Megan Racing short shifter rattle and metal shavings

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Last November, I installed a Megan Racing SS and new aftermarket shifter bushings onto my Protege5. There was always a small bit of slop and a rattle sometimes, but it's gotten significantly worse since installation about 8 months ago. Of course, there is some slop in the bar that connects the shifter to the transmission, but most of the slop that I can see is in the actual 'joint' or 'pivot-point' of the shifter itself, and it's really bothering me as it gets worse.

I took things apart this afternoon to investigate, and this is what I found:

IMG_20200713_181734514.jpg

IMG_20200713_181723406.jpg


...and after cleaning the metal shavings...

IMG_20200713_182455026.jpg


Soooo...that doesn't look particularly amazing. It looks to me like the snap ring has been rubbing or vibrating on the top of the shifter. Does anybody have thoughts on what's causing this and how I can fix the rattling and slop? I suppose I can file a warranty claim with Megan Racing, but this also doesn't help me much as I daily drive my car and can't just ship them the old shifter without having another one to install. I'd also like to understand and fix the underlying issue instead of trying to fix what it causes.

Thanks,
Ben
 
:
2x 2001 SP20 323's
Eeeeeek, that's probably not meant to look like that

Definitely send Megan Racing an email and let them know about it. Even if they can't fix it the feedback is always good

Did the kit come with any grease or lube? Packing it full of grease might help with the slop and rattle
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Eeeeeek, that's probably not meant to look like that

Definitely send Megan Racing an email and let them know about it. Even if they can't fix it the feedback is always good

Did the kit come with any grease or lube? Packing it full of grease might help with the slop and rattle

Thanks for the feedback, LankyKiwi.

I filed a warranty claim with them. If that doesn't go anywhere, I will also send them an email. I bought the shifter on eBay from CircuitSpecR, which appears to also have their own store, so I may contact them too.

I had to put the shifter back together of course so I could drive the car today, so I did put as much grease on it as I could. I also tightened up and greased the bushings under the car. There is less slop now but the rattling is just awful, and I have no idea what the longevity is going to be like long-term.

At this point, if I did get a replacement, I'd probably sell it and buy another short shifter kit from a different brand. The tolerances in mine are huge and could have obviously been lowered in development.
 

323

(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
Moderator
Dang, I would've sent you a stock spare one but unfortunately I don't have any of them anymore. I've used the TWM SS since around 2010 and have been happy with it. No slop but I did have to trim the heat shield that sat right under the shifter since it was making contact and ended up flopping around at highway speeds. The TWM SS does use the stock bushing (purple piece on your shifter). I think it's called a bushing.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Dang, I would've sent you a stock spare one but unfortunately I don't have any of them anymore. I've used the TWM SS since around 2010 and have been happy with it. No slop but I did have to trim the heat shield that sat right under the shifter since it was making contact and ended up flopping around at highway speeds. The TWM SS does use the stock bushing (purple piece on your shifter). I think it's called a bushing.

My local junkyard does actually have a protege with a shifter that I could grab. Maybe I could try swapping parts around between my Megan Racing shifter and the stock one. I actually sold my stock shifter on eBay for basically nothing, when it looks like I should have kept it around.

I'll try that and see what I find. I think the metal shavings were coming from the top snap ring rubbing on the shifter bushing holder thing. Not sure how one would fix that though.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Only took two months, but finally received some help from MR support, and they went straight ahead and refunded me (yay!) I'm still stuck with a rattly and sloppy (but free) shifter though.

I don't want to go back to stock but I'd really like to see what other options are available to me. I'll be looking to get some spare OEM parts to see if I can fix up the MR SS, but I'm not sold on that as a long-term fix.

Does anybody have suggestions for new/used options I can look into? eBay has the typical no-name cheap brands, as well as some more expensive used options. Overall though, I'm not having a lot of luck in my search - feedback is appreciated!

