Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
January 1, 2001

Step By Step

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Kirban’s Kwik 5-speed Shifter features an all-billet construction and internal coil springs that provide equal tension for smooth shifts versus original factory springs that cause a ratchety feel when shifted. You don’t have to modify the factory inner boot, though it will fit snug due to the shifter stop mechanism.
Detailed, easy-to-read instructions are included with the shifter so don’t be afraid to try this at home. We installed the Kirban onto an SN-95 Mustang, which is easier than on a Fox body, but it’s still basically the same steps for both cars. This is where the shifter attaches. Make sure the car is in Neutral before removing the factory shifter and that the mounting surface is clean of all RTV silicone before installing the new shifter.
Apply a thin bead of RTV silicone to the mounting surface and install the shifter in place using the supplied bolts. Then install the shifter handle using the Allen-head bolts.
There are nut-and-bolt arrangements known as shifter stops on the front and back of the shifter. These stops keep the shifter from overextending the shift forks (not good). Put the shifter in Third gear and adjust the front stop nut and bolt. Do the same for the rear by putting the shifter in Fourth and repeating the process. Kirban recommends leaving a 0.010-inch gap between the stop and shift lever. Using a piece of folded paper will suffice if you don’t have a gapping tool. Double-check the clearance by rowing through the gears a couple times before you close it up.
Reinstall the inner boot, connect the ashtray element and outer boot, and you’re done. With the Kirban billet polished shifter knob installed, we’re ready to grab a gear and stab the throttle. We felt it wasn’t as notchy, or positive, as other shifters on the market—but that’s good. It’s a shifter that bridges the gap between strip and street. That’s how we like it around here. 5.0

Back in the April 2000 issue (“T5 Shifter Test Drive,” p. 39) we banged gears using all the performance T5 and T45 shifters on the market. Or so we thought.

We totally forgot one of the originals—the Kirban Kwik 5-speed Shifter. The Kirban shifter debuted in 1996 when it was developed using a ’96 Cobra with a T45 transmission. At the time of its introduction, no one knew if T5 and T45 transmissions shared the same mounting platform. Kirban was the first to develop a shifter for the T45 transmission. Today Kirban’s shifter fits ’83-’99 Mustangs, including V-6 and Cobra models.

Adding a shifter to your Mustang is one of the easiest things you can do to it. If you’re not sure how to do the work, Kirban includes easy-to-read instructions. The Kirban carries a lifetime warranty, has billet construction, and is completely anodized to guard against corrosion. Second-to-Third shifts are made smoother and quicker with a 40-percent reduction in gear-throw length.

Sound good? Well, Kirban doesn’t sell direct, so in order to get your hands on one of its shifters contact any number of mail-order outlets, including Anderson Ford Motorsport [(800) 234-3106], California Mustang [(800) 775-0101], Laurel Mountain Mustang [(724) 696-9665], or Mustangs Unlimited [(800) 243-7278]. You’ll be rewarded with cleaner, firmer shifts, for a competitive price in the $170-$180 range.