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Review: E4 Performance Short Throw Shifter for MS3


As many of you already know, I ordered an E4Performance STS for my MS3. After much fuss, it finally arrived today. (I ordered from Protege Garage despite the many horror stories I had heard.) It came in a box just big enough for the shifter to be wrapped thoroughly in bubble wrap and get stuffed in. It was a little dirty, but just wiping it down with a paper towel cleaned it right up.

Since I couldn't find this information anywhere I looked, I had to email E4P to find out the reductions in height and throw. Here it is: E4P claims a 1.6" height reduction and a 36% shorter throw.

Since E4P didn't supply any install information, I hunted down the PDF for the install of a TWM STS... here

Since I've already installed bushings, I was familiar with the process of pulling the center console out, and that went pretty smoothly. Since I did not have an assistant, I attempted to ignore the parts where it told me to use an assistant... it made things more complicated.

Step 14: There's a spring in there that keeps the shifter centered laterally. You can barely see it behind the plate that the sideways movement cable connects to. Instead of looking for it and lifting the top part of the spring off the shifter, I just yanked. It popped out, but the spring also popped out of place slightly, I didn't realize this yet though.

I cleaned up the old shifter and took a couple comparison picks:

Then went about installing the new one.

When step 18 rolled around, I figured I should probably figure out wtf this spring was all about. This is when I discovered I had dislodged the spring. It's kinda hard to explain, but after some tinkering with it, I realized the spring is supposed to sort of clamp down on this little piece of plastic in there. When the shifter is installed, the side piece is supposed to go between the two sides of the spring. I got the spring set properly, grabbed my vice-grips and attempted to maneuver the new shifter into place. This was HARD to do alone. I had to try and hold the spring up with the vicegrips, adjust the side motion plate AND slide the shifter into place. After toying with it for a while, I read ahead quick to look for tips. I noticed in step 19 it says I can leave the plastic cap off the side arm and push it through the side plate instead. I figured that would make it easier to get the shifter where it needs to go, and it did. The problem was, the plastic cap WOULD NOT attach to the ball of the shifter by doing what is suggested in step 19. I went so far as to put a bar clamp across the shifter and try to clamp it together. No good. Of course, I had already seated the shifter in the mount by this time, so I had to uninstall it again to put the plastic cap back on. So there's the big tip, PLASTIC CAP GOES ON SIDE PIVOT BALL BEFORE INSTALLING. I put the plastic cap back on, and after much fussing, managed to get the shifter installed. Reassembled my car and was done, woot!

I haven't driven it yet, but just from rowing through the gears in the garage, it's definitely a shorter throw and it feels pretty smooth. The lateral motion is a little bit more rough than the stock shifter, but the forward and back is great. I'll add further comments after I've had a chance to drive it a bit.


Driving Impressions:
As I mentioned above, the lateral motion is a bit... less smooth? It's not clunky or anything like that, it's just more effort to shift. I think that would likely be solved a heavier shift knob, or a shift weight. Maybe I can borrow Tom's at some point to see if that's an improvement.


Driving Impressions, Days Later:
The shifter has broken in significantly and it has all but eliminated my concerns about the lateral motion. When first installed, the shifter didn't really spring back center when it was in neutral. It tended to only bounce back part of the way. After being broken in more, it bounces back pretty strongly and feels great. A good improvement over stock indeed. I do notice that the gates are a little bit tougher to pass through, but I'm sure that's simply because the shorter length of the shifter reduces the effective force applied when you try to shift. I am sure that a heavier knob would help with this, but it's not a significant issue for me.

Other comments
Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. It delivers a shorter height and shorter throw, just what you'd expect from an STS.

My next step is to see about shortening up the stock shift boot. The stock one was a little too long with the stock shifter, IMO; so now it's WAY to big. I'll pull the assembly apart at some point and take a look.

PICS! (I tried to keep the angle the same for all the pics, but it was tough)

Stock shifter in 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th

E4P Shifter in 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th

Pics of the throw, before and after overlayed on each other, courtesy of derrian and her mad photoshop skillz.
1st gear:

2nd gear:

MOAR Pics with fancy photoshoppin by Joelle:
Stock shift from 1-2:

E4P Shift from 1-2:
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