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Installing the C900 Short Shift Kit

Probably the easiest and most satisfying modification that you can make to your classic Saab 900 is the installation of a short-throw shift kit.

Some people think that they can achieve an effective short-throw in a C900 Saab by cutting the stock shifter down a few inches. This was my thought and after 5-hours of cutting, drilling, and distress, I was able to get a working short-shifter. My problem was that I didn't position the shift ball perfectly and had a very difficult time with my 1st to 2nd gear change. Knowing what I know now, take my advice and spend the money on the real deal!

The kit is a one-piece, stainless steel rod. The shift ball is polished aluminum. The whole kit mounts to your stock gear-selector housing using the provided screws. Although this picture is a bit blurry, you can see that the shift ball threads onto the shift rod. This allows you to adjust the shifter perfectly for your car.

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Based on the directions I received with the kit, I installed the kit as follows:

1. Remove the stock shifter, but save the three torx screws that hold it in place.

2. Unscrew the ball in the short shifter to the end of the shift rod, lubricate it with a silicon based grease (but not too much) and insert it into the brass linkage ring. It should fit snug, but not too tight. If it goes in too loose, then you may need a new ring. If it is too tight, you can grind the ball down a little. Mine fit perfectly, so it made things easier.

3. Use the original screws to tighten the kit into position.

4. Try shifting into all gears. If you cannot shift into all gears, rotate the shift rod clockwise. This will cause the ball to thread up the rod. Use trial and error to adjust the ball to the perfect spot on the rod. Once you can shift into all gears, including reverse, remove the kit of the car. Be careful that the ball doesn't turn while you remove it.

5. Use a marker, or some other way to mark the location of the ball on the rod. Once you have the mark, remove the ball. Clean the grease from the threads and ball to prepare them for bonding.

6. Use red Loctite or another permanent thread locking liquid on the threads and reattach the ball up to the point of your mark. Allow the thread lock to dry and bond overnight to insure a permanent fit.

7. Lubricate the ball with a generous amount of silicon based grease and reinstall the shift kit using the included torx screws. Add your favorite shift knob and boot and you're off!

I found that in addition to adjusting the ball up or down on the shift rod, sometimes you need to realign the shifter from underneath the car.

This is pretty much impossible to do yourself, but if you have a friend in the car and you under the car, it is pretty easy to adjust from below.

In all likely hood you will be losing a group of gears. It could be 1,3,5 or 2,4, or it could be 1,2 or 5 and R. In each case a slight adjustment should bring back the entire group.

The shifter basically reverses your forward and backward movements to the tranny. For example when you push the shifter forward into 1st, it actually pulls back on the tranny rod.
The side to side movements are the same.

If you are missing 1,3,5 then you need to adjust the shifter back a little bit so you get more forward motion.

If you are missing 2,4 then you need to adjust the shifter forward a little, so you move the shifter further backwards.

If you are missing 1,2 then you need to adjust the shifter more to the right a little bit. This will give you more movement to the left.

If you are missing 5, and R, then you need to adjust the shifter more to the left.

This will probably take a dozen trial and error attempts, but only slight movements are necessary. This is why you want two people!

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