Shortening the Shifter
I just bought a new shift boot for my 80 shark. I took the advice of a fellow list member and cut one inch off of the stick. I used a dremel tool with several cuttoff discs. The Boot fits much better and shifting also feels better. This is definitely a MUST if you are changing your boot! The only way you can get the new boot on is to twist and pull (grunt and groan) on the rubber ball and pull it off the shaft. Take the cap off with the shift pattern on it- just pry it off. Getting the leather to pull around the ball and getting the cap back on is somewhat of a pain -the cap holds the leather. Should take around an hour for the whole thing.
I shortened my shifter (MY 79) by 1-5/8" total with the dremel tool method. I used the original leather shift boot with the following modifications. I had to cut approximately 1-1/4" off of the rubber shift knob at the bottom. This deletes the grooved lip that is supposed to hold on to the shift boot. To fix that I used two small tie-wraps to attach the boot to the shift knob. I inverted the shift boot (inside out) and pulled it up onto the shortened knob as far as it would go. I then tightened the tie-wraps around the boot around the knob as close to the knob end as possible. After turning it right side out again I installed the new stuff back on the shortened shift lever. When it's done the top of the boot rides right under the top of the knob. It feels great and no getting out of your seat to reach fourth anymore. The reverse first lockout spring is noticeably stronger now but it is well worth the change in how the shifting feels. My car felt like a 70's muscle car with the tall shifter. Now it feels like the fine Eurobred Roadware that it is. Definitely the cheapest and easiest way to make you feel more comfortable in the saddle. Several people at the Frenzy sat in my car and commented how good the shifter felt compared to their own cars. I highly recommend this mod to anyone especially those with early model year cars. If I would change anything I would use some glue to hold the boot to the knob as it came off once since the mod.
Jay F. Kempf
'79 US 5 speed silbermetallische
Hey, you guys are making this harder than it really is. All you need to do is cut the shaft at what ever desired length. I cut mine a inch shorter. There is no need to put the notches back in either. You will need to trim some of the rubber shaft on the ball. That's it. I put a new boot on mine and the only pain was getting the leather under the cap and getting the cap on right - you need three hands.
the low down on my shifter trimming is as follows. i just snapped the base of the shifter off, pulled firmly but gently to slide the boot off the shifter handle, but the shifter with a Dremmel moto tool, with a reinforced fiberglass cutting wheel, these make a very clean even cut, but hold the handle with a pair of pliers or something because it heats up the handle to the point that it will burn you if you touch it. cover everything you can in the car with rags, towels whatever, because the metal and fiberglass dust get everywhere....wear eye protection too. don't worry about the two little indents at the top, you don't need to duplicate them. the rubber part underneath the boot will have to be trimmed, i just used a sharp knife. The boot is just held on by the tight fitting rubber part of the knob, no need for screws or anything. if the cut isn't totally even, don't worry....it won't affect anything. so thats my story...its a very easy straight forward process. just one more thing, remember that its easier to take more off than to put some back on, so only cut off a small amount at first, see how you like it and go from there. good luck.
'85 928 S 5spd
I removed my stock shift lever measured it against a GTS lever. The GTS shift lever is approx. 6 3/4 inches tall from the top of the top (barrel) or connector hole if you're looking at it sideways. I took mine and put it in a vice and dremelled off the the lever down to 6 inches, because I wanted it even shorter than a GTS. I then took a file and filed the end of it into the shape of the original end.(using the end of the original as a template) Also, the lever gets wider toward the bottom and I had to file this down to allow for the placement of the knob later. (maybe about an inch or 2 down the sides-can't quite remember)
Getting it all back together is a little tricky. I put the 2 retaining springs in a vice along with 2 pieces of thin wire around each, then completely compressed each spring and twisted the wires to keep each spring compressed. Next, you've got to file the barrels flat on 2 sides each so you can get the spring assemblies on to them. If you don't, the wire will interfere and there's not enough clearance (Clanrence) to slide them on.
Now, you're ready to assemble. Slide springs on barrels on side of lever. Grease up your white bushings and put them in the barrel holes. Grease up the 2 ends that go in the shift lever (coming from your shift rods). Hold your breath and press everything together. Hopefully at this point you can install your 2 clips and push them on with a pair of needle nose plyers. Now clip the wire that is compressing the springs and it should all tighten up real quick. Pull the pieces of wire out the best you can. Hard part done!
Now the rest is easy and fun. You need to trim down slightly the rubber gasket that seals it, because now its too long. I put mine in place with silicone calk around the base. Get your new knob and boot and stretch it around the base plate. (baseplate gives the boot its sqare look at bottom of the boot) Put a little grease on the lever and slide the new knob down on it.--You're done.
I went with the GTS shift boot in black for my 79. It's nice and thick and looks awesome. Throws are shorter and is more of a flick of the wrist then a throw of a lever. Huuuuuuuuuggggeeeee difference!!!!!!!
Dollar for dollar one of the best things I've done. If you want pics, I'll email to you. Good Luck!!
Michael Briggs' web site
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