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Installing a Short Shift Kit

Pelican Technical Article:

Installing a Short Shift Kit


3 hr






Hex key set, needle-nose pliers, 22mm socket for later cars.

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Short shift kit, new shift bushings

Hot Tip:

Use screwdrivers to align the compression springs with the top retaining plate

Performance Gain:

Quicker shifting between gears

Complementary Modification:

New shift boot, new shift bushings, new shift knob.
101 Projects for Your Porsche 911

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's book, 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Porsche 911 owner's collection. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the most popular additions to the 911 is the installation of a short shift kit. The kit shortens the length of throw on the 911 shifter, theoretically giving you the ability to shift faster. Installation is relatively easy, and should take the better part of an afternoon.

There are currently two popular types of short shift kits on the market. One of them is a Weltmeister aftermarket unit, and the other is a genuine Porsche kit. I recommend the Porsche kit, as it is constructed well, and also is a better design. However, the Porsche factory kit is only applicable to 911s from 1973 through 1986 with the 915 transmission. The kit will reduce shifter travel by 20% on 1973-84 911s and 10% on 1985-86 models. The Porsche kit replaces just about everything in the shifter with new parts, so if your shifter is worn, the install will renew its performance.

The other Weltmeister kit uses an adapter plate and a new shift arm to increase the throw. This adapter plate raises the level of the entire shifter by about a half an inch. The Weltmeister kit fits all 911s including the Turbo from 1965-86. Installation is similar to the Porsche kit, except that the kit doesn't provide replacements for the major internal pieces of the shifter. The installation process utilizes the older components.

It is important to note that the installation process is not a quick job, and converting your shifter back to its original state will easily require another three hours. It's important to make sure that you want the effects of the short shift kit before you install it. With the short shift kit installed, the linkage requires significantly more force to place the car into each gear. It may be a wise idea to purchase an extra used shifter to install the kit into just in case you want to easily convert it back to its original state.

The installation of the factory short shift kit is pretty straightforward. The first step is to remove the shifter from the car. This is documented in Pelican Technical Article: Shifting Improvements, Shifting Improvements. Once the shifter is out, place it on a workbench and begin disassembly by removing the two nuts that hold on the top carrier plate. Be careful when you remove this plate, because there are two heavily loaded springs that are compressed up against it. The carrier plate will spring off when you remove the two nuts: make sure that your hands are out of the way.

The shift handle is held on with a pin that is constrained using two circlips. Using needle-nose pliers, remove the circlips from the pin, slide it out, and remove the shifter handle. Unscrew the large hex pivot bolt at the end of the shifter and remove the internal pivot fork that rocks back and forth. Loosen the retaining nut before you try to remove the bolt. In order to completely remove the pivot fork, the small roll-pin on the opposite side must be pushed into the housing. Use a small hammer to tap out the roll-pin so that you can remove the pivot fork.

The new pivot fork replaces the old one, and the hole for the shifter should be located on the top of the fork when installed. Tap the roll pin back into place, and reinstall the hex bolt. Make sure that you tighten down the bolt to the point where you can slightly move the pivot fork back and forth. Tighten up the retaining nut to make sure that the bolt doesn't come loose.

Now, install the new shift handle into the fork. Make sure that the tab welded on the shift handle points to the right side of the shifter. The longer end of the retaining pin should point towards the left side. Reinstall the two circlips on both ends of the pin. Now, place the guide plate back into its normal position.

The final and most difficult part of the conversion, is the installation of the carrier plate, the buffer plate and the two springs. Insert the springs into the buffer plate and place it in the shifter. Now, use two small screwdrivers inserted through the holes in the carrier plate to constrain the springs to the carrier plate. Using this method should allow you to compress the top carrier plate back into its proper position without having the springs fly out. It may be wise to wear gloves and safety glasses during this stage, as the springs will be tightly compressed, and could be dangerous if they fly out. These springs are sometimes called the shift lock-out springs, because they keep you from accidentally putting the car into reverse. If you have found them to be weak in when shifting into reverse and fifth, you should replace them with new ones at this time.

When compressing the top plate, work on one side of the shifter at a time. Press down one side until you have enough clearance on the top stud to attach one of the nuts. Don't worry about putting the small washer back on: you can do that later. Place one nut on the stud and tighten it down slightly. Then move over to the other side and compress the carrier plate all the way down, and attach the other nut. Tighten both nuts up tight when you are finished. Then, remove one of the nuts, and place the washer underneath. The other nut (if still on tight) should be strong enough to hold the top carrier plate in position. Retighten the nut with the washer underneath, and then repeat for the opposite side.

At this point, your shifter should be completely reassembled, and ready to be placed back into the car. If you haven't already, it's a wise idea to replace your shifter bushings for clearer, crisper shifting (see Pelican Technical Article: Shifting Improvements). It's also a good time to replace your shift boot and knob, if they are looking worn.

On a side note, many people install short shift kits in their cars thinking that it will fix problems that they are having with their transmission. This will not solve any problems, and will in most cases make a poorly shifting car shift even worse. The reason for this is that with the short shift kit, the torque arm on the shift lever is much shorter, giving you much less 'resolution' on your shifter. It's similar to having a gas pedal that only travels 1 inch over its range instead of 2-3 inches. You have less precision in how much throttle you want to give the car. In a similar manner, with the short shift kit you will have less precision on where the shift rod is placed. It's a wise idea to tackle the core problems with your transmission (synchros, shift bushings), prior to the installation of the short shift kit.

