How to Shift Your TREMEC Transmission Like a Hero

How to Shift Your TREMEC Transmission Like a Hero 1

To shift like a hero, you need to hit all the gears quickly and properly. That takes practice, knowing your car, knowing your clutch and having a good shifter. With modern, internal shift-rail manual transmissions, shifting like a pro is an achievable goal. To help with that, we talked to one of our customers, who shifts his car to 9-second quarter-mile passes over and over again.

Jeff Smith is a former TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout winner with his 2004 Mustang Cobra, which he regularly drives on the street. He’s one of the best manual-transmission drivers on the NMRA circuit. He shifts his TREMEC Magnum 6-speed so smoothly, you’d think the shifter was simply an extension of his arm. We asked Jeff what tips he’d give to drivers who want to shift their own gears like a pro and shave some tenths off their quarter-mile elapsed times.

TREMEC: What’s the first mistake most drivers make when trying to shift faster?

Jeff: I think a lot of guys get nervous or overeager and end up trying to make those perfect shifts too hard, which causes them to miss shifts they wouldn’t in normal situations where they’re not being timed, watched or showing off a bit.

TREMEC: What are the three most important elements for better shifting?

Jeff: Practice your shifting, develop a routine/consistent shifting method that becomes a natural habit no matter what and know when to shift. Also get experience with your particular transmission and how it likes to be shifted in different circumstances. Before hitting the track and going all out, it’s a good idea to get some normal driving experience with your transmission to get a feel for how it likes to be shifted.

How to Shift Your TREMEC Transmission Like a Hero 1
The shifter gate is designed to help when you’re shifting gears. Shifting aggressively and exerting a lot of force on the shifter can easily lead to missed shifts and gear-grinding.

TREMEC: How do you let the shifter gate work for you instead of against you?

Jeff: If the transmission and clutch are working properly, the shifter itself will help you shift better. This is where being over-aggressive when shifting can work against you. The shifter is designed to help you find the right gear unless you overpower it by trying to force the shift, or your shifter has loose tolerances and/or is out of adjustment. A properly adjusted, quality shifter should require only modest effort and direction to go into the proper gear.

How to Shift Your TREMEC Transmission Like a Hero 2
The shifter gate is designed to help when you’re shifting gears. Shifting aggressively and exerting a lot of force on the shifter can easily lead to missed shifts and gear-grinding.

TREMEC: How do you let the shifter gate work for you instead of against you?

Jeff: If the transmission and clutch are working properly, the shifter itself will help you shift better. This is where being over-aggressive when shifting can work against you. The shifter is designed to help you find the right gear unless you overpower it by trying to force the shift, or your shifter has loose tolerances and/or is out of adjustment. A properly adjusted, quality shifter should require only modest effort and direction to go into the proper gear.

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