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PrinceValorum

How To: Install A Short Shifter

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I meant to write this up months ago.

This is a how to for the installation of a short shifter in a 626/MX6/PGT (also applies to a Protege, 323, Escort, I'm pretty sure, as that's what it said on the directions).

Obviously this is the starting point for the project. I removed the junk from the tray under my ebrake handle first.

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Twist that knob!

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Alrighty, now it's off

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For the 626 shifter trim piece, the ebrake needs to be pulled fully up to allow the piece out at the back. There aren't any screws that hold it in, it just pops up with light pressure. If you really yank on it, you could probably crack or break it, but it's much less brittle than other old console plastic that I've dealt with.

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Unclip the harness for the cigarette lighter outlet

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So, now that you've got it out, remove the sound deadening material. You're faced with four bolts. These don't need to come out. I'm a big ree-ree so I did this this hard way. Learn from my mistakes, or not, your choice.

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Bolts holding the heat shield on. Mine were rusted beyond belief, so I had to cut them off.

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Jack jack jack it up! Make sure it's secure and not going anywhere before you put yo precious body underneath the vehicle

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Not sure if you can tell, but I put a socket on it and surprise surprise! It turned on the nut and didn't go anywhere.

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There wasn't a whole lot of room to do much else with my grinder, so I cut a vertical slit in it and used pliers or something to get it apart.

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After cutting the bolt off

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DERP things you grind are hot. Don't try to push on them with your finger, it'll burn right through the glove and skin too…

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Heat shield off! It was a pain to get out from what I remember, but I might be thinking of a different one, it's been a while...

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Oh lawdy, look at that shifter assembly, it's practically brand new! This is hiding under the heat shield, looking up from the bottom of the car.

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You don't need to take the bolts out. Like I said, I did this the hard way.

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Take the bolt out that holds the shift lever to the linkage.

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This is the bolt, not sure why it needed its own picture, but here it is.

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I put a coat or two of primer and then black rattle can on the cut bolts. I figured it was better than getting premature rust holes in my floor pan. I prepped the area to be painted with non-chloro brake cleaner.

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Don't take the bolts out, and don't lower the shifter assembly

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Don't lower it down

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Looking towards the front, I think the one on the right was the shifter linkage. You'll be able to easily tell just by looking at yours.

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Don't take the bolt out, and don't remove this

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Awesome tool for cleaning up threads and other rusty items

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You should not have removed this. I'm sure you went through much difficulty if you did, as it does not want to come out with the exhaust in the way.

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But here we are, my difficulties will afford you the opportunity to see things in a much more clear manner.

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Oh wait, this lifts up?! ZOMG, FML. (PS. you can do this with it installed and save yourself so much trouble)

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Here you can see the snap rings holding the shifter ball in the joint. You can also see how I had to cut the shift lever to get it out of the car… Again, totally not necessary if you follow the instructions.

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Joint disassembled. You'll need snap ring pliers and some fine flathead screw drivers (2).

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For the life of me, i couldn't get this thing out through the joint, so I was like WTH and cut it off, too. I'm sure with more patience you could do it without cutting it. I was not happy at this point.

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Here we are, a side by side comparison of the stock (in pieces) shift lever next to the new TWM shifter

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Ohh, now that's sexy!

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So, like a tard, I forgot I had to cut the old shift lever to get the assembly out. Since I took it out, I needs to go back in, and I'd already installed the new one, so out it came once more. I was a lot easier the second time, but I had to take a breather before I entirely blew up. Now that it's installed again (If you do it the right way, it should always be installed) it's time to lube it up! I used some Mobil synthetic grease and my HF grease gun and some rubber gloves to spread it around in there. (I found it hard to get the big lump at the end that attaches to the shift linkage to go through the joint, so I put some lube on it to ease it through the rubber boot at the bottom without tearing it. Once through and on the underside of the car, I wiped it clean so it wouldn't attract grit and grime. I lubed the bolt that goes through it on the bottom with the same stuff)

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Installed in the car

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Ooo!

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Since the bushings didn't fit my car (626) and TWM claims that they fit the MX6 (everything I've ever read has said that they're mechanically identical, and I refuse to believe that Mazda would change the shift lever between them, seriously, wtf), I had to get them to send another small one and then have them machined down a bit to fit.

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This is the thickness that they should be

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Delrin coated weighted shift knob

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Use the included tool to screw the stopper in to the desired height.

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This adapter screws onto the shift lever and then the ball screws onto the adapter

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All wrapped up and set to a height I like. I don't like how it looks unfinished. I might do something about it at a later date, but I have no interest in monkeying with it any time soon.

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Overall, it's a superior product. I feel that it's the highest quality shifter available for the GE platform. I give the short shifter itself a 10/10.

I'm a little bit disappointed by the shift knob, mainly because TWM advertised it as basically totally temperature impervious. Quoted from their site:

"CLIMATE INSENSITIVE: The Phantom is the ONLY Weighted Shift Knob available ANYWHERE that can be used in ALL extreme climates with absolutely NO discomfort caused by temperature extremes which means you can focus on enjoying the BEST shifting experience. Motorsports tested between -40 to +140 Fahrenheit."

