1995 BMW 318ti - Gear Stick Totally Loose


My car has been running fairly normal. I parked it and two (possibly related or unrelated) problems suddently emerged- If you have any info on either one, it would be awesome.

Problem 1: Won’t start. Battery is fine (new, charged), starter has been working fine. Turn the key- no noise or anything.

Problem 2: Gear stick moves freely, like it’s not attached to anything. Usually I have to have the clutch down for it to move.

Manual transmission shifters move quite freely when the engine is not running…

The no start problem is a matter of tracking down the electrical fault between the ignition switch and the starter…

Hope it isn’t the starter,these are the most difficult BMW starters to change.

I conclude you shift lever has somehow become disconnected from the shift rod going into the transmission. Pull the shift lever boot uo and remove the shifter lever cup (there is a big C’clip if I remember correctly.

I nsuppose that manual transmissions have a starter safety interlock like the “neutral safety switch” in automatics. The interlock would be operated by the the clutch and/or a “neutral” switch in the transmission. So…

Are you pressing the clutch pedal when you try to start? (Since the shift lever moves freely w/o pushing the clutch, I’m thinking MAYBE you forgot to push in the clutch. Small chance, but I’ve done things that silly.)

If the interlock is in the transmission, then until you get the shift lever working you won’t know if you are in neutral. Check Oldschool’s advice on that.

Otherwise, as Caddyman said, you have to trace the electrical fault; and it might not be related to the shift lever problem.