SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...
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2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V Performance Mods Discussion, SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter... in Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum - 2004 - 2007; I have finally gotten to the shifter in my wife's car. 110k miles...shifts like SH!T. 1st and reverse are ridiculous, ...
  1. #1
    Tom400CFI is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    I have finally gotten to the shifter in my wife's car. 110k miles...shifts like SH!T. 1st and reverse are ridiculous, the rest are terrible and the slop is stupid. I have read many-a-thread, prior to my dissection of our shifter, and the solutions that are floating around the 'net are partial ones (add bushings here, replace bushings there) and they're also fairly expensive, IMO. Ultimately, I don't feel that any of the solutions by themselves fix all of the problems and all of them combined don't either. Plus I didn't find a thread (on this forum) that combines all the fixes in one thread.

    The problem: At best; slop in the shifter, vague shift pattern and feel. At worst; inability to get the car into gear(s), as in my case.
    The goal; to have the shifter feel and behave like "a brick sh!t house"...like one that mounts directly into the transmission, such as in an F-body, or an older Mustang (T-5 or T45 Transmission). Also a goal of mine is to have adjustable shift stops, as you can have in the F-body cars, which reduces the chance of breakage to the shift forks, and wear on the shift linkage.

    I feel that there are two distinct and very different solutions for the problem defined above;
    1. Improve the shifter assembly as much as possible to eliminate slop, add a "gate" and adjustable shift stops (last two parts are optional). This is the road that I'm going down b/c the car is my wife's car. If the car was mine (I drove it), I'd do the following...
    2. Eliminate the entire shifter assy except the shift lever and base. Extend the internal shift rail out the back of the trans. Hook shifter directly to the internal rail, through a precision U-joint. This is the BEST solution by far. It connects your hand to the internal shift rail (the part that we're ultimately trying to manipulate) through two parts; the shift lever, and a U-joint. In the picture below, I'm pointing to the rear support for the internal shift rail. There is a simple steel freeze plug in the end. Look at the proximity of that rail compared to the shifter hole in the floor; it's nearly perfect for linking to the shifter!





    Since I'm making the best of the stock "Rube Goldberg" shifter, I'll cover that, starting at the rear and moving forward. Use the following picture as a reference, as it shows the entire shifter assy.


    Starting at the rear, is the SHIFT LEVER.
    Options are aftermarket shifters which are $$$ and also shorten the throw. Many like the short throw. I used to. The problem is that they take away leverage, which makes shifting FAST hard to to. It also increases missed shifts, in a competitive situation (the drag-track, primarily). At any rate, I can not see what is fundamentally wrong with the stock shifter, other than the giant rubber "blob" that dampens the upper rod. I pulled the upper rod off,

    ....cut the damper portion off the rod,


    ....and welded the upper rod back onto the lower rod. Anyone doing this mod could at this point, make a "short shifter" by either cutting out extra rod and physically making the shift lever shorter, or by cutting and adding some length under the pivot. Either way has a similar effect and it boil down to a personal decision as to what you're looking for (physically shortened shift lever, or shorter throws). I wanted the tallest shift lever I could have, and the longest throws, so I kept it stock height/length.



    Moving "forward", there are the bushings at the bottom of the shift lever. PISSNUOFF has those bushings.

    Next moving forward, and just ahead of the shifter pivot are the bushings that support the shifter vertically. My solution is to eliminate them, the bracket that connects it to the shifter base (the floor pan), and fabricate a vertical support for the shifter connecting the bottom rear of trans, to the shifter base. Pics of my solution to follow. Why is this my recommendation? The transmission/engine assembly moves around in the car -as does any engine/trans in any car, due to chassis flex and mostly, rubber engine and trans mounts. Therefore, you don't "rigidly mount" anything from the engine/trans to the body. Yet that is exactly what GM did with the shifter! They mounted the two forward rods to the trans body (fine), but then the vertical height of the shifter is defined by the shifter base being bolted to the body of the car! Retarded. As the engine/trans moves around, the relationship between the trans and body changes, and that will (somewhat) change how the shifter works/feels, and even moves on it's own when in a gear. Eliminate that and don't use the bracket/bushings that bolt to the underside of the shifter "boot" assy (aka, the body of the car) at all.

    Next, moving forward are the shifter bushings that affix the shifter assy to the rear of the trans. My thumb is pointing at them in the reference pic. Here the "Home Depot bushings" work fantastic. Very snug fit.

