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-   -   My Shifter Review – Factory vs Hurst vs MGW (

caverman 03-05-2010 01:12 PM

My Shifter Review – Factory vs Hurst vs MGW
6 Attachment(s)
Ok…first off I’m going to say that everything in here is based off “My Opinion”. This is not intended to bash either brand…it’s only to help others make a decision based off of my personal experience with the shifters. If you don’t agree that’s fine….that’s “Your Opinion”.

When I first started driving my Camaro I knew right away that I didn’t like the Factory knob. The leather wrap and stitching are nice but overall I don’t think it looks all that good. It also feels really big in my hand. It’s like the knob is twice the size it should be and it just feels bulky to me. Then comes the shifting….it’s been a while since I’ve had a manual as a DD and even then this is my first 6-speed. I was having a hard time getting comfortable figuring out what gear I was in….especially when it came to 5th and 6th gear. I would put it down into 4th often when I was really wanting 6th. The smoothness of it going into gear seemed okay but finding the correct gears is what seemed to be more of an issue with me.

I then looked and saw pictures of the Hurst. I really like the classic muscle car look of the shifter with the ball on top. It is also supposed to be one of the easiest to put in. I found it for $332 to my door and decided to give it a try. Before I even installed it my wife was eyeing it in the packaging so said she didn’t think she was going to like it. She thought it was going to make it look to “Classic Muscle Car” to her. She felt that the Camaro was more modern than that…..whatever…I thought it would look and was going to feel good so I installed it. I put the car on jack stands and had it in all by myself in about 2 hrs….I’m a little slow…had to keep getting up and down to get the tools I needed. :D

So my first impressions….Cool….love the feel of the round knob it my hand! Felt like it should have come that way from GM. I then noticed that the shifter was a bit higher than the factory one. No big deal….it still felt like it was in a great position for me. Then I ran it through some gears. Immediately I didn’t care for the fact that it seemed like it took a bit of force to get the car into the gears. It felt like a syncro was bad in the trans and I had to force it into place. It did that for every gear. I was hoping it was going to start getting smoother which it did but not by much. Still it took more force than I liked to get it into the gears. It almost felt….clunky….as best as I could describe it.

Then the wife drove it and as expected she hated it. She didn’t like the looks, she didn’t like the feel, she didn’t like the force it took to get it into gears. Like I didn’t see that one coming. :facepalm: I got to hear about it for a solid day or so. :wub:

I still drove it for a couple days and then started noticing that it seemed really loose. You could take the shifter and at any point you could wiggle the handle and the shifter a good ¼” or more. It even got loose enough that under throttle it would rattle pretty bad. It was like an old Muncie style trans where the shifter had rods on the side to pull the little trans ears instead of a new tightly made Tremec. It was almost embarrassing when I took a couple friends for a ride. However, under throttle the “Clunky” shifting goes away and it goes into gears very well.

So I posted on the forum and found that the sloppiness was not normally that bad. It is normal to have some looseness in the shifter but not that much. So I pulled off the boot and sure enough the handle started coming loose. I re-tightened the handle and it did improve it a bunch. However, it was still way to loose for my liking. The video I have posted later is of the handle right after I tightened the shifter.

Now the shifter is going to have to go and I start to look at other options. I had previously been watching the MGW shifter but dropped it off the list because of difficulty to install, price, and honestly….I liked the looks of the Hurst a lot.
So now it’s between Barton an MGW. I ultimately chose MGW because of the fact that it completely replaces the shifter and not just the shifter shaft. So I order up an MGW with the Race Knob ($405 to my door) because it was the closest thing to what my wife and I could agree on that looks factory without using the factory shifter.

The night I get the MGW I go and install it. It is a much more time consuming install but not necessarily a whole lot harder. I was able to use a lift this time and that helped a lot. If I had to do it on jackstands it would’ve added more time to the install for sure. Still it took probably 3 – 3.5 hours total.
After the install is done and I have the knob in place I took it for a drive. The force to put the car into gear is greater than the factory shifter but not by that much at all. It’s very workable this time. The springs to help center the shifter in neutral and thus into a gear was 100x better. Although I think I like how the round knob feels a little better in my hand…the Race Knob is a very close second. It feels like a ½ round knob with places to put your fingers. The look of the Race Knob vs the Gripper Knob was much better IMO. Driving the car around I knew right off the bat this was the right choice for me.

Then that night the wife sees it…she says she likes the looks a lot better by far. The next day she takes it for a drive and within a few miles calls me to let me know she was extremely happy with this shifter. I tell her….Good….because I’m not taking that one out after the long winded install I went through. I will say that I could probably shave off an hour now that I know how to install it.

Some people say they like that “Clunky” positive feel of shifting with the Hurst. It’s not for me though. I still like the looks of the Hurst and the feel of the shifter in my hand but it wasn’t enough to overcome the loose shifter feeling and the chunkiness of the shifting the gears.

So….here are the videos to help everyone compare the two shifters. Keep a close eye on how they shift and the sound that make while shifting.

