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Four-Speed Hurst Shifter Install

Grab A Gear, And You’ll Be Shifting Like A Pro In No Time

Scott Crouse Jan 1, 2003

Step By Step

Pay close attention to the way each shift arm is located on the transmission. The arms are designed to angle away from each other to promote shift-rod clearance. Even though these arms will fit several ways on the transmission, there is only one correct way. The rod controls the Third and Fourth gearshift, the longest middle rod controls the First and Second gearshift, and the shortest rod controls Reverse gear.

The Hurst shifter housing uses six bushings, one on each end of the three rods. Hurst offers steel or nylon bushing kits with all the necessary spring clips. Nylon bushings reduce noise and deliver respectable performance. Steel bushings are designed for race applications.

Be sure to install new bushings between the shift arm and shift rod. These bushings are designed to act as a cushion to position the rod.

To prevent binding, it’s a good idea to deburr all of the shift arms with a sanding stone.

Once a nylon bushing has been installed on one side of the shift arm, a special wire clip holds the rod firmly in place. While this factory design works well, it can be improved by adding an AN-style 0.030-inch-thick washer with a 3/8-inch inside diameter...

...between the arm and spring.

The shifter must rest in the Neutral position during this adjustment. Hurst supplies a 0.250-inch-thick plastic pin to hold the shifter in Neutral. If you don’t have one of these tools, try a 1/4-inch drill bit or make your own 1/4-inch steel rod (arrow). With the shifter in Neutral and the shift-rod ends adjusted, the shift-rod ends can be threaded until they slide easily into the shifter. It is best to start with the Reverse rod and work outward. Be sure to work carefully as this will determine how well your shifter works.

Before reinstalling the transmission back into your car, you must adjust the shifter stops. The First and Third gear stop is located on the back of the shifter tower (A). The Second and Fourth gear stop is on the front of the tower (B).

If you have a used Hurst shifter and don’t know how it bolts to your transmission, you can log onto and find out. Go to the Hurst section of the site, find your application, and print out the installation instructions. This saves hours of trying to figure out how all those arms and levers connect.

Imagine watching a stoplight turn green and dropping the clutch to pull ahead of the car next to you. As the revs climb, you depress the clutch and grab Second gear. The shifter feels sloppy, and you find yourself searching for a gear—any gear. It’s frustrating and could even be dangerous if you had to get out of the way of a runaway cement truck. There’s little point to having a performance car if you can’t find the gear you want, when you want it. If you’ve ever experienced this problem, it’s time for a new shifter.

The feeling of being pinned in your seat while blasting gears is second to none. Companies such as Richmond, Tremec, and Borg Warner offer stout gearboxes, but the grandfather of the GM performance manual trans lineage has to be the Muncie four-speed. Over the years, this quality four-speed box backed both big- and small-blocks. The same praise cannot be lavished on the Muncie shifter. Frankly, it was abysmal. If you are looking to help out your Muncie four-speed, the Hurst Competition-Plus shifter is the way to go. Its carefully constructed design promotes a positive feel with gear-grabbing precision. Follow along as we show you how to set one up and tune it. You’ll be shifting like a pro in no time.


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