How to Install a Short Shifter for Quicker Gear Changes in a Ford Focus?

When you’re seeking to improve the performance of your Ford Focus, one modification that can grant you quick results is the installation of a short shifter. Designed to shorten the throw between gears, a short shifter can enhance your driving experience by making gear changes faster and more precise. However, the installation of this performance-enhancing component can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the world of car modifications.

In this article, we’re going to guide you through this process, ensuring that with a little bit of patience and the right tools, you’ll be shifting gears like a professional racer in no time. Let’s dive right in and get started with this step-by-step guide.

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Understanding Shifters and Bushings

Before we start, it’s vital to comprehend the role of shifters and bushings in your vehicle. The shifter is the mechanism that enables you to change gears, while the bushings are the components that provide insulation and prevent vibrations during this process.

A short shifter works by reducing the angle that the shifter shaft travels between gears, thus enabling quicker shifts. This is particularly beneficial for racing enthusiasts or those who desire a sportier feel from their Ford Focus.

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Tools and Parts Required

To carry out this modification, you’ll need the short shifter and new bushings, which you can acquire from performance-parts providers like Mountune. Ensure the parts are compatible with your specific model of Ford Focus.

For tools, you’ll need a socket set, a pry bar, a torque wrench, and possibly some WD-40 for those stubborn, rusted-on parts. It’s also a good idea to have a set of mechanic’s gloves to protect your hands during the process.

Removing the Stock Shifter and Bushings

After gathering your tools and parts, it’s time to remove the stock shifter and bushings. This step requires caution as you don’t want to damage any components during removal.

Begin by disconnecting the battery of your Ford Focus. Next, remove the shift knob by unscrewing it and putting it aside. Carefully remove the console around the shifter, and then proceed to disconnect the shifter cables from the shifter assembly. Use your pry bar to carefully remove the old shifter and bushings.

Installing the Short Shifter and New Bushings

Having removed the stock shifter and bushings, you’re now set to install the short shifter and new bushings.

Start by inserting the new bushings into place. Then, place the short shifter into the position where the old shifter was. It’s important to ensure that the shifter sits properly in place. Once you’re sure of its placement, proceed to tighten it using your torque wrench.

Reconnecting Everything

The final step involves reconnecting the shifter cables to the new shifter. Make sure all connections are secure before proceeding to put back the console and shift knob. Reconnect the battery, and you’re ready to test the new setup.

Start your Ford Focus and try shifting through the gears. If everything feels solid and the gears are transitioning smoothly, then give yourself a pat on the back as you’ve successfully installed a short shifter in your Ford Focus.

Note: Always remember that while forums and threads can be helpful in providing firsthand experience and replies from other users who have undertaken the same task, it’s best to follow a detailed guide like this one, or enlist the aid of a professional if you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing this modification yourself. The goal is to enhance your car’s performance, not compromise it.

Adjusting for the Perfect Shift

With your new short shifter installed, it’s essential to understand that you may need to make some adjustments to achieve the perfect shift. This is where you might need to utilise the click expand tool. This Mountune quick-shift tool allows you to adjust the throw of your short shifter to suit your preference.

Start by loosening the lock nut on the short throw shifter and adjust the shift arm to your liking. A shorter adjustment will provide a quick shift, while a longer adjustment will provide a more comfortable shift for everyday driving. Once you’ve found the ideal adjustment for your driving style, tighten the lock nut to secure it in place.

Many Ford Focus forum members recommend testing different adjustments until you find the perfect balance for your driving needs. It’s important to note that, while a shorter adjustment will indeed provide quicker gear changes, it may also require more force, which could lead to driver fatigue during prolonged drives.

While browsing through various Focus discussions, you might come across some drivers using a trick known as a ‘blip throttle’ for smoother transitions when downshifting. This technique involves briefly revving the engine while shifting down to match the engine speed with the lower gear, reducing the shock transmitted through the drivetrain.

Conclusion: Maintenance and Periodic Checks

Although installing a short shifter in your Ford Focus can enhance performance, there are still maintenance procedures and periodic checks that you should carry out to ensure the longevity and continued performance of your new component.

Firstly, it’s crucial to check the condition of the shift plate and the cable ends frequently. Make sure they’re free from wear and tear and replace them if necessary. You’ll also want to periodically check the tightness of the shift knob, as it can become loose over time due to regular usage.

Secondly, keep in mind that while the short shifter is designed for performance, it’s not immune to wear and tear. If you notice a decrease in performance or unusual noises during gear changes, it may be time to replace the shifter or the bushings.

Lastly, remember that replacing a worn-out part with a performance-grade component like a short shifter doesn’t eliminate the need for regular maintenance. Always follow the recommended maintenance schedule outlined in your Ford Focus’s owner manual and consult a professional if you’re unsure about anything.

In conclusion, installing a short shifter in your Ford Focus can offer a significant improvement in gear change speed and precision, adding a sportier feel to your driving experience. However, it’s not just about the installation process; it’s also about understanding the role of the shifter and bushings, using the correct tools, and regular maintenance. With all these in mind, you’re well on your way to enhancing your Ford Focus’s performance while ensuring its longevity.