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Improving a terrible manual 997.1 gear shift.... step by step experience

Bigbaddog997

Silverstone
Joined
23 Nov 2023
Messages
127
Evening everyone

In the last month I've done plenty of work to improve the gearshift on my 997.1 and just wanted to pass on my experience. I did each stage seperately and test drove the car inbetween so I could gauge the difference each step made.

To give context, my car has done 26,800 miles, at around 26,000 mile I changed the gearbox fluid to Motul gear 300 (simply as it was available in 1 litre bottles and met the required spec) and the change went from average to dreadful. Think hard to engage 1st when stationary, having to double declutch 1st to 2nd etc. When warm it was better but remained a little spongy.

So here was the sequence I did things in and the percentage relative difference in brackets.

1. Engine mounts. I went for the OEM engine mounts (about £250) and the difference was amazing (50 percent). 1st engaged properly, no double declutching and the change was perfectly acceptable with just this change. 50 minutes to fit. The engine mounts sold by D911 as OE match are literally that- clearly the same item as Porsche genuine.

2. Gearbox mount insert (20 percent). I went for the yellow road powerflex insert and any NVH increase was gone within 10 miles. The shift felt more accurate. An hour to fit but I have a 2 post ramp to help, which saved time. Cost about £40 from memory. The play in even what was an excellent condition gearbox mount was quite telling.

3. Gearbox fluid back to Mobilube PTX. (20 percent). Less than an hour of true work, I drained overnight though. £11 a litre of fluid bought in bulk- the I have 2x 4 litre batches left for sale at cost if anyone needs any- the spongy feeling went and at this stage, with the low mileage of my standard carrera shifter, the shift was good with minimal play. At this stage I was more than happy

4. The Alex Yates SSK (10 percent). £170, about 2 hours to fit, adjust cables and reassemble the dash. The icing on the cake. Insanely good tolerances, the silver axle ends as I call them had to be gently pressed into the plastic housing. Bushes perfect fit, No play in the the shifter mechanism at all.

Total expenditure was about £500 but all should be good for years- in the case of the ssk indefinitely.
Hope this helps to anyone with similar issues.
 
nicely done

not surprised at how much the engine mounts did and step 2 is not simple but as you said very effective
 
Step 2 was where the ramp came in so useful. I used a high lift trolley jack and some wooden blocks to firstly take the weight of the gearbox and secondly lower the gearbox by about 2 inches to remove the upper mount whilst I fitted the collar. Would be possible on a driveway with axle stands for sure but just very fiddly and uncomfortable for the individual doing the job.
 
These were the old and new engine mounts for comparison; my exhaust pipes sit 12mm higher after fitting. So not as bad as some cars described on here.

IMG_5090.jpeg
 
Last edited:
This is the powerflex insert after fitting. The awkward part is the upper gearbox mount that needs the gearbox lowering to be able to move it out of the way and get the collar in; aside from supporting the gearbox with a jack only a 3/8 (or 1/2 drive) socket set is needed.
IMG_5576.jpeg
 
And finally Alex’s SSK. Brilliantly engineered to remove play in every area of the mechanism. £170 is a fraction of the price of some premium aftermarket options which often use bearings, not the best engineering solution for a rocking motion as owners of full suspension mountain bikes will be familiar with.
IMG_5636.jpeg
 
Good stuff. I've done all 3 on mine over the years and your write-up on percentage improvement is pretty spot on. The only thing I'd add is the shorter throw on the shorter shift is pretty spot on for how a 911 should shift in my opinion, instead off the long throw that came out the factory.
 
Good stuff. I've done all 3 on mine over the years and your write-up on percentage improvement is pretty spot on. The only thing I'd add is the shorter throw on the shorter shift is pretty spot on for how a 911 should shift in my opinion, instead off the long throw that came out the factory.
You could specify a short shift from the factory, my car was ordered with one from new.
 
Yes I think there were 2 Porsche SSK options. The one from new when the carrera was launched and what people refer to as the GT3 shifter that has a different part number- the second being what the eBay SSK (and Alex Yates SSK) is based on I think.
 
In addition to the above I removed and disassembled the knob then filled the internal voids with 120g of tungsten putty before refitting, definitely improved the feeling and positive shifts
 
Even with a short shift, maybe especially, I don't feel comfortable with rushing a gearshift, especially until a car has thoroughly warmed through. I always feel that the air temperature makes a big difference.
I like a manual gearbox, but contrary to reviews, the shift in my 2013 Exige is much more fluid than my 2006 997, and having driven a McLaren 720S through the Alps this year, I really get the benefits of a really good automated set-up. It just gets to a point (for me) where performance is constrained by both human and engineering.
 

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