I feel that this is false advertising. Absolutely NO discomfort? Ehh, close, but not entirely. Is is better than a solid metal shift knob? Absolutely. It still gets cold like plastic does, though, which may be a property of the Delrin, or perhaps it's the metal underneath transferring the temperature through it. I won't make conjecture, but when it's cold outside (20*F) I don't want to put my hand right on it. If I had gloves available I'd use them. I installed it past the peak of summer, but it was never uncomfortably hot sitting in the sun after coming out of work. I'll give the shift knob a 7/10. It's stupid expensive, and I feel that TWM's advertising is false and misleading.

My overall experience with TWM? After all of the positive things I'd heard about them, I expected the experience to blow me away. I was blown away by Crutchfield, and Energy Suspension. They're hands down the two most positive buying experiences I've had.

TWM's customer service was hard to get a hold of, and then the guy that I finally talked to challenged me on the phone. I know my car, I know my platform. I'm certainly not a knowledgeable, but I've researched almost every aspect of it over the course of almost the last four years. The fact that he did that was downright insulting. Of course he had no way to know that, but that's not how you treat customers. Period. I give my overall experience with TWM a 4/10. If I didn't have several friends that had positive experiences with them, I would be fully unable to recommend them. Personally I can't recommend them based on my experience, but obviously others have done well with them, so I'll leave it up to you. I don' think that you should have to take a gamble on getting good service if you want a quality product.

I think that they make superior products, but the price is staggering. When you shell out that much hard earned money, you have a right to expect a lot, and not just in terms of the product that you're getting. The entire process should be flawless.

Holy posts, Batman! I hope someone can find this useful! If you've got any questions, of course, don't hessitate to ask!

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Amazing tutorial. Been a long time coming. I love how you included a lot of things you shouldn't do so we can learn from your mistakes. Even though the project didn't go the way you wanted you obviously learned a lot and thanks to the way you write, we learned a lot. Highly informative, great images, easy to follow. Bravo. Brav-frickin-O. Hope you make many many more like this.

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i have a B&M short throw that came directly out of a mx6. and i installed in my 626. there the exact same. TWM just doesnt know i guess.

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Very nice write-up PrinceV. Looks awesome too! Nice mod.

Thanks mate!

Amazing tutorial. Been a long time coming. I love how you included a lot of things you shouldn't do so we can learn from your mistakes. Even though the project didn't go the way you wanted you obviously learned a lot and thanks to the way you write, we learned a lot. Highly informative, great images, easy to follow. Bravo. Brav-frickin-O. Hope you make many many more like this.

Glad you enjoyed it. I know not that many people will be able to use it, but I hope man can at least find it enjoyable and informative. I have at least two more to make.

i have a B&M short throw that came directly out of a mx6. and i installed in my 626. there the exact same. TWM just doesnt know i guess.

Yeah, that's part of the reason I got so mad. Ah well.

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Yeah.. Tell me about it. The bracket bent when I took it out, that's how weak it is from being compromised. I'm sure it's about 400$ from the dealer, so hopefully this one holds out!

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i am very interested in installing a short shifter in my 97 626.. my first car (1995 dodge neon rs 250 hp with weight reduction) came worked when i bought it off of a mechanic and already had a short shifter  installed.. believe me i very much miss my short shifter. but i don't know if there is a point i'm me installing a short shifter with the 115 horses my car currently has.. i would have to wait 1 1/2 seconds for my rpm's to come down before even letting out on my clutch and giving it gas.. should i look into increasing my power before bothering? honestly i was considering just chopping and re-threading the stock shifter.. lol.. i know probably a bad idea

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You can't just cut and rethread especially not in the 96/97 due to the cup holders.  Your knob will hit the cup holders. ;)  You might be able to get away with doing that in a 93-95.  I have a video on installing a short shifter with ND28 and it's mostly thanks to this amazing tutorial.

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i do have to say.. the cup holders really tic me off.. i have a pressure sensitive 9.3 in touch dvd navi bleutooth head unit and anything touching the screen makes it do stuff so i just get drinks with caps and use the passenger seat as my cup holder. and i would very much like that video.. im looking into my favorite junkyard because im pulling another 626 motor to rebuild from the ground up while driving on this motor.. having trouble finding any interal engine components.

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i do have to say.. the cup holders really tic me off..

 

Welcome to the club.  It only took them 5 years to fix that issue in 1998 when the 5th generation model was released.  They relocated the ebrake handle and put the cup holder next to the ebrake handle.  It's actually not an issue on the automatic because the shift lever doesn't hit the drinks... but with the manual transmission, FML.  I crunch cans and bottles with my knuckles every time I shift into 1st, 3rd, or 5th.  Sometimes I even move my drink between gears to get ready for the next one lol.  It's so dumb.

 

Prince does installing a short shifter get rid of the punching drinks issue?

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Hey...  breathing life into an old thread.  I'm a late-comer to this party.  Just joined this forum today (August 13, 2016).  Always have been interested in installing a short shifter in my recently acquired '94 626 2.0L.  Worked together with some other car-kook friends of mine from a different forum to install short shifters in two other cars ('88 Mazda 323 GT and '89 Mazda MX-6 GT) but I am not very familiar with this platform and have just recently started doing some research.  So happy I found your write-up.  Excellent.  Had a great time reading it.  Love your candidness. Your write-up has given me the confidence to better know what to purchase and how to proceed with this mod.  I'll let you know how it goes when I get around to it.  Thanks again.

 

 

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Hey man, thanks for the feedback. Hearing how much other people have enjoyed reading it and learning from it makes it all worth it.

Hope your mod works out for you. 

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