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|07-14-2008, 05:09 AM||#1|
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Cobb Tuning Mazdaspeed 3 Short Throw Shifter
Cobb Tuning STS - Short Throw Shifter
With us finally entering the summer months, we eagerly wait for the latest performance parts to drop down into our little hands for our beloved Mazdaspeed 3's. Cobb Tuning has released their new double adjustable, short throw shifter. Although we don't consider this a performance part in a manner that makes power, it certainly provides performance enhancements in the way you drive your car, by increasing the performance of the transmission. Face it, one of the least favorable components in these cars is the shifter mechanism. Its sloppy, tall and the aftermarket really hasn't addressed this problem entirely. There's one other short throw shifter out there that sort of fits the bill, but it works best when used with new solid shifter base bushings. Many of us have these bushings and they seem to improve shifting performance, but the problem still exist. You simply don't feel confident ripping gears on this little car, especially when power shifting through the gears.
So, Cobb worked up a little magic for the Mazdaspeed 3 by building us an entirely different shifter.What does double adjustable mean? Cobb designed these shifters back when they were strictly tuning Subaru's. You could reduce the throw ratio when shifting gears by anywhere from 10% up to 30%. You could also adjust the height of your shifter. With many STS's on the market for various cars, alot of them suffer the same syndrome, the shifter sits to low. Cobb was able to defeat this problem by creating, the double adjustable short throw shifter.
Prior to doing the work up on this review, a friend of mine who owns a Mazdaspeed 3 wanted me to help him install his TWM Perf Short Throw Shifter for him. I wanted to see how this shifter felt in the car when rowing through the gears. So, 65 minutes later, i got my wish. The first problem i realized when i put his car back together after the install was how low his shifter sat. Im one of those persons who doesn't like my shifter to sit extremely low. It took a bit to get used to, but after a few miles, i felt more comfortable banging through the gears. It was much improved over the stock shifter, but it still needed those shifter base bushings installed, which he did not order. These bushings are installed on my car and helped remove some of the unwanted slop out of the stock setup. Knowing that Cobb had shipped me out a DA-STS for us to review, i contacted TWM Perf and asked them if they wanted to do a head to head with the Cobb unit. I was contacted roughly a week later and they seemed very interested in wanting to toss us a shifter setup to review alongside the Cobb. Unfortunately, when final details were exchanged, the communication between myself and them, disappeared. So, we cant bring you a head to head, BUT since i did install one a few days ago for a friend, i can give you a pretty good comparison between the two during this review. So, let's move on to the construction of Cobb's DA-STS, shall we?
The Cobb unit is probably one of the most attractive shifters I've personally installed. Its such a shame to see something this attractive, covered by a shift boot. Its constructed out of Billet aluminum with a billet steel shaft and comes anodized blue with a nice engraved Cobb logo. The first section of the billet body is the adjustable throw mechanism located on the lower part of the shifter. By moving the ball from it's lowest point, to the highest point on the unit, you can reduce your throws from as small as 10%,15%, to a medium of 20%, and a max of 25% or 30%. The second section of the billet body is the shaft height adjustment mechanism. This controls how low or high you want your shift knob to sit. It has 2 stainless 3mm allen bolts that secures the knob shaft to the shifter itself. This allows greater adjustment for height, without disturbing the selected reduction of throw you want. TWM's approach is much different. They reduced the height of their shifter by 1.75" based off their own preferences. Not everyone will feel comfortable with such a low sitting shifter. They do however, offer the same reduction of 30% from shift throws, but that's it. The first thing you notice with larger reduction of throws, is more notchiness during shifting. If you are annoyed by this, the Cobb unit gives you the option to tune it out by changing the throw reduction. With the TWM unit, You cannot adjust the throw ratio, its fixed. Both shifters retain the reverse lockout feature, which is why both of these shifters are more expensive than what you see on other makes out there.
The Cobb DA-STS has some weight behind it. Its definitely not a light billet shifter. The billet steel upper shaft and lower billet steel pivot ball provide some nice weight to make this shifter very solid and provide you, with great shifting precision. The TWM on the other hand is much lighter, but can offset the light weight if you option up for a new weighted shift knob. Their knobs run you anywhere from $69 to $249, so keep that mind when you are trying to decide which shifter fits in your price range.
So, now that we have the basic's out of the way, let's briefly talk about the install. It's doesn't matter which STS we talk about when it comes to installation. They both require some serious patience and some tools used in unorthodoxed fashions. I've got these installs down to 65 minutes. 20 minutes of that is cussing while trying to attach the spring onto the groove, while pushing the ball into the bushing, while installing the shifters pivot ball into the base. Yes, that IS a mouthful and you will get a better understanding of what I'm talking about if you have done one of these before. As i look back at this, i think doing a video of this install would of benefited people a lot better than still images. So i may go back and revisit this at a later date if one of the local guys needs some help and video the whole thing. So, finally, let's move on to the install of the Cobb Double Adjustable Short Throw Shifter.
Tools & Supplies Needed:
Needle Nose Pliers
3 paper clips
Moly grease or White Lith
2 flat head screwdriver, one large, one small
T-20 Torx Bit
3mm Allen ( used to adjust height of knob )
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