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Old 03-20-2017, 09:55 AM   #1
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Want improved shifter feel? Replace your OEM shift knob.

I'm doing a number of Spring projects to the bucket, including the purchase of a 997 shift console and Phenix Engineering metal bushings + new shift cable ends.

Haven't had time to install that yet, but I also purchased one of the ICT shift knob/boot combos from eBay as I've never liked the shape of the OEM shifter + it's pretty worn looking after 15 years of use. I was doing another project this weekend (new head unit install), so I figured I'd throw the shift knob/boot in while I was in there.

What I learned: A lot of the vagueness I was blaming on the the cable linkage was really due to the OEM shift knob.

The OEM plastic shift knob has clearly worn over the years, and dulls a lot of shifter feel. The ICT shift knob has a metal core and attaches to the metal lever with set screws, giving it a direct connection to the shifter. I can actually feel what the transmission is doing now.

I can't wait to get the upgraded shift console installed now.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:18 PM   #2
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This was the first think I did to my Boxster

Almost 4 years ago.....great improvement
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:51 PM   #3
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If you really want to improve shift feel, sell that waste-of-money 997 shifter and get one of Ben's ball bearing short shifters.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by particlewave View Post
If you really want to improve shift feel, sell that waste-of-money 997 shifter and get one of Ben's ball bearing short shifters.
100% agree. While the 987/997 shifter is an improvement over the 986/996 shifter, Ben's shifter to takes it to a whole new level.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:15 AM   #5
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That good, eh? I haven't messed around with the 987 shift console yet...wasn't the Ben shifter a group buy?
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nmbrsix View Post
That good, eh? I haven't messed around with the 987 shift console yet...wasn't the Ben shifter a group buy?
send him a PM,
he is about to start another round.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:48 PM   #7
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What was your OEM shift knob style? They made a change around 2000 or 2001 from the two-piece leather boot/knob to the integrated one-piece knob/boot, right? Kind of an unexpected observation about it adding vagueness. Was it loose fitting over the steel shaft? Was the leather covering loose on the knob structure?

The 2001 style shifter I like quite a bit. I particularly like how ergonomic it is. The leather (as opposed to all metal - had those before) feel nice in a wide range of temperatures and have good feel. The 2001+-style knob is constructed with a hard rubber core with leather wrapping.

As for the 987 shift console, I also really like it, and also have mine with the Phenix engineering bushings as well. (DIY-style gt3 shift console.). When properly installed, they have absolutely no noticeable radial or axial slop, but I did find the installation a bit of a challenge and needed to redo it with varying thickness shims to get the axial slop completely blueprinted to perfection.


With the aftermarket style shift consoles, the axial slop can be adjusted with set screw adjustments, but the design has other pros and cons. The stock lateral motion translating mechanism of the stock shift console, for example, transmits force through several square millimeters of surface area, while the imported/aftermarket style concentrates it through a single point where the replacement metal ball makes direct contact with the the original plastic frame. I haven't tried ben's shifter, but after manufacturing custom ball-bearing shifter components myself, I honestly don't see what benefit they could add for something as slow-moving as a shift assembly over rigid, lubricated, low-clearance bushings, such as the gt3-style solid metal bushings, a la properly installed Phenix engineering bushings. Very small ball bearings are also very fragile and must be installed very gently, (only a few pounds of axial force) so they don't develop noticeably "rough" operation or become damaged. It's also tricky to install both inner and outer parts with sufficiently low clearances such that the overall slop will be less than a well-designed solid bushings. There are certainly add a lot of extra moving parts that can fail.

I personally think the 15% shift reduction provided by the 987 console is "just right" - I see no need (and have no interest) in going further on the reduction... But, to each his own. I found many other sources in the 986 five-speed shift linkage where there is significant slop aside from the shift console, (including a significant amount inside the transmission itself) so regardless of which shift console you choose, simply replacing the shift console is not going to cure all of the slop. Replacing a worn-out shift console with fresh or upgraded components can make a noticeable improvement, though. Anyone who says that merely replacing a shift console will magically cure all noticeable slop, is either incapable of properly recognizing and noticing slop, or is simply a not credible/reliable information source - in my opinion. Slop can be objectively measured, and in my experience, it comes from not just one, but multiple sources.

Glad people here are enjoying forum-originating products, though. I can certainly appreciate that! Cheers!
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:15 AM   #8
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For what it's worth, the Rennline shift knobs have a nice heft to them. I installed one in the 964 since the original knob leather had worth through in addition to it being quite rubbery. My Box doesn't have that issue, thankfully.

Will need to look into that shifter upgrade though...
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:35 AM   #9
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I have that one and I love it, and the fact that it lights orange.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:33 PM   #10
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I have that knob (my LED light is blue and looks way cool in the dark) attached to one of Ben's ball bearing shifters. A superb combination.


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Old 03-23-2017, 10:19 AM   #11
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Updated shifter knob is always a nice touch.
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Old 03-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #12
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Ben's Ball Bearing Short Shifter mod is an even bigger upgrade.
Ball bearing short shifter !
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:30 PM   #13
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I am looking hard at buying the ICT shifter/boot combo also, does it come with the silver plastic trim piece attached? Thanks...
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STRANGEPOLLY View Post
I am looking hard at buying the ICT shifter/boot combo also, does it come with the silver plastic trim piece attached? Thanks...
Yup! What you see is what you get - DM
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