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Discussion Starter #1
I will do my best to make this simple and straight forward. I am hosting the pics for now on my CarDomain site. If there is a better way to get pics in these threads please let me know. :)

First thing you want to do is unscrew your shiftnob. No need for a pic here, just turn it lefty loosey til it comes off.

Next thing you want to do is take the cup holder out. All you have to do is open it, stick your hand in with your thumb on the outside and squeeze like the pic below. It will pop right out.



*Please note here, there is a tab at the top right of the cupholder connecting to the console around the shifter. I broke this, so I don't know how to safely remove that but beware. I am no worse for wear without it though.

Remove your ashtray and set it aside

Next lift up on the shifter console carefully as there are 2 wires connected behind the ashtray area. Note the broken tab at the bottom right.




The large plug is easy to squeeze and remove but the little light plug is annoying. I used a small flat head to press the tab and release it. Not much slack there either. Also see in this picture those 2 black square plastic things at the end of the shifter cables. We'll be fighting with those later.


Here is the exposed shifter. Note at the bottom right in the plastic the empty hole where a screw should have been from Mazda holding the side of my center console in place. They must have implemented some cost savings.


Next we're going to disconnect the left of the 2 cables you see in the picture above from the shifter arm by using a 10mm socket. Also slide the cable on the right off to the left (reverse that on a 6i/4 cylinder) and remove the two philips screws holding the sides of the console on (if you have 2, like I pointed out above I only had 1 on the left).


Here they both are disconnected.


Next I have a theory. They tell you here to remove the 4 large nuts you see connecting the whole white plastic shifter assembly to the car (use a 12mm socket AND and extender). This will loosen the whole thing but the shifter cables are still attached via those previously mentioned black square clips.

After that they tell you to use a flat head to press on the bottom of the square shifter cable clips and pry upwards to remove them from the shifter base. I broke one of these by following the directions (small plastic tab at the bottom snapped off). Costmetic damage essentially and had no effect on my install but still.

I think you could likely remove the shifter cables BEFORE removing the 4 12mm nuts and it might go easier. Maybe not, take these 2 steps in the order you prefer. See pics below.



Here is the assembly fully removed from the car.


Now it get's greasy. Have some shop towels around to handle the mess.
The next thing you need to do is remove the 4 metal and rubber bushings that the bolts went through. I used my 10mm socket to push out the metal and then just grab the rubber and pull it out.


Now for the cutting, WORST part of the install. First if you look at any of the pictures of the assebly above you will see that there is a brass colored bolt that runs perpendicular in front of the shifter stick itself. This holds the plastic retainer that the stick runs through to the main plastic assembly. You have to reuse this bolt so they make you cut the push nut on the right side of the bolt to allow you to remove it and free the stick to come out of the assembly. Note you have a new push nut in your shifter kit for comparison and it's the side of the bolt that isn't a machined head. I don't know if this bolt is flipped for the 6i. Doubt it.
Sorry no pic of the cutting, I was too busy working the Dremel and cursing. Compared to what's next this isn't that bad though.

Now remember above when we used the 10mm socket to remove the left shifter cable from the stick? Notice how that bolt is attached to a metal plate that is welded to the stick? You get to cut that plate off the stick now. Cut it close to the stick because the purpose is for the stick to be able to slide out the bottom of that plastic retainer that is covered in grease and spinning around it at this point. I think it would have been easier to simply include a new plastic piece in the kit, but that's just me.

I used a Dremel here again because the directions said I could (they lie). I also got my metal snips an a hammer. By alternating these 3 tools I was able to accomplish the task in an hour or so. This might be easier if you have a hacksaw. A nice big vice on your workbench would make it much easier as well. I had neither of those.

Please make sure you wear safety goggles. Metal shavings go everywhere. Also do not damage any of the plastic pieces since the point of this is to reuse them.

On to part 2 it is. Look for the second thread for the finish. Thanks.
 

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I wonder if the plastic retainer is available from Mazda parts? If it's cheap, then it'll probably be easier just to go out and buy it. That way if you need to revert to stock, you can.
 

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Good writeup. You broke one of the shift cables? Eeek, you sure it's all good? I had a hell of a time getting that push nut off that rod man, that was a real bitch.

According to TWM, that plastic piece is not available without buying the entire shifter assembly, which would have made for a very expensive short shifter. Good writeup though. One note- you don't have to cut that plate off the shifter. Instead, you can just cut the whole damn shifter in half below the plate. That's what I did seeing as how it's gonna be damn hard to go back to stock no matter how you cut it. I don't plan to go back ever though.
 

