I thought that I would start to write up some articles about TWM Performance and our processes and products. Really explain to you guys and girls what makes TWM Performance products the best in the industry! I'm going to try to write and post one on a different subject each week....so here goes the first one!
TWM Tech Talk ------ Apples to Apples ------- 18/06/10
One thing that's always difficult when you're buying or selling parts via the internet is comparative shopping. When you don't have toaster A in your hand to compare to toaster B, how are you going to know if one is better than the other? The same goes for short throw shifters. We've always done our best to point out the unique aspects of our shifters on our website but when you don't know what you're comparing the parts to, it's tough to understand the message we're trying to convey.
That being said, I dug into the 'ol shifter graveyard this week and pulled out a couple of the competition's short shifters to help me illustrate some key points about the design of our parts. This week will be part one of a several installment commentary so enjoy!
Part 1: The Inner Bearing Brace Bushing (say that five times fast!)
Every rod actuated shifter has a lower pivot point which mounts to the fore-aft controlling shift rod. This lower pivot point plays a major role in the overall feel and smoothness of the shifter. A poor connection between the shifter and the bolt which holds it to the shift rod can cause friction or free play, two things which certainly don't help you shifting experience.
Here is a picture of two of our competitor's parts:
Starting with Brand X, notice that the bushings used in the lower pivot point are plastic. This is very similar to the stock set up by relying on a high friction connection between the bolt and the shifter. Plastic or nylon bushings are very prone to wear and over time can become loose. Once they've worn out you'll notice a great deal of play in your shifter as well as vibration noise as the shifter will be contacting the bolt or fork directly. Also, the Brand X shifter requires that you re-use the stock bolt from your OEM shifter. In many cases this bolt is several years old (or more) and encrusted with dirt and rust. Often in older cars this bolt frequently breaks during removal leaving anyone trying to install this shifter in an awkward position…
Brand Y, though slightly more thought out, still has some serious flaws. By using a bronze bushing, wear isn't as big an issue, however the stock bolt is still required and a bronze on metal contact point will generate substantial friction. Once dirt and rust get between the bolt and the bushing shifting will get very rough.
Now, here's a cross section of a TWM Performance Mazda Protégé lower pivot point:
There are a couple of things to point out in this design. First, note that we use two industrial grade rubber sealed bearings in the base of our shifter. These bearings are built specifically for harsh environments and will always spin freely. When compared to a plastic or bronze bushing, a bearing such as this provides much less resistance and creates a FAR more effortless, smooth shift. Also, we include a special brace bushing between the bearings which keeps them from becoming distorted while the bolt is tightened down. A great deal of effort has gone into this design to not only ensure that your shifting is as smooth as possible but to also guarantee the components used will last the life of your car.
To continue, pictured above is our specially designed cylindrically ground bolt that has been hardened and coated to assure ultimate durability and corrosion resistance. TWM is the only manufacturer to provide a bolt in our kits to replace the old rusted OEM bolts, which often break when being removed. Also pictured are our solid shifter bushings. Once again, we are the only manufacturer to offer these free of charge in our kit to replace the old worn out bushings that often are the cause of that excessive shifter slop and vagueness.
This brings me to my last point; our famous black finish. While it may look great, I assure you all that the esthetics of this special coating only begins to scratch the surface of its many uses. Once again, TWM Performance is the ONLY manufacturer to use this coating. So let me tell you a little bit about it.
Every single TWM Performance short shifter is coated in our black finish without exception. The coating is 100% chip proof and also greatly reduces the coefficient of friction on the shifter pivot points. This makes for an even smoother shift than any other coating can offer. Like any product, the secret is also in the preparation. To even further reduce the coefficient of friction on the pivot point of the shifter, every unit is hand polished as soon as it comes off of the CNC lathe to assure the smoothest finish possible. Furthermore, by polishing the shifter before coating, it helps prevent any hair line cracks from forming in the metal due to imperfections in the machining, which could eventually lead to a complete failure of the shifter itself.
In the photo’s below of Brand Z’s short shifter (this is no Ebay short shifter by the way) we can see how little care is put into the preparation of each short shifter. Pitting in metal on both the shaft and the pivot ball is very noticeable.
One final thing to note; as seen in the pictures above of the “Brand Z” short shifter, the pivot ball and the shaft are held together by a spring pin which has a tendency to come loose. This will cause a catastrophic failure in the shifting mechanism. TWM Performance short shifters will never encounter this problem due to the fact that our shifters are either 1 piece, or TIG welded like in the photo of the TWM Evo X short shifter above.
That's all for now, I'll go over some more points next week but until then happy shifting!
If you have any question or comment, feel free to discuss them in this thread!
Team TWM Performance