Short Shifter DIY
2005 and up Chevrolet Cobalt
So in order to make installing Short Shifters even easier, we have decided to post up a DIY here on the forums so that you can all see how easy it is to install one yourself!
Begin the installation by parking on a flat surface, as you will have to engage and disengage the hand brake and shift from gears to neutral. If you cannot do so and are obliged to install the short shifter on a slightly inclined surface, place wooden blocks in front or behind the wheels to prevent the car from moving while you’re working.
Estimated Installation Time: 120 minutes
-Flat head and Philips head screw drivers (large and small)
-Needle nose pliers
-Ratchet and extension
-13mm socket and 7 mm socket (or 7mm nut driver)
-6mm or ¼” Punch
-Dremel tool with a multi-purpose cutting bit (strongly recommended)
-Eye protection – safety glasses
-White lithium based grease
-Shop towels or rags
1. Locate the center plastic panel under the handbrake. Pull up on it to free the clips holding it in place and put it in a safe area for re-installation later.
2. Pull up on the rear plastic panel behind the one you just removed. Put it in a safe place for re-installation later.
3. Remove the stock shift knob by rotating the black ring at the top of the boot about ¼ to ½ turn while pulling down. Lift up on the shift knob to remove from the shaft. This requires some effort as it is a friction fit and there are small white tabs at the bottom of the shift knob that rest in a groove. A small screwdriver may be used to assist in releasing the shift knob while puling it up. Pull up to free the tabs and remove the shift knob.
The image below shows the shift knob removed from the shifter shaft.
*Note: Pictures are in a Chevrolet HHR
4. Remove the shift boot by placing your fingers under the lip and pulling up to free it. Remove it from the car and put it in a safe place for re-installation later.
5. Gently pull up on the plastic console surrounding the shifter to free the clips holding it from beneath, do not remove it from the car yet. During this step, you will have to disconnect 2 electrical connectors on the under side of the console as pictured below.
5. Disconnect the electrical connectors below the console as shown in the images below.
With the electrical connectors free you can now remove this part of the console from the car and put it in a safe place for re-installation later.
6. Locate the side panels on each side of the center console and pull on them from the bottom of the panel. They are held on with clips from behind, and the bottom needs to be unclipped first. Remove the panels on each side to uncover 4 screws. Remove the screws using a 7 mm socket and a ratchet.
7. Remove the 2 screws located behind the shifter.
8. Move the front seats toward the front of the car in order to access the 2 screws (one on each side) at the rear of the center console and remove the screws.
9. The center console can now be removed. To do this, lift the rear of the console while pushing down on the front, and then pull the center console toward the rear of the car and remove it from the car as shown in the pictures below.
10. With all parts of the console removed you should now have full access to the shift assembly.
Some models may have one or more wiring harnesses clipped to the shift assembly. If your car does not have any wiring clipped to the assembly proceed to the next step.
Remove any plastic clips holding any wiring harnesses to the shift assembly.
11. Put the shifter in 4th gear at this point. Disconnect the white and grey shifter cables attached to the bottom of the stock shifter and to the white plastic side arm. To do so, use a small flat head screwdriver to pry on the front of the grey cap to pop it open. Repeat for the white cap on the driver’s side of the assembly. The caps will not open all the way, they should just click open slightly relieving tension on the cable allowing it to slide freely on the yellow threaded portion of the cable as pictured below.
Pictured below is the grey cap popped open to allow the yellow threaded shifter cable to slide freely inside it.
12. Disconnect the shifter cables from their anchor points on the shift assembly (shown below with arrows) by lifting straight up on the white plastic frame holding the cable to the assembly. Needle nose pliers may be used to squeeze the tabs on the white plastic frame to allow them to slide out of the anchor points more easily.
Remove the 4 bolts holding the shift assembly to the floor pan using a 13 mm socket and a ratchet with an extension.
13. With the shifter cables free from the shift assembly, it can now be removed from the car. The yellow threaded shifter cables should slide out of the white and grey plastic cable housings to allow the assembly to be removed from the car. Take the shift assembly to a solid work bench or table for disassembly.
14. With the shift assembly out of the car, turn it on its side to have access to the plastic shifter cable housing still attached to the bottom of the shifter. The cable housing can be easily removed by prying it downward as shown below.
15. Put the shift assembly right side up flat on the work table. Use a flat head screw driver to remove the steel “U” shaped clip at the back of the assembly, it will slide out by prying as shown.
16. Rotate the black plastic cap on the shift assembly counter clockwise until it stops. This will allow it to be removed in the next step as the slots for the tabs on the cap are wider when it is rotated counter clockwise.
17. This step is more easily accomplished with the help of an assistant. Use a small flat head screwdriver as shown below to depress one of the 2 small tabs on the cap. There are 3 tabs, one of which is larger than the other 2. Begin by depressing one of the small tabs first. When the tab is depressed, it can be pried upward so the bottom barbed section slides up through the slot in the shift assembly. When the barbed section is almost through the slot, the screwdriver can be used to raise it more as pictured on the next page.
Repeat for the other small tab. Once the 2 small tabs are free, the larger one will be easy to free from the shift assembly.
18. Remove the black plastic cap from the assembly.
19. Use a punch or a screwdriver and a hammer as shown to punch the plastic pivot pin out of the shift assembly while an assistant holds the assembly in place. Use caution not to damage the plastic pivot pin.
20. Remove the plastic pivot pin from the assembly to free up the plastic side arm at its pivot point.
21. Lift the shifter straight up and out of the shift assembly. The plastic side arm will need to be raised slightly as well to free the shifter from the assembly.
22. Pop the small plastic cup off of the shifter side arm as shown.