RX-8 Short Shifter DIY  

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Axialflow Mazda RX-8 Short Shifter DIY

1.) First, undo the shift knob. It's a standard right hand thread. Undo by twisting counter-clockwise. If you have an illuminated shift knob, take extreme care not to damage the wiring, you may wish to release the shifter cover to check on the wiring layout underneath first.

2.) You must now remove the shifter cover. You have to gain access to the rear right hand tab of the shifter cover. Remove the small panel located forward of the cup-holders (see picture).

Hymee Tip: for those with long fingers, if you release the handbrake, you can push this handbrake adjust access panel aft by reaching through the gap at the back of the handle and lifting the tang from inside.

3.) Now having removed the small handbrake adjust access panel, you can get to the rear right hand tab securing the shifter cover. You need to reach in and use your finger to release the tab from the console base. Take care, this one tab is very fragile!

4.) With the rear right hand tab released, you can now gently pry up on the rear left hand corner of the shifter cover and unclip it there. There are four remaining tabs centered around the shift boot, you can pull up on the shift boot to unclip them. If you have Audio pilot, Satellite Navigation and/or seat warmer switches, you'll need to undo these connectors now.

5.) With the cover removed you now need to remove the upper rubber shift boot. There is another rubber boot under it. I found it easier to remove the ashtray to gain access to the two forward 10mm shift boot nuts, the ashtray is secured with the two screws indicated by the green arrows in the picture below.

6.) You can hang the ashtray off to one side as I have here. This will also give access to the illuminated gear knob connector (so they tell me!).

7.) Now you need to undo the four nuts indicated by the orange arrows. Two of the four nuts have wiring harness clips over the threads. These are a pain to get off. I used a small flat bladed screwdriver to separate the clip from the thread....others have had success using a straightened paperclip bent into a "U" shape.

8.) With the four 10mm nuts removed, the upper rubber shift boot can now be removed. Gently twist and pry off by hand. Now you can see the lower shift boot, it is held on by love....remove by hand.

9.) To remove the stock shifter, undo the three bolts securing the plate seen here and then lift the shifter out of the housing. The bottom part of the shifter locates into the gearbox itself, take care not to drip gearbox oil on the seats when you remove the shifter.

10.) The two shifters side by side....Axialflow on the left. Note the white ring half way up, this seals the upper boot to the shifter as you'll see in later pictures. Also note the reverse lockout tang which is pointing out on the right, without this there'd be nothing to stop you accidentally selecting reverse without pushing down on the shifter......

11.) The shifter is supplied pre-greased. Just slip it straight in taking care to locate the reverse lockout tang to the right. Bolt the retainer plate back on and refit the gear knob. Check you can select all gears. Marvel at the difference.

12.) Remove the gear knob, and refit the lower and upper shift boots. The upper shift boot is secured on the white ring as in the image below...

13.) The rest is just a reversal of the disassembly. Secure the upper boot, refit the harness clips, connect up your illuminated shift knob (if you had one!) and replace the ashtray. Reconnect your seat warmer/ Audio pilot connectors, replace the covers and knob......you're done.

Special thanks to http://www.enginepsd.com/ for visual DIY instructions.


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