Shorten the Shifter
by Seth W

Subject: [928] How to Shorten the Shifter--A write up for Newbies
To: "928" <>
From: "Seth"
Date: 04/23/02 01:21 PM

Thanks to all who responded last week to my messages! I undertook my second shark project this weekend and was very happy with the results. So that others might follow on the shoulders of you giants, here is a write up of the process that should be very easy to follow. Please feel free to cut this to any of your respective sites with how-to sections.

Shortening the 5spd. Shifter

What you will need:

Dremel cutter and grinder wheel OR hacksaw and metal file
Ruler/tape measure
Lithium grease (optional)
Elbow Grease
Bedsheet or old blanket willing to be sacrificed
Masking Tape

Time: 1 hour

What to do:

First, you need to remove the shifter from the shifter handle. This is a two step process. Step one is to remove the shift boot plate from its clipped in position in the center console. The boot plate is the rectangular base plate that the leather of the boot sits on/in. There are clips on all four sides. They are plastic though, and can break. Try gently easing the plate forward or backwards while gently lifting. You will likely find that by doing this you can safely remove the plate from the console and that the plate will have a way that it wants to come out. Mine came out from the front (I pulled back towards me and lifted slightly).

At this point you have a shifter that looks like it is pulling its skirt (boot) up. Good. Now its time for the elbow grease. The shifter and boot rides on top of a solid peice of metal, about 3/4 inch by 1/4 inch. There are no clips. Simply pull the shifter straight up in the air, it will come off. You might try to use one hand to "hold" the metal bar--I'd be gentle if possible, you don't want to put tons of pressure on that (correct me if I'm wrong guys). It takes a lot of effort and don't be surprised if it takes two hands.

Once you've got the shifter off (trying to keep the shifter and boot all in one peice seated on the boot plate), its time to cut. But first, prep the interior. I anticipated a lot of crap and dust. I was right. I took the sheet and laid it across the front of the interior. I cut a hole and put the shifter through it so that the only thing in the front of the car that I saw was the shifter. I then used masking tape to tape the sheet to the interior of the windows so that my dash and wheel were completely protected, I also draped it over the seats.

I used a Dremel rotary tool, its just easy and fast. Purchasing a Dremel at the local hardware store (much less than $100 for deluxe kit) is a good investment. You could use a small hacksaw.

Now its time to cut. Remember, you can always cut more!! To be safe, I started with 3/4 of an inch, and ultimately ground down to about 1 inch. Take the ruler, mark the shifter, and start cutting. Using the dremel and the cutting wheels, it took me 3 wheels to get through it. I even got some sparks! Fun! Be careful, it will get hot! If you are like me, you needed to approach the cutting from several angles at a very high dremel speed to get the cut all the way around before you snapped the cutting wheel. This will lead to a slightly rough cut. The Dremel tool has a sanding/grinding wheel, use this to get a "smooth to the touch" finish, or purchase a metal file and sandpaper at the hardware store. You need not shape the top of the shifter to the "omega" shape it originally had. I noticed absolutely no difference in how secure the shifter is and several others have concurred. You will agree when you see how much force it takes to pull it off the shaft.

Now its time to put the shifter back on. Not sure you have cut enough? Use a bit of lubricant on the shifter before you put it back on so it will be easier to remove for more cutting, you can then wipe off the excess after you remove it.

Optional: I removed the black rubber boot that was underneath the boot plate. This covers the little cavity in which the "linkage" between the shifter and the transmission lie. This rubber boot was quite dirty and I figured, hey I'm in there. I cleaned and used a rubber conditioner on it, and also used some automotive grease on the linkage (which has made it slightly nicer). Keep an eye on the placement here of this rubber boot. The part number is always on the side closer to you and fits quite snugly on the raised metal edges from which it came.

If you are happy with the amount of material you removed, all you need to do now is gently press the tabs of the boot plate back into place. Again, go slowly and gently and be patient. It will go back. If you break it, no sweat, you can buy a new one from the big 3 for less than $20.

If your shifter/boot is ugly/worn or you just want a new one, now is a great time to upgrade. You can contact AGLA (Alan Gunn Leather Accessories) directly or try the big 3, they can get you what you need.

Feel free to email with questions. I'm also available to do the project with anyone in the Bay Area who would like a hand.




1988 5spd
Diamond Blue Metallic/Burgundy

Next Page

Back to My 928 Home Page

Contact me at:

rev: 04/24/02