After frustratingly not being able to track down an aftermarket short shifter kit for the micra, I decided to make one myself. I had two main goals:
I reduced the length of the top section of the stick by 75mm. This worked out really well as the factory gator now meets up with the bottom of the gear knob perfectly, so you can't see any black stick any more - its aesthetically pleasing.
I also inserted 30mm length into the bottom section. This increased the leverage that the shifter had which is attributable for the shorter throw.
All cuts were made with a hacksaw with the stick in a vice. The steel is hardened or something, not just ordinary mild steel, takes a bit to get through, but not too long. All joins were ground conically so that the welds have plenty of metal to fuse with. When it was all done, I sprayed a quick coat of matt black paint just to tidy it up and prevent rust. The exhaust shielding needs to be panel beated a bit too as the bottom of the shifter comes down another 30mm and prevents the shielding from fitting back on unless you bend a big recess into it. Also : I permanently stretched the shift lever return spring as it now has to bridge a much larger distance - no major drama and it works well.
The result? It's excellent. I just happened to get all the measurements perfect I think. The height of the shifter is awesome and the throw distance is ideal. It feels very racy and you can really throw it between the gears very quickly now - I guess there's potential for added stress and faster wear on the syncros, but its all good. Greater effort is required to move the selector out of a gear too. You can really notice it, you have to give it a bit more muscle, but I really love the feel of the short shifter. It's miles in front of just cutting the top section of the shifter down as you are still stuck with the factory long throw ratio.
Yes you will require a welder to do this. I am lucky to have a handy dad with a decent welder. He did all the welding for me as he's more experienced with welding than I am, but it looked pretty easy as long as you had everything clamped down in alignment properly first - great work dad!
This is an easy do-it-yourself modification, if you don't have a welder, cut the bits up yourself as per my measurements (or your own variations) and get some metal worker to do the welding for you - should cost very little as there's only 3 little welds to do. You re-use 30mm of the 75mm offcut to extend the bottom section.
|The original shifter and modified short version side by side. Note the shorter top section and longer bottom lever section of the modified short shifter.|
|A simple diagram showing the simple modifications that are required.|
|The modified short shifter before painting so you can see the three welds.|
|The modified short shifter after completion.|
|The micra's original shifter before modification. Super long bus length and ultra-low leverage ratio short bottom section!|