Wayne Cook
July 7, 2008

Road racers who literally have to wrestle their cars around the road course will certainly appreciate the MasterShift Manual Shifter. It enables you to shift your manual H-pattern transmission while leaving both hands on the steering wheel. It provides a quick and reliable electronically controlled gear selection in the transmission. As you can see in the demonstration set up, the MasterShift unit is coupled to the transmission through two shift cables and a transmission adapter. Shifting is accomplished by touching the shift buttons or paddles, then depressing the clutch pedal and the MasterShift unit will push or pull the shift cables to the requested position. It's also possible to pre-program or stack multiple shifts by pressing the paddle or button several times before pressing the clutch pedal. The Manual Shifter will then move straight to the requested gear position when the clutch pedal is depressed. The MasterShift controller waits with the shift until the clutch pedal is pressed. This feature can be used for delayed shifting.

For example, you can drive into a curve anticipating that you'll have to shift down into Second gear. You press the paddles the required number of times and no actual shifting will occur until you press the clutch pedal. If you don't press the clutch pedal for a configurable amount of time, the Manual Shifter cancels the shift.

There is a Neutral safety feature that enables a safety push-button that must be pressed every time the driver wants to shift from First into Neutral. This will prevent accidental shifts into Neutral during normal driving. When the Reverse safety feature is enabled, the safety switch must be pressed every time the driver wants to shift into Reverse. This feature is to prevent accidental shifts into Reverse while the car is moving forward. It serves the same purpose as the mechanical lock-out, or detent, on the original shifter.

The Clutch Safety feature makes sure that a shift isn't attempted while the clutch pedal is not depressed. This requirement can be met with either a mechanical switch or an inline hydraulic pressure switch. The paddle shifter is wired with a OneWire board and can be used on vehicles with most aftermarket steering wheels and steering columns. Complete systems for five-speed manual transmissions start at $3,100.

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