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Join Date: Aug 2018
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short shifter for '72 tail shift tranny

My '72 914 has always had a sloppy shifter. Not so bad that I couldn't find the right gear, but the long throw reminded me of the old Chevy pickup my dad had in the 50s.

I read reviews that suggested new bushings would take the slop out of the shifter. I also read that the short shifter kit would not improve things, but also accentuate the problem.


I bought the Pelican bushing kit, disassembled and cleaned the shift rod from the firewall to the tail of the tranny. The boot on the tail of the shift rod was rotten and apparently no longer available, so I made my own with a piece of inner tube and stitched it with some strong thread. The bushings all seemed fine. Packed all parts with Lucas Red grease.

I ordered the Wei short shift kit from Pelican.


Removed the original long shifter, took out the two springs from the housing, and removed the nylon bushing cap from the ball end. Checked the bushings in the "tunnel". I expected these to be shot, but the bushings all seemed OK. Again, cleaned everything of old grease and added copious amounts of Lucas Red grease. So far my expectations for a shift improvement weren't too high because I hadn't really upgraded anything substantially.

Greased up the short shifter nylon bushing in the housing. However, I struggled to get the two shifter springs back in place. Had one fly clear across the garage when trying to pry it into place with a screwdriver. Not the best approach! Found that by clamping the housing in a vice up-side-down, inserting the retaining pin about 1/2 way into the spring and using a pair of visegrips clamped securely on the free end, I was able to compress the spring and drop it into place. A bit of tapping on the exposed end of the pin and it was easy to drive it home. The short shift kit includes a ~1/2 spacer plate between the shifter housing base and the floorboard, but this final step was straight forward with the longer screws supplied.

Having also read some blogs about needing to adjust the linkage in order to have the correct shift pattern, etc. I was please to find that all the gears were still "in the right place". Replaced the carpet and shift knob. Wow. All the slop was gone and the shift pattern was amazingly short and tight.


Holy smokes what a difference the short shifter made for me. A remarkable change in the 'throw' distance required to go from say 3rd to 4th for instance. No more slop and stupid long distance shift throws. Extremely happy so far with this upgrade! Sort of the last step to making my '72 even more fun to drive.

Returned the bushing kit!
Old 08-21-2018, 12:09 PM
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Hello and welcome to the forum! Really glad to hear that your car is back to how it should be! Please let us know if you have any other questions or if we can assist with any future part needs.
Old 08-21-2018, 03:56 PM
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You'll have to search for it, but I wrote several articles on how to improve shifting on the 914. Bushing will help. But you need to remove the shifter itself, disassemble it and replace the 2 internal bushing.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:06 AM
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