C's Short Shifter

Reviewed by: Christian LoCascio - cvlocas@earthlink.net

Modified shift lever and spacer that reduces the length of the shift throw.

The shifter works wonderfully. Shift effort is slightly increased with no increase in notchiness. I installed the shifter in about 15 minutes. The hardest part of the entire install was sliding the rubber shift boot off of the old shifter and back onto the new one. After I got it off, I sprayed a little WD-40 on the shaft of the new shifter and the boot slid right into place.

Installation was very simple. The directions that came with the kit are adequate, but the added instructions from Dealer Alternative are perfect. I was not sure whether or not I would like the shifter and was very hesistant about spending $280 for something that I could not return if I didn't like it. Bill Cardell sold me a used one that he had taken back from someone for a discounted price. He said that if I didn't like it, he would refund all of my money. No way is he getting this thing back. I love it. The shifter height is basically the same as stock, but the shift throw is markedly reduced. The literature claims 25% reduction, but it feels more like 50% to the hand. Shifting into first gear while rolling is just as easy as it was before. The only shift that is more difficult is shifting into reverse. Sometimes it goes right in, other times I must shift to fourth and then into reverse. I would recommend this product to anyone considering a short shifter.

Reviewed by: Dave Okamoto - davo@lsil.com

Ordered this "performance" accessory from Bill at Dealer Alternative. The product consists of a shorter shifter (by about 3/4", by eyeballing it next to the stock piece. The finish is attractive as it's polished steel as compared to the "unfinished" appearance of the stock shifter. Included in the kit are three hex bolts to replace the 10mm bolts removed from the stock unit, an polished steel adapter late to increase the height of the pivot point (fulcrum) of the shifter, and a paper gasket.

Installation takes about 15 minutes, with simple tools, a #2 Phillips head screwdriver to detach the console, and a 10mm socket wrench. First the shift knob is twisted (unscrewed) off the shifter. The console is detached by removing two screws on either side at the front, a screw under the ashtray and two more inside the console compartment. The unit is slid up and forward so as not to foul the levers for the trunk and gas lid releases. Next lift off the felt spacers and the foam rubber cylinder from around the shifter. Recalling from memory, remove the 4-10mm bolts holding the rubber boot and cover plate down. Slide this assembly off over the shifter (Bill's instruction recommended silicone spray to ease this disassembly, and it did). Finally, remove the 3-10mm bolts holding the shifter in place (hold rag in place to prevent dripping tranny fluid). Lift the shifter stright up and out. Virtually replace the procedure with the C's Short Shifter, with the exception of adding the adapter plate, ensuring that all pieces are properly aligned (dowel in slot, etc.)..I had a little difficulty seating my new shifter by hand as a nylon(?) cup has to drop into the hole in the tranny. I merely took a tack hammer and gave the top of the shifter a single very light tap (over a folded rag) after making sure the assembly was properly aligned and it seated immediately. After putting the first plate back on, secured by the 3 replacement hex bolts, I tested the mechanism in place to ensure that all gear locations were engaged. Button it back up and go for a test drive. I think it took longer to write this than it took to do it.

Wow!!! A little higher shift effort, especially into first gear, but it just "snicks" from gear to gear with a flick of the wrist. Can't help but recall the images from the "in-cockpit" videos of F1 drivers before they went to the steering wheel mounted shifters. I had considered the home-made variety by turning down the stock shifter and cutting threads further down it's shaft and then cutting off a length from the top, but didn't have access to the machining equipment and the dies to enable this. I'm very happy with this product. Feels great and somehow enables me to go through the gear shifts more quickly without getting hung up on the synchronizers, although I don't think one has anything to do with the other. (My imagination?) This product makes the already great shifting Miata even better. The component parts of the kit are of first rate quality, finished in bright polished steel. The accompanying additional step by step instructions that Bill wrote complement the C's diagrams perfectly for a fool-proof installation.

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15 December, 2001