The C5 Corvette six-speed is an all-out blast to drive. With a solid linkage and a rear-mounted transmission, it’s one of the best-engineered gearboxes available in a street car. Problem is, it doesn’t take much to push the C5 Corvette shifter to its limits under hard driving. That’s when shifter response and actuation can be challenging. Missed shifts and a lazy stick feel are very common and can become an instant source of frustration.
To address this problem, C5 Corvette owners should consider the installation of a short-throw billet shifter. Zip offers the C5 Corvette Kirban’s Kwik Six-Speed Shifter, which feature solid billet construction and a 20% overall reduction in shift throws by using a shorter handle, thus altering the pivot geometry. Additionally, this shifter is engineered with heavier detent springs, allowing for a much crisper shifter action. Missed shifts are virtually eliminated.
Installation of this Corvette Part is surprisingly easy. With some basic hand tools, you can install it in less than 2 hours. Then, consider topping off your new shifter with a C5 Corvette Kirban Billet Shift Knob for a sleek, finished look. Read Zip’s technical article 1997-2004 C5 Corvette Shifter Installation for step-by-step instructions – including photos – on how to install a new C5 shifter.
Before you begin, make sure that the emergency brake is set and the shifter is in fourth gear. To remove your Corvette’s shift knob, pry up the plastic shift pattern on the tip of the shift knob. Remove the aluminum pressure pin using a flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers or vise-grips. Fasten the vise-grips to the pin and insert the screwdriver under the tab and pry up. If the pin won’t move, use some spray lube or liquid wrench to loosen it. Once it’s loose, unscrew the shift knob.
Next, remove your Corvette’s center console. Lift the center storage bin and locate the two plastic tabs at the rear of the bin. Lift off the plastic tabs to access the two 10mm nuts and remove them.
Then, remove the traction control button trim panel by gently prying up. Disconnect the traction control harness and the variable suspension selector harness (if equipped). Disconnect the accessory plug wiring harness and remove the two 10mm nuts. Now gently pry off the interior temperature sensor trim plate to the left of the ignition and remove the T15 torx screw. Lift the ashtray cover then remove the ashtray and the two T15 torx screws (If you have a convertible, you’ll have to remove the waterfall. Unscrew the three T15 torx screws, one on top and one on each side of the base. Lift the waterfall straight up and set aside). Now slide the center storage bin towards the rear of the vehicle. Pop off the center console trim plate, disconnect the cigarette lighter harness and set aside. The shifter and shifter boot should now be exposed.
You’re just a few bolts away from installing your new shifter. Our tech article 1997-2004 C5 Corvette Shifter Installation will get you the rest of the way – and on your way to a more enjoyable ride!
For other great DIY projects, visit Zip’s corvettemagazine.com – your online source for Corvette technical articles and detailed how-to’s.