Custom Shift Cable

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 6 Transmission/Drivetrain' started by Trithemius, Aug 19, 2016.

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  1. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    The GOODS are in post #3. I know, so far down.


    So my shift cable (fore-aft) has broken in more ways than one. Nothing new. It's currently barely holding on using solder, an injector clamp, and some fuel hose. I think the stock cables are poorly designed, so I'm not going to spend $300 on them.

    My plan is to get a custom cable made from here. MidWestControl It'll be a whole lot cheaper than the factory ones and made better as well. Should be around $55 before shipping.

    I can't order cables until I know the length of the old ones. This is my daily, so I don't want to just yank them out.

    So here's what I need. I'm looking for someone that has some MS6 shift cables lying around, broken or new, that will measure them from one ball joint end to the other. I'm also looking for dimensions on the flange/bracket thing that mounts them to the firewall.

    If you have some busted ones that you'd like to send me instead, I'd be happy to work that out, may even be able to reuse the bracket instead of making a new one.

    Some evidence of carnage so far.
    The beginning.jpg shifter with fuel hose.jpg ugh.jpg not pretty.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
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  2. BrandonNicholson

    BrandonNicholson Greenie Member

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    BrandonNicholson, via an iPhone, Aug 19, 2016
    #2
  3. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    It finally broke. Like snapped. I put it off way to long. She was stuck in 3rd gear for my ride home.

    I stuck to my guns and did not get new cables from Mazda. I went CUSTOM(ish). Like I said before, I went through http://www.midwestcontrol.com/, but I replaced both cables, not just one. No more plastic ball joints. No more half inch of slop in said ball joints. No more ball joints period. All metal construction (except flexible housings, of course). And less than a third the price of new OEM cables.

    TL:DR...THEY'RE GOOD!

    I kind of failed when it came to taking lots of pictures, but I'll share what I've got.

    The Bad
    [​IMG]

    And the Better
    The rubber boots are just seals, not structural parts like on the original cables.
    (I expect compliments on the rug.)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I removed the ball joints which left holes for the rod ends to pass through. I just used a dremel to grind the weld off and then pulled the ball out. I have pictures I can post of that if you really want me to, but you can probably figure it out.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also went ahead and drilled a new hole on the fore/aft crank arm to shorten the throw, same as an ssp. Figured why not while I was at it. 30% reduction.
    (These pictures were taken with some nuts and final adjustment missing)
    [​IMG]

    I had a friend make a new bracket to hold the cables, since the geometry of the ends was different, and they needed to be held much further back from the front.
    [​IMG]

    And a crap picture of it "installed".
    [​IMG]

    The shortened throw is really nice, but where it really shines is how precise it is. I wish I had a video of how sloppy the plastic joints on the old cables were. But this mod has improved the shift feel tremendously. There is no slop in the cables now. Just in the transmission itself and in the stick assembly itself. And because the ends thread on with 28tpi threads, small adjustments can be made to dial it in.

    It was a good deal of work, but the hard part was just getting the old cables out, which I would have had to do anyway. Getting the new cables in was far easier, partly because the bulkheads are much smaller. And I'm so much happier with the new cables.

    They do have a bit more resistance in moving, but it's not enough to make a difference while driving. The notchiness and heavy feel of it really is how it should have been from the factory. It feels sporty, quick, and precise now.

    If you want a more precise shifter and have failing cables, this is the way to go. For $80 plus shipping ($20 something) I couldn't be happier. The cables are built in a way that they can't fall apart. And they were shipped within two days of ordering. If you want specifics (length, parts, etc) on the cables for ordering, let me know.


    I plan on getting a heavier shift knob at some point because I think that will improve the feel even more.

    The next update will be the installation of physical stop for the shifter, to keep from stressing the new cables. Think......a kind of gated shifter. It's gonna be good.
     
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  4. Chinchilla Dakilla

    Chinchilla Dakilla Silver Member

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    Great post! Hopefully I won't have to do this one day, but if I do its going to be a fun project.
     
  5. ToyCop

    ToyCop Greenie Member

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    Those cables look stout. Props for the rug if it is real Zebra. :machinegun:
     
  6. HawkeyeGeoff

    HawkeyeGeoff MSO Chicks Silver Member

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    @Trithemius definitely post where you ordered them from, exact dimensions, all that stuff. Pretty much your order.

    This seems like a phenomenal replacement!!
     
  7. Enki

    Enki Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Make it a kit (with bracket) and I'm in to buy one with a reasonable markup.
     
