Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Part 1

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Wayne Scraba breaks down Precision Performance's revolutionary shifters in Part 1 of his series.

More than twenty-five years ago, I had a conversation with an old friend in the racing automatic transmission business – Marv Ripes, the founder and then owner of A-1 Racing Automatics. We were discussing shifters and what was best for my race car application. (at that time, an NHRA Stock Eliminator Firebird Firehawk). Marv pointed out that the then new Precision Performance Kwik Shift shifter was light years ahead of the pack. While it was a relatively simple gate style shifter, the way it was engineered and built allowed it to function like a ratchet shifter. Once in first gear you just had to shove the handle forward to grab the next gear. There was no way the shifter could engage reverse or park accidently, it included an integral neutral safety switch and it could be ordered with a dedicated line lock switch. It was one of the lightest, most compact shifters available and the construction was of the highest quality. To add icing to the cake it was great looking. Marv was right (as usual). Eventually, this shifter became the go-to piece for a wide range of NHRA (and other) racers. And over time, some copycats have come and gone, but none of them offered (or offer) the wide range of applications provided by Precision Performance. Today, Precision Performance sells three different versions of the shifter – Kwik-Shift 1 manual shifter; Powershift air shifter and Kwik-Shift II manual shifter. In addition, the Kwik-Shift 1 for two speed applications can also be configured as an electric shifter. In terms of transmission coverage Precision Performance offers shifters for GM TH200, TH350, TH400 reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, GM TH350 and TH400 with safety neutral, GM Powerglide and TH400 with two speed conversion, GM TH700, 4L60 and 4L80 reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, Chrysler Torqueflite 727, 904 and 47RE with reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, Chrysler 48RE with reverse and manual valve bodies, Chrysler Torqueflite 727 and 904 with safety neutral, aftermarket Proflite and Prohydro transmissions, Ford C4 and C6 forward and reverse manual valve bodies and Ford C4 and C6 with safety neutral. Keep in mind not all of the shifter configurations are available for all combinations, and with the air shifter there are some additional options. You can even convert specific Kwik-Shifters to air shift (without having to buy a new Powershift air shifter). There are even options for specific shifters to have a pull to shift or push to shift gate, but Precision Performance suggests that push to shift is best for most applications. Whew. What’s the difference between the Kwik-Shift 1 and Kwik-Shift II? Primarily, it’s a trim difference. No polished bits on the less costly Kwik-Shift II. Both have the same quality of construction and the same features. In terms of operation, when leaving Neutral to Forward gear positions, depress the button on the top of the shifter handle and select 1st gear. To shift, simply push the handle forward (if it’s a push-to-shift setup) to engage 2nd and so on. When moving to Reverse or Park from the Forward gear positions, squeeze the lever and push the button simultaneously. If the transmission has a brake, then with in either 1st gear or Reverse (depending upon the setup), depress the button on the top of the handle and simultaneously squeeze the lever. This will activate the brake. Releasing the lever will automatically release the trans-brake. The shifters are equipped with a built-in neutral safety switch. When wired to the starter, it will allow shifting in Neutral or Park only. Proflite transmissions will start in Park and Safety Neutral. Prohydro transmissions will start in Park, Neutral and Safety Neutral. Precision Performance offers an incredibly wide range of accessories and options. Included in the mix are 12(!) different shifter cable combinations, starting at 2-feet and working all the way up to 13-feet. And if that isn’t enough, you can custom order special cable lengths, These gray color cables are designed with zero backlash and they’re required for use on the Precision Performance shifters. For a rear exit cable door car application, a 5-foot cable is recommended. For a front cable exit in a door car, Precision Performance recommends a 6-foot cable. If you decide to change cars or change transmission configurations (or if you misplace a bracket), you can purchase transmission lever and cable brackets separately or as a pair (bracket and lever). The bobbins installed on the cable brackets are available separately. It’s also possible to setup your shifter so that the cable has a quick disconnect at the shifter and at the transmission. Coiled line lock cords are available separately, with or without the shifter mounting brackets. You can also buy the switch handle bracket separately. As mentioned previously, electric and air shifters can be purchased separately, along with all of the components necessary for installation. Wiring harness packages for the transmission brake and neutral safety switch are available separately. Ditto with starter relays, shifter mounting side plates. Speaking of mounting, it’s possible to mount the various Kwik-Shifters directly to a custom fab roll cage mount (often in a dragster or altered), on a fabricated “post” mount (front, rear or center). With a post mount the shifter can be mounted in the exact location you require when belted in the car. Plenty of door cars use post mounts (where the post is part of a chassis crossmember or tube). The other option is by way of stainless billet shifter or lightweight aluminum mounting side plates. When ordering a Precision Performance shifter, you’ll find the process is all custom. Using the Kwik-Shift I as the example, you first select the transmission and valve body configuration. At this point, you can select pull or push to shift along with the base shifter color (certain applications). Next you select the transmission and lever bracket kit necessary for your car. Then, you chose the shifter accent colors (silver, black, blue or red). Select your desired cable shifter length, and then select your shifter mount configuration. Finally, you can select the line lock switch. Precision Performance can mount it on either the left or right side of the shifter (particularly useful for folks in countries with right hand steer cars). Keep in mind some of the above options are simply no charge choices while others are available at extra cost. What it does go to show is how tailored the shifter is for your application. That’s a wrap for this issue. Next time around, we’ll get into more details and installation tips. Watch for it. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Part 1

