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HomeTech Articles > Short Shift Kit Install

Pelican Technical Article:

Factory Short Shift
Kit Installation

Bob Tindel
Bob@pelicanparts.com


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This article describes the installation of the kit in Bob Tindel’s 1983 911SC (type 915 transmission).

As much as I have enjoyed the two 911s I have owned, neither one shifted like I thought a true sports car should. Even with replacement of all the bushings in the shift linkage, the shift throws were still long, vague and imprecise. In my current 1983 911SC, the shift from second to third was sometimes balky. The factory short shift kit was the answer to all my complaints. My only regret is that I didn’t install it sooner.

The best thing about this short shift kit compared to others is that it was designed and engineered by the factory as an option (M241) that could be specified when the car was ordered, or installed later if desired. One of the reasons Porsche encouraged the use of the short shift kit was that it provides additional room for moving the seat further forward for shorter drivers. It was also recommended for the sporting driver.

The factory design takes a different approach than aftermarket short shift kits, as shown by the greater number of parts in this kit, and by the quality of the parts. Just one of the superior design features of the factory kit is that while it reduces the length of the throw to shift gears, it maintains the lateral spacing of the gears in the shift pattern the side-to-side motion is reduced by only a small amount. This makes it more unlikely that you will select the wrong gear.

Keep in mind that the laws of physics are still in force, and that when we reduce the movement required to shift gears, the shifting effort goes up a little bit. However, the short shift kit will make shifting seem quicker because the throw is shortened. I didn’t find the slight increase in shifting effort significant.

Clockwise from the top left, Figure 1 shows a new shift rod bushing and shift lever ball cup bushing. Both of these are inexpensive and should be replaced. If these bushings are even slightly worn or tired, it will induce sloppiness into the shift linkage. Following the bushings in Figure 1 are the parts included in the factory kit: the lock pawl plate, shift pivot housing, stop plate, shifter pivot pin, springs, shifter guide plate, and shift lever. In the improved design, the shift lever and the shift pivot housing are modified, with a raised pivot point. Figure 1a shows the new shift lever at the top, and the new shift pivot housing at the left.

To begin the installation, remove the console. Start by removing the cover at the front end of the console, which is retained by four screws (Figure 2 and Figure 3). Next, remove the trim piece inside the console opening, by removing the two screws on the left outside of the console (Figure 4). Remove the knobs from the air conditioner temperature and fan controls, and remove the retaining nuts for these two units. Take out the two screws on each side of the console, and pull down the AC control panel. Push the two AC control units through the hole in the front of the console, and unplug the stereo fader unit wiring at the white multi-pin plug (Figure 5). Take out the screws that hold the bottom of the console to the tunnel. There are two in the front, and one hidden under the carpet in the rear. Remove the console from the car by rotating and pulling it up.

Remove the passenger side footboard, pull the carpet up over the shift lever, and fold it back (Figure 6). The 22mm locknut for the set screw on the front of the shifter housing must be loosened. On my car, it was fairly tight, so this is a good time to break it loose (Figure 7). There are five allen-head screws in the base of the shift tower, three which hold the tower (6mm allen-head), and two which hold the shift rod bushing bracket (5mm allen-head) Take out all five of these screws, pull the shift tower straight up, and remove it from the car (Figure 8).

Remove the shift lever coupling by taking out the set screw on the left side (Figure 9). Slide the shift rod bushing bracket off the shift rod, and remove it from the car. Replace the shift rod bushing, and reinstall the bracket and the coupler (Figure 10).

Before disassembly, take a good look at the shifter mechanism from the top and bottom, and note how the parts fit together and function. Disassemble the shifter mechanism by placing it on its side in a vice, and removing the two 10mm lock pawl plate retaining nuts. Slowly open the vice, releasing the pawl plate springs. Remove the locking clips from the shifter pivot pin and remove the pin. The shift rod can now be removed, along with the other internal parts.

To install the new shift pivot housing, the set screw in the front of the shifter housing (Figure 7) must be removed. Then drive the roll pin at the opposite side out just far enough to remove the shift pivot housing (Figure 11). Reassemble the shifter mechanism using the new parts, as shown in the diagram (Figure 11a). Tighten the set screw in the front of the shifter housing just to the point that end play in the shift pivot housing is eliminated, and tighten the locknut. Lubricate all of the contact points in the shifter mechanism. I used a spray lubricant that dries into light grease—Wurth HHS 2000.

Reinstall the shifter mechanism into the car (Figure 13). First, install the two screws into the shift rod bushing bracket (5mm allen-head), and then the three shifter mechanism mounting screws (6mm allen-head).

