loosens any conventional bushing material, creating looseness
|B&M: (Included and posted on-line) detailed step-by-step instructions
||UUC: (Included and posted on-line) detailed step-by-step instructions
with photos relevant to the exact model car - no "generic"
||B&M: with drive on lift: 20mins.(expert) / 40mins.(novice). with
jack and jack stands: 40mins.(expert) / 1.3hrs.(novice)
||UUC: the same or less for same-model cars.
|B&M's comments: The B&M unit is less time consuming to install and thus
less costly to install.
||UUC's comments: B&M
is mistaken again. For same-model cars, installation
procedure and therefore time is very similar.
| B&M: $285.72 retail
|| UUC: $295-$355 depending on model.
||B&M: One Million Mile Warranty- covers the original purchasing consumer.
This warranty is limited to repair or replacement by B&M of
any B&M part that fails because of a defect in materials or
workmanship. Implied warranty: Any warranties implied by law are
limited to the duration of this warranty, (except in those states
where prohibited by law).
customer support by UUC staff who own and drive BMWs every day.
All UUC personnel have installed every UUC product themselves
and can offer complete guidance and assistance in every aspect
of installation and usage.
Official warranty: one year, unlimited mileage. Go ahead,
drive it two million miles, we'll still be there for you!
Motorsports (Speed Channel World Challenge)
||UUC: Speed Channel World Challenge, Grand Am Cup, SCCA Pro Rally,
Improved Touring, Solo1, Solo2, Grassroots Motorsport Open Track
Challenge, Car and Driver One Lap of America, all classes of BMW
CCA Club Racing including Super Modified
Motorwerks is in business
for BMW drivers, by BMW drivers.
We know that the quality of our product and our service speaks
for itself. Call us to experience the Ultimate Short Shifter for
UUC Motorwerks � http://www.uucmotorwerks.com