View Full Version : 500 Madness Short Shifter Adapter - DIY

06-16-2014, 08:17 PM
This is the Madness DIY (http://500madness.com/500madness/pdf/MADNESSshortSHIFTER.pdf), appears that it's probably install instructions for a 2012 model or maybe it's just a Pop/Sport/Lounge. Either way, this install is on a Sept 2013 build of a 2013 Abarth. There are a few subtle differences that will cause you to have to spend a few extra minutes, but with two screwdrivers and under 20 minutes (including two trips back into the house) this is in the car.


06-16-2014, 08:25 PM
See pic 2 12457, there are two primary differences between the install they have posted and the install I'm working on. 1. The mount that has the white mounting tabs in the newer Abarth's is black and has a few more tabs holding it into place. You will have to spend a few extra minutes sorting that out, but still - 5-7 minutes you'll have that part sorted out.

2. It says to remove the shifter from the car, you cannot do that and have the adapter installed as well. The bar that sticks out of the left side of the shifter has a retaining clip, again see above picture it's the "V" shaped clip that is about 2 inches long and makes it difficult to work around.

06-16-2014, 09:07 PM
All right ladies & gentlemen, let's get this ball rolling ;)

Pic 1: 12458 You don't have to remove the shift knob nor shift boot to actually do this work. It's a little bit in the way, but you don't have to remove it if you don't want. Pop up the shift boot and then pop up the plastic trim around the shift boot. Pull strait up from the bottom side, where 2-4-R is on the shifter, and don't pull very hard. Gentle yank and you're good there. The top piece: 12459 has 3 tabs that go into the bottom of the HVAC control panel at a 90 degree angle, so when you pop up the bottom, make a point to rotate it out from the bottom up towards the dash panel. Remove the two window connectors for the windows, the retainer clip is on the bottom at the very end of the clip. Once it's in hand, you'll see what I'm talking about - very small clip and doesn't take much pressure to remove them. You then rotate the shift boot (if you want to not have to remove it and shift knob) 90 degrees up and slide it through the plastic trim piece - it only goes one way through there and again - you'll figure it out when it's in hand.

So now that you have the plastic trim piece off, just pull strait up on the shift boot and over the knob so it's not too much in the way.

Now for the fun!!!! First, take a 1/4" flathead screwdriver and pop off the two shift cables, the bottom one is really easy, but the left one is sort of a pain.... Take a small 1/8" screwdriver, flathead, and pop up the retainer clips that hold the black/white retainer into the shifter assembly. It's more difficult than it sounds and more difficult than the pics make it look, but just be patient and it'll all be over in like 5 minutes. So now that we're past the most difficult part, you should be about the 10 minute mark - maybe 15.

For the interesting part, leave the 2" "V" shaped retainer clip on the left-hand side, and pivot the shifter towards the steering wheel. Now per the instructions, on the piece that's welded into the shifter - and install the Madness Short Shift Adapter (it only goes on one way ;)) and make sure you use the provided thread locker (blue) and then hand-tight + 1/4-1/3 turn with a 4MM allen key. I believe the instructions say 5mm, but either my allen keys are wrong or these are different screws. Either way, bring a set gr_grin and you won't have a problem.

Now, you'll have to rotate the shifter assembly back towards the bottom right hand corner and rotate the shift adapter in and have to love tap it just a little bit to get it over the little hump on the center console. Not a big deal, but again you'll just have to maneuver it a little. If you take the "V" shaped retainer off and remove the shifter from the car, you will not be able to reinstall the shifter without a huge ordeal. I tried it, no bueno I promise.

After you rotate the assembly back into position, set the shifter/retainer assembly into its hole and tap the top of the shift knob. Take the larger of your two flathead screwdrivers and give each of the locking tabs a light tap and you'll hear a click when it snaps back into place. Take the bottom shift cable and (if you have little hands) squeeze the cable into the bolt head of the shifter adapter. If you have larger hands, take a long pair of pliers (long needle nose suggested) and snap the cable end onto the bolt. Take the 1/4" flathead screwdriver and snap on the left side shift cable, pretty well falls back on. Not very difficult, takes about a minute each on the two cables back on - less if you've done something similar before.

