Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingGearbox and Transmission Short Shifter – Why Do You Need One?

Short Shifter – Why Do You Need One?

by Jordan Harris

One of the best and the most well-known shifters on the market is called the short shifter. It is one of the easiest and pocket-friendly installs you can do to your vehicle. Not only that but there are a number of advantages that come along with getting a short-throw shifter.

Getting this performance modification gives a sportier feel to your car. It also makes it easier and faster to shift through gears. This is because the distance between the gear changes reduces considerably. This is an incredible upgrade for a race car or a “speed junkie”. There are many pros and cons of a short shifter.

A manual transmission holds a soft corner in every automobile enthusiast’s heart. Learning to drive a stick can be both exciting as well as a terrifying experience. However, once you master the art of driving a manual, it improves the experience of driving your car. Not only is driving a manual transmission more rewarding than an automatic transmission, but it does also come packed with numerous benefits. They are less complicated than an automatic transmission and are easy to fix.

A manual transmission has fewer complications and fewer moving parts means that there are fewer things that can go wrong. Throw an aftermarket shifter into the mix and it will make your vehicle significantly sporty and extremely exciting to drive.

A short-throw shifter is not just a cut-up version of the stock one. This is a common misconception and a chopped gear unit will not affect the transmission of your vehicle. The distance between the gears remains the same and it doesn’t reduce the shifter’s angular throw.

What Exactly Is A Short Shifter?

A short shifter or a short-throw shifter is one of the easiest and easy on-pocket installs an enthusiast could do to their car. Indeed, it doesn’t sound as flashy as a new turbo system or an exhaust system, but a short shifter can be of more help than you think. Handling mods like a set of performance tires, stiffer sway bars, new engine mounts, or a short-throw shifter can also sharpen your vehicle’s reflexes and make it even more fun to drive.

When we talk about raw acceleration, a manual transmission will not be able to perform better than an automatic transmission. Physically changing the gears will always take more time than a computer doing the work for you. This is because physically moving the gear knob into different positions takes up a significant amount of time.

A short shifter or a short-throw shifter helps decrease the time taken to physically change the gears. As the name implies, the short shifter shortens the throw of the gear, which means that your hand travels less. This increases the speed of shifts and makes it easier for the engine to keep up with your engine revs at maximum power output. An added benefit to this device is that you have to spend less time with just one hand on the steering.

How Does A Short Shifter Work?

A common mistake made by several people is that a short shifter is just a chopped-off version of a stock gear shifter. Chopping off the stock gear shifter will not have any kind of effect on the angle that your shifter shaft travels. The distance between the gears remains the same and it doesn’t reduce its angular throw.

What a short shifter does is that it decrease the throw by reducing the angle that the shifter shaft travels during its stroke between gears. With the reduction of the angle of the shaft traveling between gears, the distance that your hand needs to move between gears is also reduced.

In most cases, an aftermarket shifter shaft is designed to be shorter than the stock shaft creating a sportier feel for the car. Alongside that, it decreases the linear throw length and a reduced angular throw. In simpler terms, this means that an individual can shift faster in high-speed situations. This might just be the sporty feel you might want from your car.

So you can not modify your stock unit into a short shifter. The only option you have is to get an aftermarket short shifter that is specific to your vehicle.

An aftermarket short shifter can cost anywhere around $30 to $150, including all the nits and bits needed for the short shifter to be installed in your car. Considering the amount of money needed to install it, this is one of the best handling mods that are cost-effective and fun to do mod for your vehicle, and it definitely will bring a smile to your face. A short shifter will not give you any proper performance boost if you’re not good with a manual transmission (like a manual transmission RAV4).

DIY Installation Of Short Shifters

Once you know what exactly is a short shifter and have a lot of information about one, you may feel the need to add one to your car. If you feel that a short shifter is the correct performance mod for you, it is not so difficult installing one in your car. The process for installing a short shifter is very quick and easy. It doesn’t require a lot of effort. All you need are a small set of tools and you are good to go.

The first step of this DIY project is to put together all the tools or parts that are needed for the build. The second step is to always refer to the manual that comes with the new gear lever. Generally, the things that need to be done are to remove the old stock shifter and replace it with a short shifter.

The manual of the new shifter will always have a detailed explanation of how to install these products. Alongside every aftermarket short shifter is different and therefore going through the manual and getting everything right is very important.

Generally, all you need to do is get rid of the old gear shifter and swap it out with the new one. It is a very easy process and can be done as a DIY project. Even after that, several problems can come up and go wrong. Hence if you do not feel comfortable performing the installation on your own, hiring a professional would be the right choice. The installation not being complicated makes it easier on the pocket.