If you plan to reuse your stock shifter knob, the shift lever may be too long for it to fit correctly (Figure 14). I had to trim about 13mm from the tip of the shift lever for the shift knob to bottom onto the annular ring (Figure 15). You can remove the knob from the old shift lever by clamping the lever in a vice, and using a 15mm open-end wrench and a mallet to drive it off. You may also be able to reuse the crush ring for the shift knob, but it is an inexpensive part, so it is a good idea to have a new one on hand. Be careful with the shift knob—OEM replacements are very expensive.

After installing the short shift kit, I took the car for a test drive. Now it shifts like a sports car should, with precise, shorter throws. It is easy to select the correct gear, without worrying about damaging the transmission or the engine by missing a shift. This kit is one of the nicest upgrades I’ve done to my 911, and it really increases driving pleasure.

For all your parts needs, please call our Parts Department toll-free at 1-888-280-7799.

Hope this helps,
Bob Tindel
bob@pelicanparts.com

Comments and Suggestions:
Oivind Comments: I have bought A 1984 Porsche 911 carrera .
Have problems with the shifter lever, it looks as the springs are missing.
Some times the lever fasten.
I Dont know if I have a short kit or ..
If I have a short kit I think only I need the springs ??
September 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
chuckin face Comments: if this guy doesn't need a short shift, im pretty sure you don't.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6Thomd4BQg
March 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
streetgang Comments: Does anyone have an estimate for what it should cost to have a SS kit installed in an 87 turbo?
May 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hard to say. Labor and parts prices vary. I would call a few local Porsche shops and ask for an estimate. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chuck Comments: when are you going to put togtehr a kit for 87 911, Factory short shift kit was option on 88/89 911 so parts have existed.Someone needs to put togeter a list of 88/89 911 parts so we can at least buy them separaterly.
February 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. I will pass your comment onto our parts specialists. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: HI Wayne...I just bought a very original and well cared for 1980 911 Targa. I have a steep driveway and coming up it I had to back up and it stuck in reverse, possibly even between two gears.. I wiggled the shifter rod behind the seat and it came out of the sticking situation so I installed all the shifter bushings new. I drove it a day and backing out the garage the next day it stuck again. This time I cannot get it out of gear....What do I do? It is like it is stuck between two gears.....The tranny makes no abnormal noise and shifts well otherwise.
December 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't understand: "I cannot get it out of gear" and "shifts well otherwise". - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hapinoregon Comments: How does a short shifter kit work? Is the shift lever merely a bit shorted than stock or is the length between gear locations "notches"? reduced?

My aged and often cranky back really doesn't like the long reach to get to 2nd and 4th in '70 911 T. I would like a shorter throw but NOT a shorter lever. Any advice, opinions, suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Merci beau, in advance...
August 25, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Gear location notches are set in the transmission at the factory and cannot be changed. Short throw simply means a shorter upper part of the lever, so the distance your hand has to move between shifts is shorter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fein 79 Comments: I am having trouble removing the shift lever coupling set screw. Not only is it hard to reach, it appears to be seized. Does that happen often. Any advice?

