The Miata is a fun car to drive.
The magazines rave about them. The owners rave about them. The Internet raves about them. Hell I rave about them. But what isn’t fun, is when the shift setup in your Miata looks like the one in the picture above.
On the drive home after I bought my car, I noticed that it was difficult finding 3rd gear and that getting back into 1st gear at a stop was a bit of a pain as well. The shift setup had so much play in it, that even in gear, you could breath on it and it would move side to side.I could also peek through the ripped shift boot and see the ground rushing past, underneath the car. Right then I knew that fixing my shifter was going to be top priority.
Once I got it home, I decided a through inspection was in order. Obviously, the shift boot in that picture has long since seen it’s glory days. While you may think that a ripped shift boot is the least of my worries, it gets much, much, worse.
This friends, is what was waiting for me underneath the console when I removed it. That rubber ring? There is a middle accordion like piece that should be there. Usually attached to that white plastic ring. If you notice where I am pointing, the lower boot that sits on the turret of the transmission was ripped and leaking. Well, I now knew where that gear oil smell was coming from! What was then needed was a serious R&R stat! I broke out my laptop, opened up Google Chrome and started to research Miata shifter rebuilds.
What did I find?
My search led me to 5X Racing ( http://www.5xracing.com ), which is a site that specializes in racing Miatas. After reading a bit I decided to order from them for two reasons: their Race Spec upgrade kit and the options.
The shifter rebuild kits come in two flavors. The basic kit ( $62.00 without the upper boot / $87.00 with it ), that comes with a plastic bushing, and for $15.00 more, the Race Spec kit ( $77.00 without the upper boot / $102.00 with it ) that includes a brass shifter bushing. On it own, the brass bushing normally costs $30.00, so if you get it in the Race Spec kit, its 50% off! I plan on in the future taking my car autocrossing, and from the research I have done, the stock plastic bushing can become a weak link in the shifter mechanism, often cracking and breaking. $15.00 for a bit of future proofing is a pretty good deal in my book. They also include in both kits, the lower shift boot from the 06 + MX-5’s, which they claim to be superior to the NA / NB units. The lower shift boot is an OEM Mazda part as well in the packaging.
Most of the kits I came across didn’t offer the upper shift boot. Sure you could order it separately, but waiting for individual parts to arrive is downer. Knowing that I could receive everything at the same time, as well as receiving OEM Mazda parts sealed the deal for me. Especially since my upper shift boot was nonexistant, I could see the ground underneath the car while I drove and the extra noise and heat from the exhaust was hindering my enjoyment of my Miata!
All in all, its a great kit if you are going to be doing some R&R on your shifter. All the boots are Mazda OEM, everything you need is included, only thing I had to go to the auto parts store for was some gear oil to fill the shifter turret. 5X Racing also has the installation instructions on their website just in case you might need them. Shipping was fast, and WOW! My shifter feels like brand new after everything was installed. Rebuilding the shifter might not be as glamorous a mod as installing a new exhaust, but it definitely increases the enjoyment factor!
You can catch my installation video here on the site and on the FiveFiveGarage YouTube channel!