Write-Up: Coupe's Shifter Mod

Discussion in 'How-To' started by Coupe, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Coupe

    Coupe Active Member

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    Coupe Shifter Mod

    There have been a few write ups on cutting down factory shifters. The inspiration for this mod is Stevenredx write up. This is his write up:

    http://www.xr-underground.com/vb3/showthread.php?t=4549

    The stock shifter has an internal rubber bushing. This bushing is prone to failure. When it wears out the shifter becomes very sloppy. Even when new, the shifter is a little “mushy”. This rubber bushing has one important feature “it isolates transmission vibration from the cab”.

    If you make a solid mount shifter ( i.e. remove the bushing and weld it together) the transmission will transmit some noise to the cab. You may find this annoying.

    This write up deals with two features:
    1.Eliminating this rubber bushing.
    2.Cutting the stock height of the shifter.
    I have tried a few different formulas for doing this. This write up has evolved over the past year. This is my latest version (October 11, 2009).

    While this write up addresses the factory shifter, it can also be done to the TRD SS shifter. The TRD shifter has this same rubber bushing. The TRD SS is about 1 ½” shorter than the stock shifter. I have also done a 4 wheel drive shifter. This is LONGER than the X-Runner shifter. The 4 wheel drive is ½” longer than the X-Runner.
    I have found it difficult to find a good reference point for measuring the shifter. I prefer to use the bend in the lower part of the shifter. I call this the knuckle. See Figure 1.

    [​IMG]

    This figure shows the length dimensions of the different shifters.
    If you have never pulled the shifter out, refer to the URD SS install instructions. These are excellent. It will show you how to pull the console and boot out.

    If you are contemplating an URD or NST SS kit, this would be an excellent time to install one. If you are not installing a URD or NST SS, you can save yourself a little time and just depress the top retaining ring about ¼” and rotate it counter clockwise. This will release the shifter and you can pull it straight out. If you are installing an URD or NST SS, the top plate will need to be removed. See Pictures 1 & 2.


    [​IMG]

    Picture 1

    [​IMG]

    Picture 2


    Next you need to decide the length of the shifter. It is difficult to determine what each individual will prefer for a finished shifter length. I think the 9 ½” will fit most people’s needs. Be forewarned, if you decide on a shorter length it will require a healthy slap to get into reverse. I like the feel of the 8 ½” shifter, but other people may have difficulty in driving your truck. Occasionally you will need to have service people drive your truck. They will have difficulty in finding reverse.

    I start by cutting of 1 1/8” off the base of the shifter. I use a hack saw for this. See Figure 2 & Picture 3.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Picture 3

    There is a central rod inside of this outer tube. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE CENTRAL ROD. As you cut through the outer tube, you need to rotate the shifter. You just want to cut though the outer tube. See Picture 4.


    [​IMG]


    Picture 4

    After the outer tube is cut through, pull the lower section out. The tip will have a rubber plug on it that will need to be removed (See Picture 5). Use a Dremel tool to cut this off. I have had some that just pulled off. Most will need to be cut off.


    [​IMG]

    Picture 5

    You can knock the lower piece of the outer tube off the lower central shaft. See picture 6.
    [​IMG]
    Picture 6

    There is also a plastic clip on the lower rubbers bushing. This can be cut off with a dremel or one swing of a hammer on a chisel will take this off, See Picture 7.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 7

    You can use a bench grinder to remove the remainder of the rubber bushing on the lower shaft. See Picture 8.
    [​IMG]


    Picture 8

    Look at Picture 9. This shows the rubber removed.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 9

    I used J-B weld (available at any Auto parts store) and glued two small hose clamps. You want to use pinch type hose clamps. Allow the J-B Weld to dry over night. See Picture 10.

    [​IMG]


    Picture 10

    I ground the tips off the hose clamp a little. In picture 10, there is a vacuum cap over the tip of the lower shaft. This was because this was going to be an 8 ½” long shifter. You do not want any metal from the central lower shaft touching any of the outer metal tube. Many people may skip this step. I have also cut little grooves in the tip. The point of the hose clamps or the grooves is to give the urethane epoxy something to grip. This will help give the epoxy a better grip and reduce the chances in breaking the bond if you put a twisting motion on the shifter.

