Saturday, January 26, 2013

Install : B&M Shifter

Well, since I didn't get it as a holiday present, I broke down and bought myself a B&M short shifter (thanks, FBC!) to put in the black Camaro. Yeah, first Strano springs, now a short shifter... maybe I will start tracking this car after all.

So, I decided to do this tonight just because I knew I'd be committed to driving this car for the next two weeks while the WRX is at the Washington Auto Show. I thought I remembered it being pretty easy from when I did it with the green car. Well, there are a few console differences with the '97 that make it kind of a PITA.


Get the ball off! Seriously, for me, this is one of the most difficult parts. It took some effort, but it finally came loose.


Take the shifter boot off. This is easy, unless you've had someone break into your car and somehow manage to break the plastic retaining ring, which you've subsequently fixed with SuperGlue, so you're afraid that it's going to break again. Anyway, I managed to take it off without breaking it.


Remove the console. The directions tell you that there are two bolts up front and two in the rear. This is only true for the '93-'96 cars. The '97 has a different console, and so let me tell you how to remove it. You need to take out the coin holder that's in the armrest area, and you'll see two bolts. They are 7mm. Remove them, and then you can pop out the part of the console that's around the shifter. Be careful, as the extra power outlet is still connected, though it's easy enough to pop the connector off. You can now remove this center piece. You might also want to remove the 10mm bolts that are inside the armrest area (2 of them), the one bolt that is underneath the ashtray (also 10mm) and the two 10mm bolts on either side of the front of the console. You don't have to actually take the entire thing off after removing those bolts, but it's helpful to be able to shift it around.

Note that the instructions that are included also tell you to remove the parking brake lever. You don't really need to do this.


There are seven 7mm bolts that hold the rubber boot down, and you'll need to take them out and hang on to them, and the boot, since you'll be reusing them all. Before you attack the little bolts, you might want to take the actual shifter off. It has two 13mm bolts holding it on. If you don't remove it now, you'll have to remove it later to get the rubber boot off the shifter, and it's easier to do it now while you have more leverage. It also makes it easier to reach the four 13mm bolts to the shifter itself, since you can pull the rubber boot off.


Remove the four 13mm bolts that hold the shifter on. Supposedly, the stock RTV is supposed to make it difficult to get the shifter off. Now, the black Camaro has 208K on it and the green Camaro had nearly 400K on it when I did this, and both of them, the shifter came right off. If you are doing this with a lower mileage car, maybe it's still pretty adhered. Anyway, once you have the shifter off, make sure the plastic bushing didn't come off with it (both of mine stayed put), then put it aside. It's now time for the new shifter.


Make sure you've removed any remnants of the old RTV and applied new RTV to the transmission where the shifter is going. Put the new shifter on and line up the holes.

Choose which washers you want to use. I have the "A" washers here, as I'm putting it in the stock position. The "B" washers angle it towards the rear. Then slide the new bolts in. They are hex, and use the number 6 allen wrench key.

After tightening the bolts down, try the shifter out to make sure you like the washers you've chosen.


Slide the rubber boot thing over the shifter, then squeeze the retaining ring so that it goes over the rubber and down around the bottom of it. You won't need pliers to squeeze it, fingers work just fine.


Put the stock rubber boot and the 7mm bolts back into place then put the console back together.

Put your shift knob of choice on (I just stayed with the stock shift knob), and you're done!

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