Wrenched, Written, Shot, Formatted & CMS'd by Armaan Almeida
Quick, name the three things that your limbs physically touch while driving. Ok, with her not sittin' shotgun. Jeez...
Pedals, steering wheel, and the shift knob are the correct answers. Now, you also feel the three things that counteract your input. For instance, when you push in the clutch pedal, you feel the pressure of the fingers on your clutch's pressure plate. When you steer your car, you feel the grip of the tires steering the car. With the shift knob, you feel the shifter sliding through the shift gate and engaging the next gear.
That last stock-form sensation is one that bugs me more than the previous two. I lust after the shifter actuation of the S2000 and the Evolution VIII MR. The shift feels so direct, so precise. That's something that the Hondas of yore lack, specifically the EF, DA, and EG. If you've ever driven either of these cars in stock shifter trim, you'll know what I mean. The shifter feels smooth, but doesn't feel as solid or direct as the two shift kings mentioned above.
Well pat yourself on the back. If you did make the choice to purchase a Honda, it was a good one. The aftermarket supports the brand better than almost any other (import). Enter TWM Performance. TWM has developed a shifter that addresses many concerns for Honda Heads. First off, their shifter is CNC machined from steel, not aluminum, making the shifter more durable and eliminates any chance of shearing off during those late night munchie runs to In-N-Out. We didn't have a weigh scale accurate enough to weigh the shifter, but just trust us when we say that it weighs almost as much as your stock shifter, which is good. One extra pound isn't going to knock three-tenths off your quarter mile time at the strip. The weight does offer a more solid feel and helps to get the change rod to go where you want it.
Speaking of getting in gear, TWM sent us their matching 454-gram (one pound) shift knob to pair up with their shifter. Again, like the shifter, the knob is no lightweight. It weighs about as much as a can of Campbell's Soup. You can shatter the windshield on that H2 that keeps waking you up in the middle of the night with this sucker--from about 20 paces. Having a heavy knob is good. It gives your shifter a more positive shift feel, and the extra momentum gets the shifter into the gear you want, with less effort. Oh yeah, the knob comes in stainless, gun blue, satin, and flat black. I chose the understated flat black.
Shifters are pretty easy to install, so I'll save you the step-by-step on this install. There are a couple of points I touched on to help get you along. We used a 94 Civic CX for the install. Scope it out.
With the install done in a little over an hour, I fired up the Civic for a quick test. 1-2 gear shifts took some getting used to. 2-3 and 3-4 were fun after a few minutes of driving. The shift feel felt notchier (is that a word?), but I like to feel each shift. I've mis-shifted way too many BMWs (count: 1) with butter-smooth shift mechanisms to know why notchier is better. Overall, the TWM shifter provided a much more direct feel, with shorter throws. The heavy shift knob helped quite a bit, but the difference would be more apparent on a taller shifter. The quality of the product was very high, and the instructions were ok. However, If you're installing a shifter for the first time, go to TWM's website at www.twmperformance.com for the color intructions (the kit comes with black & black instructions). Check out Chimpy's Driveway next week for the installation of Korbach Frame Locks.