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Wayne Scraba breaks down Precision Performance's revolutionary shifters in Part 1 of his series.



More than twenty-five years ago, I had a conversation with an old friend in the racing automatic transmission business – Marv Ripes, the founder and then owner of A-1 Racing Automatics. We were discussing shifters and what was best for my race car application. (at that time, an NHRA Stock Eliminator Firebird Firehawk). Marv pointed out that the then new Precision Performance Kwik Shift shifter was light years ahead of the pack. While it was a relatively simple gate style shifter, the way it was engineered and built allowed it to function like a ratchet shifter. Once in first gear you just had to shove the handle forward to grab the next gear. There was no way the shifter could engage reverse or park accidently, it included an integral neutral safety switch and it could be ordered with a dedicated line lock switch. It was one of the lightest, most compact shifters available and the construction was of the highest quality. To add icing to the cake it was great looking.

Marv was right (as usual). Eventually, this shifter became the go-to piece for a wide range of NHRA (and other) racers. And over time, some copycats have come and gone, but none of them offered (or offer) the wide range of applications provided by Precision Performance. Today, Precision Performance sells three different versions of the shifter – Kwik-Shift 1 manual shifter; Powershift air shifter and Kwik-Shift II manual shifter. In addition, the Kwik-Shift 1 for two speed applications can also be configured as an electric shifter. In terms of transmission coverage Precision Performance offers shifters for GM TH200, TH350, TH400 reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, GM TH350 and TH400 with safety neutral, GM Powerglide and TH400 with two speed conversion, GM TH700, 4L60 and 4L80 reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, Chrysler Torqueflite 727, 904 and 47RE with reverse and forward pattern valve bodies, Chrysler 48RE with reverse and manual valve bodies, Chrysler Torqueflite 727 and 904 with safety neutral, aftermarket Proflite and Prohydro transmissions, Ford C4 and C6 forward and reverse manual valve bodies and Ford C4 and C6 with safety neutral. Keep in mind not all of the shifter configurations are available for all combinations, and with the air shifter there are some additional options. You can even convert specific Kwik-Shifters to air shift (without having to buy a new Powershift air shifter). There are even options for specific shifters to have a pull to shift or push to shift gate, but Precision Performance suggests that push to shift is best for most applications. Whew.

What’s the difference between the Kwik-Shift 1 and Kwik-Shift II? Primarily, it’s a trim difference. No polished bits on the less costly Kwik-Shift II. Both have the same quality of construction and the same features.

In terms of operation, when leaving Neutral to Forward gear positions, depress the button on the top of the shifter handle and select 1st gear. To shift, simply push the handle forward (if it’s a push-to-shift setup) to engage 2nd and so on. When moving to Reverse or Park from the Forward gear positions, squeeze the lever and push the button simultaneously.

