Chop-Top Short Shifter (Manual Transmission)

Author: Jonathan Swain (aka "PurdueGuy")


This is a way to get a shorter shifter, somewhat reducing the distance of the throws between shifts.  This is not a true short shifter, which would move the fulcrum (pivot) point of the shifter to more greatly reduce the travel, but is a cheap way to get a shorter shaft and the look of a short shifter. 

In my case, it was a way to get rid of the huge gap between the stock shift boot and my aftermarket shift knob.  After the modification, I am still able to install the stock knob and it looks and acts just like an unmodified stock shifter.

You can see below how the stock and aftermarket knobs looked on the shifter before the modification.  Notice the nasty gap with the aftermarket knob.

Relevant Models

All S-Series with manual transmission


10mm socket
13mm socket (might require deep socket?)
Needle-nose pliers
Large pliers (slip-joint pliers work well)
2 flat-head screwdrivers
Something to cut hard metal with (Dremel, Reciprocating saw, etc.)


Step 2

Figure out where you want to cut it. I took as much off of mine as I could without having to modify the shaft or boot and be able to use the stock boot with my aftermarket knob.  I just wanted to get rid of the gap between the aftermarket knob and the stock boot, and I wanted to be able to revert to the stock knob if needed.  For me, this meant cutting about 19mm off the shaft. 

I placed the stock boot and the aftermarket shift knob on the shifter assembly, and measured the distance between with a slide caliper.

Step 3

Mark your cut. A sharpie works well.  If you’re trying to use a knob like mine, be sure to leave a couple mm for the set screw cover to slide down a bit so you can tighten/loosen the set screws.  It will leave a little wiggle in the boot when you’re done, but it’s a necessary evil.  Once I marked my cut, I checked how much shaft would still be inside the stock knob.  Plenty left.

Step 4

Cut. Many people use a Dremel rotary cutting tool.  I used a Dremel at first, but it was taking too long, and I like overkill, so I grabbed my Milwaukee Super Sawzall & “the torch” metal cutting blade.  Took care of that really quick (though it would’ve been quicker if I had a vice…)  After chopping the tip off, I used the Dremel again with a metal shaving bit and smoothed out the end.  A test fit of the boot and aftermarket knob proved that it worked very well.  A test fit of the stock knob… not so well.

Step 5

Taper. When I test-fit the stock knob, it refused to go on.  Then I realized that the end I just cut off had a taper on the end that helped push the clip in the stock knob outward, and my chopped shaft didn’t have the taper.  Out came the Dremel again, and I shaved a taper to it.  With the taper, the stock knob again would go on and click right into place.

NOTE: the metal shavings that come off when using a Dremel & metal shaving bit are NASTY LITTLE METAL SPLINTERS.  Have a change of clothes and some tweezers handy for when you get done, because they will be everywhere.

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