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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The factory shift knob is often overlooked as a contributor of sloppiness in the shifting mechanism, but it shouldn’t be - comprised of mainly rubber and plastic, the OEM knob separates and numbs the driver from the mechanicals.

FUNCTION-FIRST Performance strives to reconnect drivers to their vehicles with the new SLOTTED SHIFT KNOB






Ignoring the transmission itself, here is my opinion of what can be improved upon to deliver tighter and more direct shifter action:

1. Stiffer shifter linkage
2. Upgraded shifter with tighter pivot points
3. Stiffened transmission mounts
4. Stiffened engine mount
5. Harder shift knob bolted directly to shifter shaft

In the interest of keeping this thread relevant to the topic at hand, I'll focus on suggestion #5 above.

Next time you're in your car, grab the shift knob firmly, and twist it clockwise and counterclockwise. For most setups out there, you'll find that the knob will flex, and in some cases quite a significant amount. (The 987 shift knob is an improvement over previous generations, but it's still comprised of compliant plastic and rubber.) Bolting a billet shift knob directly to the shifter shaft will eliminate that play and flex.

From here, I'll speak from a personal point of view, which should give you a better glimpse into why and how I tackled designing this upgrade.

Early on, I purchased a solid billet knob for my 996. Immediately after installing it (and changing nothing else), I experienced much more direct and confident shifts. It reduced the flex and play originating in the plastic/rubber OEM shift knob.

However, I ran into a few problems with that billet knob that I wanted to solve in my own design.

Problems experienced with standard billet shift knob:
1) Slippery - with some aggressive 1-2 and 3-4 shifts, the knob would slip out of my hand
2) Temperature sensitivity - the knob would get very hot in summer, and very cold in winter; worse yet, it would take an extremely long time for it to equalize with ambient temperature
3) Shifting hand would contact the shift boot - the shift boot interfered with the base of my shifting hand
4) Poor shift boot fitment - the mechanism by which the boot attached to the knob caused the boot to extend upwards before folding down, which exacerbated Problem #3 above, and it looked very unfinished

Solutions implemented with the Slotted Shift Knob:
1) Slotted cutouts - provides a no-slip grip
2) Slotted cutouts - less material mass at the knob-to-hand contact points retain less heat, and "fins" speed up temperature equalization
3) Raised shift ball higher - along with the thinner shaft below it, raising the ball higher up the shift knob ensures the shifting hand is fully seated on only the ball itself
4) Shift boot collar design - the separate collar design, along with the flared out base of the shift knob, ensures the shift boot sits below the entire shift knob, also delivering a much cleaner look


With everything I design, my intention is to deliver the best driving experience possible. That's not to say that every upgrade I develop indicates that the original part is horrible - but I certainly believe there's room for improvement, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time and effort. After all, most things are "just fine" until you've experienced something better, and in my eyes, the Slotted Shift Knob is an improvement over stock that's well worth making.

You can check out the product page for full details. Thanks for taking a look, and I welcome any and all feedback!


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hey guys, there's been interest in the Slotted Shift Knob finished in a Satin Black anodize.

I need at least 4 more pre-orders to make this happen, as my anodizer has a minimum qty for running the bath.

Who's in for Satin Black??? Please shoot me a PM if interested. Thanks!
 

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I think a black one would look great, do you have any pictures of one? Since I have owned aluminum shift knobs in the past the heat it absorbs on a hot day is rather painful. I think a black one would absorb direct sunlight a bit more. Besides placing some type of cloth/sock do you know of any other way of getting around it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! I'm getting some anodized satin black as we speak, so I will have some pics to share by next week.

The idea behind the slotted design is to promote faster temperature equalization with ambient, so the knob will quickly return to a tolerable temperature in both winter and summer. They act like cooling fins. (It also helps that the a/c vents in the center dash point straight at the shift knob.)
 

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Since I have owned aluminum shift knobs in the past the heat it absorbs on a hot day is rather painful. I think a black one would absorb direct sunlight a bit more. Besides placing some type of cloth/sock do you know of any other way of getting around it?
[Steve Raichlen] "After four minutes, turn 90 degrees, to lay on the perfect grill marks" [/Steve Raichlen]

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