How To: Install MGW Shifter in 2010 Camaro SS - PlanetLSX
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How To: Install MGW Shifter in 2010 Camaro SS

Writer: Kat Hagen, Photographer: Author

Posted at 3:04 PM / January 28, 2010

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Tired of that sloppy stock shifter?  We show you how to replace it.
Tired of that sloppy stock shifter? We show you how to replace it.

Experience Level Required
Novice Wrencher

Estimated Time
3.5 hours

Tools Required
Phillips and flathead screwdriver
3/8 drive ratchet
9/16 shallow socket
10mm, 13mm, 15mm deep sockets
12 inch extension
Swivel socket
13mm ratcheting wrench
Grease or dish soap
Allen wrench (supplied with shifter)
Floor jack and jackstands, or lift

We installed an MGW shifter on our project 2010 Camaro SS recently, in order to share the technical details involved in getting your own Camaro to row the gears like they do in the movies. MGW includes a CD containing very detailed installation videos for each step, and we strongly recommend watching all of them before heading out to work on the car. Unlike most shifters available for the 2010 Camaro, the MGW is a total replacement unit and has a much more involved installation. Thanks to the body-mounted shifter design, gone are the days of simple 4-bolt shifter swaps. Unlike the mods we've been seeing so far, this swap is somewhat more difficult and time-consuming than we were expecting. However, the results are more than worth it.

After driving with this shifter in Houston traffic for just over a week, we are very happy with the switch. Long gone is the factory "flattened baseball" knob, replaced with a more sporty looking composite racing knob. Gear selection is crisp, with a nice "ca-click" that lets you know you're exactly where you want to be. While we noticed some increased noise at the beginning, it was not unpleasant and has since faded into the background cacophony of murmurs and gurgles that let us know this is, indeed, a sports car.

Installation Steps

1. Working on a level and solid surface, jack the front of the car up and place on jackstands. Once the front is secure, jack up the rear and place on jackstands. If you're unsure how to jack up your Camaro, refer to the owner's manual for jack points. You can also use ramps to get the front up.

The next four steps are completed inside the car. Make sure the car is stable on jackstands before climbing inside.

2. Pull the factory shift knob. It is press-fit, so you just need some good arm muscles to get it off.

3. Using your fingers and/or fingernails, gently lift the front of the center console trim and pull up. There are six clips, three per side, securing the console in place. With the shifter in 4th gear, and once these clips are released, pull the trim forward until the gauges (RS) or back of the plate (non-RS) clear the dash and lay to the side. There is no need to remove the wiring harness from the gauges. Put the shifter into neutral.

4. Using the Phillips screwdriver, remove the four outermost screws holding the shift boot and trim in place. Remove this plate and boot and set aside.

5. Loosen the four 10mm bolts holding the bottom shifter plate in place, but do not remove. Pull the rubber boot and set aside; this boot will not be reused.

Now we move underneath the car.

6. Break loose, but do not remove, the two 15mm inner transmission crossmember nuts. Then, remove the four outer 15mm transmission crossmember bolts. Back them off 1/2 in at a time in a cross pattern so that you don't get anything in a bind. Once these are off, fully remove the two center nuts and the crossmember and set aside.

7. Back off the 15mm bolts to the lower exhaust crossmember about 3/4 in to get some clearance for later.

8. Pull the bottom rubber dust boot down and out of the way to expose the linkage pin, which is held in place by two spring clips. You can pull these using your fingers or a screwdriver. MGW's instructions say you only need to pull one side, but we found the clips were easy enough to remove that we pulled both. Once the clips are out, pull the pin out and slide the linkage out of the way.

9. Using the 12in extension and swivel socket, remove the two 10mm bolts holding the center shaft retainer in place. Once this plate is removed, the center shaft/shift handle will slide out. NOTE: Steps 1-5 and Steps 8-9 are required for nearly every Camaro aftermarket shifter, not just the MGW unit.

10. With the same setup used in step #9, remove the two 10mm nuts holding the rear support bracket in place. Pull the shifter mount pushing and set aside. Be careful not to drop the nuts, the heat shield will eat them!

11. Now for quite possibly the worst part of the install. Once you get past this step, it's smooth sailing. Holding the shifter linkage support arms to the transmission are two pins held by clips. These clips have a small access hole you can fit the supplied Allen through to release the clip. It's tricky and frustrating, but it is possible. With the Allen holding the clip release down, we used the flathead screwdriver to pry the clip open. On the passenger side, once the clip is released, pull the pin out enough to clear the clip and point the clip straight down . Pull down on the transmission to get clearance while pulling the pin out.

12. Slide the shifter body out the driver's side.

13. Push the bushings out of the shifter body arms, towards the inside. Install these bushings into the supplied MGW shifter arms. Don't try to push the bushings straight through, they won't go. Start the bushings at an angle to get as much of the lip through as possible. You will need to over-push through the other side to make sure the lip fully seats. Watch step 14 of MGW's install videos for a good idea on how to get the bushings installed.

The next two steps will need to be completed inside the car.

14. Fully remove the shifter plate loosened in Step 5.

15. Insert the MGW shifter body through the top. The pins go toward the rear of the car, and the bracket goes towards the front.

16. Line up the linkage arm inside the bottom of the shifter and insert the supplied linkage pin. Only one of the spring clips removed in Step 8 will be needed.

17. From underneath the car, reinstall the lower rubber boot removed in Step 9, around the MGW shifter body.

18. Attach the shifter arms using the pins/clips removed in Step 11. Before closing the clip, make sure the shifter arms are on the right side and facing the right direction. The linkage arms are clearly labeled, and should be installed with the labels visible (facing towards the doors).

19. Using the supplied 13mm bolts, with the split lock washer first and flat washer second, and Loctite, attach the linkage arms to the shifter body. Run the bolts up to where the lock washers are touching the body, but do not tighten yet. Be very careful to not cross-thread the bolts.

20. With the stainless plate facing the rear of the car, install the supplied rear support bracket. This is best done with a two people: one on the inside to tighten the 9/16 nuts with lock washers and one below the car to hold the bracket in place. Before fully tightening the nuts, install the supplied rubber boot to the top of the shifter, making sure that it is fully seated. Finish tightening the nuts.

21. Reinstall the transmission crossmember removed in Step 6.

22. Make sure the shifter is level: you should have around a half inch clearance between the bottom of the shifter body and the top of the highest point on the transmission. This alignment is crucial. Once the shifter is level, tighten down the bolts through the shifter arm to the shifter body. Note: If, upon completion, you have difficulty with gears 1, 3, and 5, the shifter is too high. Loosen the bolts and lower the shifter until it is level and retighten.
The remainder of the steps are completed inside the car.

23. Apply the supplied Dynamat adhesive heat shield to the two unused bolt holes above the shifter.

24. Install the supplied insulation padding around the shifter.

25. Determine your desired shift handle orientation and set using the supplied Allen wrench.

26. Use the supplied zip tie to attach the shift knob to the factory shift boot. Reinstall the shift boot removed in Step 4.

27. If reusing the factory shift knob, install it by pushing it back into place. If using the MGW shift knob (we recommend the race knob), simply slide it into place and secure using the supplied Allen wrench.

28. Reinstall the console trim piece removed in Step 3.

Done. Now go bang some gears, and realize that you can no longer blame missed shifts on the sloppy factory shifter. Time to brush up on those skills!

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