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Aftermarket Shift Linkage U-Joints

Flaming River shift linkage U-Joints (FR-1761):

The shift linkage rod, the piece that extends back from the ZF, to the rod that extends out of the firewall,that has the length adjustment in it's center, has ends that are 14MM in diameter, with 36 splines, and may have a small, very, very stiff u-joint on each end.

The 14MM by 36 spline size is available from Summit, Jegs, and a few other vendors. They come in both stainless and nickel plated steel. These new u-joints are a full needle bearing style of u-joint rather than the "block" type of small u-joint our cars were originally equipped with.

Price: They aren't cheap...
Flaming River (part number FR-1761 or Summit part number FLA-FR1761) are about $68 each delivered.

Source: Hot Rod USA (

The Flaming River u-joints are almost identical to the OEM units, being at most, 1.2MM smaller in diameter, and 1MM shorter in overall length. The fit onto the shaft splines is excellent.

The "action" of the new u-joints is flawless. There is no "drag", or resistance when the u-joint is flexed. It's range of motion is perfectly smooth, and with no rough spots. The only significant difference in the design is the Flaming River u-joints use a set screw with a locking nut to secure itself to the shaft. The OEM u-joints use a pinch bolt design.

For more info:
Thanks you guys. This is really good advice. The originals are probably $200, while the Flaming River units are $68 and much more functional (needle bearings). For a few bucks more, they sell a polished unit. It might make sense to get one of the polished units for the ZF connection. I spoke with Dennis at Castle Rock. What a nice guy. I think he resells the FR1761. He said they work really well, especially in conjunction with the special trunnion (spherical bearing) and shift rod combination that he offers.
Can you feel a difference? I don't want 2010 BMW smooth shifting feeling, I want to be able to feel the gears being forced together

I haven't used the Flaming River shifter u-joint, yet. My car is still apart. You can email Chris directly from the mail-list link I posted for his driving impressions.

I don't think these u-joints will give you "2010 BMW smooth shifting" as you're still shifting a 38 year old ZF transaxle. But, you may be able to eliminate any inherent stubbornness or binding caused by the oem (read "old, tight, stiff") u-joints. I want to feel the gears going together too; but I don't want to fight my linkage to make that happen.
I was thinking of ordering some of the Flaming River u-joints for my car. Unfortunately, I can’t get down and look at my car to verify how many u-joints I need.

If memory serves me correct there are two u-joints in the engine bay and one under the center console in the interior compartment. Does anyone know if this correct? Also is the one under the center console have the same spline and diameter?

Again, thanks for the help.
Last edited by garvino
I bought them from Flaming River.

I was going to buy them from Summit, but there was a delay in the shipping date (I think it was 2 weeks). The shipping was more than Summit, but I had them in a few days.

As Garth posted, part number is FR1761. The description states that it is 9/16"-36 x 9/16"-36.

I bought two, but I have only installed one. My original u-joint at the ZF felt kind of stiff and jerked as you moved it by hand, kind of like a u-joint that has flats/grooves worn into the trunnion by the needle bearings. I did notice that the shifting is smoother.

As Garth posted, part number is FR1761. The description states that it is 9/16"-36 x 9/16"-36.

They also have a new Stainless series. Here's a link to the unpolished version:
for $90. The only thing I'd be concerned about is how well the setscrew would hold things under hard pulling and pushing. Under normal shifting, probably OK but if it were forced hard, maybe not. Maybe some loctite on the splines? Or indent the shaft for the setscrew?

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