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997 OEM short shifter with housing installed in 2001 986


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The short story: I bought Porsche p/n 997-424-983-00 from Brandywine through auction web site for $330. No - it is not the same as the Porsche / B&M short shifter for the 986/996. Yes, it is a direct replacement and works great. Shift reduction (as best as I could measure it) on a 986 5 speed is about 25% (Porsche claims 20%); I think the Porsche (rebranded B&M) is over a 30% shift reduction. Shifts are no faster, but shifter travel is shorter

The full story: I tried the B&M once a few years on a So. Cal. car at a detailing day and decided the shift was too short, too much effort, and not very smooth compared to the stock Boxster shifter. Fast forward to now, and Porsche is advertising a new OEM short shifter kit with a housing for the 997. In the pictures, it looks like the stock 986 plastic shifter, just in blue plastic instead of white. Only the pivot position is moved higher (and there's a metal plate on the left side). I see it advertised by Brandywine on eBay for $330, so figure I'd give it a try. In the picture, it also comes with one of the snap on tools for checking cable alignment (part number is 997-424-383-00 if anyone interested). For the price, I figured I could try it and if I didn't like it, I could always switch back to the original shifter, resell it, and not be out much money.

post-84-1134533912_thumb.jpg

Comparing the original and 997 style short shifters, there are a few differences in the housings, but nothing of any consequence. The new short shifter is tighter in the housing, but I attribute that to almost 40K miles of use on the original one. I expect the shifter to loosed up a bit in a few thousand miles of use.

post-84-1134534676_thumb.jpg

I've never replaced a Porsche shifter, so I get the B&M instructions and read them several times.

Over Thanksgiving weekend I met with Tool Pants and compared the 997 shifter with an old Boxster shifter housing he has. I look at lots of pictures on his laptop, and get lots of advise

I finally pulled everything apart the other weekend, only broke the part that holds the rear center console alarm microswitch, and finally got everything put back together. The little green mounting plate (986-424-010-01) fit onto the housing, but it looked like a very close fit, so I left it off. Following Tool Pant's advice, I used the Porsche method for transferring the shift cables and kept the ends attached. The new 997 shifter came with the cable ends as well, and I just swapped old for new between the two housings, so no cable adjustments needed.

post-84-1134535087_thumb.jpg

I measured the before and after shift distance. As best as I can tell, the shift reduction is about 25% (Porsche claims 20% in their ads - http://www11.porsche.com/usa/accessoriesan.../n36/n100/n120/ ). The feeling is almost as smooth as the original, and the shift reduction feels like more than a 25% reduction. To me, it definitely feels better than the B&M short shifter. I'm still deciding if it's better than the original. The biggest improvement I noticed is the 4 to 5 shifts feel better in terms of shift travel distance. Note that because more effort is required to for the shifter, it doesn't make the shifts any faster, just shorter. After driving it for a day, I quickly got used to it and didn't notice that much of a diference in around town driving.

Finally, many thanks to Tool Pants for all the help and advice the day after Thanksgiving :D

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I thought you would be the first to do this, or fail.

The 997/987 factory short shift on a 2001 Boxster.

Never been done before.

Jeff - Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Like anything, the hardest part was never having done it before. It took me a while, largely due to not knowing exactly how things pull apart. I'm sure you could probably swap in one of the 997 short shifters in no time at all.

Just a couple more notes referencing your side-by-side pictures that came out better than mine:

The "tail" on the 986 shifter housing serves no apparent purpose. Some cabling comes out of the center tunnel a short distance behind this tail, but the tail doesn't seem to provide a guide or anything. Not sure what it's for, but you don't need it on the 997 housing

On the left side of the new style housing, there's an extra piece sticking up. It doesn't interfere with anything on the 986, and I can only suspect it's possibly used for a screw on the 997.

I wasn't a huge fan of short shifters before, although I did frequently find myself shifting by grabbing the shifter partway down the stalk, instead of on the top, effectively reducing the shift distance. Now I have to catch myself and shift by grabbing the top of the shift knob, instead of grabbing lower. I don't find the OEM 997 short shifter any more "notchy" than the original one.

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  • 3 years later...

geoff, thought I would say thanks for a good writeup - I put it to use tonight, installed a 997 short shifter in my 2003 Boxster S. I saw that Carlsen Porsche in San Fran had them on sale for $305 US, so after reading your writeup thought I would give it a shot. The original shifter worked fine and was quite smooth, but always seemed a bit sloppy to me.

I did exactly as you described; used the B&M shifter installation instructions (B&M Short Shifter Instructions) up to STEP 16 and then switched the shift cables with ends attached. The B&M instructions were great for dis-assembly and re-assembly of the console. I didn't even break anything, which is a positive for me. To dis-assemble the console and get the shifter installed took less than an hour. Then I messed around cleaning normally hard to reach places, since I had everything apart. I did have one problem with a wire that connects to the glove box, couldn't figure out how to get it re-attached, but I decided to deal with it later. I started at 7:45 in the evening and was test driving by 10:00.

The new shifter definitely shortened up the shifts, it felt like more than the 20% advertised by Porsche, and I love the feel of it. It is a little harder to shift and a little bit notchier, but I imagine it will loosen up a bit. At any rate, I think it was a great little project with excellent results. Thanks again for the help.