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nice write up. and i think i know the part you broke, as i broke one on one of the three of these i have installed. made no difference. and once the cable is in the groove, its not going anwhere. ;)

this is one of my favorite installs on the 6, just too bad i cannot do it on my atx..lol. good thing i have a club with sevral mtx cars around to do this mod on. :D
 

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Do you have any pics of the plastic retainer? Maybe i can replicate it at the nearest workshop? I get to install my Short throw sat morning :)
 

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nice write up. and i think i know the part you broke, as i broke one on one of the three of these i have installed. made no difference. and once the cable is in the groove, its not going anwhere. ;)

this is one of my favorite installs on the 6, just too bad i cannot do it on my atx..lol. good thing i have a club with sevral mtx cars around to do this mod on. :D
[/b]

You wanna meet me in the four corners and do it to my car, lol. Great write up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You broke one of the shift cables? Eeek, you sure it's all good?
[/b]
To clarify, I did not break a shift cable. I broke a small tab off of the black square plastic clips that hold the shift cables to the main big white plastic assembly. They tell you to use a flat head and press on this tab and pry up to dislodge the cables and by doing so on of the tabs broke off the bottom.

As AzMz6 said below, these things are actually hard to get back on in place. There's so much pressure on them when you slide them on they're not going anywhere.

I did a visual inspection of everything the other day and it all looks perfect. I'll go finish that HowTo now.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Crap!

I can't finish the HowTo. It says I have posted more images than I am allowed to.

Where can I move this so that I can complete it?
Anyone?
Buehler?

I think I'm gonna go install my brake pads. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Once you have cut, melted or otherwise beaten the solid steel into submission and you have the old shifter free from the white plastic assembly it's time to start assembling the new shifter.

Here is another place where the directions go wrong. They tell you now to install the stick into the ball (V6 pivot points right, 4cyl pivot points left please), apply adhesive to the screws and tighten it all up.
Don't.

Instead skip to the next step. Get your stick and the ball w/ pivot and get the little flat round metal ring they call the spiral lock. See below.

Now follow their directions, just don't do it with the screws in the stick. Put the stick in the pivot and turn it upside down and the spin this thing on the bottom part of the stick that comes out just a little from the pivot.

After you have the spiral lock, then get the two set screws, well actually you need a 3mm hex for these things, apply adhesive to one and tighten it all the way in til it dissapears. Don't over torque, I messed up my hex a little. Then repeat with the second one and you're good to go.


Now we need to put the new stick back in the assembly so get some rags and clean off as much of the old grease from everything that you can. Now procees to reapply the new grease pretty much everywhere you just wiped it off from. :)

Put the new stick up inside the plastic retainer and make sure the weird washer and it's cover are in place on the bottom of the retainer. These are the two loose pieces that will fall out when you take the old stick out. They fit on top of the ball at the bottom of the stick. Once you have them in place maybe pull up on the stick to keep them there,

Now we need to get this whole greasy mess back onto the main assembly it's pretty intuitive, just like you took it off. Do the back first and you'll rock it forward on the hinge such that you can reinsert that brass colored pin we cut the push nut off of. Here is a picture with everything in place.

Pay special attention to the 2 blue plastic rollers on the right (left for you 4 cylinders). See how one snaps in place under the other one. It is also inside the metal spring like contraption that is there. Getting this blue roller in place while holding the rest of it together is the hardest part of this reassembly step.

Next grab the brass pin and that black plastic block that came with the new shifter. Put the block in the middle of the two holes for the pin and slide the pin through the whole thing. This block helps support the stick and the main shifter cable later on.

Get your 10mm socket and the new push nut from the kit. Make sure the pin is firmly in place all the way and then hold one end while you push the push nut on the open end (right side) with the 10mm socket.
Here is a blurry picture.

If you can find the two little black adhesive strips that came with your kit put them on the two U shaped holes at the top of the base where the shifter cables go. I guess they somehow pad the cables when we reattach those black clips. No need for a pic on this one. (V6 is the middle and right U, 4cyl is middle and left I imagine, wherever the cables were)

Now you can do 1 of 2 things. They say to get the base back into place on the 4 bolts it attaches to (don't bolt it, just get the bolts in the holes) and then attach those black clips for the shifter cables. I think maybe it might work easier the other way around. Get it in there close enough and attach the shifter cable clips and then get the whole assembly into place on the 4 bolts. Whichever way is easiest for you, but there is not a lot of play or wiggle room in those cables. They are pretty tough to get into place.

