My Shifter Review – Factory vs Hurst vs MGW
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03-05-2010, 12:12 PM
Drives: '69 SS Convertible
Join Date: May 2009
Location: DFW, TX
My Shifter Review – Factory vs Hurst vs MGW
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.
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.
I got to hear about it for a solid day or so.
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.
2SS | M6 | VR w/White Stripes | 1 3/4" KOOKS - 3" Magnaflow | LPE 3.91 gears | ADM tuned | Halltech w/ADM Scoop | Spohn/BMR Trailing Arm/Toe Rod | BC Coilovers| Pedders FE4 ZL1 swaybars | Cradle/Diff/Radius Rod bushings | VMax TB | Morimoto Projectors | MGW shifter | Red Calipers
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