Tech: Steeda S550 Tri-Ax Shifter Install

0 Steeda S550 Tri-Ax Shifter Install Featured

Short Change

Installing Steeda Autosports’ short-throw shifter for the 2015+ Mustang

By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Steeda Autosports

For as long as we can remember, one of the most upgraded parts on a Mustang has been the shifter. As we know, Ford engineers are constantly striking a balance between honing Mustang performance and building a car that the average consumer will accept. It seems that balancing act has become even more challenging as the Mustang attracts new customers.

Since the S197 era the stock remote shifters in the Mustang have definitely improved, but they don’t offer the precision and quick shifting that enthusiasts desire.
Since the S197 era the stock remote shifters in the Mustang have definitely improved, but they don’t offer the precision and quick shifting that enthusiasts desire.
With the Steeda Tri-Ax shifter installed, the shift throws are definitely shorter. Steeda says the are reduced by 15 percent. You can see the stick is a bit shorter, but a lot of that work is done below the pivot.
With the Steeda Tri-Ax shifter installed, the shift throws are definitely shorter. Steeda says the are reduced by 15 percent. You can see the stick is a bit shorter, but a lot of that work is done below the pivot.

When it comes to shifters, performance enthusiasts want more precision, and shorter shifts. However, while those of us that have seen the car’s improvements since the Fox era don’t mind a bit of communication from our performance parts, today’s Mustangers might not be as tolerant.

After spinning off the shift knob, Steve pops out the shift boot and uses a small screwdriver to release the boot’s retaining clips from the reverse lockout collar.
After spinning off the shift knob, Steve pops out the shift boot and uses a small screwdriver to release the boot’s retaining clips from the reverse lockout collar.

That brings us to Steeda’s new Tri-Ax shifter for the 2015+ Mustang (PN 555-7316; $114.95) with the MT-82 six-speed manual transmission. It is designed to supplant the factory shift lever, while retaining the factory shifter assembly. By doing so, it hastens shifting by 15 percent, while retaining those factory NVH levels.

Installing this unit is pretty straight-forward and it can be done without removing the factory shifter assembly. However, there are several steps to this process. As such, we made a trip down to Steeda’s Pompano Beach, Florida, campus to document the installation of this unit on the company’s in-house EcoBoost Mustang. So, if you’d like to sharpen the shifting of your S550, follow along as Steeda’s Steve Chichisola swaps the stick.