Ben
 

323

(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
Moderator
Yep. Never heard anyone having issues with their TWM. Other than needing spacers for the exhaust shield which didn’t work for me (shield rattled at highway speeds) so I ended up trimming the shield itself to not hit the bottom of the shifter.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
@pcb, @323,

Thank you both for your suggestions. I had similar issues with my heatshield rattling even with my current SS, so it's good to know but not something I'm extremely worried about. I have also heard good things about the TWM shortshifter, but my problem there is sourcing one.

I did some digging and it appears that TWM as a company no longer exists. Their website is not online and all of their social media seems inactive. It sounds like they went up for sale a while back (iirc, like 2 years ago) and then stopped responding to purchase inquiries because presumably nobody purchased them. I could be completely wrong but that's what I found.

Anybody know how I can get my hands on a used (or new) one and how much it might cost? I am not opposed to paying more for quality, but this is only my daily driver and I'm on a budget.

Thanks :)
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
I'm just gonna casually update this for continuity's sake and because a few things have happened...

It took a few months of back and forth emails but I finally got a full refund for the shifter, no questions asked. I bought it off eBay through CircuitSpecR, so I had to contact both them and Megan Racing. I'm happy with the end result but also a bit annoyed that it took so long for them to even notice me. Anyways...

I had a problem to fix and money to spend! But, instead of buying something high quality, I decided to be lazy and take a risk by buying the cheapest no-name Protege short-shifter on eBay!! I paid a whopping $33 shipped, aaaannnnnnd...it's better than my Megan Racing SS. Now, I've heard good things about the Megan Racing SS, so I'm almost assuming mine was a dud, but it's still the product they sent me. Anyways, 90% of my rattling and slop have been eliminated by the proper tolerances in the cheapo shifter.

Side-by-side, the two shifters have differences in design, but are the same length and generally of the same design. No shift knob, branding or retail packaging with the eBay model but that doesn't matter to me.

1601958832928.jpeg

s-l1600.jpg


I don't usually like to buy cheap knockoff junk on eBay, since the brand-name quality parts usually last in the long run, but I think this is an exception.

I'll just have to see how it hold up to the test of time. And now I have an extra Megan Racing short-shifter if anybody wants it! 10/10 excellent condition no issues no lowballs I know what I have.
 

323

(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
Moderator
Well that's good news. Hope it lasts without issues for you. Maybe give it some good lubing in the bushing area
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Well that's good news. Hope it lasts without issues for you. Maybe give it some good lubing in the bushing area
Yes, me too. I did in-fact give it a good greasing in addition to the little bit of grease that was on there - both on the ball-joint of the shifter and on the bushing under the car. When I reinstalled my MR SS for the second time (after discovering the issues), I put tons of grease on it improved the feel slightly.

I've put some more miles on the car, and I do admit that there is still some rattle at particular speeds/RPMs. At 60-70MPH on the highway, it makes a whirring/humming vibration that gets annoying. This all happened with the MR shifter, but it's much better here. I do have solid bushings in all three shifter links and the other (stabilization?) bushing is polyurethane, so this is likely more of the culprit here. It really just sounds like the snap-ring that holds the shifter down is rattling. Maybe I'll replace it with something else to keep the shifter in-place.
 

323

(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
Moderator
If all else fails, try removing the heat shield completely that's right under the shifter. That'll help you eliminate that being a cause.
 
I'm just gonna casually update this for continuity's sake and because a few things have happened...

It took a few months of back and forth emails but I finally got a full refund for the shifter, no questions asked. I bought it off eBay through CircuitSpecR, so I had to contact both them and Megan Racing. I'm happy with the end result but also a bit annoyed that it took so long for them to even notice me. Anyways...

I had a problem to fix and money to spend! But, instead of buying something high quality, I decided to be lazy and take a risk by buying the cheapest no-name Protege short-shifter on eBay!! I paid a whopping $33 shipped, aaaannnnnnd...it's better than my Megan Racing SS. Now, I've heard good things about the Megan Racing SS, so I'm almost assuming mine was a dud, but it's still the product they sent me. Anyways, 90% of my rattling and slop have been eliminated by the proper tolerances in the cheapo shifter.

