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Does anyone know how to remove the shifter knob? I tried to unscrew it to no avail and I also tried to pull the leather cover down to see if screws were visible but I could not get it all the way down. Did not want to break it. If there is anyone who could walk me thru this, I would really appreciate it.

Merlin Johnson (

The shift knob IS screwed on to the shaft, I have heard of a few people being able to unscrew the knob, but not many. It's like the nylon type plastic in the knob as formed around the threads of the shaft. After going through major convulsions trying to loosen the knob by hand and stretching the cover, I got out a big pipe wrench. After about 10 minutes with that, and several scary twists of the shaft (didnt want to break the shift fork) I gave up. The knob was pretty thrashed up by now so I got out the utility knife and cut away the rubber knob. The damn thing is pretty much cast on the shaft with a little itty bitty plastic "nut" at the top of the knob, I had the crack the damn nut to get it off. There are no extra anythings holding the knob on, you just have to twist it off.

Patrick Yagle (

I was able to remove and re-use the stock shift knob. It was difficult to remove, though. I had to wrap it in a towel, park a Chevy Caprice on top of it (my car wasn't heavy enough!), and put a large screwdriver through the end of it to unscrew it. But it was worth it ... no scratches/stretching of the leather.

Short Shifter Installation...

Donald J. Dale (

See my instructions on Jim Wright's Maintenance Page.

If you hit the top of your knob when in neutral, do you get the cool "BONG" from the rod hitting the shield? Doesn't really bother me, but has anybody performed a little hammer on shield job or something for this?

Gary W. Mahan (

I originally got this also. I fixed it by using spacers between the heat shield and the body. It took approx 4 stacked washers before the rubbing went away (total of 16 washers). This mod only takes about 5 minutes and is cheap.

Rick Zotz (

I hammered a depression into the middle of the shield. No scrape. No "BONG".

Donald J. Dale (

Yup. Take off the heat shield and lay it on your driveway. Have a friend stand straddling the "arch" and compressing it with his feet. Give it a few good whacks. Should be fine.

I'm installing a shifter in my G20. Could you remove the rubber boot [found at the base of the shifter] from the car? Or did you do a little boot stretching job? There seemed to be two permanent type bolts holding the bottom area of the bracket inside my car.

Rick Zotz (

Not sure what the G20 boot looks like, but I did have to stretch my car's boot to tighten the bolts. It snaps right back.

Michael Sasaki (

I have a 200SX. There are two bolts that you can remove from within the car, and those permanent looking ones are actually removed from under the car. It's not that hard to get to if you have a long socket set and you remove the heat shield. I didn't have the long sockets and managed w/ an adjustable wrench.

Gary W. Mahan (

I did the stretchy thing; it seemeed alot easier than dismantling the rest of the shifter mechanism.

Aboutvibrating/noisy short shifters...

[Editorial note: There may be a couple of items that cause the buzzing sounds with the shifter. Pick which ever solution seems approrpriate for you situation.]

Searl Tate (

For anyone that is experiencing vibrating noises from the shifter/housing area, I have a fix for you. It should be noted that the original idea for this comes from someone here on the list (I spoke to someone about this three months ago- just can't remember who!). My method requires access to a Dremel MotoTool with flex shaft attachment.

The sound is caused by the shifter touching the hole below the billet housing (Stillen) and at certain RPMs will resonate (on mine it was 3-3.5k RPM). I initially thought the sound was from the heat shield, but after removing it, I found out otherwise.

From the bottom side of the shifter (car is on stands, wheels are chocked, brake set, in gear, etc...) near the cat, loosen the heat shield and move it half-way over. You might want to wait a while for the cat to cool off! With the shield off, you have a clear view of the bottom side of the shifter. Removing the cat is unnecessary (unless you don't have a flex shaft).

I used the conical stone bit @ 5k RPM to easily widen the hole. Take your time and widen one side at a time. Move the shifter from a top gear to a bottom gear to switch sides (I.E. from 5th to 4th). As you are working, make sure that you don't get a really tight radius bend on the shaft (will overheat).

While you are there, you may want to add some "DynaMat" or other similar sound deadening material to the heat shield (inner side). This also helps reduce the road noise. Good luck!

Brian Porter (b...@NDA.COM)

The rattle is from the boot. The OEM shifter had a notch that sandwiched the boot with the shift knob. The Stillen doesn't have one so this thing rattles like crazy. Hold the top portion of the boot while revving the S**T out of your car and the sound will go away. Should be an easy fix try tape.