    Again, moving forward are the plastic bushings where the shift rod connects with the "U-joint". Again, PISSNUOFF has a nice bronze bushing solution that is superior to the stock plastic one.

    Next, is the steel pin that provides lateral movement in the "U-joint" -my pointer finger is pointing at what I'm calling the "U-joint". It is a loose fit and allows slop radially (as in side to side motion at the shifter). Cadzilla found a solution in simply welding this joint. I don't prefer this solution as there needs to be some side to side compliance here and welding forces all the side motion to be absorbed in the bending of the shift rod, and causes side loading of what I call the "upper shift rail" going into the trans. My solution was to use a 1/4" roll pin. The hole is .238" -smaller than 1/4". I cut the split/groove in the roll pin wider w/a Dremel tool (a cut-off wheel would work too), and that allowed the roll pin to compress enough to fit. it is TIGHT, there is absolutely no slop now, and the joint still has the ability to provide lateral movement. I think that it is a fair solution, that will last a long time.






    All of the above will provide much sharper shifting than stock. It will eliminate the "fighting" between the shifter mounts on the trans and where it bolted to the floor pan. It is a huge improvement. All slop will be removed from the linkage...but will all slop be eliminated from the driver's perspective? Will the shifter feel like a Pro5.0 shifter in a T56 Camaro? No, it will not. It will still have some lateral movement when in a gear due to compliance (flex) in the shifter frame, rod, and tolerances inside the transmission itself. How can we mitigate this and make the shifter feel like it's a "Brick sh!t house"? This is where the shift gate is required, and the adjustable shift stops. Since our shifter is remotely mounted, there will be flex in the assy no matter what. To mitigate this, we can build a shift gate that makes it so the shifter physically can not move side to side when it's in a gear. We're doing this AT the shifter, so any flex in the linkage is taken out of the equation, from the driver's perspective -shifter doesn't move, so it "feels" stronger. Pics to follow.

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  3. #2
    OneFast V is online now Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    what length of roll pin did you use?

  4. #3
    repenttokyo is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    I installed PISNUOFF's short shifter years ago, along with poly bushings, and it immediately fixed my shifting problem. It also wasn't expensive at all...I don't agree with you that aftermarket short shifters like his are expensive. I track the car, and I have no problems with missing shifts or being unable to shift quickly with his shifter.

  5. #4
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    lollygagger8 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    PISINUOFF's shifter already fixes this problem.

  6. #5
    Tom400CFI is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Well then, as you were, guys...but if you really think that PISSNUOFF's bushings make the CTS-V's shifter feel like a quality shifter in a F-body...you are way off the mark. Those bushings are a crucial part of the process -I'm not discounting them or PISSNOFF's contribution. I'm also not even attempting to imply that they don't make a huge improvement; I know that they will. What I'm saying is that to meet the goal that I outlined above, you need those parts.... and more. And you do. I can stop posting, if you'd like. Or I can continue to document what *I* am doing to meet the goals that I have for the shifter -the feeling and features of a Pro 5.0, in a F-body.



    Quote Originally Posted by OneFast V View Post
    what length of roll pin did you use?
    The one I used is 1", I believe. It is flush with the U-joint housing at both ends.

  7. #6
    repenttokyo is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    I haven't driven an F-body, but I do road test cars for a living, and I really, really like my PISNUOFF shifter for track work and street. It compares favorably to the Miata I am currently driving - not as precise, of course, because few can match Mazda's shifter feel - but it's infinitely better than stock.

    I think the reason you are getting the responses that you are is because you are identifying a 'problem' that was dealt with many years ago by the V community. How many CTS-V short shifters have you personally tested out? Do you have experience with the PISNUOFF unit, or with any other brands for the CTS-V?

    A lot of your problems getting the car into gear may also be clutch related, as the fluid needs to be periodically swapped out and bled to avoid not being able to get the car into gear. All problems I have successfully dealt with in my own CTS-V.

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    OneFast V is online now Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    I can tell you with a UUC shifter, UUC shifter bushings, The Bronze shifter cup in the transmission, PISNUOFF's bushings and home depot bushing I still have significant slop. I'm hoping the roll pin will help with this.