Advantages Of A Short Shifter

As said before, a short shifter doesn’t have any performance benefits. The main reason for getting a modification like this is to shift at a higher RPM and faster. This gives the car the benefit of somewhat increased acceleration. Some other added benefits to a short shifter are that it gives the car a sportier feel and makes it really fun to drive. So here is a list of advantages that we feel come hand in hand with a new short shifter.

1. Shorter Throws

According to an expert’s experience, a short-throw shifter could reduce the distance between the throws by about 70%. 70% is a significant difference and it also varies considerably on your car’s stock gear stick as well as your choice of replacement. A short-throw improves the performance of the car as well as the safety.

Quicker shifts mean being able to accelerate and accelerate quickly and easily. This translates to speed whenever you want it, as well as less effort and stress in intense braking situations. You can also have better control because of your hand always being on the wheel. A short shifter is a must for a drift build.

2. Improved Appearance

If we talk about just the looks of a short shifter, it makes your car look really sporty and fun. Unlike any other performance modification out there there is no alternative to the real deal. A short shifter can not be just installed for aesthetic purposes. Installing a short shifter will guarantee functions in addition to being a much-improved version of the stock gear lever, looks-wise.

Unlike many other performance upgrades like a hood scoop or a spoiler, a short shifter can’t be installed without having the benefits that come along with it. Like any other performance upgrade, there are several options to choose from while buying a short shifter. Aftermarket samples are available in a variety of options following true customization. This can provide your car with the sporty look you need.

3. Improved Driving Experience

In today’s day and age, more and more people are choosing to buy an automatic transmission car rather than a manual car. Manual cars have become considerably rare, and so a person choosing to buy a manual does so because they love the feel of it.

The problem is that it is hard to really get a response that people expect from a sporty vehicle. Upgrading your transmission with a short-throw shifter improves every gear shift and the driving experience of the car. The acceleration and acceleration of the bar become better. The overall feel and experience of the car are much better.

short shifter

A few things that will impact the driving experience are finding the perfect short shifter for you. You change gears a number of times while driving your car, so the short shifter makes it a worthwhile endeavor. For several people, a short-throw shifter improves their driving experience. But if someone prefers a long throw, there are several aftermarket options that will help increase the responsiveness and durability of an aftermarket gear shifter.

4. Precision

Another advantage of a short-throw shifter has to be precision. The short shifter design has very precise gear changes, which is why it is more preferred in the racing world. The racing world is a place where every second matters and precision is very important while racing. A short shifter is really important for the racing world as every part counts. If not for the precision of the shifter, drivers would need to focus more on the gear shift than the road.

5. Customizable

Another advantage of having a short-throw shifter installed is the possibility of upgrading and customizing it further on. Depending upon your taste, style, and the car you drive you can upgrade your stock shifter to an aftermarket model with little to no effort. The top of the line shifters offers not only quicker shifts for your vehicle but also a better feel altogether. Upgrading a short shifter improves the overall driving experience and improves the overall driving experience with respect to sportiness.

Customization is a great way to give your vehicle a sporty feel and also a personal touch to your car. However, it is important to note that not all aftermarket short shifters are created equally. They come in different materials and with different gear knobs.

To make it worth your investment, you should consider models with an aluminum frame. There are many more available in the market with different materials used, but aluminum is a durable metal and can handle basic wear and tear. An aluminum short shifter is guaranteed to last longer than a stock gear shifter.

6. Changing The Haptic Response

We already know now that short shifters increase the overall performance of a vehicle. Well, that’s not all they do! The best short shifters for your car can completely change and tune the tactile/haptic response the driver feels while interacting with the transmission of the car.

A good driver not only knows his/her car inside out but also has a connection to his/her car. This is what a short gear-shifter accomplishes. This helps boost the driver’s confidence while driving their cars. The crispy, clean, and confident shifts will not only make your driving experience worthwhile but also boost your confidence and in creating a deeper connection with your car.

It is true that people get a short gear shifter to get better times and faster shifts, but short shifters do increase the haptic response of the transmission. This will definitely make you feel a connection with your car.

7. Space

One other benefit of having a short shifter installed in your vehicle is the freed-up space. Stock shifters tend to have a lot of movement involved while driving. It might be the cause for you accidentally knocking over a coffee cup or hitting a passenger from your elbow. Having a short gear-shifter means that there the movement of the camshaft is reduced. This frees you to enjoy your cabin and utilize the full space available.

Disadvantages Of A Short Shifter

Like every other modification out there, a short shifter is not perfect customization. It has its fair share of cons that might be a deal-breaker for you. It is true that the pros do outweigh the cons, but this is something you need to decide on your own. Either way here is a list of cans that might make you think twice before buying an aftermarket short shifter.

