TWM Tech Talk ------ Industry firsts! ------- July 7th, 2010
At TWM we never rest. Our weighted shift knobs
have been extremely well received and are regarded as a must for any tuner looking for the most out of their car. Most companies would be content with sitting on a successful product, however a few years ago, we saw the opportunity to make something great, even better.
Our engineers developed a system for fastening shift knobs
to shifters that is unlike anything previously seen in the automotive aftermarket. ATIS Technology, in short, creates a factory-like threaded on shift knob (specific for each vehicle) which is height adjustable by an impressive 1.5" and does not need set screws to secure it to the shifter or orient its logo. So you will no longer have to live with a shift knob that rattles and comes loose due to those dreaded set screw systems.
ATIS stands for "Aluminum Threaded Insert System". Here's how it works:
Above is a picture which shows the contents of an ATIS equipped shift knob kit. First, you'll see the familiar TWM M1 Abrams shift knob (Gunmetal finish), immediately to its right the aluminum threaded insert, below it the black height adjuster screw, and below that is the Low Profile Jam Nut. Then to the right of all of those is the set of 3 spacers that we provide with every kit. Finally in the very back is our special tool that we provide to make installation a breeze!
The Aluminum insert is threaded on both its exterior and interior surfaces. The exterior thread pattern is the same as that of the inside of our shift knob. The interior thread pattern is specific to the application (i.e. Toyota, Mazda, Subaru etc.).
Here is another diagram which explains how the various parts interact with each other.
The first step is to select the spacer that will give you the height desired. You throw that spacer into the shift knob and then the Height Selection Screw is threaded into the knob. The special tool comes in handy here to get the job done without damaging the internal threads.
Once the above is completed and the spacer is in the shift knob with the height adjuster screw tightened down on it, it’s time to move to the shifter shaft. If you’ve ordered one of our engraved shift patterns on your TWM Performance shift knob, it’s now time to align it and make sure it stays!
The first step is to grab the Low profile Jam Nut and thread it onto your shifter shaft. Then simply thread the aluminum insert onto the shifter shaft. Once this is done, tighten the aluminum insert onto the jam nut and then thread the shift knob on. The shift pattern may not be perfectly aligned at first, but a few simple twists and adjustments of the Jam nut will net you a perfectly straight shift pattern that will never come loose!
Now it's also worth noting that if you'd like your shift knob
at the lowest possible position, you can install the jam nut and the aluminum insert without the height selection screw or the spacers to assure the lowest knob height possible. This will be about .75inches lower than the stock shift knobs
Height adjustable (About .75 inches higher, and .75 inches lower!)
Factory-like, application specific threaded on fit
Setscrew free design
Counterweighted for a faster shift
But we’re not done yet! The ATIS Technology is great for cars with a threaded shift shaft from the OEM, but you may be asking, how do I get one of TWM Performance’s sweet shift knobs
into my BMW or Volkswagen that doesn’t have a threaded shifter shaft?
Well fortunately we recently came up with an answer for you! It’s our Universal Shift Knob Adapter. It works by using a precision machined stainless steel adapter which screws into the TWM shift knob. It attaches itself to the shifter shaft by using 3 allen-key set screws. Now I know you’re all thinking “weren’t you bashing on set-screw systems before???” Indeed I was, so we at TWM knew that we needed to improve upon the ancient allen key system that constantly comes loose.
What we came up with was a never before seen set screw design. We started off by choosing to use stainless steel set screws. These assure that the screws will never corrode and become seized. It also guarantees that the screw will grip firmly against the shifter shaft and not distort or slip.
Secondly we had to address a common problem with these set screw systems. Every other manufacturer of a set screw shift knob uses an aluminum body. Additionally they’ll usually use steel set screws; sometimes stainless steel set screws. Now the problem with this is that the screws are much tougher than the threads on the body of the shift knob adapter. So one of two things will happen when you tighten it down; either you’ll strip the threads out of the aluminum body, or you’ll tighten the set screws and overtime, the aluminum body will actually distort and become oval due to the soft metal characteristics of aluminum! This is when your rattling will start and the shift knob will eventually come loose.
Our adapter is not only larger and thicker than the competitions, but it is also made of a harder metal to prevent any type of distortion. Since distortion is impossible and the stainless steel threads are much stronger than the competition’s, you can tighten our adapter down with confidence that it will not strip or move!
Now that we assured the body would not distort, we needed to make sure that the screws would not come loose with vibration. For this, we selected a special type of red resin that would be applied to the set screw. Upon being screwed in, the material creates a self-locking bond with the adapter to prevent it from ever coming loose due to vibration or manipulation. This special resin also allows for the screws to be easily removed if you need to remove your shift knob.
But still, we didn’t stop there! We decided to build in a boot retainer with our Volkswagen adapter. Again an industry first, this built in boot retainer will keep the boot perfectly flush with your new TWM Performance shift knob…because after all, it’s nice to have a new TWM shift knob, but it really ruins the look when your shift boot is sagging and moving all over the place.
No we need to address the fit of our Universal Shift Knob Adapter. Every adapter is machined with tolerances of .003 inches to the shifter shaft. This means that the shift knob adapter is so perfectly fit to the shifter shaft, that the set screws are only needed to keep the shift knob from rotating! Finally, to facilitate installation, we include a very detailed instruction manual and an allen key to get the job done!
We're confident that ATIS Technology is the most complete and versatile manner of attaching a shift knob to a shifter currently in existence. Thanks to everyone for reading, and as always, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to share!
Team TWM Performance