Short Throw Shifter
For those of you who are tempted to show your neighbor who is who at a street light, will discover sooner or later that the stock shifter will let you down at a strategic shift from 1st to 2nd or from 2nd to 3rd. There are a couple of reason for this but the 2 main reason is the attempt to isolate any engine noise from the interior of the car, and the cost of fabrication. A reasonable upgrade to solve this dilemma is to upgrade the stock shifter to an aftermarket shifter. These are usually a billet fabrication which by nature means a much more accurate machining process.
The installation in our subject car, a 2002 GT, will be identical for most applications. First thing to do is to remove the shifter knob that is presently installed. Remember, lefty loosey! Now you need to access the shifter itself. The plastic console cover is held in place with spring clips and to remove you only grasp each side near where the drivers knee might rest and the passenger knee might rest. Pull the panel straight out at about a 45 degree angle.
Once the panel has been pulled loose, there is an electrical connection to the lighter on certain models. Unplug this connection and the shifter boot will lift off of the handle. There are 2 bolts that mount the stock shifter handle to the shifter itself. Remove these and you will see one of the reasons for a less that stellar shift from 1st to 2nd. There is a lot of rubber there to help isolate noise and build in and inherent flexibility to the shifter.
There is another rubber isolation boot that is separating the interior from the transmission itself. Remove the 4 bolts that secure the perimeter flange. Be careful to not drop any of these bolts, there is not a whole lot of room in the console area for big fumbling hands. There is a rubber gasket that is probably stuck pretty good to the floor panel of the car. Careful lift the flange so as not to damage the seal, it will come with a little persuasion. This will now expose the stock shifter that is mounted to the top of the transmission.
Remove the 4 bolts that secure the pressed steel plate mounted to the transmission. You will be crawling under the car if you drop any of these. There is a thin film of sealant between this plate and the transmission. This will take a little more persuasion than the boot did. I used a small pry bar against the bell housing well and the edge of the shifter plate. With steady pressure the sealant eventually releases. If you try yanking this out by hand, when it lets go it if very likely that you could end up with a shifter handle in the eye.