None of them should really feel much better than another aftermarket shifter. They are merely a non-compliant ball-socket and stick. Some have limiting bolts to supposedly keep you from putting too much pressure on the shift forks. The entire shift mechanism itself is internal to the transmission.
I have the MAC shifter and it feels the same as the Hurst, Pro or Steeda shifter. None of the shifters I have seen offer a substantially shorter throw over the others unless the stick, itself, was shorter.
One of the biggest things that seperates a good shifter from a bad one is noise. Cheap ones like MAC and UPR tend to buzz and chatter, although functionally they are as good as any other. I've owned the following shifters over the years:
Hurst competition plus
Hurst Billet Plus
Out of all of those, the Hurst billet plus was the best one for me. I like my shifter to be quiet, and I like them to be close to stock height. The billet Hurst is both. I realize that in a noisy car like a Cobra that shifter racket means nothing, but in all of my street Mustangs it was very important.
I'll say that the Hurst Comp Plus shifter and the UPR were both fine pieces of machinery, but once they get some miles on them they clatter quite a bit. The Pro 5.0 shifter had a very odd kink in the 2-3 gate that I never really got used to.
The bottom line is that each shifter brings its own set of characteristics to the table, and none of the shifters are much worse than the others.
Randy, I have to disagree... I used to believe that myself, but having tried a few different types over the years, I do believe there is a difference in design. On my '84 GT, I changed the stock shifter for one that was offered in the FMS catalog. It was a MUCH shoter throw. Some years later, I bought a Hurst from Saleen, and it was not really shorter throw, but felt smoother. The Steeda, as well as the Pro 5.0 both have some type of internal spring mechanism in the internal gating that allows for a more positive shift from 2-3 gear, which is a very important feature for fast shifting with T-5's at least. The positive stop bolts in the aftermarket shifters do help when slamming through the gears on the weak shift forks of the T-5 too which helps you get a few more trouble free miles out of the trans. Most of the better aftermarket units have the stop bolts for this reason.
Brian - I think you might want to take a look at the new MAC shifter.
No buzz (that I can tell) but then again I can't hear much over the sidepipes.
If the PRO 5.0 shifter in my shop was not labeled as such, it could be mistaken to be the clone that the MAC shifter is..
The MAC shifter is also spring loaded. When you just push the shift lever forward from 2nd gear, it hits the neutral gate and automatically snaps over in line to go into 3rd gear.
The MAC also has shifter stop bolts.
If I had known it was a Chinese knock-off of the 2nd design Hurst shifter, I would have never bought it even though it was priced $50 cheaper than the Pro.
I had an original design Hurst shifter in my old SCCA American Sedan Camaro and it was a real POC. It leaked trans fluid vapors around the socket area. The throw of the shifter (I thought) was actually a little longer than the factory shifter.
I have the hurst short throw in my 90 Gt. I love it. No noise, stop bolts, and I never miss a shift. That could be my superb driving skill though and not the product of a well designed shifter. But in all seriousness, I have never had the opportunity to try another one (besides stock, which is junk).
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