Thanks!
August 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have to drill it out and retap it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
teacherh Comments: I finally got up the nerve to install the factory short shift kit I recently got from Pelican. I read your directions several times before starting. Your instructions were flawless and the car shifts like a new sports car. Thanks a million.....Jim
July 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mishy Comments: i recently bought a '83 911 SC- that has had everything done- love the car, ride and head turning looks- however, like other the trani leaves a little to be desire- so with that said- does any one have a good estimate of material and certified professional labor costs to have this upgrade done?
October 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Labor costs vary greatly in different places. Best if you call tyour local independent shop and / or dealer and get the estimates. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: What's the modern day cost of installing a short shift kit in a '83 911sc? Thanks for you help.
September 4, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need. As for installation, labor costs vary a lot by location. Best if you call a local independent shop or dealer and get your estimate that way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
robotman Comments: The shift pivot housing that was in my old shifter is longer than the short shift kit. there is no adjusting set screw to take up the slack, just roll pins hold it in place, what do i do. the old one also has very thin washers on each end, the short shift kit came with no washers.
August 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is the year and model of the vehicle? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
keichman Comments: I just installed the factory kit - so far so good. When I push in the 5. gear the shifter goes in a bit too far that it gets blocked by that little disc with that spring.
How can I adjust that?
January 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to adjust this by altering and changing the position of the rear shift linkage coupler located under the little trap door in the rear of the car, right in front of the rear seats. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Roadster49 Comments: Just bought an 83 911 SC. Shifter is way sloppy and has long throws to front of driver seat. Does the short shifter kit fix the sloppy shifter?
January 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, short shifters only make existing shifting problems worse. The fix is to replace all your worn out shift linkage bushings - that will fix your problem. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
mchan Comments: does anyone here know how to remove the shift knob, do I need to tap out the retaining nut between the knob and the shift rod?
December 30, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On just about any 911, the knob is simply pressed onto the shaft with a friction retainer that holds it in place. To remove it, you should be able to simply yank on it. Be careful not to smack yourself in the face when it lets go (okay, yes, I did accidentally do this once). Also, a previous owner might have not had the proper tightening sleeve, and instead may have opted to glue it in place. In this case, it's nearly impossible to remoive without destroying the knob. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
hdrockerroller Comments: Follow up:
Another view from the top of the shifter shows the carriage mounted with the offset up as described in the 101 projects books. There is no way to flip it down.
November 23, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Send me some more detailed photos (wayne@pelicanparts.com), and I will take a look at how you have this installed. Everything looks mostly correct according to these photos here. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
hdrockerroller Comments: I just installed the factory short shift kit in the shifter for a 1983 Porsche 911 SC. Everything went fine, the kit I was installing matched the kit in the 101 projects books, I aligned everything as per the pictures in that book. It all looked great, but when all was said and down, the tang welded to the shifter that is supposed to engage in the shift lockout mechanism is at least 1" too high; it does not even reach the mechanism. I cannot see how it could go together any other way, it all looks like the pics in the book. Any suggestions on what may have gone wrong anyone?
The picture isn't really clear, but you can see how how the tang is off the shift lockout.
November 23, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's possible you ordered or received the wrong kit. Please check the part number on the kit and check back with your supplier (our parts department 1-888-280-7799 or another) to make sure of the application. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
SteveO Comments: This is a really dumb question, but I own a 78 911SC and I have no idea whether it has the original or the short shifter. Is there an easy way to tell?
October 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not really, it's very difficult to tell. If you can take it apart, the piece that goes on the end of the shifter is different than the stock piece, that is the best way to tell (compare to the photos). Other than that, you can compare the shifter throw to someone else's car. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Chris Morse Comments: The shift pivot housing will not let you shift into 5th or reverse if you place the pointed side down, it must go up.

Secondly, at least on my 74, the pivot housing is about 40-50 thousandths shorter than the stock two piece unit. The stock unit had three skiny washers to make the stock two piece housing fit snugly in the tower. Do NOT be tempted to shim this unit to the center, just install it, as it comes, with the extra clearance or you will not be able to get it out of 5th. Thsi is serious sh*t. Fortunately, i found this out before installation.

The factory kit works very well, particularly if you replace the worn shift rod bushing in the tunnel.

hth,
chris
August 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Some previous owner must have put those skinny washers in there, as those are not stock from the factory. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
wkbergman Comments: Thanks, very well written. But for the 'newer' Porsches.
I installed a Weltmeister short shifter in my 1970 911E, from Performance Prods.
I did not install the new springs from the Weltmeister kit. Drilling new holes made no sense; the old springs were still stiff as a teenage erection. New holes would be necessary as the new springs' diameter is too tight for the old, fatter spring retaining pins.
It stank; I hit reverse out of 1st etc. Even though earlier I had replaced all possible bushings along the way. My garage said "See, I told you so."
Then I ordered a new lockout plate, installed that AND the springs.
Drilling those new holes was a bear until I realized that the drill bit furnished in the kit was extra hard & sharp. It did the job like going into butter.
The combination new plate and two extra springs [total of four now] did the job.
She shifts like a totally new gearbox. Accurate, stiff, smooth.
Observations:
the old lockout plate had a very slight amount of wear. Too little, I thought, to make the difference. Wrong. The little wear is multiplied by the increased length of the lever below the fulcrum, increased to get the shift throw shorter. With that extra length leveraged against the two original springs, they needed those extra two new springs.
You will have to get used to /adjust for reaching a bit lower, as the shift lever is now shorter. Also, I had my lever chrome plated to look original, as Weltmeister sends you a black one.
For the early 911s this is one I recommend.
August 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Howard Comments: The shift pivot housing, 911 short shift kit, is built with an off-set. Does the off-set install up or down?
See shifter mechanism detail in the tech article.
July 8, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On the short shift kit, the shift pivot housing (#16 in the diagram) is no longer symetrical. You install it with the flat side down (bumpy side up) into your shifter. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
930assac Comments: thanks
December 20, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
930assac Comments: so sorry, I understand that this kit doesn't suit for 930's then?

What are the main differences, cause in the oEM catalog, the shift is the same for the 911 and the 930 I think.

thanks
November 5, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The 930 uses an entirely different shifter that is specific to teh four speed. I think the only short shift kit available is the Weltmeister "sandwich" plate, which I don't necessarily care for too much. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Del Comments: Do you have a short shift kit for a 1988 930 turbo...? Thnaks for a reply...Del
May 15, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe there is a Weltmeister short shift kit available for your four speed. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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