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Making a Short Shifter for a T-5 Tranny

by John Sandoval
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That T-5 throw too long ?

      You've tossed the original 3-speed in favor of a more modern manual tranny with more gears (and more speed!), but it seems like you're reaching all the way across Kansas to get to 5th gear! Here's John Sandoval with an easy mod -- save your bucks -- don't go to the speed shop for one of those high-dollar fancy short-throw shifters! You already have everything you need to...

Make a short-throw shifter out of your stock T-5!

      After swapping my T-5 transmission into my í45 Chevy pickup earlier this year, I decided that I couldnít leave well enough alone. There wasnít anything wrong with the the T-5's original shifter but I just wanted to make one more improvement. Although, short throw shifters are available, it seems funner to make one out of the existing T-5 shifter. Itís just a matter of raising the pivot point inside the shifter by one inch.

      There are three tabs holding the top of the shifter together. Pry open just two of them as shown in this picture. Then you can slide the top over and off.

      When you disassemble the parts of the shifter, make sure you note the order in which you remove parts -- this is critical for reassembly.  In this picture, you can see all of the parts laid out. Notice the pivot pin on the stick shifter.

      Here you can see the pin is driven out and the plastic ball is slid off.

      Re-drill the pivot hole exactly one inch up the shaft. It is critical for the hole to be centered and located exactly 1” up.

      Pivot pin is tapped back in,  plastic ball is slid on and ready for reassembly.  Also note that the shifter is bent to fit my truck. It was bent in a hydraulic press with no heating  cutting or welding.

      Before reassembly, clean up and grease all the internal parts. Make sure you reinstall the parts in the reverse order of how you removed them. The two tabs are hammered back down.

      Here it is reassembled. You can see that the end protrudes down more and you can see that the old pivot hole is visible.

      Here’s where it comes in handy having a machinist friend. This aluminum spacer is exactly one inch thick and has the same hole pattern as the top plate of the shifter.

      In this picture you can see that everything needed is all together and ready for reinstallation.

      Here it is back on the transmission. You can barely notice the difference. Also, the top of  this assembly may interfere with the underside of  your floorboard because it sets higher, so make an adjustment if necessary for clearance.

      After putting everything back together, I was quite pleased with the results. The total height of the shifter is about 17” from the floor board to the top of the knob. Previously the distance from 1st to 2nd gear was about 8 inches at the knob. After this modification, it still has the same height from the floorboard to the top of the knob but the travel is now 5 inches from 1st to 2nd gear. 

      I took a cruise around town (with a big grin on my face) and I don’t know how this compares to a store-bought unit, but this set up sure has a nice feel to it.

Good luck,



John Sandoval
1945 Chevy 1/2-Ton
Bolter # 2251
Rancho Cordova, California

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v. December 06

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