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Old 12-06-2005, 06:06 AM   #1
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Schnell short shifter review

Well, after reading all the raves about the Vertex/Schnell short shift kit I went ahead and bought one. To say I'm a bit disappointed would be an understatement. Here's my review of the product and the end results.

Installation:

Fairly straight forward with good instructions aside from the point about removing the shift knob. It says (as have most of you) to simply pull up hard and it will pop off. After just about giving myself a hernia it decided to look at my shifter a little closer. It turns out that my shift knob is held in place by a hex set screw at the base of the knob facing forward. Once I found that the installation continued.

When I installed the unit I quickly noticed 2 things:

1. The bushings included are not adjustable and when I tried to install them there wasn't enough clearance to get the D rings to seat easily. When I did get them installed the tension was so high that the unit would not properly center itself. To remedy this I got out the trusty dremel and took about .010 off one of the washers retained by the bushing. The down side here is the rear bushing is mushroomed around the D ring slot so the only way that's coming out again is to sand/file it down which is a pain considering it's location

2. The gate selector (the bar sticking out to the left) uses a larger ball than the stock unit so the plastic guide used by the factory cannot be used. Even though it fits properly the ball end of the Schnell shifter is loose enough to add more play to the left/right gates that was there with the factory unit.

Using the shifter:

To say the shift is higher effort and notchier is another understatement. Although it's roughly 40% shorter in throw the engagement is anything but smooth. I find that the effort required seems to make up and down shifts actually less efficient due to the extra effort and attention that must be paid. The extra play in the gate selection caused by the loosely fitted ball end makes the 3/4 gate easier to miss and has cost me at least 2 missed down shifts (no harm done).

Overall I give this kit a 5 on a scale of 1 - 10. I will be removing it and returning it under their 100% satisfaction guarantee once I get the EVO bushings and heim joint 20% shifter package. I have to wait because I can't put the stock unit back in until I get new bushings.

For reference my car is a 2003 S with the Aluminum instert shifter and no other modifications.

Last edited by mjw930; 12-10-2005 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:13 PM   #2
olly986
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thanks
i was really looking to change to a short shifter a couple of weeks ago (see old post) but you have made my mind up and i am sticking to my original shifter, sorry for your troubles but you saved us a few of our own
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Old 12-07-2005, 07:24 PM   #3
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I have the EVO Swift Shift on order. It retains the stock shifter but replaces the bushings with needle bushings. It also replaces the lower connector with an extension that includes a heim joint and a billet connector. It's on sale for $189 from EVO and only reduces the throw by 20% and is supposed to not have the notchy feeling. I'll post a review once I get it installed.

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Old 12-07-2005, 07:43 PM   #4
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Mmmm....this story sounds famililar...Very disappointed in my B&M SSK

MJW930, just a heads up about the bushings. I had the same experience with the B&M and when I called a Porsche dealer requesting to buy some bushings they said I had to buy the the whole assembly that the OEM shifter sits in for around 200 bucks I believe. I just ended up using the aluminum B&M bushings with my OEM shifter and all is fine now except I can't return the B&M. Anyway you look at it, this whole short shift deal is going to end up costing you money just to get back to the stock feel which is quite sad. I hope the EVO deal works out better but I wouldn't be suprised if you feel the same way about that as well. Why throw good money after bad?
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Last edited by Adam; 12-07-2005 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:49 AM   #5
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Question Vertex/Schnell SSK - Help

First, let me say how pleased I am to have found this site - been looking for a decent, ongoign Boxster forum for a while. This one seems to be very well supported.

Very interested to read this thread as have just purchased the Vertex/Schnell short shifter. Now I'm in two minds whether to go ahead or not. I remember I fitted a quick shift to a Mk II Golf GTi with excellent results but can't remember if it was actually "notchier" or harder to shift - all I know is I was overall pleased - with this one I'm not so sure I will be.

Wonder of Charles from Vertex is reading because he replied to a similar thread on this site about the B&M shifter offering some advice (see "very disappointed in my B&M SSK" thread). As a sponsor of the site Charles what advice can you give ??

What I'm not sure about is the "white out" stage because I would have thought that if you remove the cables they should go back in the correct position without adjustment?

Plus, if adjustment is required, the Schnell instructions don't offer any advice - all they say is reverse the diassembly instructions !!

Has any one else fitted one of these ? How did you get on ??

The advertisements say "the best to hit the Porsche market " and "absolutely the best shifter on the market you can buy" so come on Charles help us believe it !!

I certainly don't want to end up having to buy an OEM to get back to where I started.

