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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finished the plunge and installed a new MGW X-Spec, and it is all that.. and a bag of chips.

I wanted to give it a little time, go past my initial reactions, let it wear in just a touch. This was basically finishing off the new Exedy 500 clutch, and lightened steel billet flywheel we did 3,000 miles ago. I do see why people say they love this mod. I wouldn't put it as my top mod, (Lund tune, and exhaust go there) but has to be #3/#4 tied with the clutch/flywheel.
If you are thinking, or on the fence I will give my thoughts/opinions. If you are having issues, I also offer the same to know another's experience.

The install.. it is tricky. Best to watch the video a few times first. The specific applications of lock-tite during the process, and unclear view in the videos can make this a real pain. Take the time to set it correctly. I went with the heaviest weighted shift ball options, and very glad I did. I do however wish MGW had bigger balls lol. Seriously.. I would like something just a little bigger, kinda like the track pack cars. I have a pic attached.

The drive.. Initially as others have said it was very stiff. Yes, reverse more challenging to get in than stock. Initial moments had me wondering if I made an error. Not a cheap one either. At that point I decided to put some time on it and then see what I thought after a week or so. Think I went into 1st instead of reverse 2 times.
Over the last 5-6 days I have fallen in love with it.

The shifting.. Yes, much more precise, the throw is noticeably shorter. This is felt more at the bottom of shifter than the top, movements are nearly the same but take a little more effort. What I mean here is physical effort to move the shifter of course not pushing into gear. Where you really notice this is anything that pushes against the side to side springs.. so basically 80% of the time. I do expect this will lessen over time as it is already less effort, as reverse is also a fair amount easier in a week. All of that said the shifting is now precise, I can actually turn and shift at the same time with no trans/body alignment issues.

The noise/vibration (NVH).. I got nothing here. I was slightly concerned as I hear some people say how much a trans mounted shifter adds. I notice absolutely nothing, Understand I have Flowmaster Outlaws, I like drone. I also bought a clutch setup I knew had some noise because of the performance aspect. With the above I have noticed nothing increased from the MGW. Touching the shifter I feel a touch more vibration, but I had expected tons, it is very minor. (Be sure to install the supplied Dynomat as described in the MGW vids)

The feel.. This my friends is where this shifter shines to me, and I honestly cannot put my finger on it. This shifter has changed the entire feel of the car. If one thing has made this car "feel" the most like a muscle car it is this MGW. It really makes no sense.
I guess the "connection" you have that "feels" so much tighter is what is blowing my mind. I enjoy driving the car at a new level, and I mean a LOT more than the stock shifter.

I tried to describe the "feel" to a friend.. by describing 2 cars.. my Dad's old 71 Vette -- moderately built, about 350hp with a stock TH350 auto trans. Fast, pulls, tons of fun -- before MGW.
Then my buddy's 70 Nova -- race built 350, fully built & big converter TH350 that would "bark" 3 gears -- this car would throw you back, and throw you around. -- after MGW.
The feel of this shifter seriously enhanced the muscle car feel of this car, amazingly and unexplainably so.

So.. my take.. I love this mod after a week, and being unsure at first. I expect that love is gonna increase more over time. Deal directly with George @ MGW to be sure you get set up right.
Maybe this will help someone.
Hand Car Light Automotive design Gear shift

Super Moderator
4,437 Posts
Great write-up Ray. It’s on my short-list for next year. I’m thinking of making a day-trip of it, and having MGW do the actual install. I read a year or two back, that you can schedule an appointment, purchase the shifter on-site, and they will do the install for free. If they still offer this, I plan to go that route.
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