How to convert your SHO to a rod shifter *PICS*

Discussion in 'Gen 1 & 2 - Guides (For How-to guides, NOT how-to ' started by FREAKSHO_93, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    For those who don't know, all 89-90 and some 91 SHO's came with a cable linkage shifter. After wear, tear, and age, these cables are known to make shifting difficult, or worse yet, completely break leaving you with one or two gears to choose from. After mid 91, Ford upgraded to a nice rod setup that has a noticeably different feel while shifting. Since then, people have found it beneficial to convert their Gen 1 to rod.
    First things first are the needed parts to convert your 89-91 SHO to a rod shifter. Obviously the main thing you will need is the rod itself, along with a rerouted mid pipe that allows the rod box to hang under the car. Another thing you will need to find is an upgraded late 91-92 shifter boot panel for your console, because your shifter will now sit off towards the drivers side. The local junkyard or SHOforum will probably be your best bet to gather all of these parts. Below is everything you will need. Not shown is a mid pipe "O" ring that you can pick up at any parts store.

    [​IMG]

    Once you have everything gathered, along with the basic tools to unbolt everything, you will also need to come up with the following:

    * Electric Drill
    * 1/4" Drill Bit
    * 7/16" Drill Bit
    * 1/2" Drill Bit
    * Die Grinder

    Next figure out a way to get the car up in the air. I was lucky enough to score a lift for this job, but I'm sure one could do it in their garage if they were brave enough. The exhaust will most likely be a pain to get off, so a lift really is your best bet.

    [​IMG]

    Once the car is up in the air, you will see where your two cables hook up to the transmission. You will need to unbolt these.

    Note: My cable (pictured) was broken, so yours may look a tad different.

    [​IMG]

    Next you will want to start taking apart your mid pipe.

    [​IMG]

    Like I mentioned above, you will most likely run into some problems here. Where the mid pipe meets the catback is probably going to be rusted together pretty good, so I ended up having to cut into my old mid pipe just to get them apart. A good 30 minutes were blown just trying to figure out how to get these two pipes apart. Its not fun.

    [​IMG]

    Once the exhaust and cables are unhooked underneath, the next thing to do is take apart your console.

    [​IMG]

    Once you get the console out of the way, you will then need to clear out the console mounting bracket and shifter. Everything needs to go.

    [​IMG]

    Once everything is taken out, you will then have your old cables just hanging around. There are a few different ways to run them out of your floorboard, but my easiest way was to just cut them since they were going in the trash anyway. After that, you will have to cut your carpet to expose where your rod will be going. Once you are all done, your floor should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Next on your list will be to cut a hole in your floor, then drill your holes for the rod box adapter plate. We got lucky here, because Ford pretty much already marked where to drill and cut by putting indentions in the floor where the rod would be going.

    [​IMG]

    Once the hole is cut and the floor is drilled out, slap your rod plate in place.

    [​IMG]

    Your underside should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Now it is time to mount up your rod shifter! First, mount it up on the plate, then connect each rod to your transmission. The locations are easy to find.

    [​IMG]

    Rod box attached to your plate:

    [​IMG]

    Each rod attached to the transmission:

    [​IMG]

    Now that your rod is in place, it is time to start putting your exhaust back together. Below is a picture of the differences between the two mid pipes. Now you know why the bent mid pipe is important.

    [​IMG]

    Notice how the pipe curves right around the box:

    [​IMG]

    Its all down here from here guys! Now you just need to start putting your console back in the car.

    [​IMG]

    This is where your new shifter boot panel comes into play. Notice the difference?

    [​IMG]

    Once you throw your new panel back on your console, you should be good to go! Just remember to lower your car onto the ground before you drive off..... :rofl:

    [​IMG]



    I hope this post helps anyone that is wanting to do this conversion. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  2. SHObill

    SHObill 'The Collector'

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,409
    Likes Received:
    374
    Occupation:
    design/engineer/CATIA
    Location:
    Rochester MI-48307Detroit
    Very Nice write-up & Great pic's! Can I just add that when installing a used RodShifter, dis-assemble the black box under the stick shift. Take a close look at where the stamped steel bucket(it has the bushing in it) is swedged onto the shift tube. If there is ANY slop-weld them together. Even if no slop yet-weld it! Also apply fresh lube in the bushing where the stick shift ball sits & lube up the foreward section of the shift tube where it slides in the black box at the front. & do not forget to lube the rear support slide also. Here is a pic:
    [​IMG]
     
    87hurricane likes this.
  3. NebraskaSHO

    NebraskaSHO Harumph! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    323
    Occupation:
    Shop Teacher
    Location:
    Omaha
    I love it that there is a combine in the last picture.

    Good write up. Look for some how-to's in the V8 section within the next couple weeks. Canon GL1 FTW.
     
  4. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I've never done that before. Thanks for the heads up. Is that was causes the shifter to be somewhat sloppy over time? Welding usually cures the problem?
     
  5. Storm-Chaser

    Storm-Chaser SHO Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Messages:
    2,786
    Likes Received:
    256
    Location:
    Shit Louis
    Damn !


    The rod shift and brackets look brand new ! :dribble:


    Btw, where did you get your replacement exhaust pipe and resonator?