Ken Richardsonc

2000 Boxster S Speed Yellow
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Old 12-08-2005, 08:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
Mmmm....this story sounds famililar...Very disappointed in my B&M SSK

MJW930, just a heads up about the bushings. I had the same experience with the B&M and when I called a Porsche dealer requesting to buy some bushings they said I had to buy the the whole assembly that the OEM shifter sits in for around 200 bucks I believe. I just ended up using the aluminum B&M bushings with my OEM shifter and all is fine now except I can't return the B&M. Anyway you look at it, this whole short shift deal is going to end up costing you money just to get back to the stock feel which is quite sad. I hope the EVO deal works out better but I wouldn't be suprised if you feel the same way about that as well. Why throw good money after bad?
I read that story before I purchased the kit so I knew what I was getting into. As for throwing good money after bad I guess that's all in how you look at it. Even if I can't return the Schnell shifter I'm only out the $158 it cost me. One thing i learned a long time ago is that a few hundred $$$ here and there is meaningless when you are talking about modifying something. I wanted to try the short shifters and knew going in that if I didn't like it I was out the money. Is short, the $$$ is chump change relative to the value of the car and the enjoyment I get from it.

In trying out the EVO parts I achieve 2 things:

1. I can see if a modest 20% change is more to my liking
2. I can remove the Schnell bushings and return the part (or sell it so someone who might like it)

The worst thing is I get the nice roller bearing bushings and retain the stock cable connection. The shifter will be slightly more precise and I always have the option of installing the lower unit if I decide to.

I also want to mention that I don't think the Schnell shifter is defective or a bad product, it's just not what I wanted. As feedback to Vertex I suggest you investigate an adjustmet mechanism to the bushings and modify the side link to accomodate the factory plastic fitting (make the ball diameter the same as the stock unit). The adjustment mechanism can be as simple as varous thickness washers that you pop into the bushing to get the proper tension.

Last edited by mjw930; 12-08-2005 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:15 PM   #7
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I'm surprised. To start, I own a 98 box. I installed the Vertex short shift kit about 4 months ago and it about 2 hours (and took my sweet ass time reading the directions a couple times before diving in!). I called Vertex in the middle of my installation to make sure I was doing it correctly when removing the cables and making sure to mark the location of the threads. They were VERY helpful and from talking to the guy on the phone, it sounded like he had done the install a thousand times and he walked me through it like he was standing next to me!

Anyways, if you understand basic physics and the concept of leverage, you can expect the shift effort to increase. That shouldn't be a surprise. I noticed on my kit that there was added shift effort, but nothing to be concerned about or worth complaining about. It was still very smooth also. Not as smooth as stock, but still a very smooth shift overall. The difference in shift distance was well worth it. It just about cut the shift distance in half! I like that the shift is firm and positive. I don't feel that it is hard or rough at all.

I really like my kit, and I feel that this mod is the best bang for your buck. I compared it to the Porsche OEM kit that was installed on a demo car at my local Porsche dealer. They felt identical. If you search Vertex and B&M and look closely at both products, you will also noticed that they are almost identical also. The Vertex Kit is much cheaper however. It's unfortunate you had a bad experience with your Vertex kit. I really like mine though, and if you do a search on this site, you will find that most people love their short shift kits! Good luck to all!
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Old 12-09-2005, 04:08 AM   #8
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One important thing to note is the difference between the 5 speed and the 6 speed gearbox. I think there are enough differences between the 2 that what might be acceptable with one is not with the other.

Another thing to note is that I wasn't surprised by what I felt, I undertand all of the physics involved, I simply isn't the feel I was looking for. Perhaps it's too much of a good thing

Remember that I'm not the average guy. As an example, I don't like Michelin PS2's either (in the 18" size on a Boxster).........
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:34 AM   #9
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As promised here's my review of the EVO Swift Shift kit:

The installation of the EVO kit is a breeze. The aluminum / roller bearing bushings fit perfectly and hold the stock shifter in place with authority without adding any additional stiffness.

There are 2 issues with the kit but they are extremely minor:

1. The lower connector, the part that goes from the bottom of the shifter and connects to the shift cable can hit the shifter housing if care is not taken with the installation. It has 3 recessed allen screws and if you orient them wrong and have any one of them pointed down it will rub on the bottom plastic part of the shifter frame.

2. When shifting into reverse the right edge of the heim joint will make contact with the side of the shifter housing. It doesn't impede the shifter action but you can feel it. I tried to adjust the gate cable to prevent this but that places the shifter too far to the right and makes the 5/6 gate a reach.

My overall impressions of the kit are very good. The shift throws are reduced about 20% and they are much more positive than the stock system. It's very easy to find the proper gate and the effort required to engage a gear is harldy more than with the stock unit. In all it's exactly what I was looking for. I can highly recomment this kit for anyone who wants to add a little more precision to the 986/996 shifter.

BTW, Schnell (via EagleDay where I purchased the kit) are taking the Schnell unit back, no questions asked.

Last edited by mjw930; 12-10-2005 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Grammer and Spelling
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