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italophile
08-31-2012, 03:50 PM
I'm looking at installing one of the short shifter kits in my Pop and I was wondering what other people's experiences have been with them. There are at least four on the market:

Craven Speed: http://www.cravenspeed.com/fiat-short-shifter/
Bonalume: http://500madness.com/500madness/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=739
Road Race Motorsports: http://roadracemotorsports.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=&products_id=1107
TWM: http://www.twmperformance.com/shortshifters/fiatshortshifters/fiat500shortshifters.htm

Has anyone compared one kit to another? They all claim similar reductions in movement, and with the exception of the TWM, they're all about the same price. I have two main questions:

Do these kits do anything to improve the balky, lumpy feel of the shifter, or do they just shorten the throws? Smoothing it out is more important to me than reducing movement.

Which of these kits, if any, allow me to keep the stock shift knob, boot, and reverse pull? I want to keep the car looking factory, but I want the shifter to, you know, work.

AbarthCDN
09-01-2012, 12:16 AM
I test drive the TWM before, much tougher and heavier but very short like playing Initial-D arcade kind of feel but use more force.

Pinecone
09-01-2012, 06:12 AM
I installed the TWM last weekend. There are some issues with an Abarth, but I have heard that the non-Abarths are fine. I am working with TWM to see if they can make an Abarth specific one. Currently, they just add a shift knob, as the stock one will not fit.

The TWM is the entire shifter assembly. Made of heavy gauge metal. A very quality piece of kit.

The throws are nice and short, but making them shorter does increase the effect. The shifter feels tighter, more connected to the transmission. But the move from 4th to 5th has to be done a bit more carefully, as the force required to go from th 3-4 gate to the 5 gate is fairly high. Not bad, but you have to make a definite move.

Install went easy, even though the instructions are for the non-Abarth, the differences were no problem. The instruction set has pictures of each step.

Abarth67
09-01-2012, 07:37 AM
I have heard there may be a new short shifter coming soon that will work with the FIAT and Abarth models and allows you to keep the stock appearance. From what I have heard, this is going to be a very nicely engineered product that replaces all of the plastic bits to give a solid feel. If you can hold off for a few weeks, you might like it.

2wheels4me
09-01-2012, 10:46 AM
I just had the Craven installed in my Sport by Madness here in SoCal, and I can't say enough good about it. The feel is vastly improved. It has its own reverse lockout that feels much better than the cheapo plastic one that is stock. I have a BLACK (brand) knob and boot, but I'm pretty sure the stock ones would work, though I highly recommend both for appearance and feel. 500 Madness can tell you about the fitment of the stock knob and boot.

3375

italophile
09-01-2012, 04:21 PM
I hear good things about both the Craven and the TWM, but I'm a little reluctant to go with the TWM because of the price. I haven't heard anything about either of the others, but it appears that neither of them come with or require a new reverse pull, which I see as a good thing. If the Craven can be made to work with the stock reverse lockout, that's probably what I'll do. If I had to, I suppose I could polish or powder coat the billet one to get a more stock appearance. Abarth67, Who's making the new one that's coming out? Is it a factory Fiat/Mopar thing?

The balkiness of the shifter is driving me absolutely nuts. Was that anyone else's primary motive for getting a shift kit, and did it solve the problem?

2wheels4me
09-01-2012, 08:12 PM
Re: The balkiness of the shifter is driving me absolutely nuts. Was that anyone else's primary motive for getting a shift kit, and did it solve the problem?

The inexactness of the travel, along with the "wobblebility" of the shifter when in gear, AND along the long throws got me to pull the trigger on the Craven, and I am way glad I did. The TWM may have shorter-yet throws, but really the Craven's length is fine and the feel is very good indeed. The machined reverse lockout comes with it and is a big upgrade appearance-wise and feel-wise compared to the plastic stock one. You actually wont see much of it though, because the lever is much shorter.

WMWFiat
09-01-2012, 11:07 PM
right now I would have to recommend the Craven short shift kit (http://www.waymotorworks.com/fiat-500-abarth-short-shifter.html), it comes with the reverse lock out too. Quality is #1.

Pinecone
09-02-2012, 07:13 AM
TWM comes with the reverse lockout also. Nicely machined out of aluminum.

Only thing is, I had to remove it for my Abarth. :)

italophile
09-05-2012, 01:24 PM
The machined reverse lockout comes with it and is a big upgrade appearance-wise and feel-wise compared to the plastic stock one. You actually wont see much of it though, because the lever is much shorter.

So the lever is physically shorter? I wish that weren't the case. Ultimately, what I'm trying to achieve is improved shifting with a totally stock appearance - stock knob, stock lever length, stock reverse lockout, stock boot - but improved functionality out-of-sight. Is that doable with any of the available kits, or am I going to have to compromise on something?

500MADNESS.com
09-05-2012, 02:08 PM
Let me see if I can assist a bit...

We sell and install both the Craven and the Bonalume at our shop. The Craven shifter comes in two versions. One for the Manual Non ABARTH and one for the ABARTH.

The Non ABARTH version comes with a nicely machined reverse lock out piece that replaces the factory plastic one. It is very nicely made and is a pleasure to use. We offer it for $279.99.

The ABARTH version does not need the reverse lock out and due to this we were able to work with Craven and offer an ABARTH Version for $249.99.

