Mazda Miata Short Shifter Install

One of my favorite upgrades to any car is the installation of a short shifter. In this write-up, I’ll explain how to install a short shifter in a Mazda Miata. The installation will be very similar for every Miata with the removal of the center console being the exception. The install was on a ’99 Miata.

Tools Necessary

  • reliable socket set
  • metric wrenches
  • screw driver

Start by securing the car. Using the emergency brake will work, but blocking the tires will be safer.

Once the car is secure, remove the shift knob by turning it counterclockwise.
Use your fingers and pry up the bezel around the shifter. Pull up on the rear-most part of the bezel through the shift boot.

The next step is to remove the center console.

Remove two screws from the storage bin.
Pull out the ash tray and remove the screw.
Remove the screws under the caps on the front of the console.
With the console loose, remove the harness plug found on the bottom.

Carefully pull out all of the sound deadening material and set it aside.

The next step is to remove the weather seal. Cut the zip tie and remove all four bolts. Pull out the weather seal and set it aside.
Remove the three screws that hold the shifter in place.
Lift the shifter out of the transmission.
This is a great time to compare the old to the new. Most aftermarket shifters will change the length of the shifter on both sides of the fulcrum point. This shifter is only shorter on the top which still shortens the throw but at the expense of lowering the knob on an already short shifter. Another major difference is the lack of rubber damper. Drivetrane noise is much more prominent with this shifter.
Set the new shifter in place.
Install the new seal/retainer and install the bolts.

With the shifter in place, reinstall the weather seal, the sound deadening material and center console.

Pop in the shifter bezel and reinstall the shift knob.

As you can see, the shifter installation is very straight forward. This installation took me about 30 minutes. Realize that different shifter manufacturers may be different. Overall, the new shifter is noticeably shorter than the original but does compliment the Miata well. Drivetrane noise is noticeable but not intrusive.