Gary W. Mahan (

... if the noise is coming from the ball socket (as someone else described), try putting/forcing a heavy grease into the ball socket and then working the grease into the socket. The best results would be obtained with the shifter out of the car so you can hove the shifter to all extremes of travel and distribute the grease better. I did this to my shifter before installing it and it has never buzzed. BTW, my new shifter had a small (very small) amount of play also.

An evaluation of the SMC short shifter

Searl Tate (

All it really does is reduce the travel due to a new angle on the shifter. On mine, with the urethane bushings it is also a lot stiffer. The return-to-center is also much better. Such a simple device that makes a big difference.

A thorough comparison of the Stillen and Pacesetter short shifters...

Ronald S. Chong (

I've had the pleasure of installing three other shifters (all stillen). I finally got one, a Pacesetter shifter, and installed it yesterday. In this post, I'll try to do a thorough comparison between the two shifters (excluding cost, since that varies so much).

  • The obvious: the Pacesetter is adjustable. This comes about because there is a threaded area in the length of the control lever where the ball belongs. The ball itself is threaded - rather, the hole in the hole in the center of the ball is threaded. So you just put the ball on the lever, and thread it on to the point you want, then tighten the buried set screw to lock it in place.

    BTW, once the shifter is all installed, you cannot adjust it, which isn't what i'd thought when I bought it. No biggie though; I can't see a need to want to adjust it while it's installed. So, they're like the konis: adjustable if you're willing to take it apart. ;)

    Data: the stock distance from the center of the hole at the bottom of the control lever (the end that connects to the control arm) to center of the ball is about 2.25 inches. Also, the stock throw from 1st to 2nd is about 5.5 inches. I wanted a throw similar to the Stillen, which I guesstimated to be about 3 inches (??). With a little basic algebra, I adjusted the ball so that the center was 3 to 3.25 inches up from center of the hole at the bottom of the control lever. The ball was threaded up high enough so that there were no threads above the ball. YMMV.

  • It has a delrin (plastic-like) ball, so I'm _hoping_ there won't be any buzzing as is prevelant with the Stillens, which have a metal ball. We'll see.

  • Now the following description could get confusing, but I believe it's important. It concerns putting grease the ball, which is necessary to prevent buzzing and to keep the shifter moving smoothly.

    First a description of the stock shifter. It's a ball and socket design, like your hip or shoulder. You have a control lever with a ball. Around the ball is a bushing and sleeve (or as the manual calls it, "insulator" and "seat") which allows it to move smoothly within the socket. Below is lousy ascii art of a side shot of the assembly. Better yet, see page MT-9 (in my '91) of the service manual.

    		      D  <- shift knob / / / <- control lever / ____ /___ _| [(O)] |_ <- ball inside bushing inside sleeve / inside socket / 0 <- connects to control arm 
    When you remove the stock shifter, this whole assembly comes out as one piece. With the Stillen, you get an assembly that looks just like stock so you can just drop it in. But first, you gotta grease the ball. Since it is all one assembly, you gotta dab grease on the small portion of the ball that is exposed through the top of the socket then work the shifter all around to try to get the grease distrubuted around the ball. You could spend a lot of time doing this and never be sure how distributed it is.

    With the pacesetter, all you get is a lever and ball. You read right. You have to reuse the socket and the bushing and sleeve from the stock assembly. Interesting: though the pacesetter is based on the SMC design, apparently the SMC came as an full assembly like the Stillen. As least, I'm inferring this from Searl's comment in the FAQ about the "urethane bushings" in his SMC stiffer than stock. This maybe be why the pacesetter is inexpensive compared to the Stillen. (??)

    So this was a great revelation to me. In all my previous installations, I didn't realize that the stock assembly could come apart - there was no reason to think about it since the Stillen assembly dropped right in. But in fact, the stock socket can be easily pressed off, releasing the bushing and sleeve. The bushing splits into two halves!! How cool! Now you can just directly grease up the interior of the bushing, slap it around the ball and know that it's thoroughly greased.