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  8. HawkeyeGeoff

    HawkeyeGeoff MSO Chicks Silver Member

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    Ditto. Or just give us the stuff and I'll put in the time to make it for the community. #singleguystuff

    @Farhan@DM maybe an option for you guys as well?

    I have some ways to measure the differences as well. If it's really that much of a difference, I will know pretty quick.
     
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  9. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    I ordered them from http://www.midwestcontrol.com/, specifically their push pull cable configurator, http://www.midwestcontrol.com/linkage/. The order was their 40 series high efficiency cable, 57.5 inches, 3 inch throw bulkhead style assembly at both ends, with an MTF-4S fitting at each end (it's a ways down the page) x2, since the car has 2 cables.

    I'll have to get back to you on a kit, my friend who made the bracket is figuring out if he can do it or not. If that doens't pan out, I can post up a drawing for it. Keep in mind this is for the MS6, the 3 is definitely different. The cables would have to be measured and the bracket redone. The MS6 cables are 59 inches from ball to ball, but midwestcontrol measures thread to thread, that's why my order ended up being 57.5 inches. They have diagrams of all the fittings so everything can be calculated as far as fitment before ordering. I would be cautious about ordering for an MS3 until you are sure of the measurements though. I'd even be willing to help out on that if pictures with measurements can be provided, since I don't have immediate access to a speed3.

    Their prices drop dramatically with bulk orders, so a group buy would make sense.

    It's cool to see so much interest in it.
     
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  10. Enki

    Enki Motorhead Platinum Member

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    I have my old cables laying around somewhere actually.
     
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  11. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    If you find them, measure the length from ball joint to ball joint, as well as from the mounting point to the mid travel of the throw at the ball joint at each end, like this.
    [​IMG]

    For the bracket, a tracing, including the holes, while also measuring the holes and taking some pictures would probably be enough.
     
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  12. Maisonvi

    Maisonvi Silver Member

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    If your friend cant make the brackets. I know a guy who can probably haha. The trick is I would need a drawing or something. This is a good find overall and I would be down to help get something going for people as I know its needed in a few cases.

    Also, I know a guy who makes heavy shift knobs if you are still looking. lol
     
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  13. HawkeyeGeoff

    HawkeyeGeoff MSO Chicks Silver Member

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    welp @Maisonvi and @Trithemius because I just bought this MS6....and have a problem with modding...I may want to give this a shot. There's going to be nothing to do on this vehicle this winter so this seems like a fun weekend project. I'm in for MS6 #2 to do this.
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 27, 2016 ---
    @Trithemius did you just use the OEM piece to attach it to the firewall? Item #4 (the double cheeseburger meal) in the diagram.
     

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  14. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    Yeah I reused it. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of how exactly I did it. But when I get to a computer I'll post a picture of the part and try to describe it. Let's just say I didn't put much effort into it.
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 27, 2016 ---
    I don't think me making a kit is going to happen. I'll probably post up a drawing as soon as I get a chance. I'll let you know when I do.
     
    Trithemius, via a Nexus device, Oct 27, 2016
    #14
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  15. HawkeyeGeoff

    HawkeyeGeoff MSO Chicks Silver Member

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    @Maisonvi you in to partner for this? I got single guy time. And both an MS3 and a MS6.
     
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  16. Maisonvi

    Maisonvi Silver Member

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    I can do like I did for the bumper tab brackets. 3d print one and you can try it out, then I can look at getting some made.
     
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  17. HawkeyeGeoff

    HawkeyeGeoff MSO Chicks Silver Member

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    just like that. We should only need one bracket unless we need to do something with the firewall mount if it proves to be not great chopping up the original.
     
  18. Enki

    Enki Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Hell I could mail my genwon bracket off for measurement if needed, along with cables to whoever would be interested in doing kits. I don't have the time or energy to make one currently, or I would.
     
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  19. monkey.bones.007

    monkey.bones.007 Platinum Member

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    monkey.bones.007, via a mobile device, Oct 27, 2016
    #19
  20. Trithemius

    Trithemius Expert N00b Silver Member

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    @Maisonvi Here's the bracket drawings for the MS6. My drawing skills suck, and there's mixing of units, sorry about that. Everything was done with 1/8 inch plate.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    @HawkeyeGeoff Here's a picture of the firewall bracket and a 1st grade representation of what I did with it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The red represents cutting. I cut the little clamps off and cut slits down what was left to make pushing the cables through easier. I also removed the nuts and washers and end links from the cables so that there was only a 5/8 inch assembly going through the rubber. I didn't do anything to secure it, but you could add injector clamps on to the rubber afterwards to keep it secure/seal it.
     
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