The hardest part....slide the plastic trim piece back over the shift boot (turn upright 90 degrees and slide back through the trim piece) and stick the top into the HVAC panel, rotate it in and then snap in place. Snap the shift boot back into place and wiggle the shifter around and make sure there are no kinks in it. Obviously you can do that after you snap it in place and clip the cables back on, and before you reassemble the shifter trim & shift boot - take your pick, makes 30 seconds of difference ;)

All in all, should take you about 15-20 minutes to remove and install this unit; if it takes longer, you took too long silly

Initial impressions, I have to disagree with the mention that this will lock the shifter into gear. It'll still slide out of gear similar to how the factory one does, but it'll be ok. Don't pull on the shifter and it won't do that coolgleam Took it for a 6-7 mile road trip and aside from a significant amount less of sloppy shifter (kinda hard to get used to in that length of time) I dig it. So your shift throws are reduced by 50%ish and feels a bit odd for a few minutes, you'll smooth over-rev a few shifts after you run down the road; but not any different than say driving a car you haven't driven in a while or one you've never driven before.

I do like the short shift adapter, don't get me wrong, but it will take a little getting used to no doubt about that. For those of you who would like a vastly improved shift throw and not have to chase 1-2-3 gear, 4-5 are fine factory, but 1-2-3 are a little fuzzy most of the time; you'll love this addition. For all of $110 and 15-20 minutes, this is one of the best $ for $ upgrades that will help you be on point for your shifts. Again, a real short shifter would be cool and all, but if $300 for one is not in the budget - this is absolutely the right way to go. I would like if a little better if there were a way to "lock" shifts into gear, but that would also require a whole shifter assembly - not this and not a short shifter, more like the $2500 dogleg shifter from the BiPosto; but this is a great product for it's price and would happily get another for the other Fiat if I had purchased it yet....getting there.

06-17-2014, 02:12 PM
Thank for the for install DIY! Glad that you enjoy the piece!

06-17-2014, 02:41 PM
So it's possible to install this piece without completely removing the center console or whatever it's call that surround the shifter?

06-17-2014, 03:36 PM
So it's possible to install this piece without completely removing the center console or whatever it's call that surround the shifter?

Yes, if you pop up the shift boot and the trim piece with the window switches - that's all you have to do. Thought about a video DIY, but then decided it is too hot outside and sucks. So, picture DIY gr_grin

06-17-2014, 04:17 PM
Yes, if you pop up the shift boot and the trim piece with the window switches - that's all you have to do. Thought about a video DIY, but then decided it is too hot outside and sucks. So, picture DIY gr_grin

I still want the video...okay this works fine, thanks for adding. Stuck.

06-28-2014, 06:20 PM
I posted a thread about linkage differences somewhere, not all have the V shape spring and those without are a breeze to work with

06-30-2014, 12:28 AM
I just followed the nue-f one without shaving the piece. Worked like a charm!

06-30-2014, 10:42 PM
I just followed the nue-f one without shaving the piece. Worked like a charm!

I didn't cut anything? I said trim piece, not to trim a piece. The panel with the window switches is called a trim piece.

07-01-2014, 02:31 AM
He is saying that he followed the Nue-F install guide which calls for filing down a certain piece during install, except he did not do any filing and the install went swimmingly.

07-01-2014, 07:50 AM
Ah never looked at that one.

08-04-2014, 09:12 PM
Just did this on my Abarth. I didn't even need to pull the shifter out. I just popped off the linkage and screwed the adapter on. I had several different length allen wrenches and it was pretty easy to do. Didn't take more than about 10 minutes. Great feel! Glad I did it!