Tech Tip Tuesday: Upgrading To A Short-Shifter

November 14, 2017 10:00 am

Steeda S550 Mustang MT-82 Tri-Ax Race Short Throw Shifter (15-17 EcoBoost)

What are the pros and cons of switching out Ford’s stock shifter for a short-throw shifter? Who should upgrade to a short-throw? Which short-throw should you get? This article will address all those questions to help you make the best decision for your Mustang’s specific needs. Whether you’re a professional driver, or you simply drive like one behind the wheel, short-throw shifters offer a number of benefits that will bring you and your ‘Stang closer.

Stock vs. Short-Throw Shifter

Stock shifters don’t always have the best driver feel to them, which might not sound significant until you’ve experienced a shorter throw. It’s fairly common for stock shifters to have a bit of play, and we’ve even noticed a common slight rattle of the factory shifter in the S550 Mustang. To address this issue, we developed a short-throw race shifter, as well as a short-throw street shifter for the S550. Steeda, of course, has short-throw shifters for other Mustang, Focus, and Fiesta models and transmissions as well! See bottom for details.

The stock shifter in Mustangs actually provides decent quality compared to other manufacturers, but there is still much to be gained from the short-throw shifter. First and foremost, as the name suggests, the throw, or the distance the shifter moves between gears, is reduced. This makes for quicker, smoother shifting that enhances performance by allowing for faster acceleration and deceleration. Putting performance and track times aside for a second – GASP – the shorter throw provides a crisp, succinct feel that increases the driver’s connection with the vehicle. Sturdier, quicker shifts allow you to gain confidence in your shifting, leading to further enjoyment of your Mustang experience! You’ll certainly feel more comfortable and more in control behind the wheel.

The precision provided by a short-throw shifter is also helpful in keeping both your shifter and your transmission in good shape. With smooth, precise shifting the likelihood of missing a shift is greatly reduced. This reduces the strain your shifter, and more importantly, your transmission. It’s certainly a small price to pay to help make your transmission last!

Steeda Tri-Ax S550 Race vs. Street Short-Throw Shifter

With the release of the S550 in 2015, we got to doing what we do best, engineering performance parts to improve the Mustang all-around! As previously mentioned, we developed two versions of the short-throw shifter for the S550 – the MT-82 Tri-Ax Race Short-Throw Shifter (for EcoBoost and GT), and the Tri-Ax Street Short-Throw Shifter for all S550 ‘Stangs. How do you decide which shifter is best-suited for your needs?

Both options offer a 30% throw reduction and sit 1″ lower than the stock shifter while maintaining backup-camera functionality and factory shift-knob thread pitch for ease of compatibility with both factory and aftermarket shift knobs. Ultimately, the biggest difference between these two shifters is the driver-feel. If you like the tension and feel of the stock shifter but are just looking for that shorter throw, your best bet is probably the Street shifter.

The Tri-Ax Street Short Throw Shifter for the 2015-2017 Mustang V6, EcoBoost and GT uses a re-engineered pivot mechanism not only to provide a shorter throw but also to provide a better ‘power-shifting’ position with the shift knob 1″ lower. You’ll experience reduced throw distance, reduced slop, and reduced vibration over the stock shifter. Additionally, the Tri-Ax Street shifter completely replaces the factory reverse lockout. We engineered a 360-degree enclosed reverse lockout, no rattle, no worry of parts wearing out.This straightforward install takes only about an hour and a half and most gearheads have all the tools you need sitting in your toolbox. It is manufactured from 4140 heat-treated and nickel-plated steel for the strongest, corrosion-resistant shift lever out there. On the other hand, if you want a more racecar-like shift, with a positive engagement feel, the Race Shifter is what you want to go with.

Steeda Magnum XL Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter T-56 (05-17)

One of the many benefits of the Race shifter assembly is that it’s completely top-loaded. Our Race short throw shifter for your 2015+ Mustang comes with 2 different spring set options for a fully adjustable shifting experience. The kit comes complete with 2 medium-resistance springs and 2 high-resistance springs. The Steeda Tri-Ax has adjustable return springs to fit every drivers’ preference on shifter feel. Using an offset spring tension ensures that you hit your 2nd-3rd gear change every time. Since our S550 MT-82 short shifter is top-loaded, once the base plate is mounted, you can change all of your springs, levers and other options all from inside the car without taking out the full shifter assembly!

Our Tri-Ax Race shifter features rigid mounting in the front and Steeda poly bushing in the rear, virtually eliminating slop and shifter deflection. With less deflection, you will feel a much more direct gear change. The assembly is transmission and chassis-mounted so you don’t get the ‘walking’ effect of a fully transmission-mounted assembly, all while still gaining a more rigid shifter feel. Factory shift shaft bushings are replaced with wider, high-quality machine-finished, low-friction bushings. Tolerances are controlled up to a half thousandth of an inch to ensure OE-quality fitment, alignment, and shaft actuation. These features alone make our Steeda Tri-Ax one of the most positive feeling shifters on the market today. To top it all off, our Race shifter assembly includes Dynamat sound-deadening material to close out your transmission tunnel and ensures your S550 stays as quiet as the stock assembly.

Steeda’s S550 Mustang MT-82 Tri-Ax Race Short Throw Shifter is manufactured from high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum making it 20% lighter than the competitions’ shifter assemblies. The shift lever itself on our Tri-Ax is made from heat-treated and nickel-plated 4140 steel, making it the strongest part out on the market. All hardware is stainless steel for the highest corrosion-resistance possible. Included in our kit is hardware to tighten up the factory shift knob perfectly into a locking position. These parts have been put to the test on the street and the track and are proven not to bind under extreme conditions or temperatures.

Hopefully this information can help you or someone you know in choosing the correct shifter upgrade! To find a Steeda short-throw shifter for your specific model Mustang, Fiesta, or Focus, please reference the table below.

Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter for Tremec TR-3650 (01-04)Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter 2000-2002.5 Focus
Tri-Ax Shifter for Tremec T5/T45 (82-mid-01)Focus SVT Short Throw Shifter (02-04 SVT)
S550 Mustang Tri-Ax Street Short Throw Shifter (15-17 All)Focus Short Throw Shifter Kit (12-16 All)
S550 Mustang MT-82 Tri-Ax Race Short Throw Shifter (15-17 EcoBoost)Focus Short Throw Shifter (Late 02-11 All)
S550 Mustang MT-82 Tri-Ax Race Short Throw Shifter (15-17 GT)Focus Short Throw Shifter Handle (12-16 All)
Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter for Tremec 3550 & TKO (79-04)
Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter for Tremec T-56 (79-04)
Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter for Tremec 500/600 (79-04)
Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter (05-10)
Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter (11-14 GT/Boss/V6)
Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter Kit (11-14 GT/Boss/V6)
Magnum XL Tri-Ax Mustang Short Throw Shifter T-56 (05-17)