Author Topic: Short manual shift lever  (Read 3293 times)

Berggreen

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Short manual shift lever
« on: May 28, 2021, 21:36:01 »
Hi All

I have always thought that the standard shift lever in my manual 1970 280SL is too long, and it does not give you a sporty feeling, when driving the car. Thus, I would love to have a much shorter shift lever.

Now, I have seen several other manual w113s with a short shift levers - latest today at a classic car meet. The w113 was a 4-speed 250SL and it had a much shorter shift lever - almost half the length compared to my standard lever.

Is this some short shift kit, you can buy somewhere and install also in my manual 4-speed 280SL?

Does anyone know, where to get a short shift lever?

Thanks,

Christian 😎
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

mrfatboy

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2021, 00:02:23 »
I have a short manual gear shift lever that came with my car. A PO must have cut down. I recently swapped it out for the normal long one. I will sell it to you.

If interested, pm me you email address and I can send you some pictures.
1969 280sl (Aug 1968 build)
Signal Red
4 Speed

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2021, 05:08:45 »
I have a short manual gear shift lever that came with my car. A PO must have cut down. I recently swapped it out for the normal long one. I will sell it to you.

If interested, pm me you email address and I can send you some pictures.

Great, I will send you a PM. :)

Thanks,

Christian
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

ejboyd5

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2021, 11:24:26 »
Shorter lever provides less mechanical advantage which may make shifting more difficult.  Be careful for what you wish.

specracer

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2021, 11:27:56 »
Thats the way to do it, preserve your "long" one, in case you want to return to OEM. Im a big proponent of short shift kits on other cars, on our SL, I like the long shifter, and huge steering wheel, for that matter.

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2021, 11:44:24 »
Shorter lever provides less mechanical advantage which may make shifting more difficult.  Be careful for what you wish.

Thanks for your feedback. :) In which way mechanical advantage?

Cheers,

Christian :)

 
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2021, 11:45:59 »
Thats the way to do it, preserve your "long" one, in case you want to return to OEM. Im a big proponent of short shift kits on other cars, on our SL, I like the long shifter, and huge steering wheel, for that matter.

Great, thanks and yes this is also my intention, thus not to cut my current lever short but replace it with a shorter, so that I can always return to stock again. :)

Cheers,
Christian :)
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

Benz Dr.

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2021, 21:33:05 »
I have one in my car and I don't like it all. Far too easy to miss a shift because the throw is so short. I actually have trouble finding fifth gear sometimes and all of the shifter bushings are new. I never had that problem when the original shifter rod was used.

I would recommend against a shorter shifter rod.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2021, 22:12:32 by Benz Dr. »
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn

1970  3.5 Coupe
1961  190SL
1985   300CD  Turbo Coupe
1981  300SD
2013  GMC  Sierra
1965  230SL
1967 250SL
1970 280SL
1988 560SEC

ejboyd5

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2021, 22:02:16 »
In which way mechanical advantage?
Cheers, Christian :)
As attributed to Archimedes: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”


FGN59

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2021, 12:07:40 »
I had a business partner who quoted Archimedes regularly when we were contemplating leveraged buy outs of companies. I kept reminding him that the guy was a mathematician, preoccupied with theoretical issues, while we function in the real world, where you have to account (among many other things) for the resistance of materials, which is finite. We parted ways after a few years…

The factory installed lever makes for a very soft/easy shifting experience, I doubt that shortening it (within reason) would create a problem. The speed selection mechanism is also reasonably precise, but it is not very firm. A shorter lever will do nothing to change that.
François

1994 Toyota Land Cruiser SW HDJ80 4.2L diesel
sold:
1969 280SL US specs, 4-speed manual, beige-grey (726H), parchment leather
1962 Jaguar MK2 3.8L (4.2L XJ6 engine), black, tan leather interior
1968 Peugeot 204 roadster, white, black interior
1955 Massey Ferguson TEF20 diesel tractor 😁

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2021, 12:31:51 »
Thank you all for your feedback. I will give it a try with the short lever and let you know.

I can always change back again to the stock lever, if I don’t get to like it. :)

Cheers,

Christian
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2021, 06:11:09 »
Hi All

Just want to give you a final update on my short shift lever adventure.  :)

Mike (Mrfatboy) sold me his 280SL short shift lever, which I have now restored with new bushings as well as a new shift knob from Mercedes.

Found out also when disassembling the old shift bushings that they were worn to pieces. Basically they were bone dry and disintegrated, when I took them out. So it was definately in time in any case that I renewed them!  ;)

But I think the new short shifter looks great in my car, and I love the much more sportier feel to the gear shifting experience, I now get with the short shifter.

I don’t feel any problems with the short shifter, and I don’t miss any gears either. Only thing is that you of cause need a little more force to shift the gears, especially into reverse, because of the shorter lever arm. But again I feel this makes the gear shift feel more tight and less wobbly compared to the long standard shifter.

Thus, from my perspective, I can only recommend a shorter shifter, given that you are looking for a more sportier and tighter gear shift experience, rather than one of comfort!  ;)

See picture below of the result.  ;D

Cheers,

Christian

Ps: Thanks again to Mike for selling me his short shifter! :-)
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94

mazmonza

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2021, 07:35:14 »
 I have a shorter gear lever it gives me more feel of where the gears are and makes it less likely to force a gear. As long as your gearbox is good you shouldn't  have a problem.  :)
1967 250sl ZF 5 speed
1991 300ce-24 coupe Sportline
1962 Lambretta TV175/ RB20
2000 Ducati 748s
1970 Ducati Monza

68_white

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2021, 12:29:39 »
How shorter is the new shifter compared with the original?  Nice car by the way.
HARRY

1970 280SL RED
2002 E430 SILVER
1996 911 BLUE

SEB

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2021, 14:12:14 »
Looks really nice. Can you tell us how much shorter is the new lever?
And what is the difference in the feeling? Work it better?
Many thanks!
Sebastian
1967 250 SL, 4 Speed, Euro spec, Tunis beige (462H),

Berggreen

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Re: Short manual shift lever
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2021, 16:40:48 »
Thanks a lot! I am also very happy with the result. ;D

Its a bit difficult to measure now that it is installed, but as far as I can see, the short lever is about 5-6 cm lower than the stock one.

As I write above, it gives a much shorter shift movement, and also the gearbox feels much tighter, than with the long standard lever. In short words, it feels like a sports car now with this shorter gear lever.  ;)

Cheers,

Christian
02/1971 MB 280SL (aut.) - olive green 291H
11/1970 MB 280SL (man.) - silver 180G
12/1977 MB 350SE (aut.) - deep green 825H
03/1969 Volvo 1800S (man.) - dark green 94