The factory short shift kit contains all the pieces and bits that you need to install it into your 911.
Figure 1

The factory short shift kit contains all the pieces and bits that you need to install it into your 911. The kit basically replaces all the parts in the shifter except for the housing, and some fastening hardware. If your original shifter is worn, and needs to be replaced, the short shift kit should provide you with everything that you need to both replenish the shifter and shorten the shift throw.

This photo shows the original shifter disassembled.
Figure 2

This photo shows the original shifter disassembled. Be careful when removing the lock pawl carrier plate, as it is heavily spring-loaded and the springs will come flying out if you are not careful. Cover the entire assembly with a towel when you are removing the second bolt on the carrier plate. The towel will prevent the springs and the plate from flying out of control.

The short shift kit uses a fork that is offset to accommodate the shorter shift.
Figure 3

The short shift kit uses a fork that is offset to accommodate the shorter shift. Make sure that you install the fork with the hole facing towards the top of the shifter. Also make sure that you install the shift handle with the lock tab on the right side of the shifter. Remember that the rear of the shifter has the single large mounting hole in its base.

When installing the new carrier plate, use two small screwdrivers to hold in the springs while you position the nuts for tightening.
Figure 4

When installing the new carrier plate, use two small screwdrivers to hold in the springs while you position the nuts for tightening. This may require a few attempts to get it right. Remember to wear safety glasses when working with the springs under pressure.

This diagram shows the disassembly of the shift linkage assembly and the shifter.
Figure 5

This diagram shows the disassembly of the shift linkage assembly and the shifter. 1-Shift knob, 2-Interference sleeve, 3-Dust boot, 4-Allen bolt, M8x20, 5-Spring Washer, 6-Nut, M6x20, 7-Spring Washer, 8-Nut, M6, 9-Lock washer, 10-Lock pawl carrier plate with lock pawl, 11-Spring, 12-Buffer plate, 13-Guide plate, 14-Ball socket, 15-Lock ring, 16-Pivot pin, 17-Gear shift lever, 18-Roll pin, 19-Spacer, 20-Pivot Fork, 21-Shift lever housing, 22-Set screw, 23-Shift rod head, 24-Support bracket, 25-Bearing bush, 26-Nut, M8, 27-Shnorr lock washer, 28-Bolt, M8x32, 29-Clamp, 30-Set screw, 31-Shift rod coupling, 32-Dust boot, 33-Shift rod Index Words Shifter Short Shift Kit, Installation Shift Through Shift Bushings Lock-out Springs Pivot For, Shifter Carrier Plate, Shifter Shifting Improvements

Comments and Suggestions:
Clay_T Comments: We bought the Rennshift Performance Shifter JWST-RSOR-ST-PO cough, cough, 11 years ago to install in our '67s.
We went to install it last weekend and ran into some interference between the unit and the steel heater cable tubes in the tunnel.
The instructions show the shift rod guide bracket relocated from above the tunnel to below, supported by the spacer block on the bottom of the shifter.
The shift rod guide bracket hits the tubes well before the shifter settles on the tunnel. It appears that even if we were to cut out the heater cable tubes we aren't going to cut them!, the assembly still wouldn't seat on the tunnel as there is a sheetmetal hat section that supports the tubes below.
Surprisingly, there aren't any other reports of this problem out in the googlesphere.

What's the return policy on 11 year old purchases? *g*
May 2, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give the folks at parts a call: - Nick at Pelican Parts
dansuperman Comments: Hey Nick,

By the way, I stripped the cone hex bolt that secures the coupler to the transmission shaft. What's the best way to remove that bolt that you can recommend? I tried drilling and all sorts of stuff. should I drill deep deep in? It's not coming off. :
November 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Vise grips if you can grab it, drill it if you can't. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dansuperman Comments: I found out what the proble was.... the part came a bit tight because of the paint added on to it by maybe the manufacturer. Basically you have to hammer the pin through both the rod and also the fork to remove all the black paint that is coated on the rod and also to loosen up the fork. Not complicated but then again was a hassle. Should have been checked for basically plug and play. All good though. Probably a rare case.
November 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. I am glad it worked out, that is a pain and wish it could have been avoided. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dansuperman Comments: I can't seem to get the pin through the shifter or the fork at first. I then heated up the fork and was able to get the pin through. However, the hole on the shifter is wayyy too tight and not penetrable. Is it okay for me to pound the pin through with a hammer???

Upon inspecting my old shifter with the fork and pin, the pin seems to go into place without any resistance at all. All of these items were left in the cold so I suspect that the metal have shrunken, but that should have shrunken relatively. However, I didn't have that problem with the old shifter mechanism since they were left out in 45 degrees temperature together. There should be no heat expansion or freeze contraction.

What's going on with this part? I even had a mechanic inspect it and he said the pin should go nicely into both the fork and also the shifter. It doesn't.

Did you guys inspect it before sending it to me??? Please be honest because that's a shitty ass thing to do if you didn't.

November 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Are you having trouble with a new part you purchased through Pelican Parts? If so the best bet is to cal our parts specialists. They can help you figure out if the part needs warranty replacement or how to install it if different from this procedure. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 1/15/2018 02:01:16 AM