Side-by-side, the two shifters have differences in design, but are the same length and generally of the same design. No shift knob, branding or retail packaging with the eBay model but that doesn't matter to me.

View attachment 227586
View attachment 227587

I don't usually like to buy cheap knockoff junk on eBay, since the brand-name quality parts usually last in the long run, but I think this is an exception.

I'll just have to see how it hold up to the test of time. And now I have an extra Megan Racing short-shifter if anybody wants it! 10/10 excellent condition no issues no lowballs I know what I have.
Did your eBay shifter come with a bushing and Bolt kit for the transmission link bar?
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Did your eBay shifter come with a bushing and Bolt kit for the transmission link bar?
To answer your question directly: No, it only came with what is pictured in the listing which was the short shifter itself and a little clip thingy.

For what it's worth, here's my long-term review/thoughts on this short shifter design (from my own experience only). While the cheapo eBay shifter is much tighter than the Megan Racing one I bought previously, It still rattles and vibrates and nothing I do seems to fix it. No metal shavings though, which is good

Actually, I recently replaced the solid bushings and bolt directly under the shifter with the stock rubber ones, and it actually made shifting nicer and gave it a little more give instead of being absurdly notchy. I was hoping that replacing the solid connection point between the shifter and linkage would fix the rattling/vibration, but nope.

I'd honestly recommend avoiding this shifter design altogether. In my experience it's just been cheap and a pain to work with (both the Megan Racing and eBay knockoff). Not worth the hassle if you can find a better quality one.

Would love to try this but I'm done spending money on this. I'm really understanding the "don't modify your daily" thing now.
 
I had the linkage bushing fail where it meets the short shifter under the gearshift. The connecting rod just fell down onto the road from the back linkage end.!!!(( It was already modified to a short shifter before I had the car so finding the correct bushing has been impossible. It works with an agricultural type fix but yes, I love the short shifter, and removing the heatshield solved the first issue with knocking, but finding bushings for this first link is hard. I agree the other solid bushing at the gearbox sounds a good mod, but sometimes we need to leave well enough alone!
 
I did the Megan shifter and went with solid Exile brass bushings. I ultimately ended up with a slight (but annoying) harmonic vibration up through the shifter echoing into the shift knob between 50-60MPG in 5th gear.
It also seems to match the blower fan harmonics when the fan is running and not sure at times which is which as the loud blower fan is annoying as well.

I tried a bunch of things like filling the shift knob with RTV Silicone gasket sealant and threads to get rid of any (echo chamber) void in it or threads vibrating, loosened up the shifter plate and shot RTV sealant around/under the mounting plate and anywhere where a metal to metal contact might be made on the base of the shifter, under the shifter console and around the rubber dust seal boot.

I just yesterday went and replaced the brass bushings and installed new OEM plastic bushings (Mazda part number GA5R-46-062) at the bottom of the shifter and packed the bolt/tube with red grease to keep the wear down.

I can still "feel" an engine/transmission vibration up through the shifter when I intentionally "feel" for it at the 50-60mph range and may have got it enough to not hear it, but still need to get to the root cause which I suspect is a metal to metal vibration through the body from the drive train.

I had previously tried to insulate the engine/transmission crossmember (figure - below) from making metal to metal contact by wedging a hard piece of 3/16" vinyl matting scrap between the engine/crossmember but still not completely happy with that and would rather have an air gap or softer cushioning material installed there if possible.

It's likely over time, the engine crossmember has been used to raise the front end of the car while jacking on it and may have made reduced the engine clearance with that support.

When last under the engine I decided I will see if I can reduce any drivetrain to body vibration that may be coming from that area there by increasing the crossmember to engine/transmission gap there by:

---1- Putting some kind of rubber vibration damper between that crossmember and the underbody where it bolts up (especially in the rear-see illustration below).
(That rear single bolt mounting point seems very suspect to me as the front 2 bolts have engineered rubber insulators installed in/between the crossmember and the rear mounting bolt and crossmember surface does not = metal-to-metal body contact.)