1. More Effort

One of the main reasons why people shy away from getting a short shifter is that it takes a considerable amount of effort to change gears. This might get very cumbersome and tiresome for people who have to go for long drives.  You might have to shift the shaft a shorter distance, but you’ll need to use considerably more energy and effort. You’ll be able to shift quicker but it will be harder in the long run.

2. Wear On Shifting Forks

It is true that that changing your stock gear stick into a short shifter will decrease the chances of you making a mistake. Hence, it reduces wear and tears on some of the components in the transmission.short shifter

On the other hand, there is a good chance that you’re going to be placing more pressure, stress, and duress on the synchros and shifting forks. This could be the cause of your transmission wearing out a little quicker. So at the end of the day, it depends upon your personal driving style. A short shifter could benefit the lifespan of your vehicle, but if used irresponsibly the transmission might go out sooner than you expect.

Will They Last?

There is a lot of research and experts available for information regarding short shifters on the internet. There are several pros and cons available for the same. However, more than half of the information you will uncover is that short shifters are extremely hard on the transmission. There are a number of individuals that have decided to go for a different aftermarket short-throw shifter for this very reason. The truth regarding short shifters is way different than this.

A short shifter, if used properly, will last longer than a stock gear stick. They are more reliable and more durable. This is simply because the wear and tear are relatively less in a short shifter, in addition to that these types of shifters can reduce shift fork by lowering the chance of a missed shift. Missed shifts are something all manual drivers have gone through and they are way too common in a sloppy stock gear stick.

Some of the best short shifters also include something called a positive stop. A positive stop is a device that stops or prevents drivers from shifting the lever too far. This is something that no one wants for their cars. A good quality aftermarket gear shifter like any short shifter has a positive stop installed. So drivers don’t have to worry about something like that happening.

Short Shifter For Automatics

There are several benefits that come alongside a manual transmission, but there are some individuals that just do not like them. They do not like the way a manual transmission feel, how they look, or simply just don’t like the way they operate.

Everyone is entitled to their point of view, and just because some people like automatic transmissions over manual, they shouldn’t be left out. That is why there are some manufacturers that have gone out of their way to make sure that automatic drivers don’t feel left out and they can also have the added fun of a short shifter.

These manufacturers offer something which is known as the ratchet shifter. These types of shifters are usually installed where your existing shifters are placed, without getting any special modifications. These types of shifters are highly advanced and have a feature called the lighted gear indicator.

This prevents drivers from shifting into neutral or parking while someone is shifting through their gears. Alongside that, these shifters also have a reverse lockout which prevents drivers from accidentally shifting into the reverse gear.

Short Throw Shifter Facts:

  • A short throw shifter is an easy and inexpensive performance upgrade for manual transmission cars that reduces the length of shifts by shortening the distance between the hand and pivot point of the shifter.
  • Short throw shifters provide tighter, shorter gear shifts and a better choice of materials that can create a sturdier feel than the stock shifter.
  • Short throw shifters are more solid and less sloppy than stock shifters, with shorter distances travelled by the hand resulting in faster shifts with less arm movement.
  • Short throw shifters change the pivot point of the shifter’s shaft, reducing the angle of the shaft and allowing the bottom side to travel the same distance despite the shorter throw.
  • Short throw shifters reduce the distance between throws by up to 70%, improving both performance and safety, and allowing for more freedom in the cabin.
  • Short throw shifters have a sporty appearance and are functional upgrades that improve every gear shift, enhancing the driving experience.
  • Installing a short throw shifter can be simple, cheap, and beneficial, but each vehicle has a different installation process with varying difficulty and time requirements.

Conclusion For Getting A Short Shifter

To sum up everything, a short shifter helps to reduce the time taken to physically change the gears. Alongside that, this device shortens the throw of the gear, which means that your hand travels less. It does not sound like a big thing, but at high speeds, even a millisecond second saved can be of a huge advantage.

This also increases the speed of shifts and makes it easier for the engine to keep up with your engine revs. Even at maximum power output. An added benefit to this device is that you have to spend less time with just one hand on the steering.

A short shifter is an amazing modification that you can do to your vehicle. It gives your vehicle a sportier feel and makes it easier to drive. Another added benefit to an aftermarket gear shifter is that it increases the life of your transmission. Shorter shifts are something that can save a lot of time.

This is the perfect recipe for anyone who loves the added speed needs this modification for their car. They improve the driving experience and the precision of this product makes it highly desirable. A short shifter is also available for automatic transmission. This makes it a perfect modification for any and every auto enthusiast out there.

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