03BoxsterS

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  • 3 weeks later...

Largely based on geoff's experience, I just bought the short shifter from Suncoast for $282. Aaron was great to deal with.

Can't wait to get it into my 5-speed. I've always thought the stock shifter was way too sloppy, and as it's such a constant interface between car and driver, I've finally decided to do something about it.

I've tried the stock 9x7 shifter and found it still wasn't short enough, and also the B&M in a 6-spd and thought it was way too notchy.

Installation questions:

I think the flat green piece should be left out, but has anyone had any problems down the road from doing that?

The shifter comes with the snap-on alignment tool, but it sounds like it's not needed as long as the current setup is good. Is that true, or should I be double-checking with the tool after installation?

Thanks

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I've tried the stock 9x7 shifter and found it still wasn't short enough, and also the B&M in a 6-spd and thought it was way too notchy.

The 9x7 shifter felt really short at first, but after a week felt fine. It's as smooth as I remember the stock shifter, just a little more force required to shift (not all that much) and not notchy

I think the flat green piece should be left out, but has anyone had any problems down the road from doing that?

I haven't had any problems after several years. I think only the Boxster and maybe a GT3 have the green piece

The shifter comes with the snap-on alignment tool, but it sounds like it's not needed as long as the current setup is good. Is that true, or should I be double-checking with the tool after installation?

If it shifts OK before you swap shifters, you should be good. I never double checked after installation, and only used to tool to loan to a few friends to check their shift cables

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Hey clickman, I did not have a flat green piece in my kit, so don't really know the answer, but it's not installed in my boxster and I haven't had any issues. The only thing that was green was a curved plastic thing that snapped onto the shaft, which I think is the alignment tool, but I didn't have a clue how to use it so I didn't mess with it. And you know how wonderful those typical (read nonexistent) Porsche instructions are. I think if you don't mess with the cables (other than unsnapping the new ones from the new shifter and putting on the old ones) you shouldn't have a problem. I didn't.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I installed my new 9x7 short shifter yesterday. No adjustment required on the cables, as when I put the new tower in with the alignment tool snapped on, the cables just fell into the right place to be pushed down into their retainers.

Wow, what a difference. From loose and sloppy to short and almost too tight. It does take a lot more force to move the stick.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone that's put one in noticed that it's loosened up a bit with wear? geoff?

PS I found out that the old shifter was actually broken. Where the cable assembly attaches on the left side, the little black retainer doohickey was broken off. Probably from an old "Volkswagen" shift into reverse...

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...Just out of curiosity, has anyone that's put one in noticed that it's loosened up a bit with wear? geoff?...

I don't know if it loosened up a bit with wear, or if I just got used to it, but after a few weeks it definitely was easier to shift - probably a little bit of both reasons. My first thoughts were that I made a mistake putting in the short shifter, because it was so hard to shift and felt SO short, but after a week or two it felt completely right. It's definitely possible to shift with one finger like the stock shifter now, so I think there is a little bit of wear-in factor that occurs.

I recently had the 60K mile service done on my Boxster, and had the transmission oil changed (30K miles before the 90K service), and that also slightly improved the ease of shifting. Even 8 years / 60K miles seems like a very long time for any oil change, so I can't imagine what the gear oil looks like after 90K miles, even though it's synthetic

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Wow, what a difference. From loose and sloppy to short and almost too tight. It does take a lot more force to move the stick.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone that's put one in noticed that it's loosened up a bit with wear? geoff?

My reaction was quite similar. I went thru "This feels great" to "Maybe this is just a little to tight" to "Ok, it's feeling more natural now". I think a big part of it is just getting used to it. I do not think this speeds up shifting, but it does feel like a sports car should in my opinion. While I was researching this, I went to the boxster spec racing web page to look at their lists of equipment/changes. I was initially surprised when their list said short shifters were not recommended. After using a short shifter, now I can understand - my old shifter was like a hot knife thru butter, and the new one is much stiffer, and could cause missed shifts if you are not careful. I'm going to the track tomorrow for the first time with the short shifter, we'll see if my opinion changes.

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I'm going to the track tomorrow for the first time with the short shifter, we'll see if my opinion changes.

Went to the track this morning, and happy to report I like the short shifter better than the original at the track. After a few laps it definitely loosened up a little. I had absolutely no issues shifting. There was a bit of rain and it's not a big track, so I gave gears 1-3 a pretty good workout, didn't use 4.

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Just got back from 4 days on the road with the new shifter. Lots of windy terrain so it got lots of use.

The jury is still out.

1st to 2nd is the toughest shift - takes a pretty good pull. I seem to recall reading somewhere that 1-2 is usually the toughest with any Boxster shifter.

The other gears aren't bad now, as far as my perception, anyways. 4-5 is a bit of a crapshoot - sometimes great and sometimes I have to hunt for it a bit.

I wasn't quite sure what some people meant by a "gated" feel; now I think I do. There's still no banging from one gear to the next. But the shifts are a lot more positive.

Another weird thing I noticed was that with the shift handle on my MY01, the offset, oval type, it almost feels like the axis of the head is off line with the shift directions. All part of getting used to it, I guess.

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