If you've been pouring grease and anti-seize compound down the shift ball joint on your four-cylinder to no avail, better stop immediately and check another possibility, that the shift linkage support bracket underneath the car may be loose. It is held to the rear of the gear box housing with two 8-mm hex recessed bolts, so you'll need a straight piece of 8-mm hex stock and an 8-mm wrench, or an 8-mm Allen wrench to tighten them. You may have to remove your back-up light switch to get access to the top bolt, but that's about all. You can work around everything else. Since these loosen very gradually, you often don't notice anything until the shifting is difficult or the gears are clashing. You will be amazed at the difference this tightening makes. I sometimes wonder if the BMW factory has enough torque wrenches to go around and if they've ever heard of Lock-Tite!
Author: Stan Simm
346 West End Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.