---2- Loosening the front motor mount and installing a spacer UNDER the metal-to-metal motor mount base and the metal crossmember it mounts to.
A metal spacer will add some more clearance between the engine and the crossmember at the lowest point while a rubber spacer would possibly dampen vibrations with either or both options only raising the front of the engine only slightly.

I've got to raise the car again later this week to do other maintenance - install missing anti-rattle front brake clips and retainers (all 4 wheel calipers were missing them) as well as replacing the "new" aftermarket clutch master cylinder (that leaks at the top where the hose plugs in) with the original OEM one that never did.
 

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  • Engine Mount Corssmember - Possible Vibration Areas.jpg
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BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
I did the Megan shifter and went with solid Exile brass bushings. I ultimately ended up with a slight (but annoying) harmonic vibration up through the shifter echoing into the shift knob between 50-60MPG in 5th gear.
It also seems to match the blower fan harmonics when the fan is running and not sure at times which is which as the loud blower fan is annoying as well.

I tried a bunch of things like filling the shift knob with RTV Silicone gasket sealant and threads to get rid of any (echo chamber) void in it or threads vibrating, loosened up the shifter plate and shot RTV sealant around/under the mounting plate and anywhere where a metal to metal contact might be made on the base of the shifter, under the shifter console and around the rubber dust seal boot.

I just yesterday went and replaced the brass bushings and installed new OEM plastic bushings (Mazda part number GA5R-46-062) at the bottom of the shifter and packed the bolt/tube with red grease to keep the wear down.

I can still "feel" an engine/transmission vibration up through the shifter when I intentionally "feel" for it at the 50-60mph range and may have got it enough to not hear it, but still need to get to the root cause which I suspect is a metal to metal vibration through the body from the drive train.

I had previously tried to insulate the engine/transmission crossmember (figure - below) from making metal to metal contact by wedging a hard piece of 3/16" vinyl matting scrap between the engine/crossmember but still not completely happy with that and would rather have an air gap or softer cushioning material installed there if possible.

It's likely over time, the engine crossmember has been used to raise the front end of the car while jacking on it and may have made reduced the engine clearance with that support.

When last under the engine I decided I will see if I can reduce any drivetrain to body vibration that may be coming from that area there by increasing the crossmember to engine/transmission gap there by:

---1- Putting some kind of rubber vibration damper between that crossmember and the underbody where it bolts up (especially in the rear-see illustration below).
(That rear single bolt mounting point seems very suspect to me as the front 2 bolts have engineered rubber insulators installed in/between the crossmember and the rear mounting bolt and crossmember surface does not = metal-to-metal body contact.)

---2- Loosening the front motor mount and installing a spacer UNDER the metal-to-metal motor mount base and the metal crossmember it mounts to.
A metal spacer will add some more clearance between the engine and the crossmember at the lowest point while a rubber spacer would possibly dampen vibrations with either or both options only raising the front of the engine only slightly.

I've got to raise the car again later this week to do other maintenance - install missing anti-rattle front brake clips and retainers (all 4 wheel calipers were missing them) as well as replacing the "new" aftermarket clutch master cylinder (that leaks at the top where the hose plugs in) with the original OEM one that never did.
You have no idea how happy I am to know that I'm not going crazy and imagining the vibration at 50-60. Mine does the exact same thing, and this is my second SS (admittedly, of the same design).

I also went back to the stock rubber bushing in the link directly under the shifter, and it did not fix the humming.

I truly love my P5, but the two worst parts about driving and owning it have hands down been this short shifter vibrations, and the absolutely horrible, jerky, constant-vibration engine mount situation I have going on. (Also my warped flywheel, but that's another issue.)

I am EXTREMELY interested to know if you're able to fix things or make them better. I wish I had more time/experience to experiment with these sorts of things, but thus far my experiments with motor mounts have ended in more drivetrain and cabin vibrations, and this is also my daily driver, so never enough time to have it on jackstands to work on it.

Keep me up to date for sure. I love learning about these things, and would be tickled if we could figure out how to improve these sorts of issues.