    Take the outer tube you cut off and deburr the hacksaw cut. See Picture 11.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 11

    Drill and tap three (3) perimeter holes along the base of the tubing. I am using ¼-20UNC bolt holes. See Pictures 12 & 13.

    [​IMG]

    Picture 12


    [​IMG]

    Picture 13

    I usually strip the outer powder coating. I will later prime and paint the shifter outer tube. See Picture 14.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 14

    While I am at it, I usually chase the threads on the upper tip. I can usually cut a few extra threads. See Picture 15.


    [​IMG]

    Picture 15

    I use an old flex hone to clean up the bore of the outer tubing. You could use a wire brush. If you do not have these, you could use a round file. It won’t do as good of job, but should give an adequate bite. See Picture 16.


    [​IMG]
    Picture 16

    After you have honed or wire brushed the bore, you need to clean out the dust. Swab it out with a rag with a little solvent. Know you are ready to put the two parts together. Use three (3) ¼-20UNC x 1 Long hex bolts. These hex bolts are only to hold the parts together while the epoxy is drying. After the epoxy is dried, we will replace these bolts with short ¼” long, Button Head Screws. See Picture 17.

    [​IMG]

    Picture 17

    Snug up the hex bolts. This is where you adjust your length. You can position the lower shaft in the outer shaft. Ideally the length from the knuckle to the tip of the shifter should be 9 ½”. You can go shorter.

    8 ½” is the minimum length. Remember, the shorter you go, the harder finding reverse will be.

    Once you have confirmed your length and the bolts are snugged up, look down the bore and make sure the lower shaft is in the center of the outer tube. You may have to adjust the bolts to achieve this.

    Now you are ready to epoxy the shifter together. I prefer Loctite U-05FL. See Picture 18. This uses a special gun with mixer tips. The mixer tips get throw away after each use. See Picture 19. These can be purchased from McMaster Carr.

    www.mcmastercarr.com.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 18

    [​IMG]

    Picture 19

    Glue the two parts together. You are going to fill up the outer tube. See Picture 20.

    [​IMG]
    Picture 20

    Go have a couple of beers. The epoxy is supposed to be dry in a day. I find when it is poured this thick, it usually takes two (2) days. When it is dry, remove the hex bolts and replace with short ¼” long button head bolts. You could also use hex bolts. You want short bolts. You do NOT want the bolts to touch the central shaft.

    This epoxy, when dry, has a little flexibility. It will have the density similar to a polyurethane bushing. This is important to use a urethane epoxy. Most epoxies will dry hard as a rock.

    The urethane epoxy will absorb transmission noise.


    Picture 21
    shows how far these ¼” bolts are going to protrude into the outer tube.

    [​IMG]


    Picture 21


    Before I put the short bolts in, I put a squirt of epoxy in each tapped hole.
    Then prime and paint the outer tube. I have been using a Satin black for the color.
    The shifts will be firm and crisp. There will be no mushy feel. You may have to “slap” the shifter to get into reverse. You may have to do this a couple of times to get the rhythm down. Pictures 22 & 23 are of an 8 ½” shifter.


    [​IMG]

    Picture 22

    [​IMG]

    Picture 23

     
  2. dmbfan73

    dmbfan73 Active Member

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    awesome write-up coupe! i'm gonna have to try this with my stock shifter, its sitting in my garage collecting dust.
     
  3. trd_sport

    trd_sport Active Member

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    nice detailed write up coupe!!!!! One of your custom x-r shift knobs will set it off nicely!!!
     
  4. Trick61

    Trick61 New Member

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    Great write up Coupe!
     
  5. 07bspXR

    07bspXR New Member

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    awsome:top: I might do this soon.
     
