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Just installed a short shifter...


Expect the best, and accept no substitute.

Products for your Boxster, Cayman and Carrera.
... however, it's not a B&M or a Schnell. Since the car is a resurrection from the crusher (yeah, yeah... I still owe y'all some pics), I don't feel too bad about experimenting with it a little. So, here's what I did. We've likely all seen the super-cheap short shift kits on the-auction-site-who-shall-not-be-named for about $45. These bear a strong resemblance to the genuine article, so, I thought I'd give it a try. About 4 months ago, I ordered one.

It arrived quickly and the initial look and feel of it is quite good. The anodizing on the aluminum is pretty thin and fragile, but, all of the bits are there and the kit looks like it's a nice copy. So, fast-forward to this weekend when I decided to install it. I had the center console off to install a Homelink garage door opener (pics of that will follow) and while I'm in there, it's a great time to do both! Similar to the Schnell kit, this shift kit uses aluminum bearings with nylon inserts for the lateral movement of the shift lever. The challenges started with the lateral bearings that were provided not being exactly the same diameter. The barrel of one of them was very tight both when installing it in the shift housing as well as the nylon insert was so tight inside it that it restricted the shift lever movement very substantially. Out comes the Dremel. I carefully ground out enough material on the inside of the barrel that the nylon insert could slip in without a lot of effort and the movement of the shift lever was no longer restricted - nice and smooooooth. I then noticed that the angle of the lever itself was opposite what it should be (was tilting away from the driver instead of toward). I found that the pin that holds the shift lever into the body of the shift mechanism was press-fit into place and was very difficult to remove. Out comes the hammer and a bolt to extract the pin. Upon removal, I did find that the lever has nice little roller bearing in it. However, the pin was so tight in it that the bearing was badly bound up and wasn't doing anything. I'm no machinist, however, using a drill press and varying grits of sandpaper, I was able to decrease the diameter of the pin sufficiently and evenly enough that it now slips right into the bearing and is nice and smooth in its operation with the help of some lithium grease.

After all of the fiddling, the whole thing is back together and installed in the car. I haven't driven it yet, but, just sitting stationary, the feel is pretty darn good. I'll work on putting up some pics, too.

All of that said, it seems to me that in addition to the moral implications of purchasing something that was likely a violation of a patent, spending another $120 in order to save a few hours of fiddling might have been a better choice. For the cheap-o putterers, however, this seems like a viable option.
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