If the transmission has a brake, then with in either 1st gear or Reverse (depending upon the setup), depress the button on the top of the handle and simultaneously squeeze the lever. This will activate the brake. Releasing the lever will automatically release the trans-brake.

The shifters are equipped with a built-in neutral safety switch. When wired to the starter, it will allow shifting in Neutral or Park only. Proflite transmissions will start in Park and Safety Neutral. Prohydro transmissions will start in Park, Neutral and Safety Neutral.

Precision Performance offers an incredibly wide range of accessories and options. Included in the mix are 12(!) different shifter cable combinations, starting at 2-feet and working all the way up to 13-feet. And if that isn’t enough, you can custom order special cable lengths, These gray color cables are designed with zero backlash and they’re required for use on the Precision Performance shifters. For a rear exit cable door car application, a 5-foot cable is recommended. For a front cable exit in a door car, Precision Performance recommends a 6-foot cable.

If you decide to change cars or change transmission configurations (or if you misplace a bracket), you can purchase transmission lever and cable brackets separately or as a pair (bracket and lever). The bobbins installed on the cable brackets are available separately. It’s also possible to setup your shifter so that the cable has a quick disconnect at the shifter and at the transmission.

Coiled line lock cords are available separately, with or without the shifter mounting brackets. You can also buy the switch handle bracket separately. As mentioned previously, electric and air shifters can be purchased separately, along with all of the components necessary for installation. Wiring harness packages for the transmission brake and neutral safety switch are available separately. Ditto with starter relays, shifter mounting side plates.

Speaking of mounting, it’s possible to mount the various Kwik-Shifters directly to a custom fab roll cage mount (often in a dragster or altered), on a fabricated “post” mount (front, rear or center). With a post mount the shifter can be mounted in the exact location you require when belted in the car. Plenty of door cars use post mounts (where the post is part of a chassis crossmember or tube). The other option is by way of stainless billet shifter or lightweight aluminum mounting side plates.

When ordering a Precision Performance shifter, you’ll find the process is all custom. Using the Kwik-Shift I as the example, you first select the transmission and valve body configuration. At this point, you can select pull or push to shift along with the base shifter color (certain applications). Next you select the transmission and lever bracket kit necessary for your car. Then, you chose the shifter accent colors (silver, black, blue or red). Select your desired cable shifter length, and then select your shifter mount configuration. Finally, you can select the line lock switch. Precision Performance can mount it on either the left or right side of the shifter (particularly useful for folks in countries with right hand steer cars). Keep in mind some of the above options are simply no charge choices while others are available at extra cost. What it does go to show is how tailored the shifter is for your application.

That’s a wrap for this issue. Next time around, we’ll get into more details and installation tips. Watch for it.

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 2

As noted in the text, the Precision Performance shifters are very light and very compact (see the next photo). They offer the simplicity and accuracy of a gate shifter, but with the feel of a ratchet shifter as you move forward through the gears.

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 3

Here’s a look at the writer’s Kwik-Shift I prior to installation. It’s incredibly narrow. That’s one good reason why plenty of folks love them in dragster or altered applications.

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 4

In my application, the transmission has a forward pattern. Precision offers shifters for both forward and reverse patterns, and most can be configured to either push to shift (as shown here) or pull to shift.

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 5

This was mentioned in the text, but it’s worth mentioning again: After leaving Neutral to Forward gear positions, depress the button on the top of the shifter handle and select 1st gear. To shift, simply push the handle forward (if it’s a push-to-shift setup) to engage 2nd and so on. When moving to Reverse or Park from the Forward gear positions, squeeze the lever and push the button simultaneously.

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 6

Optionally available is a high quality line lock switch. You can specify which side of the handle you need the button located. The text offers more info.

7-Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 7

The wiring harness for the neutral safety switch and transmission brake are equally high quality. Switches are internal (within the shifter body). You don’t need to take anything apart. You simply have to wire into the car harness.

Shifting Accuracy With Precision Performance Slide 8

There are a couple of ways to mount the shifter, including a choice of post mounts. Precision Performance also builds these slick tunnel mounts. They’re available in stainless steel (as shown) or in aluminum.

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