Partick 03-05-2010 01:28 PM

Nice comparison, I've got the Hurst and it doesn't seem quite as loose as yours but not near as tight as the MGW. Having 3k mi. on it I can say it feels good, shifts good and only on rare occasions do I get noise or vibration out of it. Mostly when it is running cold. I agree that it does feel a little old school (like shifting the Muncie) but I kinda like it.

Enjoy the MGW, my wife hasn't driven it yet, once she does I might be making the same change...

Scrappy Doo 03-05-2010 01:47 PM

Nice, and more importantly, a fair and objective write up.


StrangeMan 03-05-2010 02:01 PM

Nice writeup! I ordered the MGW. Hopefully I will like it as much as you do.

jmlozano7 03-05-2010 02:19 PM

I have a barton industries short throw and I love it! you should check it out! It has a way shorter shift that either of the two you reviewed and is only $210

camarowa 03-05-2010 02:36 PM

i like the look of the hurst shifter.

will69camaro 03-05-2010 02:43 PM

Thanks for the writeup! Looks great. We've been really happy with out MGW we put in the PLSX car. It only gets better after a few weeks. The internal springs break-in and the shift is firm but comfortable.

As for the short throw, shorter isn't always "better."

hair10 03-05-2010 02:55 PM

The shifter in my L99 is darn near perfect. :P

Personally, I don't like the looks of the Hurst shifter. I think you made the right choice on looks alone! And I have to agree with your wife... just because it's a "muscle car" doesn't mean it has to look 40 years old. ;)

StrangeMan 03-05-2010 03:00 PM


Originally Posted by hair10 (Post 1551761)
The shifter in my L99 is darn near perfect. :P



Personally, I don't like the looks of the Hurst shifter. I think you made the right choice on looks alone! And I have to agree with your wife... just because it's a "muscle car" doesn't mean it has to look 40 years old. ;)
x2 but to each his own!

caverman 03-05-2010 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by jmlozano7 (Post 1551624)
I have a barton industries short throw and I love it! you should check it out! It has a way shorter shift that either of the two you reviewed and is only $210

I would've considered the Barton....mostly for price....but in my situation my wife was begging me to go back to the stock shifter because she didn't like the round knob. The Race Knob on the MGW was our compromise. Just based on looks alone the Barton was removed from our list. After the ear full from the Hurst install it was worth that to pay double the money alone :D. In addition I like the fact that the MGW replaces the whole shifter and not just the shaft. Again..just my personal preference. post were just my opinions from my own experience. I mostly wanted to share my impressions of these shifters so that others could make an informed choice.

Nothing wrong with the Hurst if you're okay with the extra positive shifting. Like I looks good to me and actually feels very good in my hand. It was just not the shifter for me.

SlingShot 03-05-2010 04:01 PM

Good review, I have to agree with the choice you made and also looks much more refined ...

DFS88 03-05-2010 05:17 PM

Just put mine in and love it.
MGW all day!!:D

HzMajesty 03-05-2010 06:33 PM

great review... even better videos...

just please take more care when exiting your vehicle :P

OneQuickGP 03-05-2010 07:26 PM

Nice review, I think the MGW is in my future.

KILLER74Z28 03-05-2010 08:33 PM

Nice review and writeup. :thumbsup:

Both the Hurst and The MGW are top notch and I would roll ether one. But I will say this, I love both the "Old School Look" and performance of my Hurst... ;)

Mr. Wyndham 03-05-2010 08:44 PM

Great writeup, and thank for taking the time to do it! :thumbsup:

What can you say on the throws of the MGW vs stock?

caverman 03-06-2010 12:20 AM


Originally Posted by Dragoneye (Post 1552955)
Great writeup, and thank for taking the time to do it! :thumbsup:

What can you say on the throws of the MGW vs stock?

Honestly I didn't get to know the stock shifter that much. By the time the car had 350 miles on it the factory shifter was out of there and the Hurst was in. The first couple hundred miles I had such a chubby from the power of the car I wasn't paying attention to the shifter at all. I did find myself making excuses about it being new as to why I couldn't find 5th and 6th at times but now looking back I think it was because of the factory shifter.

The MGW Race Knob feels lower but I know thats because the factory knob was so big and then the Hurst was a bit taller. I think it's all just a mental thing about it being lower.

I do think the Hurst had a little bit shorter throw but just ever so slightly less. You would never notice the difference unless you had the two shifters in the car back to back like I did.

I'm definatley liking the Race Knob more and more as I drive it. To me it's more of a refined muscle car feel vs the classic muscle car feel of the Hurst. I installed the Hurst in the car of the guy that bought mine today and I'll tell you the Hurst still looks damn good. I also ditched the factory lock style washers used for the shifter handle and used some fairly thick lock washers and locktite on the handle and I think it helped take some of the slopiness out of the Hurst. It still had more slopiness than I liked and the MGW has basically no slop in it at all.

Both are good's going to come down to preference. Do you like the more classic muscle car look/feel then go Hurst. If you like the more refined look/feel of a modern day muscle car then go with MGW.....just my opinion.

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