11.1. Bucket Seats
11.1.1. Hurst Competition Plus Shifter
I installed a Hurst Competition Plus shifter (PN 391 0032) on the T5 in my 1986 Monte Carlo SS. I did not like the look of the black shift knob that came with the shifter, so I installed a white shift knob that I found at a swap meet. Because I installed the transmission straight up (the F body bellhousing tilts the transmission approximately 17° towards the driver), the shifter pointed approximately 17° towards the passenger side of the car. After disassembling the shifter, I heated and bent the shifter above the pivot approximately 34° so that the shifter would point toward the driver at approximately 17° (Figure 11-1). The shift knob now resides in a very natural position. The shifter boot is a lower boot from a 1983-1985 F body.
11.1.2. F Body/Mustang Hybrid Shifter
In my 1983 Malibu Wagon, I made a hybrid F body/Mustang T5 shifter. I swapped the pivot from a Mustang T5 shifter into the F body T5 shifter base. This hybrid shifter gave me the ability to bolt on my own choice of handle. I eventually decided that the throws on my hybrid F body/Mustang T5 shifter were too long compared to the Hurst shifter in my Monte Carlo and I needed to look for another shifter solution.
11.1.3. S10 Shifter
In my 1983 Malibu Wagon, I tried a shortened stock S10 shifter. The stock S10 shifter uses a taller tower than the stock F body shifter because it is meant to be used with a much longer handle, so it makes for a cheap short-throw shifter. I ran a 3/8-16 die down the top of the S10 shifter stub to fit a standard Hurst knob. The throws of this shifter are very short. Depending upon your application, the knob may or may not be in a natural position.
I modified my S10 shifter to accommodate a bolt-on handle. After disassembling the shifter, I straightened the lower bend, drilled 2 holes, cut off the remainder of the handle, and ground opposing flat sides. The result is a short throw shifter with the ability to bolt on the handle of my choice.
11.2. Bench Seat
In my 1979 Malibu Wagon, I used a modified factory T5 shifter. The stock T5 shifter coincides with the front of the bench seat. The factory shifter also points towards the back of the car, which complicates the issue. In order to make this shifter work with a bench seat, I had to modify the shifter and the seat. I disassembled the factory shifter and reversed the pivot so that the shifter pointed forward. I also had to make a custom handle to mate to the factory shifter (Figure 11-2). The shifter is not pretty (most of it was covered with a Chevrolet Monza shifter boot) but it worked well and I used it for about 4 years. Unfortunately, I have no photographs of the interior of my 1979 Malibu Wagon with the T5 installed.
Originally Released 11 February 2002
updated 18 March 2012
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Copyright © 2001-2012 Marc Hichens