After that install the new blue metal bushings. You will likely need to push forward on the assembly (towards the dash) and down on each bushing until you hear it snap into place. They are also a tight fit. Push with your socket wrench if you have to but make sure they are all seeded 100% then reattach the 4 nuts that held it in place to begin with. Also push the sides of your center console in and reattach the 2 screws that hold it in place, if you had 2. In the pic you'll see my substitute screw.


You can now slide the selector cable back into place (on the right for V6). Grab the blue shifter arm and the blue square with 4 holes. Get the M8 bolt and a 4mm Hex and use it to attach the shifter cable to the blue shifter arm. Don't torque it too much. Get the cable lined up in the groove on the blue arm and do the same with the blue square. Line it up and use the screws to tighten it on. See this picture with the cable attached to the arm and 2 of the screws securing the blue square in place. Of course use all 4. :)

Now is a great time to get the grease and lube up any moving parts you have not already greased. In particular this should incluse the shifter cables themselves where they enter the holes and also underneath the blue shifter arm on that black little box where the arm can rub sometimes. Maybe those blue plastic rollers too if you have not already. You'll see the white grease on there in the last couple pics.

So close! We are almost to the most important step of the whole process.
Line up the holes in the blue arm to the holes in the shifter and stick the M5 bolt through the top holes only. (So why are there bottom holes???)

This is it! This is very delecate! Do I have your attention?
With the M5 bolt in place secure the left side with a 3mm Hex. Add some adhesive to the threads on the right. Now take the 4mm threaded nut, the last teenie tiny piece in the whole kit (it should be, if you have others at this point then we have a problem) and this is the last step so....DON'T DROP THE TINY LITTLE NUT INTO THE OBLIVION OF YOUR CENTER CONSOLE WHERE IT WILL LIVE THE REST OF IT'S DAYS IN DARKNESS!!! I did...and I nearly wept.
Very carefully twist this thing on by hand so that it is very secure while you hold the bolt still with the hex. Once it is hand tight get your 8mm driver/socket and give it a few more cranks. I had to drive with bolt in place minus the nut securing it to the nearest Home Depot and then take the bolt inside with me to find a nut to fit. I bought 2. They were loose in a drawer but I believe the thread to be 4mm. Just in case this happens to you despite my excellent warning.


That is it. You are finished. Get the silver cover for the stick and plug in the ashtray light and the cig lighter and snap this back into place. Snap your cupholder back into place and screw on your shift knob.
Done! Pat yourself on the back...then go drive!
Silky smooth. For added smoothness see the "How To change your MTX fluid" and get some Redline MT-90 goodness in there.
 

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I really need to get that Redline stuff. That MS shifter sure is a neat design, but I got too good of a deal on my TWM to pass it up :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As these posts slowly fall down the list, do they deserve a sticky? Any admins out there?
I noticed at least one member already asked about the install w/out seeing the HowTos, maybe if they were stickyed they would be more noticeable?
 

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buckeye, thank you for taking the time to do this!!!! should be getting the mazda short shifter from finishlineperformance (rosenthal mazda) this week so i know your work will make my job much easier! and since i typically don't do a lot of mechanical stuff at all, at least i know what to expect. if it weren't for your post, i'm not sure i'd want to take a leap into a relative unknown and risk not being able to drive my car if i screwed up.

one other note regarding one of this forum's sponsors, rosenthal mazda. got free standard shipping for this order (although i eventually had to have this changed to 3rd day select so i can take this to the washington meet this weekend) and i'll be entered for a $100 prize. all the e-mails i sent them were answered quickly and courteously. they even sent me an email with the tracking # for my order. couldn't ask for more. so far, good customer service and they help make this club possible. kudos to rosenthal!!!

i've said this b4 in other posts, but this club is helping me get the most out of my car without paying through the nose to a mechanic for every mod i now can do myself. thanks again! :love:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
buckeye, thank you for taking the time to do this!!!! should be getting the mazda short shifter from finishlineperformance (rosenthal mazda) this week... [/b]
Let us know how it goes and if you find any good information to add to the process let me know.
Good luck and you'll enjoy it once it's done.
 

