So, Tony and I got together one recent Saturday morning and within roughly one hour had, from start to finish, swapped out the OEM shifter for a new Hurst Billet/Plus(tm) Competition Shifter (whew!), PN 391 5085. The needed tools were few; a T15 Torx driver, 10mm wrench, 3/8 and 9/16 inch wrenches, 3/16 and 1/4 inch hex key (Allen) wrenches, a small-to-medium size flat blade screwdriver, a pair of Vise-Grips, and a hammer. Our personal recommendation would be to have the following on hand: a Torx driver, metric and standard sockets, hex key/Allen wrenches in 3/8 inch drive with a 3/8 inch ratchet wrench, a screwdriver-type Torx driver, metric and standard boxed/open end combo wrenches, and a old-fashioned hand-held hex/Allen wrenches. That way you'll cover every possibility.
With the needed tools on hand, the job is a no-brainer (Hey, Tony and I did it and made it seem simple!). Hurst's instructions were clear and straightforward-follow them and it'll be almost impossible to screw up.
The real proof of the worth for a modification is if the consumer is pleased with his purchase. Tony was, and still is. As soon as we'd buttoned things up and he slipped behind the wheel, (in the shop) to test throw a few shifts, he started grinning like a fool, We went for a relatively short test ride that Saturday, and the more he drove, the happier he seemed to be. I took a turn and would have to say that this was the best shifting production C5 I've ever driven. A few weeks later, his comments include, "The Second to Third shifts are positive and effortless, the best I've ever experienced." "The car is a lot more fun to drive. Before, it was fun; now it's a LOT of fun! It's a pleasure to use if you want to play." And, "Why doesn't Chevrolet do this from the factory?"
Depending on how you perceive things, there is a downside (or two) to the short throw shifter-there's a slight increase in noise and the shorty shifter definitely takes a little bit more muscle to operate. And ol' Tony doesn't mind at all.