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July 09, 2022 4 min read

What's a Short Shifter, and Does Your Car Need One?

Engine parts and exhaust upgrades aren’t the only modifications that can extract performance. Whether you’re a first-time wrencher or a professional grease monkey, there’s always a starting point and a plethora of options that can improve your vehicle's performance.

If you’re looking to increase performance on a limited budget, a short shifter is a great place to start. A human-shifted manual transmission will never outperform the finest automated transmission in terms of raw acceleration. For instance, the first Porsche 911 with a PDK traveled from 0 to 60 mph in about 0.4 seconds less time than the manual version. And it's not just due to the slowness of human reaction. Shifting gears in a manual takes time since the shifter must be physically moved into various positions.

Let’s dive into a quick explanation of how short shifters work and how Billetworkzshort shifters perform compared to OEM.

Billetworkz Short Shifters

Short-Throw Shifters: How Do They Work?

The job of a shifter is to enable the driver to choose between different gear ratios to drive the car. Lower gear ratios offer more torque, but less speed, while higher gear ratios offer less torque, but higher speed.

But a short shifter, often known as a "short-throw shifter," is designed to shorten the distance your hand travels to shift from one gear to the next, ultimately reducing time between gears. Less distance traveled by your hand speeds up shifts and makes it simpler to maintain a high engine rev range for optimal power. It also means you spend less time driving with only one hand on the wheel.  

One of the most notable benefits of a short shift kit is the way they transform the driving experience. Even cars with already great-shifting gearboxes can be made to feel even better, while cars with long manual throws - that make drivers feel like they’re stirring a tub of molasses - are instantly given a far sportier, shorter shifting action.

BRZ Short Shifters

Mechanics Of A Short Shifter

For shorter shifts, some vehicles only need a short shifter for shorter, precise shifts, while other vehicles have multiple other components that can be upgraded. Typically, vehicles with linkage-driven shifters only need a short shifter since the shifter is directly connected to a shaft coming out of the transmission (ex. STI, BRZ/FR-S/86). Whereas, cable-driven shifters have a cable that is connected from the shifter to a plate on the side of the transmission (ex 15+ WRX). The movement from the shifter causes the plate to rotate, and the rotating plate shifts between gears in the transmission.

Billetworkz Short Shifter Kit

Mechanics Of Short Shifter

Now, if you are new to short shifters, you may think the only difference between a short shifter and a stock shifter is the shorter height, but that’s not always the case. While some short shifters are shorter in height, which does reduce the throw distance, an equally important change is the length of the shifter rod below the pivot; the longer the length, the shorter the throws.

BRZ/86 Short Shifter Comparison

2015+ WRX Short Shifter Comparison

Should I Install One In My Car?

Most people prefer to drive a manual because they enjoy the feel, but with a stock shifter, it's difficult to achieve the responsiveness that people expect from a sporty vehicle. Every gear shift is improved by upgrading to a short throw shifter.

Finding the right shifter for you will have the most impact on your driving experience. Every time you drive your car, you change gears several times, and improving each throw is a worthwhile goal.

The Billetworkz 2015+ WRX Short Throw Shifter Kits include a short shifter, shifter stop, shifter plate, and shifter bushing. The Billetworkz short shifter kit features the shortest shifts compared to all other shifters on the market. They’re designed to be more comfortable and ergonomic than others (no hitting your hand on the e-brake handle when shifting into second). The included reverse lockout is CNC machined from 6061 and anodized for a vibrant and durable finish. The shifter rod is machined from 304 stainless steel. All stainless steel hardware and o-rings in the reverse lockout assembly are included to eliminate rattle and slop. 

Short Shifter Kits available are for the following vehicles:

Short Shifters available for:

Check Out Our Install Guides

🔧 Billetworkz - 2022 BRZ/GR86 Short Shifter Install Guide

🔧 Billetworkz - 2013-21 BRZ/FR-S/GT86 Short Shifter Install Guide

🔧 Billetworkz - 2015+ Shifter Plate and Bushing Install Guide

🔧 Billetworkz - 2015+ WRX Short Throw Shifter Install Guide

That being said, if your goal isn’t cutting shift time but improving the shifting experience, a new shift knob might be all you need. 

A heavier, weighted shift knob will make your shifts feel more buttery and smooth, while a lighter knob will make shifts feel more mechanical. Fitting an aftermarket knob can achieve that goal for that very reason without having to spend outside your budget. Combine that with a short shifter kit, and you’ll have a winning combination without breaking the bank.

But then there’s a question you may ask … “What’s the benefit of a weighted knob vs unweighted?”

Find out that answer in next week's post → 


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– Gary Hartell / Marketing


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