By Chirag Asaravala
The more time you spend between gears the less time
the car spends accelerating. During aggressive driving and
power shifting this free wheeling time also increases the
chances of incorrectly timing the clutch release, resulting
in a blown clutch or worse, crunching the transmission. Mustangs
have always had notoriously long and sloppy shift throws,
but the shifter in the new Mustang seems to be particularly
lazy. The throws seem better in sync with rowing a boat than
banging the gears on a 300 horsepower car. The rubbery feel
and sunken location in the console make us wonder who at Ford
signed off on this design. The shifter is so low you're either
scrapping your knuckles on the heater knob or banging your
elbow against a cup in the cup holder. So like we've done
with every late model Mustang we've ever come across, we installed
a short throw shifter.
Here we're putting Hurst's new Competition Plus shifter into
Brian Beatie's Legend Lime '05 GT. The legendary chrome stick
and white ball only make sense in a car that Ford designed
to be reminiscent of the early 2+2 fastback body style. While
the looks can't be disputed, we really wanted to see if the
short throw concept was effective on the new Mustang. After
all the new drivetrain configuration makes the shifter remote
mounted, actuating a linkage rod some ten inches behind the
actual lever point in the transmission. The rear of the shifter
is also mounted to the underside of the body, seemingly creating
a shifter that will move independently of the transmission
and thus only adding to the sloppiness of the shifter.
So we installed the shifter into Brian's car and then analyzed
the results. It didn't take more than a blast down his favorite
test street to be convinced that Hurst did the right thing.
(Check out the video, see side bar.) We also took some measurements,
before and after with the Hurst shifter, and were amazed to
see how much of an improvement in throw it made over the stock
Stock shifter in first gear. Note how close the shifter
is to the heater control. Our tape measure reads
3-1/2" from the dash.
Stock shifter in 2nd gear. With the tape measure at 7-1/2"
inches the net travel or "throw" is 4".
You may as well call it an oar with that much movement.
Here is the Hurst shifter in first gear. Note the shifter
is centered nicely in the console and a full 5-1/2"
away from the heater/radio console.
With the Hurst shifter in 2nd gear the tape measure shows
7-1/2". That is a 2" throw and a whopping 50%
reduction in travel compared to the stock shifter.
The stock shift knob looks out of place and better suited
for a European car. Protruding just 4" above the
console your arm will hit a cup in the cup holder.
The Hurst shift ball and chrome stick is a classic design
that looks like it should have been stock in the new Mustang.
At 5-1/4" above the console, arm position is very
Getting a short throw shifter into your 05-06 is pretty
simple. Unlike previous Mustangs the Tremec 3650 transmission
in the new pony has a remote shifter mount. A shift rod connects
from the lever arm on the transmission back to the shifter
position inside the vehicle. The shifter is mounted on one
end of the transmission via a bushing and to the underside
of the body at the rear end. Using just a 10mm and 13mm wrench
we can get this shifter swapped out in under an hour. You
will need to get the car up securely on a lift or jack stands.
Start by removing the stock shift knob and boot. The knob
twists off (counter clockwise.) The boot pulls up out
of the console and will likely come up with the knob.
The lower rubber boot can be pulled out of the console
Unlike the previous generation Mustangs the shifter on
the 2005-2006 Mustang mounts to the body, evident by the
studs seen at the rear in the console opening.
A lift is not needed to install the short throw shifter,
however since we had access to one we figured it would
make for easier photography.
From under the car we can see how the shifter is mounted.
At the rear it is held to the body with two 10mm nuts
and a steel bracket. The shift rod stud is held to the
shifter with a 13mm nut.
The front of the shifter is mounted to the transmission
with a 10mm bolt through a rubber bushing and sleeve.
Using a 10mm socket on a long extension, Brian removed
the two nuts holding the shifter to the body.
The rear bracket is held to the stud with a clip. A little
pry bar will free this and allow the bracket to come off