Out of all the ones we offer the Craven one outsells the Bonalume unit 50-1.

The folks at Craven are great to work with. Their customer service is fantastic and their attention to detail is second to none! We offer the Bonalume one, but it is not the one we recommend. Not because there is something wrong with it, but simply because Craven is great to work with. Their products are made in the US and when we came to them with the request to lower pricing for a promise of higher volume they agreed to take a small risk and allow us to give it a try.

We reduced our profit margin and Craven reduced their margin and we were able to reduce the pricing to $249.99 (ABARTH) and $279.99 (Non ABARTH). Ever since then they have been flying off the shelf and the feedback has been very positive from those that have used it.

We thought about carrying the TWM, but price was an issue and we decided to pass. The unit Road Race is offering is the Bonalume one. Nothing wrong with it. We offer it as well, but honestly we feel that the Craven one is a better value for the money. However, those that have installed the Bonalume one have also been happy.

GileraWarren
09-05-2012, 08:06 PM
I have heard there may be a new short shifter coming soon that will work with the FIAT and Abarth models and allows you to keep the stock appearance. From what I have heard, this is going to be a very nicely engineered product that replaces all of the plastic bits to give a solid feel. If you can hold off for a few weeks, you might like it.

Who is supposedly is making this shifter? I'd like something eliminating all the plastic bits but keeping the stock shift knob.

Abarth67
09-05-2012, 08:59 PM
I cannot say right now other than to say it will be worth the wait. I am not developing it or making money from it and have not commercial interests. As soon as I can, I will share impressions and details.

italophile
09-06-2012, 04:37 PM
That's kind of a tease, but it sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. Can you give us an approximate date at least? I've had it with these high-effort, lumpy shifts and the sooner I can do something about it, the better.

Guest
09-06-2012, 05:12 PM
Any Craven stockist in Canada??? Fed up paying crazy shipping fees!

Abarth Five O
09-06-2012, 07:25 PM
I ordered the Cravens SS and Cravens shift knob from Madness. Great price and service! Look forward to tightening up shifting and getting rid of excess slop. :eagerness:

2wheels4me
09-07-2012, 08:32 AM
Re:
So the lever is physically shorter? I wish that weren't the case. Ultimately, what I'm trying to achieve is improved shifting with a totally stock appearance - stock knob, stock lever length, stock reverse lockout, stock boot - but improved functionality out-of-sight. Is that doable with any of the available kits, or am I going to have to compromise on something?

Yes, it is shorter; that's how the travel is reduced with this item. I believe the angular distance in degrees is the same as stock because it uses stock underpinnings to the linkage. Madness, correct me if I am wrong. But in my opinion, it looks way better than stock due to its shortness (in addition to also feeling way better!).

Abarth67
09-07-2012, 10:10 AM
Hey, I am sorry to be a tease on this, I am just really excited to be getting this shifter. Here is what I have been told I CAN share, nothing more at this time though.

- Works on both Fiat 500 and Abarth models and is compatible with OEM and aftermarket shift knobs
- Retains full reverse-lockout functionality in Fiat 500 installations with billet aluminum lockout collar – reduces lockout throw 25% (how far you have to pull the collar up)
- Retains stock shift knob location, shifter boot, and shift-arm length (looks factory from outside appearance)
- Reduces fore/aft throws 35% from stock
- Reduces side-to-side throws 20% from stock (to avoid notchy feeling)
- Construction is all zinc-plated steel and anodized aluminum with stainless steel hardware

I have seen some of the photos and this shifter is a work of art. It is almost a shame to cover it up with the plastic panels. This shifter will cost more than the others out there but if you don't mind that and waiting a little while, it will be a great option. As soon as I can report more information, I will do so. Thanks

NACHE
09-07-2012, 06:28 PM
Abarth67;
You are talking about the Craven s/s?
I can wait.....the Abarth ordered eta is 8/10 wks....if you can believe the dealer.

Thanks

Guest
09-07-2012, 07:41 PM
I have seen some of the photos and this shifter is a work of art. It is almost a shame to cover it up with the plastic panels. This shifter will cost more than the others out there but if you don't mind that and waiting a little while, it will be a great option. As soon as I can report more information, I will do so. Thanks

Thanks thats all I need to know....its costs EVEN more is what you mean. Craven for me then!

Pinecone
09-08-2012, 06:08 AM
Most short shifters use a combination of a shorter lever for the shift knob and a longer arms that shift.

TWM does sell shifter extensions, so you could lengthen the lever to more the shift knob back to the stock position. But the throw will not be as short.

None of them change the real problem, and that is cables to the transmission. With cables, there will always be some amount of slop.

GileraWarren
09-08-2012, 07:44 AM
This shifter will cost more than the others out there but if you don't mind that and waiting a little while, it will be a great option. As soon as I can report more information, I will do so. Thanks
More than a TWM? That takes me off the list. No doubt a lot of people could make a better shifter. The thing is to make it affordable. It would seem to me that unless some kind of national championship is at stake this seems too much to me. just sayin......

italophile
09-12-2012, 07:09 PM
More than a TWM? That takes me off the list. No doubt a lot of people could make a better shifter. The thing is to make it affordable. It would seem to me that unless some kind of national championship is at stake this seems too much to me. just sayin......


Agreed. I'm leaning toward the Craven at this point. My desire to maintain a factory appearance isn't enough to justify the extra cost or the wait.