Buying a shifter for your vehicle can be a gut wrenching experience if you don’t understand the basics of what an automatic transmission shifter does. In this short article I hope to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the shifters. Hopefully enabling you to make a educated decision.
First thing is to understand what an aftermarket Automatic shifter is designed to do.
Each manufacturer has their own design and theory as to why their product is the best. In a nutshell aftermarket shifters are designed to handle the abuse of racing, positively select the proper gear without hesitation and most importantly, keep you from shifting into reverse by accident when you are running through the forward gears.
The first “racing shifters” were created because of racing sanctioning bodies rules. From there it just blossomed into a new industry.
There are two types of racing automatic shifters that are popular today. One is the ratchet shifter and the other is the gate shifter.
A ratchet shifter uses a ratcheting mechanism to move the transmission lever through the gears via the shifter cable. Some ratchet shifters require extra steps by the driver to get past reverse and activate the ratchet feature. Others are full ratcheting in both directions with the stick remaining in the center.
A gate type shifter uses a solid steel detent plate with the shift pattern cutout for the specific application. It has fewer moving parts than the ratchet and usually lasts longer.
In my opinion, ratchet shifters are mainly for street cars and trucks that see occasional track usage. Many of the brands available tend to be more show than go. I personally had a bad experience with a ratchet shifter while drag racing. It failed to stop me from shifting into reverse at about 100 miles an hour. The tire locked up but I was able to pull the stick back to neutral before causing serious damage. This is why I now use and sell the Winters Sidewinder shifters. The Winters Shifter has been around for many years and has also been private labeled by a few transmission companies as their own. Fairbanks, Art Carr, ATI all get their shifters from Winters. The beauty of the Winters Shifter is its simplicity. You can mount it anywhere, it can be upgraded from non reverse lockout to reverse lockout without having to buy a new shifter and if you change transmissions the gate plate andtransmission linkage are all that’s needed to get you going again! The gate plates are stamped from 1/8” steel as is all the mounting hardware. Hit the stick as hard as you want and it will only go into the next gear.
Winters also uses professional grade Morse cables that last forever.
We sell the shifter as a complete package which includes the mounting kit, 5 ft cable and black plastic cover. An optional Switch Mount Console is available at an additional charge.
So,when shopping for a shifter follow these guidelines and you should be very happy with your purchase.
- Is it for street use, street/strip or competition use?
- Do I want a reverse lockout? Most race tracks require them
- Where will it be mounted and will it fit?