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well, got the shifter installed last week, and the directions given by buckeye were invaluable. really, the pics he has provided make the install pretty easy, but just a little tedious (in other words not hard, but sometimes little things end up being more difficult than they should be). i actually found the dremel part through the part of the old shifter to only take about 10 minutes... nice surprise!!!

but on a down note, when i was puting the new shifter in, i got grease on my hands so i grabbed the towel i had on the center console to wipe it off my hands. of course i didn't put the towel back (stupid, lazy....arrrrrgh!) but then when i was wrestling to get those black square things into the plastic body of the shifter, i let the pointy end of the shifter scratch up my center console! F***!!! oh well, was planning on getting the metra kit anyway :sarc: so to those who do this, put the knob on the shifter when doing this step!!!

overall, i'm liking the shifter a lot. the throw is as others have described: much shorter and has a very positive feel to it that is not as numb as before. had a chance to go on a fairly long road trip along curvy roads yesterday and i was impressed with the differece. although my timing is off (the time to change gears is different) so i'm not driving as smooth, i think in time i'll get used to it. i am finding that i'm getting a pretty noticeable "click" when going into 3rd though. i will be taking out the cup holder and shift boot today to see if one of the black square things is popping up like some others have mentioned. or maybe i just need more grease on the block. it's not bad or overly annoying, but i do want to see if it's something that can be reduced.

also, next week, i'll be putting in redline MT-90 tranny fluid (haven't decided if i will do this myself or if i'll have a shop do it yet), so i think i will find this will make the shifting even better.

by the way, to those who think they can't do it themselves... i'm as close to a mechanical midget as you can get. the most intimidating part was getting the cupholder out and removing the center console; i don't know why, but removing panels on my car is strange for me. but buckeyes pics and directions are excellent: so used in conjunction with the mazda directions, you'll find it's not hard at all. just take your time, and you'll have improved your car yourself and saved a couple hundred bucks in the process that you'd have to pay to get it installed at the stealership.
 

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Great post, you inspired me to make the change.

I got my shifter installed in just over an hour and had the fluid changed a couple of days later. it feels alot more positive and connected, but not as short as I had imagined. Still for pretty cheap and not alot of time this was a worth while upgrade.
 

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I HATE YOU FOR DOING SUCH A GREAT HOW-TO! I've been pondering about this mod for a while now. I'm not mechanical pro, either, but I've done quit a few mods/installs myself. I haven't done much to my 6s lately, so this is a welcome install, especially since shifting is something you do every time you drive. Given the under-$160 price, Rosenthal's free shipping on purchases over $150, and your much-anticipated write-up, I'm getting closer to clicking on that "buy now" button. :)
 

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A buddy and I both did this mod last night in his garage, the first one took a while but the 2nd one went fast after doing it once already. We came up with a couple tricks that make the whole thing way faster and easier and cut out the hard steps.

First off, take off the rest of the center console, just the parts between the seats, it takes about 3 minutes and it makes the whole install 1000 times easier, it is so easy to pull off it's like retarded not to, you have soooo much more room to work and it will allow you to do another trick that will make the most annoying part of the install much easier. We did his first with those plastics on and then did mine without, and my god the difference was amazing. It's easy to get off, you have 2 screws holding it in from the sides under small cover plates front and back, you have 2 screws in the small storage bin under your elbow (when in drivers seat) 2 by the front under the climate control and then one by the shifter you have to take out anyway. Unplug the rear cig lighter socket and slide it out and drop it in the back seat. Seriously takes all of 3 minutes but must have saved us 10 times that on the install and a sh*tload of aggrivation.

Next the most annoying part, getting the black clips that hold the shifter cables off of the lower tray. Don't even bother trying from the front, you will break them and curse them. If you took the side plastics off like I suggested above, you can see the back of that tray, well the holes those clips fit in, are just the right size for a 1/4" short socket extension tip. You can easily push those clips from the back and they pop right out like they want to. With this method we easily got both of those shift cables unclipped from the tray in honestly 30 seconds and they had absolutely zero damage. Great trick and saved soooo much time and aggrivation. This alone makes taking the side plastics off worth it, but with all the extra room to work it's well worth it anyway.

Couple other little tricks that we did that weren't as important but helped, we unclipped the cupholder and shifter boot section as one piece then once it was totally loose unclipped them from each other, it makes it easier to get apart without breaking tabs, we did both cars this way, didn't break any tabs. Once you seperate then two then just lift them out seperately. Second instead of trying to unplug the lead to the ash tray light, we just unscrewed the whole little white assembly, took all of ten seconds and no fighting with tiny clips. We both put the spiral lock on before the set screw as suggested, not sure if it made a big difference one way or another but there is no down side to doing it that way, so we went for it.

Only other big tip I can say, is if you can get a buddy to help, 2 pairs of hands makes the job a ton easier, tell your buddy you will get him some pizza and a beer for helpin ya, it will be money well spent, besides, who wants to mod alone.

I have only got about an hour of driving on the shifter, but I like it alot, way more precision shifting all of the mushy soggy feel is gone and it's alot smoother through the gears. Definitely a mod I suggest.
 
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