    If anyone has a Stillen that isn't installed, please flip it over and see if is constructed the same way and if you can pop the socket appart to have access to the ball. If it does, then we must tell Stillen to include this point in their instructions. since the most common suggestion about the installation is greasing this ball, anything that makes it easier is a big help. If it doesn't, then...well...jump to your own conclusions. :)

  • A minor point: the stock control lever has a slight "krimp" about a third of the way down (from the top) the control lever. The purpose of this is to prevent the top of the shifter boot from sliding all the way down the control lever and making it look like a chicken leg with the knob at the top, the expose control lever, then the boot smashed down at the bottom. :)

    The pacesetter has has a brief 1/4" region threads tooled into the shaft at about the same distance down the lever which achieves the same purpose as the stock "krimp".

  • Finally, another minor point. Removing the stock shifter and installing the Stillen can get a little sticky because of the ears on the control arm connection at the end of the control lever. See point #10 of the shifter install instructions on Jim Wright's maintenance page. The Pacesetter doesn't have these ears so it drops right in "with the greatest of ease."

Okay, that's it.

Experience dealing with rusty bolt when installing the short shifter...

Ronald S. Chong (

When I've done installs in the past they typically take about 1.5 - 2 hours. But mine took way too long; like five hours! This was because my '91 has seen too much wet, snowy, salty weather. As a result, two nuts were rusted on. :(

All went well until the time to remove the last two nuts, the ones on the back part of the metal frame that squishs the rubber boot to the body. Advice: if the bolts look rusty and you _really_ think they might break, just _intentionally break them_. Just yank hard so that they will break. That's what we should have done, but we tried to baby them off. What happend was that once we the nuts got down to about the last 1/4" inch of bolt thread (where the rust was the thickest) the nut refused to turn.

Multimedia time: this is a side pic of the shifter once the leather boot is pull outa the way to expose the rubber boot and frame below.

		       D  <- knob | | <- front of car | <- shift lever | .__|___ / | \ <- rubber boot +--------O---------+ <- frame holding down rubber boot |="<-" stud with rusted nut o | 
So we kept turning - nothing else we could do. The nut started turning again. Then we realized that the _whole stud_ was turning!! We were completely screwed.

We first started gnawing away at the top using my dremel tool thinking that once the head was flattened, the stud would fall out. Once it was chewed up a bit, we tried to use a punch and hammer to knock the stud out the rest of the way. Nothing. So we decided to try drilling - nothing else to do.

The problem was that we didn't know that the stud was shaped like this:

		\    /      <- flattened top of stud="=======" <- thin 10mm nut | |------ <- frame holding down boot + +--- | | <- washer-like stupidness + +--- | |------ <- car body under frame |~~| .-_----. | | | | <- nut .______. |~~| |~~| |~~| |~~| \__/ 
The washer-like stupidness was _part_ of the stud! So I had to drill through another 3/16" of metal. After doing the first stud, the second one went quickly, but I was still pouting from doing the first.

We then hit the hardware store and picked up new metric bolts, nuts, and washers. We found rubber grommets to use where the washer-like stupidness used to be. That worked well.

In retrospect, we would have intentionally broken the nuts, we could have lifted the frame and shifter out. The studs would still be attatched to the frame that holds down the rubber bot because of the washer-like stupidness, but at least you could easily hacksaw them off, away from the interior of the car. A five-minute job instead of thirty minutes.

Has anyone tried the Z.Speed's short shifter?

Robert Douglas Williams (

I purchased mine for $125 to my door. The feel seems to be a little firm, but maybe it's necessary from preventing any misshifts. I had it installed on a lift which took about 30 minutes. I can't compare it to either the Stillen or the SMC because no one I know has one yet. Otherwise, I like it.

As far as installing a short-shifter goes, wouldn't it be cheaper and more practical to chop off about 3 - 4 1/2"" off the existing shift lever, re-thread it and re-install the knob? It seems to me that this would achieve the same effect (shorter throws requiring slightly greater effort) than the added trouble and expense of installing a new lever.

Don Dale (d...@Princeton.EDU)

It'd be cheaper, but it wouldn't have the same effect. Remember that your shift lever is exactly that, a lever, and the mechanical advantage of a lever is a function of the lengths on both sides of the fulcrum. The commercial short shift levers extend the length of the lever underneath the fulcrum as well as shortening it above the fulcrum. Both alterations shorten the throw distance. You could shorten the throw just as much by hacking off the top of your lever, but for the same throw length, you'd wind up with a little stubby shifter, while the commercial product would look just a little shorter than stock.

Maintained by Ronald S. Chong (