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FURTHER MODS: SPORTS SHIFTER
Despite having new bushings fitted, my shifter didn't really feel 'sporty', although it did have a 'new car' feel. Checking out info on the net, I finally decided to get a quickshifter from B&M.
(12.55AM 2nd February 2004)
Whoo-hoo! My B&M quickshifter is in the mail. Should be here anytime soon. Check out this info from B&M:
Q1: What Is A B&M Short Throw Shifter?
A1: A B&M Short Throw Shifter is a direct, bolt-on, self-contained unit. When you buy a B&M Short Throw Shifter, along with the complete shifter unit, you get explicit installation instructions. Installation usually takes about 30 minutes with nothing more than ordinary hand tools.
Q2: Why Should I Buy A B&M Short Throw Shifter?
A2: A B&M Short Throw Shifter offers a dramatic improvement in shifting performance due in large part to reduced shifter travel, or �shift throw�.
Q3: Why Should �Shift Throw� Matter To Me?
A3: �Shift throw� refers directly to actual physical travel of the shifter stick - thus affecting the time it takes to shift from one gear to another (see illustration). In a performance situation, the additional seconds (or fractions of a second) a factory stock shifter takes to go from one gear to another can result in slower elapsed times - or just a sluggish feeling when driving around town. A B&M Short Throw Shifter eliminates that sluggish feeling in a daily driver, and gives the racer an extra edge.
Q4: Why Should I Buy A B&M Shifter?
A4: B&M has been in the shifter technology business for almost 50 years. No one has as much time invested in the research, development and practical application of shifter/transmission performance than B&M. If you want a half-century of experience behind you and your vehicle�s shifter - buy B&M.
The particular model I'm interested in is 45071 for Ford Escort GT / Mazda 323/Protege `92-`03
A unique sport shifter engineered for the Ford Escort, Mazda Prot�g� and MX-3 enthusiasts. This Sport Shifter has all of the features a performance minded driver requires. The finest materials, CAD designed, coupled with a short throw results in one extraordinary precision shifting system. This stylized precision shifter includes many of the key features found in race shifters including a stainless steel stick assembly, a CNC machined aluminum pivot housing and a spherical bearing. All of this combined with a simple straightforward installation provides a professional level shifter.
* Engineered for Precision Shifts
* Shift throw reduced for quicker shifts
* 303 Stainless steel stick
* CNC machined aluminum pivot housing
* Spherical bearing
* Accepts stock factory knob
* Direct bolt on installation
I need a nice shifter knob because I value the 'feel' of shifting, so I decided to order a leather shifter from B&M after checking out a lot of stuff from MOMO, Nardi, etc. which didn't really seem suitable. This is B&M's 'Tall Leather' knob (Model No.: 80743). Unfortunately my only complaint is that the knob has thumb/finger grooves optimised for LEFT HAND DRIVE! :(
What do you think? Does it match the Nardi Gara III steering wheel which I'm currently using on the car? I think it does! Detailed info: Nardi Gara Line 3/3 black leather/black leather with pad-KBA/ABE-70138. This 3-spoke leather steering wheel was OE for Subaru Impreza. Ext. diameter is 370mm, Grip: 26.5 x 31 mm. Steel frame, head impact model. Horn can be operated but with difficulty due to the centre pad. Nardi model code: 6071.36.2071
The shifter is on its way to Malaysia from B&M Racing & Performance Products, Van Nuys, California. It is already in Malaysia as of 4th Jan 2004 but hasn't reached me yet.
I ordered it through their Malaysian dealer:
83, Jalan 26/154,
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 9101 0714
Fax: 9101 6151
A good alternative would be a Nardi 3222.01.0000 Prestige Line black leather gear knob with 3600.01.0000 black leather/inox silver thread gaiter. Yummy!
SHIFTER INSTALLATION - 2.08PM, 7th February 2004
OK, I just installed the quickshifter. Here are some pics & info, which I hope you will enjoy reading.
The B&M comes nicely packaged, with a label indicating the model of shifter inside. You can see the contents of the shifter in the pic above. Included are the shifter itself, installation grease, circlip to hold gaiter up (or keep a shift boot down!), instructions, ad for shifter knobs and 2 stickers!
Shifter grease has a retro-look label.
First get under the car and undo the shifter rod to shifter lever link. Those two top hat buttons are the bushings. Coating with grease might be a good idea. Use NEW 'top hat' bushings on the shift connect rod (shifter to transmission), I think you'll need 6 pcs. Best to get new genuine MAZDA items.
Undo the plastic centre panels and remove retaining spring. The removal of the plastic bits is nothing special, just try not to scratch anything. Here's what the original shifter assembly looks like.
Comparing the original to B&M, you can see the difference in length and pivoting point. You have to remove the bottom dust seal and CAREFULLY install it onto the B&M. Grease the original bottom seal really good to slip out of the original shifter, and slip over the bottom ball section of the new shifter. Use steady and slow force. The rubber ring CAN expand, just needs slow and steady force. Patience and care here will pay off and avoid damaging the seal.
Clean your shift housing (on the car) properly. Some solvent wipe, WD40 and perhaps even light #800-1000 grit sandpaper gently used will clean off years of caked up, baked on grime. Grease up O-rings with supplied grease (they've provided more than enough of it) and install using constant, steady force, taking care not to tear the O-rings. Don't whack it in or use sudden thrusting force! Re-install retaining spring after cleaning it carefully and you're done! Installation of plastic centre panels are the reverse of removal, as they say in the manuals! :)
The feel has definitely improved. Shifter travel, surprisingly was not reduced very much. Compared to a Berg 40% shifter on a upright headlight Beetle, the B&M is almost stock. But there IS some difference. The advantage of not being TOO short, is that I can still flick the shifter with just 2 fingers.
No superhuman effort like the Berg (Just imagine how a 60% drag race Berg feels like!). The VW Berg feels like it has almost zero travel, so that was what I was expecting from B&M. No worries though, because since the car is a daily driver, I welcome the fact that now, I won't have to worry about my left arm getting bigger than my right!!
I bought the 'Tall Shifter' knob from B&M, and my only gripe is that it has a finger groove best suited for LEFT HAND DRIVE! Not a big problem, because I don't shift like its a pistol grip anyway. When everything is installed the shift boot even covers the B&M engraved bottom collar, so the shifter is very 'Stealth'.
CONCLUSION: A very subjective way to blow a bundle of cash on the shifter, tall leather knob and air freight. Depends on your priorities I guess. I'm happy though, because shifting 'feel' is very important to me!
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