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 stick.

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 natural.

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 next.

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 the bushing.
(Shifter Installation continued)

In This Article:
Some say Ford really hit the mark by designing the 2005 Mustang in the spirit of the 65-68 Fastback body style. However Ford must have had a design lapse in the shifter look and feel. We'll remedy that with a classic looking but modern feeling Hurst short throw shifter.

From the Legend Lime color to the Custom Design Concepts deck spoiler, Brian Beatie's 2005 GT reminds us of the clean and aggressive lines of the 67-68 Mustang fastback. A classic Hurst chrome shifter stick and white ball will bring this nostalgic look to the interior. The short throw design will help ensure no missed shifts.
The Hurst Competition Plus shifter for 2005-2006 GT Mustangs is nearly 50% shorter in throw than stock. The urethane bushings help reduce shifter rail flex. Hurst includes detailed instructions, and we completed the swap in about one hour.

Part Numbers:
05-06 Mustang GT: 391-0201 (shown)
05-06 Mustang (V6): 391-0203
Billet Comp for GT: 391-5201

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