  6. lostrunner

    lostrunner New Member

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    Great write up will have to try this...:top:
     
  7. Venomous_X

    Venomous_X Active Member

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    I speak from honesty and experience, coupes shifter combined with the urd s/s (in my case) is the best feeling shifter Ive ever had....That says alot since Ive shifted owned and used the trd, URD, and even the B&M. In all honesty the B&M has no comparison to this shifter. The chopped shifter was so good that I sold the B&M. :adore: :adore: :adore: Way to go man, Seriously! One of my favorite mods. I'd like to also mention that my shifter is gnarly and I mean GNARLY short...The tech was moving my truck when I had my wheels mounted could not find reverse so it does take some getting used to. :top:
     
  8. Coupe

    Coupe Active Member

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    If anyone wants one of these, just pm me. I have a few made up.
     
  9. Stevenredx

    Stevenredx New Member

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    Nice work coupe, very similar to my mod with an added twist. Probably one the most noticeable mods you will notice when driving.
     
  10. Tunedx

    Tunedx Active Member

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    This is on my to do list over the winter along with changing fluid to Redline.
     
  11. revobreaker

    revobreaker Moderator
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    Great write up Coupe.

    Any suggestions on repairing a shifter? I think i have an older revision of your method, and I may have put a twisting motion on it :rolleyez:
     
  12. Coupe

    Coupe Active Member

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    PM sent........
     
  13. nine9six

    nine9six Active Member

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    Awesome write-up man. Can this work w/o a short-shifter? I know it won't be what it's capable of being w/o, but if I get one of these off you before I can get my SS will I be able to use it? JW :smile:


    FTR, I have this on my 'to-do' list, so i WILL be buying one off you w/ the exchange of my stocker.
     
  14. revobreaker

    revobreaker Moderator
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    Yes you can use it w/o SS.

    I think at one time coupe was selling a few SS kits along with his arm, kill 2 birds with one stone and do it all at once, its awesome!
     
  15. shaggy08xr

    shaggy08xr Active Member

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    i was just wondering if you still had any shifters still made up and if so how much you wanted for one of them, and by the way that was an awesome write up. just let me im in florida
     
  16. Coupe

    Coupe Active Member

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    It will work, but will be 3/4" shorter because the SS spacer plate will not be in place.


    PM sent......
     
    #16 Coupe, Oct 14, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  17. AFP520

    AFP520 New Member

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    What difference do you guys really feel here? For clarification, the throw itself without any URD S/S will still be the same, it's just the shifter itself that is smaller?

    It looks neat but I like my B&M. :hmmmm2:
     
  18. revobreaker

    revobreaker Moderator
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    The arm itself is slightly shorter, and without the rubber bushing in there it causes less "flex" in the shifter when you engage the gears.

    I never tried a B&M, but im assuming it would be a similar feeling
     
  19. Coupe

    Coupe Active Member

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    There are two pluses with this mod.

    1. The shifter is shorter, so the throw is shorter. This is the case, whether you use an URD or NST SS or not. There is still a reduction of shifter throw. If you use an URD or NST, the effect is amplified.

    2. The big thing is "feel" the epoxy used does not dry hard as a rock, it dries at about 45 durometer. This gives the shifter a positive feel "Not Mushy" like the stock unit. Since the epoxy used is a urethane, it will absorb the transmission noise. If you use a regular epoxy, it may transmit a lot of noise from the transmission.

    I recently experiment with a different urethane epoxy that dries to a 90 durometer. I did get some tranny noise. If some one would like a very solid short shifter and do not mind some tranny noise, PM me. I will make you a deal on it.

    One down side to this mod, reverse is a little harder to find.

    I have played with different lengths, I think for most people 9 1/4" ~ 9 1/2" is ideal.

    I also have a B&M, it is a solid shifter (no bushing). The shifting is slightly more positive, but is also noisy. The B&M is also the same height as a stock shifter.

    Given the choice between the two, I prefer the modded factory shifter with a URD or NST SS.

    The TRD also modifies equally well.
     
    #19 Coupe, Oct 21, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  20. revobreaker

    revobreaker Moderator
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    I had to google durometer,

    Is the noise only while shifting, or is there noise while its in gear, for the other epoxy?
     

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