After driving around with the SR in, everything felt great except for the shifter.There was so much slop and play in it (in and out of gear), I finally had enough and decided to upgrade.Though there was slop, the old bushing was in perfect condition.There were no cracks or damage.
Not having enough money for a B&M, or even a second-hand one, I bit the bullet and bought the B&M knock-off, despite everybody saying that they are horrible.I was sick of heresay and wanted to see if they really were that bad.Knowing that the stock knob will not fit, I decided to buy a 2G DSM knob (AKA AMS Hammer knob).
I bought an eBay shifter some time ago, but it looked like it was very low quality.The circular plate was tilted, and the screws were crooked.Ended up selling it and making a profit.Plus the shipping took forever.
I eventually bought another from the eBay seller: “racinghouse”.This one was in much better shape.The bushing and large round pivot all looked very good, but the small bushing was not as good as OEM.The other eBay one had a lot of roughness to it.Shipping was also fantastic.Lesson: ALL EBAY SHIFTERS ARE NOT BUILT THE SAME.
I’ll go over the install in-depth, then go over some impressions of it.
Before you start-You’ll need the following:
-B&M Style Short Shifter
-Shift Knob (optional)
-Rachet and Sockets
-Factory Bushing (part #: 32861-H7301)
-Drill (if holes don’t line up)
-Jack and wood plank (for dropping transmission)
-RTV Silicone (Optional for transmision)
First I’ll go over what I got and what I noticed.
Here is eBay shifter out of the box:
As you can see, it is very similar to the B&M in terms of aesthetics.The only real difference is that B&M gives you the boot and the colors are a bit different.The height difference between this and the stock is only about 1/2″.
Swapping the Bushing
First things first, change out the shifter bushing.No matter how it looks, it will never perform exactly like OEM.It looks sturdy, but after taking it off, it was quite flimsy.
Call Nissan and ask for part #: 32861-H7301.It ran me $5, which is not too bad since it will never have to be replaced ever again.it is made of nylon, and is very sturdy.
To remove the old one, just take a pair of pliers and pull it off.To put the new one on, put the bushing on something sturdy and push the shifter into it.I put the bushing on a piece of wood and pressed really hard on the shaft of the shifter.It’ll take some effort.There’s no need to do any filing, etc.
The New Shift Knob
AMS sells this knob as the “Hammer”, but in all reality it’s just a knob from a DSM.It cost me $30 shipped.AMS sells theirs for $40 shipped.
Inital impressions are that it’s a little heavier than stock knob.The majority of the weight resides at the very top of the knob.It has a good feel in your hands though, and does not look ricey.It looks very stock, and the stitching is a nice touch.
In gear, there was so much play, it wasn’t even funny.In first, you can make a circle that has a diameter of 1.25″ at the top of the knob with amount of play it had.
In first gear without pulling on it:
In first when pulling it to the left:
Removing the Old Shifter
First take off the knob by turning it counter clock-wise.Remember righty-tighty, left-loosey.Then take off the shifter bezel.It’s held in by six snaps,Just tug at it from the top and bottom and it’ll come right off. Once you do this you’ll be left with this:
Take off those four bolts with a 10 mm socket, or a very large Phillips screwdriver.It’s used to hold the boot which prevents oil, dirt, air from coming into the cabin.
Once you do that, you’ll be left with:
You can get to those 4 easily with a 12 mm socket, but the back 2 are tougher.
While still in the car without dropping the tranny slightly, I used my gearwrench and was able to get it on the bolts and take them out, as well as slide the shifter out, but this is a waste of time since it was hard to get the bolts out.
You’ll end up with this:
The first problem I had was that one of the holes didn’t match the configuration of the tranny:
Turns out that the offset of the holes was exactly 1.5 cm, so I just drilled it out using a 3/8 drill bit.
Before anything else, I took the circular plate and packed the springs with grease, as well as the large round pivot on the base.You could really feel a difference in how smooth it was after doing this.
Once that’s done, you need to remove the boot on the shaft of the old knob.Believe it or not, but the small part of the boot can stretch over the fat part of the handle.Just use a couple of screwdrivers and it’ll come off eventually.Also, when getting it off, I found that the rubber portion of the shifter contributed some to to the play.My guess is that it’s there to just absorb some of the impact when shifting through gears.I do NOT think it’s for damping of vibrations caused by the harmonics of the transmission (AKA rattle).
Shifter with boot and zip-ties:
Installing the New Shifter
Now at this point you have two options to install the shifter.You can either drill out two small holes in the tranny tunnel to slide the bolts into, or drop the tranny slighty.I decided to drop the tranny.
When your car is up on jacks, slide the jack under the tranny with a piece of wood, and get it so it’s holding it up.Now, look at your tranny cross-member.It’s held in with 4 17 mm bolts.Remove those.Once you do that, you can drop the jack slightly.Move it until you have enough room.
I have almost another inch there to play with now…
If your gasket is still good on the tranny, then you’re fine.If not, put some RTV on there.I put some on there just for peace of mind.
Now install the shifter, lining up the nylon bushing with the corresponding hole in the transmission and bolt in all of the bolts. I did the corners, then the sides.
Slide on the large rubber boot and bolt that in.DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN since the metal the bolt is being screwed into isn’t that thick.Just needs to be a little more than snug.
Snap the shifter bezel back in:
Finally, screw the knob in.The knob will keep turning until there is about 1/32 inch between the bottom of the knob and the shifter.
Right after install *WITHOUT* driving:
All I can say is WOW.Feels so much better.From the top of the shift knob, about 1″ of travel gets you in 1st gear.There is very little slop, maybe 1/32 inch in neutral and all gears, and everything feels nice and tight.The amount of slop in the old shifter is the amount of distance needed to get into gear!
Driving Impressions:WOW x2, feels perfect.I got used to it VERY quickly, with in a matter of minutes.It feels so natural with this shifter.I thought I loved long throws, but these throws feel so great.
I’ve driven an SR powered S13 with a genuine B&M, and honestly, this feels 2x better.With that shifter, I had to really force it into gear, but with this one, it’s like butter.Although, this depends on a lot of things like tranny condition.
After dirivng it around under 3000 to get a feel for it.I tested for the dreaded 5K rattle.Being prepared for the worst, I went up to 6K and heard NOTHING!No rattle BS.Couldn’t hear *anything*.Coming home, I did hear a very FAINT rattle during deceleration at 3K, but it was very minor.
All in all, I spent:
$45 for the shifter with shipping
$5 for the OEM bushing
$30 for the knob
Not bad considering the B&M alone without the shift knob is $200…
VERY satisfied and very happy with the results.I am also very picky when it comes to cars, and the smallest problem with something will annoy me.I have encountered nothing but good things.
Let me know if you have any questions/comments/concerns.
Written by: Thoughtful_One