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Old 08-24-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
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How-To: Shorten your shift throw with stock MTX shifter

Let me start by saying I didn't invent this DIY mod. It's discussed a bit in the STS sticky, and the first reference made to it was by Buickboy so I want to make sure he gets his fair credit. The sticky is rather vague as far as what's involved and I couldn't find it mentioned anywhere so I decided to do a write up on it. Many of you may know of this already but since it's so easy and free it should be readily availabe for people who want a shorter throw but can't or don't want to spend money on one. I did it, and it works great. Bear in mind this is my first writeup so be gentle. Also, my phone's camera sucks so forgive the quality of the pics.

What you will need:
-Phillips Head screwdriver
-Flathead screwdriver
-Cutting tool (serrated steak knife, mini handsaw, etc) for red plastic collar
-Wirecutter (reccommended) for boot trim

What you do:

Start by moving the front passenger seat all the way back. This will give you more room to work with. Don't mind my shift knob. I'm on my 4th one. I guess Ford can't make one for me that will keep paint on.

Next, gently pry the shift boot from the console. Be careful, it's only held in there by plastic tabs so try not to break them off.

Now, remove the shift knob. It just twists off but it may take some persuasion to get it started.

With the knob removed, you can take off the entire shift boot assembly. Take the red plastic collar and set it aside for now.

With the boot assembly out of the way you should be left with a bare shift lever with black plastic piece attached near the bottom. This the pivot ball mount and is what we're going to move. Using a Phillips Head screwdriver remove the screw you see pictured. It may help to have a few different phillips heads because this screw can be tough to get started, and it strips kind of easy. It's one of those screws that seem to want one specific driver (anyone who has worked on cars to a large extent knows what I mean).

Ok now with that screw out it's time to reposition the pivot ball mount. You will see that the screw was pinching the two black "fingers" that circled the lever together when it was all together. Get a flathead screwdriver that JUST fits inbetween those two fingers. By **gently** prying them apart you will notice the mount get a little looser. Basically you want to pry them just enough so you can move the whole mount up the lever. After playing with it for a minute you'll find the technique that works. Move it up until you can twist the mount on the lever without prying on it. NOW, using the prying technique, LOWER the mount on the lever just until you are no longer able to move it around without prying. I know these pics aren't that great but here's where it was before you moved it:

And here's an approximation of where it should be after you move it:

Once you're comfortable with it's position, you can go ahead and put the screw back in an tighten it up. At this point there's two more things you're going to need to do before you can button everything back up. First, try to reinstall the shift boot assembly (lining up the notch on the boot's sleeve with the peg on the mount-it only goes on one way) and more likely that not it's not going to go on right when you try to snap the trim into place. This is because we moved the mount up so high that the boot's trim in now touching the pivot arm. Take your wire cutters, or any other heavy-duty snipping devices and trim the front of the boot's trim. You'll see where. I removed the whole front tab thing below the two mounting tabs (so they'd hold the boot on since i cut the staple off). It's more trial and error but eventually once you remove enough material it'll snap on and you're good. I didn't take a pic but if someone ABSOLUTELY needs me to I'll take it apart and post one.
Now remember the red plastic collar I had you set off to the side? If you put it back on as it is it will cover the threads on the lever preventing the knob from going back on. Again, you want to trim it down so that enough of the thread is exposed to replace the knob. I took off about an inch give or take. Again no pic but it's pretty self explanitory. Once you have that all set, twist the shift knob back on and take her for a spin.

You will find that not only are the throws noticeably shorter than they were in its previous configuration, but I also found on mine that the shifter is nice and firm, especially in neutral. I wouldn't have called it sloppy before but now I can't think of a better word for what it used to feel like. Takes about a half hour or so, costs nothing but a few moments of your time, and is a great alternative to shelling out over $100 for an aftermarket shifter. Bear in mind though, that I can't speak for the difference between this mod and a STS like Steeda's as I've never used one, but vs stock this is your best bang (into gear) for your buck.

Good Luck and happy motoring guys!

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