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370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Verdict: GT-4 with Raceseng Traction heavyweight knob.

After 6 months of using the base, S and GTS standard shifter I installed the Numeric version. After several weeks I then re-installed the OEM shifter after lopping off 1.5 inches from the stalk to turn it into the equivalent of the GT-4 shifter. Here are my impressions:

I will describe the other shifters in relation to the one that comes in the car. I was extremely satisfied with the feel of the shifter except for how high the knob sits. If it weren't for that I probably wouldn't have started messing around in the first place........

I tried this first because I figured if I was going for it, might as well go "big". For those that don't aren't familiar with the piece, the stock assembly is mostly plastic. The Numeric is entirely made of metal.

Shifts became much more notched in. Mounting a 375g shift knob smoothed out the notchiness almost completely. Doing so reduced the "rumble-like" feedback that is felt as the knob is moved into gear. The knob comes to a hard "stop" at the end of the throw--there is no give whatsoever. There is also a sense that the lever itself is more rigid even though side to side play when in gear is hardly any different. Everything about a shift tells you the mechanism is much more solid overall.

OEM with shortened lever:
I decided to see what the GT-4 shifter would be like. Aside from the length of the lever it is supposedly identical to the OEM unit. I therefore simply modified my lever by lopping off 1.5 inches. That also cut off the slots that center the stock knob on the stalk. The Raceseng knob mounting adaptor is an open cylinder with no slots and held in place with set screws. The design also allows about 1.5 inches of adjustment. Saved me buying a GT-4 shifter unless/until I decided I'd prefer the stock knob.

Before putting the stock shifter in I measured the height of the OEM knob and what I'd get with the Raceseng. The latter was 0.5 inches shorter than the former at its lowest point and 1 inch longer at its highest. By taking the lever down the 1.5 inches I could lower the knob height between 0.5 and 2 inches (pictures showing measurements below). I only tried it at its lowest position which put my forearm almost level with the center cubby lid.

No surprise, it fit right between the others. The throws seemed shorter as expected. They were also notchier but less so than the Raceseng. The "rumble" remained pretty much unchanged from stock and the stops at the end of throws were ever-so-slightly cushier than the Numeric's.

I put the stock knob on to see what that would feel like despite it wanting to rotate around on the stalk. Compared to the Raceseng, the notchiness increased another notch (sorry, I couldn't resist that one). Though the shift effort itself decreased so too did the sense of connection to the mechanism.

So far I've tried to be as objective as I could. My personal feelings:

I think everyone would find the lowered knob an improvement. The arm angle is more natural. The throws feel more direct--Probably a function of them being shorter but can't make that call without having a stock car to compare.

Being the baby in my family I proved true to form and preferred the "Goldilocks" option ie, the cut off stock lever with the heavy knob at its lowest position. I liked the greater "rumble" feedback over the amount I felt with the Numeric and the increased direct feel over stock. The heavy knob makes a big difference, too. Without it, the shifter felt a little "flimsy"--Subtly so in that on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd still give OEM a solid 8.5.

That solid stop on the Numeric bothered me. In 3rd gear my preferred grip had it irritating my carpal tunnel. Interestingly, there was more to this than just it being steel vs plastic in construction. The stock unit has very small white bushings that cushion that impact. Most of all I missed that rumble. Of all the things that make up shifting "feel", that's highest on my list.

Overall, what I'd say is that leave it to Porsche to get it (almost) right. While the stock shifter is too high everything else about it matches the car. It's tight but not harsh. A heavy knob heightens the experience as well by tightening things up another notch.

Numeric caters to track/racing aficionados and it shows. If you participate in those events and/or like the stiffer set-ups that go with that it would might better match your preferences.

Hope this helps people decide what they'd choose if they are considering making a change.

Now for the comedy routine: If this helps you, you can pay me $5 in tuition for the course. If I get 200 of you I'll become a not-for-profit educational institution. Also, it's more penance for my out-of-left-field rant over what turned out to be a simple tire inflation issue.

Musical instrument Light Automotive tire Gas Wood

Raceseng high vs low
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The stock bushings
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The final choice
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370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I saw on a review site that the short shifter has a different linkage than stock. I cannot confirm this.
In my case, cutting the stalk/heavy knob was "free" since I already had the knob. I knew before I started my journey that with either the GT-4 or Numeric there was a Raceseng in my future. I figured I'd cut the shifter and, if I wasn't OK with that I'd get the GT-4. No need as I'm smiling with every shift.

If you're taking your first shot sure, go with the GT-4. You can always follow with the knob. But if you don't think you'd go back to stock, or you believe reviews that say the notchiness is bothersome, get the knob and cut the stalk. You might save yourself the cost of the shifter.

Why am I such a shill for the heavy knob? When I short-shifted my Golf R I loved the throws, hated the notchiness. Forum research led me to trying the heavy knob. Shifts became like warm butter.

it's not a widely known trick. My very competent shop guys didn't know about it. They wondered why I was treating my Cayman like it was a Honda by throwing a mod in there. Well, I took THEM to school. Had them compare the stock knob to the Raceseng on the Numeric and they were vary impressed with the improvement.
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