     
  6. 87hurricane

    87hurricane SHO Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    State College, PA
    I highly reccomend welding the rod. I had my shifter out, so I tore it apart yesterday, and it was loose between the rod and shift bucket. 5 mins worth of welding, and the problem is solved. Can't wait to try out the car with its nice new tight linkage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
    SHObill likes this.
  7. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Where exactly are you welding again? I'm slow. :nut:
     
  8. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    From the great people off the SHOforum. :salute:

    I probably had a hair over $150 dollars total into the whole setup shipped & installed. Just keep a good eye out, and the parts will pop up cheap enough.
     
  9. blacklabel

    blacklabel SHO Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    22
    Occupation:
    Student for Mech Engineering
    Location:
    Hartford, WI
    Thanks for posting the how to. It will definitely help me out if I ever change from my cable to a rod shifter.
     
  10. SHO_DOODmorrris

    SHO_DOODmorrris Owner & Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    110
    Location:
    Alberta
    Hi there, i will be doing this upgrade soon to my 89 and was wondering where you got the bent exhaust pipe from? is it best to just replace the whole exhaust system while your untder there? including a equal lentgth y pipe? thanks in advance

    -mitch
     
  11. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Eh, not necessarily. That mid pipe is the hardest part to deal with even when replacing your catback or installing a rod shifter IMO (because of it being crusted/sealed onto your catback). So replacing the other sections of the exhaust is going to be easier rather you do it right then and there or a few months down the road.
     
  12. green91SHOPlus

    green91SHOPlus SHO Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    Could this be followed when converting an ATX car to MTX? Also, I don't know if it's me, but it seems like tutorial isn't PERFECTLY clear as to where to cut and drill. I'm not complaining, I just want to make sure to do it right the first time. Not much room for error in a floor board, haha. Thanks!
     
  13. Bizzy

    Bizzy Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
    Messages:
    13,218
    Likes Received:
    1,445
  14. Phoenix

    Phoenix SHOHOLIC

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,767
    Likes Received:
    1,646
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Delivery
    Location:
    QC , Canada
    Home Page:
    Awesome writeup , This could be added for a ATX-MTX conversion (cutting floor and such) 2 thumbs up :thumb::thumb:
     
  15. FREAKSHO_93

    FREAKSHO_93 Cobra Commander

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    177
    Location:
    Nebraska
    No prob, Bizz. :thumb:

    You are exactly right. You won't find where you need to cut though until you dig up all that black gooey stuff with a flathead screwdriver. I forgot to mention that earlier.
     
    green91SHOPlus likes this.
  16. green91SHOPlus

    green91SHOPlus SHO Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    Yeah, sorry to be the downer on an otherwise bulletproof tutorial. Maybe another member can submit an embellishment detailing the cut and drill procedure? I can use my mtx car for a reference, of course, but I'm an anal retentive planner. So if I can't perfectly envision how it goes in my mind, I obsess over it, hahaha. Thank you very much, otherwise!
     
  17. revhardSHO

    revhardSHO SHO Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,984
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    How much did you cut off of the rod shifter?

    I was able to remove 3/4" from the rod before changing the geometry of the shift knob.
     
  18. sho_bc

    sho_bc Dragonboater

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    14
    Occupation:
    "guest services"
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Home Page:
    for where to drill, take a look at this photo:
    [​IMG]
    you can sort of make out the little dimples at the base of the photo in the "polished" silver area, the recessed rectangles. drill right through those dimples. and the other two holes are up at the top of the photo where it looks like there are two small rectangular raised sections, with larger droplets of oil/grease. you can also feel the little dimples. all gen1 cable shifted cars have them.

    what i did when drilling my holes, to make sure i put them in the right place at all four corners, i dabbed a paint pen's paint onto the tips of the bracket screws and lined it up with the bottom dimples (the only ones i could see/feel on my car) and pressed down. VOILA! 4 red dots of where to drill holes. after drilling the holes, first double checking to make sure i had the plate facing the right direction, i put the bracket flush against the floor pan, bolts through the holes. i then traced the outlines of the hole in the floor that i needed to cut, removed the bracket, and had at it. after making sure the hole was the proper size, i started assembly. (i had a slightly different process due to installing a SHOrt Shifter, but aside from different hole dimensions, its exactly the same)


    also, i've noted it in other rod shifter conversion threads that have come up, but you don't need to replace the shifter boot/boot panel with a newer one. it makes ZERO difference to the performance of the rod shifter. i prefer the look of the wider-opening cable shifter panel with my 89's center consol, so i kept it.
     
  19. Irish Pride

    Irish Pride Irish Inside Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,703
    Likes Received:
    2,479
    Occupation:
    Owner of A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of
    Location:
    MusicCityUSA
    i am planning on upgrading my 91 PLUS to a rod shifter and this write up will be very useful. i do have one question though. i can probably do everything myself except for the exhaust work. could i take my care to an exhaust shop and have the new pipe installed before i actually make the swap or will it get in the way with the existing cable shifter? mahalo.
     
  20. sho_bc

    sho_bc Dragonboater

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    14
    Occupation:
    "guest services"
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Home Page:
    you can probably install the pipe on your own. or, you could run an open y-pipe to the exhaust shop after the install. :naughty:
     

Share This Page

If you wish to help keep SHOforum running, please click the donation button below