Steve recommends popping the end of the reverse lockout spring over the retaining pin and threading it off the stick.
Steve recommends popping the end of the reverse lockout spring over the retaining pin and threading it off the stick.
With the spring out of the way, push the shifter into a forward gear and use a small punch and a hammer to drive the retaining pin out.
With the spring out of the way, push the shifter into a forward gear and use a small punch and a hammer to drive the retaining pin out.
After sliding the rubber shift boot over the collar, use a T-20 Torx to remove the fastener and free the reverse lockout collar.
After sliding the rubber shift boot over the collar, use a T-20 Torx to remove the fastener and free the reverse lockout collar.
You will have to get under the car to swap out the lever, so a lift is a big help. If you are doing it in the driveway, jackstands or Race Ramps will work nicely. Use a socket and extension to remove the two 10mm nuts that retain the stock shifter base bracket. While the Tri-Ax will hasten the shifts, it won’t reduce the slop in the remote mechanism. When you reassemble the factory shifter, it would definitely be an opportune time to add Steeda’s S550 Mustang Shifter Base Bushing Bracket Kit (PN 555-7092; $74.95).
You will have to get under the car to swap out the lever, so a lift is a big help. If you are doing it in the driveway, jackstands or Race Ramps will work nicely. Use a socket and extension to remove the two 10mm nuts that retain the stock shifter base bracket. While the Tri-Ax will hasten the shifts, it won’t reduce the slop in the remote mechanism. When you reassemble the factory shifter, it would definitely be an opportune time to add Steeda’s S550 Mustang Shifter Base Bushing Bracket Kit (PN 555-7092; $74.95).
Next you will remove the four 10mm fasteners that retain the shifter base cap. Then you can remove the cap to gain access to the shift lever.
Next you will remove the four 10mm fasteners that retain the shifter base cap. Then you can remove the cap to gain access to the shift lever.
Once inside the shifter, remove the two 10mm bolts retaining the shifter lever bushing plate. Once the plate is out of the way, you can remove the linkage and pull the stock lever out.
Once inside the shifter, remove the two 10mm bolts retaining the shifter lever bushing plate. With the plate out of the way, you can remove the linkage and pull the stock lever out.
Put the stock lever in a vise and pry off the stock bushing caps. Make sure you hang onto these, as they must be swapped onto the Steeda lever.
Put the stock lever in a vise and pry off the stock bushing caps. Make sure you hang onto these, as they must be swapped onto the Steeda lever.
Looking at the billet-steel Steeda Tri-Ax lever (left) versus the stock lever shows, that the Steeda shifter is longer after the pivot to shorten the throw by 15 percent.
Looking at the billet-steel Steeda Tri-Ax lever (left) versus the stock lever shows, that the Steeda shifter is longer after the pivot to shorten the throw by 15 percent.
Apply a generous dose of the supplied silicone lube to the shifter and install the factory bushing cups on the Steeda lever.
Apply a generous dose of the supplied silicone lube to the shifter and install the factory bushing cups on the Steeda lever.
We encouraged you to apply a generous dose of lube to the shifter pivot, because the lever will stay in place while you reinstall the shifter lever bushing plate. Be sure that you insert the lever with the mounting hole for the reverse collar on the driver side. You can then reinstall the shifter lever bushing plate and shifter base cap, torquing the fasteners of each to 84 in-lb. Then you can wrap up underneath by reinstalling the shifter base bracket or adding Steeda’s upgraded version. Either way, torque the 10mm nuts to 97 in-lb.
We encouraged you to apply a generous dose of lube to the shifter pivot, because the lever will stay in place while you reinstall the shifter lever bushing plate. Be sure that you insert the lever with the mounting hole for the reverse collar on the driver side. You can then reinstall the shifter lever bushing plate and shifter base cap, torquing the fasteners of each to 84 in-lb. Then you can wrap up underneath by reinstalling the shifter base bracket or adding Steeda’s upgraded version. Either way, torque the bracket’s 10mm nuts to 97 in-lb.
After reassembling the shifter base, move back top side and install the reverse lockout collar on the Steeda lever using the factory Torx fastener.
After reassembling the shifter base, move back top side and install the reverse lockout collar on the Steeda lever using the factory Torx fastener.
Rather than using a pressed in pin that is more difficult to install, the Steeda lever is thread to accept these 4mm set screws.
Rather than using a pressed in pin that is more difficult to install, the Steeda lever is thread to accept these 4mm set screws.
After tightening the two setscrews into one another, you can thread the spring back on until the setscrews retain it. Then slide the rubber shift boot over the lockout collar.
After tightening the two setscrews into one another, you can thread the spring back on until the setscrews retain it. Then slide the rubber shift boot over the lockout collar.
The hard work is over. Simply re-attach the shift boot to the lockout collar, pop the boot on, and thread the shift knob back on. The Tri-Ax lever will accept the stock knob or any aftermarket knobs with a M12 x 1.25-inch thread pitch.
The hard work is over. Simply re-attach the shift boot to the lockout collar, pop the boot on, and thread the shift knob back on. The Tri-Ax lever will accept the stock knob or any aftermarket knobs with a M12 x 1.25-inch thread pitch.
It doesn’t look that much shorter, but the Steeda Tri-Ax’s throws are definitely snappier, which makes driving your new Mustang even more fun.
It doesn’t look that much shorter, but the Steeda Tri-Ax’s throws are definitely snappier, which makes driving your new Mustang even more fun.

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