  9. #8
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by repenttokyo View Post
    I think the reason you are getting the responses that you are is because you are identifying a 'problem' that was dealt with many years ago by the V community.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom400CFI View Post
    Well then, as you were, guys... I can stop posting, if you'd like. Or I can continue to document what *I* am doing
    Please keep it going. The short shifter and fresh bushings in the shifter may really be all it takes (what do your shifter bottom bushings look like, btw?); but I don't see anything wrong with new users digging in. Maybe you're reinventing the wheel, but maybe you're the guy with the stroke of genius that becomes SOP in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by repenttokyo View Post
    It compares favorably to the Miata I am currently driving
    Glowing praise right there. I may pull my shifter out and give it the shorten/lengthen treatement based on this alone. From reading everything I can find on the shifter, I got the sense that the only fix was there was no fix, and if you drop the trans and throw everything you can at it, the best to hope for is mediocre.

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    repenttokyo is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    Glowing praise right there. I may pull my shifter out and give it the shorten/lengthen treatement based on this alone. From reading everything I can find on the shifter, I got the sense that the only fix was there was no fix, and if you drop the trans and throw everything you can at it, the best to hope for is mediocre.
    Moving to the PISNUOFF shifter was night and day for me compared to stock. It's incredible how much tighter the setup is. Like I said, it's missing the precision of a Miata, but going back and forth between the cars doesn't have my cursing the CTS-V like I was before I installed it.

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    FuzzyLogic is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by OneFast V View Post
    I can tell you with a UUC shifter, UUC shifter bushings, The Bronze shifter cup in the transmission, PISNUOFF's bushings and home depot bushing I still have significant slop. I'm hoping the roll pin will help with this.
    Probably because you failed to properly torque the plate that connects to the car.
    54inches likes this.

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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    I have a shifter from Brian and upgraded bushings and I have minimal slop. It's very tight. I agree my ws6 was better with a pro 5.0 but my caddy is better than my ws6 on other levels.

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    OneFast V is online now Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyLogic View Post
    Probably because you failed to properly torque the plate that connects to the car.
    I've looked at the slop with everything apart and the plate connecting it to the car is not moving or causing slop.

  14. #13
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by OneFast V View Post
    I've looked at the slop with everything apart and the plate connecting it to the car is not moving or causing slop.
    bearing in mind I'm a noob with a week's worth of ownership, but I can't imagine the tunnel plate's bolts having anything to do with it.

    But back to OP - I wholeheartedly endorse dissecting and fixing this Goldbergian mess. Preferably without me having to learn to weld AL.

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    FuzzyLogic is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by OneFast V View Post
    I've looked at the slop with everything apart and the plate connecting it to the car is not moving or causing slop.
    You haven't performed the Anti-Venom mod, have you?

    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    bearing in mind I'm a noob with a week's worth of ownership, but I can't imagine the tunnel plate's bolts having anything to do with it.
    If the side rails mounts were solid instead of rubber, you'd be (mostly) right.

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    Re: SHIFTER: Dissecting, and fixing the CTS-V's shifter...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom400CFI View Post
    Well then, as you were, guys...but if you really think that PISSNUOFF's bushings make the CTS-V's shifter feel like a quality shifter in a F-body...you are way off the mark. Those bushings are a crucial part of the process -I'm not discounting them or PISSNOFF's contribution. I'm also not even attempting to imply that they don't make a huge improvement; I know that they will. What I'm saying is that to meet the goal that I outlined above, you need those parts.... and more. And you do. I can stop posting, if you'd like. Or I can continue to document what *I* am doing to meet the goals that I have for the shifter -the feeling and features of a Pro 5.0, in a F-body.
    I'm interested to see what you come up with as you dig into it. I haven't done all the tricks that others have done - thus far I just have a UUC shifter and bushings. I don't have much slop at all, but the shifter is very notchy and just doesn't feel that great. The aftermarket shifters in my other cars (old Hurst shifter I had on my Mustang's original T5, the Pro-5.0 shifter (I think) that is on the TKO in it now, and the short shifter on the STI 6MT in my Subaru) all feel just as positive as the V's shifter yet don't feel like I'm steering the thing through gravel.
    '05 Stealth Grey CTS-V, Hyper Silver Linea Corse Venetos w/Continental ExtremeContact DWs (summer), black Team Dynamics ProRace 1.2 wheels with 275/35-18 R-compounds (track), Hyperblack Rota Torques (winter), KW Variant3s, V2 front brakes, Hotchkis rear sway bar, EPS cam, TEA-ported 243 heads, FAST92 intake w/LS2 TB, JBA Camaro/G8 1-3/4" shorty headers w/JBA cat pipes, Corsa exhaust, UUC motor and tranny mounts, UUC shifter, MAPerformance trailing arms, Specter cradle bushings, etc...

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