NTPOG Short Shifter Kit Installation

Author: Todd Marcucci
 


Why?
While the 4th and 5th gen Preludes have relatively short shifter heights and throws, you might find yourself looking for slightly shorter shift throws for a little more advantage on the track or better feel on the street. If you've ever driven a Miata, then you know what a short shift throw feels like.

There are several products out there on the market now for the 4th and 5th gen Preludes (essentially the same). Companies like DC Sports, Neuspeed, B&M, and the infamous Pure Racing offer kits in various throw reduction and neutral positions. You should look at all the options and consider what they do. A 20% reduction is noticeable, anything on the order of 30 or 40% will probably prevent installation of the factory console as it will interfere with the kit (we'll explain that later). Also keep in mind that most of these move the neutral position some, or how the shifter will feel in your hand. Most move the shifter closer to the driver, which for most people is more comfortable that what Honda originally designed.

The kit chosen for this installation is manufactured by Solo Racing:

Installation will be very similar, if not identical, for other kit manufacturers.

What You Need
- 10mm socket and driver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Side cutters
- X-Acto knife or set

Removing the Console
Taking off the factory knob is easy. First, pull down on the chrome trim ring, away from the knob itself. This detaches the knob from the boot:

Simply unscrew the knob from the shift lever and the knob is off. Now you're ready for the screws. To expose the ones in the front, remove the small trim panel that covers the OBD2 diag port by pulling towards you (gently) at the arrow:

Now you can see the two screws you need to remove from the front half:

Remove it, and these- note that you do NOT need to remove the middle screw.

Repeat this process for the other side, there are identical screws there as well. Once you do that, you are ready to lift the console out. Lift up at the rear several inches. There is one electrical connector (the coin compartment light) that you need to disconnect before you can remove it completely:

  

Press in on the tab to disconnect the harness, then process to lift up and back until you clear the shift lever and brake handle. Carefully set the console aside.

Installing the Adaptor
Once you remove your console, you should be looking at this:

You can see that the shifter attaches to the end of the shift cable (actually one of two) that goes to the transmission. The end of the cable attaches via a single 10mm nut which you will need to remove with the socket and driver:

After you remove that, remove the cable from the stud and the shifter should fall limp:

The shift kit installs where the cable used to, and provides a new mounting point for the shift cable. For the technically minded, you are changing the mechanical advantage of the shifter by increasing the length of the lever past the fulcrum, thus reducing the overall throw (and increasing your advantage). Once you put the adapter into place you can also see how this affects the neutral position. Put your adapter in place and tighten it down to the shifter with the 10mm nut you removed:

For the Solo kit, there is also a set screw that is used to be sure the shifter doesn't move over time. The kit supplies the allen wrench and Loctite as well to make sure the screw doesn't back out. Put a dab of Loctite on the threads, then install and tighten down the screw:

Once you have the adapter anchored down, you will need to bolt the cable to the newly supplied mounting point on the adapter. Depending on the adapter you choose it may come with a new sleeve bearing or bolt, the Solo already has a stud and supplies a new 10mm nut, you simply have to slide the cable over the stud and tighten the nut down on it.

Reinstalling the Console
Now you are ready to put everything back together... except it is not that easy. Every adapter out there on the market requires some modification of the shifter boot for smooth operation. As you may notice, the new shift kit block sticks up a good bit further than the cable did, stock. This inevitably rubs on the plastic frame that the shifter boot is stapled to. To fix this, we need to cut some material off of it.

To remove the boot assembly, remove the 4 screws underneath the console that hold it in place:

The boot should just fall out. Note that the stock boot is actually stapled to the plastic frame. For our installation here, we were installing a new Momo boot to complement the Momo knob being installed. We removed the factory boot from the frame for this purpose; if you are VERY careful you should not need to do this.

Here's what the plastic frame looks like with the boot removed, and where you will need to cut:

The green line is what will need to be cut for most installations. Most shifters rub on the frame in 5th gear. Depending on the size of the block, though, you might need to remove out to the red line (this is the case for the Solo). Here's an in-process shot of material removed (green line, red line yet to come):

It's a pain, but you will need to remove material, test fit the boot and console, and might need to remove more material still. There is no easy way to test fit everything without re-installing the console. 5th gear is the worst, reverse might give you trouble, too. If you remove the factory boot from the frame and test fit the frame without the boot, you can see exactly where it rubs. If you do it with the boot installed, check for resistance when moving the stick over to go into 5th or reverse, and for the console "lifting" slightly when going into 5th. Also check to be sure that the console seats flush with the floor/tunnel and that the mounting holes for it line up (it's easy to get it up an inch or so from where it really needs to be). Keep removing material until you get the boot frame to the right shape, but be careful not to remove so much that the frame will no longer hold the boot.

Once you are satisfied with test-fitting, you can reassemble the boot, reinstall it to the console, then reinstall the console to the car. Congratulations, you're done!

If you have any comments, additions, or corrections, as always, email the author.



This page last updated 2/18/02.