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Looking for T56 shifter recommendations

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Old 11-27-2017, 03:56 PM
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Default Looking for T56 shifter recommendations

I really dislike the factory T56 shifter and am trying to decide on the best shifter to replace it with in order to have a good sports car feel.

Started a thread over on the LS1Tech forum and got some differing recommendations.

.boB posted that he uses a 5.0 shifter and I am tempted to go with his recommendation as he actually does some road course racing and he has given good answers to some of my other questions and problems.

After the fact I thought I should start a thread on here to find out what actual Miata conversion T56 users are utilizing and what you would recommend based on actual usage in the Miata where it has the super short factory shifter height.
My worry is that a shifter that will work and feel good in a Z28 or TransAm with the taller shift lever might not be the best choice with the shorter Miata **** and handle. Also, I suspect that the shifter of choice for drag racing might not be the best choice for actual sports car use where the process has upshifts and down shifts.

The other thing I have done was to send an e-mail asking for recommendations from Flyin Miata since they do lots of T56 conversions and are sports car based cars rather than a bunch of drag racers.

Just trying to cover all the bases and make sure I don't overlook a superior choice.

Any feedback or recommendations?
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:25 PM
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My FM-built car has an RSG-built F-Body T56 Magnum. The Magnum shifter is great, a huge improvement over the conventional T56. I'm pretty sure magnums are all they use at this point, and mostly because of the shifter. I sure don't need the extra torque capacity with a stock LS3.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by zandr View Post
My FM-built car has an RSG-built F-Body T56 Magnum. The Magnum shifter is great, a huge improvement over the conventional T56. I'm pretty sure magnums are all they use at this point, and mostly because of the shifter. I sure don't need the extra torque capacity with a stock LS3.
I'm not sure if the builder of your T56 Magnum does something different, but I'm pretty sure that your transmission is nearly identical to mine - T56 Magnum with an Fbody tailhousing, that way the shifter lever lines up just right beneath the unibody. Unless they've somehow modified it, a T56 Magnum shifter won't work for the Fbody tailhousing, as it's a 4-bolt surface vs 6-bolt for the Magnum.

Either way, the rest of my parts from V8R are supposed to be getting picked up by the freight company tomorrow and should be arriving mid to late next week, so I'm hoping to begin tearing down my NC2 next weekend for the heart transplant. I did a lot of research in deciding what I wanted to do for the shifter, wanting to avoid something with such a stiff centering spring and so much notch that I wouldn't be able to have my lazy cruising moments when I shift, and with that I wanted a reasonable amount of throw still.

Many people recommend the MGW shifter, as it appears to be the no-contest winner for drag racing applications, due to the stiffness of its centering spring making it extremely difficult to miss gears. The Pro 5.0 and Billet Hurst are also supposed to have very short throws with relatively (albeit less than the MGW) stiff springs. I ended up going with the B&M Ripper, as it's supposed to have a longer throw and a milder stiffness than the other options I've mentioned. I have mounted it to my in-box transmission and made just a few shifts just to try it out; initial impressions are very positive, though I recommend taking this with a grain of salt, as I haven't been able to find any other V8 Miata owner with a B&M Ripper, short of somebody named "Blade Mead" in his NA.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:51 PM
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Not sure if there are any specific winners or losers in the aftermarket shifter group.

One thing specific to a Miata conversion that is not in play with most other uses for the T56 is that if you want to keep the factory shifter **** location the **** sits just barely higher than the bolting of the shifter handle to the shifter body, making for a VERY short length of shift lever.
This gives a higher effort but a shorter throw on the **** as you shift thru the gears.

Some shifters have adjustable stops to keep the lever from going too far as you shift gears and push or pull real hard.
Upon the recommendation of .boB from this forum it is the main reason I went with the 5.0 shifter.
Supposedly that feature is important for sports car type shifting.

I ended up buying a 5.0 but have not gotten the car back up and running yet so don't know how well it will work.
One other thing I did was to add a 18 ga. washer where the ball detent screws into the transmission housing to reduce the click-click feeling as you shift gears.
Can't remember what that modification is called but it costs about a dollar and takes all of a minute to do.
When I get around to updating my build thread I will add a couple of pictures and a description detailing what is done.

Edit;
Got the car back up and running.
Only problem I ran into was that the bolt stops for the 5.0 shifter stick out far enough from the top ring that the rubber shifter cover cannot be installed. To fix the problem I trimmed off the excess length from the two stop bolts after adjusting them per the instructions.
It shifts pretty well but the whole T56 setup even with a new aftermarket shifter does not compare to the factory sweet shifting Miata transmission & shifter.
Adding the washer to make the detent effort become lighter works but I am probably going to remove it as the shifter now lacks a positive feel to let me know when the car has engaged into a gear. A couple of times I thought I was shifting into first gear at a stop light but ended up actually being in neutral. It feels pretty stupid to be sitting at a light and just rev the engine rather than actually taking off. It is the type of thing that could get me rear ended.

One other thing I am considering is to utilize the lever that came with the 5.0 shifter and some other shifter ****. The 5.0 lever is short but still 4" longer than the Flyin Miata lever that puts the shift handle in the same location as the Miata factory location. It might look a bit odd but if it improves the overall feel and usability it might be worth a try.

Last edited by BGordon; 03-12-2018 at 10:49 AM.
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