Other than installing an air intake system, a short shifter is the next easiest and must-have modification for any vehicle. From factory most manual transmission vehicles are fun to drive with the only complaint being a long throw between gear changes, this is where a short shifter kit like this one courtesy of TWM Performance makes all the difference. As TWM Performance puts it, “By reducing the angle that the shaft travels through between gears, the distance that your hand needs to move between gears is also reduced. In many cases, the shifter shaft is also re-designed to be shorter than stock thus creating a sportier look and feel, as well as aiding in reducing the linear throw length when coupled with the reduced angular throw.” In this week’s #TechThursday piece we install this beautiful kit in the AMF Nissan 370Z project car and show you a step-by-step on how you too can do it with readily available tools in just over an hour.
- 10mm socket
- 12mm socket
- Ratchet extension
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Jack & jackstands
- Bench vise (suggested)
- White lithium grease
Step 1A: Remove shifter linkage
- With the vehicle raised, remove the rubber cover over the shifter linkage located underneath the transmission tunnel.
Step 1B: Unbolt shifter linkage
- With the shifter linkage exposed, use a 12mm socket / wrench and remove the bolt securing the linkage to the shifter.
Step 2: Disassemble center console around shifter
- Using one’s fingers, push the metal clips and until the plastic shifter housing comes loose.
- Be sure to set aside the shifter housing carefully as wiring might still be attached – there is no need to unplug anything.
Step 3: Removing the shifter console
- Using a set of needle nose pliers, squeeze the two (2) plastic tabs securing the wiring harness from the shifter console.
- Using a 10mm socket with a 6″ extension, remove the four (4) bolts that secure the shifter metal console to the transmission tunnel.
Step 4A: Removal of the shifter console
- After the four (4) bolts have been removed, gently wiggle the shifter console loose.
Step 4B: Remove rubber shifter boot
- Using one’s hands, remove the rubber shifter boot in order to expose the shifter.
Step 5: Remove shifter
- Using a 10mm socket with ratchet, remove the three (3) bolts from the reverse lockout plate.
- With the bolts removed from the lockout plate, gently lift the shifter assembly careful not to lose any parts or the spring under it.
*Note: Place the shifter into 5th gear (position) as this will give you clearance to remove all the bolts.
Step 6A: Prepare TWM Performance 370Z short shifter
- Remove plastic cup from stock shifter using a bench vise and a rubber mallet.
Step 6B: Prepare TWM Performance 370Z short shifter
- Apply white lithium grease to the shifter and install the plastic cup (removed from Step 6A) by hand
*Note: Some force might be required to pop it back on and be sure the reverse lock out pin is aligned to the plastic cut out area.
Step 7: Shifter re-assembly
- Install the round metal spacer provided in the hardware kit
- Replace the spring removed (from Step 5)
Step 8: Installing the TWM Performance short shifter
- With the shifter dropped in, place the reverse lockout plate over the shifter and align the holes for the bolts.
- Fasten the three (3) 10mm bolts around the reverse lockout plate.
Step 9: Re-install the shifter linkage
- Manually press the supplied shifter linkage bushings into the shifter.
- Fasten the 12mm bolt and tighten to 8 lbs-ft.
- Replace the rubber dust boot back over the shifter / shift rod.
Step 10: Prepare the TWM Performance “Phantom” Hybrid shift knob
- Using the supplied hardware, install the thread-on piece to the shift knob.
Step 11: Final fitment
- With the TWM Performance Phantom shift knob threaded for the Nissan OEM fitment, simply twist it onto the short shifter until hand-tight.
The TWM Performance short shift kit for the 370Z took just over an hour to install from start to finish. For the cost of $289 USD (TWM Performance 370Z Short Shifter) and hour-long install, replacing one’s factory shifter setup is a must-have modification for anyone looking to get an edge in both performance and esthetics. Coupled with the awesome weighted shift knob at an investment of $154 USD (TWM Performance Phantom “Hybrid” Shift Knob) the AMF Nissan 370Z not only looks better in cabin, but the true gem is when it hits the road and each gear is clicked with speedy precision. There truly is not a better kit on the market, so be sure to pick yours up for any make / model application!
A big thanks go out to Automatrix Auto Service Center for the installation, they do some incredible work despite being a new shop on the block – be sure to check them out!
For more information, please visit Automatrix Auto Service Center
Words & Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec