Project V8 RX-7: Part 8 - The Shifter & Some Engine Dress Up

by Jeff Naeyaert

Hey guys!  Long time, no write.. I'm sorry.  We've had a lot going on and recalling the last episode of Project V8 RX-7 I hastily titled it “Bringing the E-ROD LS3 to Life (Almost),” which unless we were going to do a lame “(REALLY Close Now)” followup article, committed us to have a running engine by the end of the story.  Unfortunately, there turned out to be a lot of things we still needed to cover before turning the key—so much so that our article would've turned into a novella and lost the attention of even our most devout reader by page 12!  Thus, Project V8 RX-7 Week was born! 

We’ll just break up that one article into 5 easy to digest parts and by Friday if something doesn’t go horribly wrong along the way you should expect to see an E-ROD LS3 brought to life (For Real)!

Now that we’ve gotten through all that boring wiring it’s time to get back to some fun stuff!

If you’ve been following along you’ll remember back in Part 5 we chose to run Tremec’s Magnum transmission.  It fits in the car great and there are a number of different configurations for moving the shifter around to suit a variety of applications, unfortunately even at its most rearward position it’s still about 4 inches too far forward for our RX-7. 

You can see the shifter that came with out T-56 Magnum is at its rearmost arrangement on the shift rail but the shifter can (probably) be flipped around to utilize the further foward shifter cup.  A shifter can also be mounted in place of that plate even farther forward on the transmission should the application require however none of these arrangements place the shifter far enough back to be ideal for the FD RX-7.  The standard T-56 shifter is probably 2 inches farther back than T-56 Magnum at its most rearward position.


We've already carved out our shifter opening for the old T-56 that used to live here but even unbolted and slid back a little the T-56 Magnum shifter isn't anywhere close to working without modification.

Sure we could use an offset shifter that comes back a few inches before coming up through the hole in the transmission tunnel but then we’d be left with a funky shift throw.  Shift feel and smoothness were some of the main reasons we went with the Magnum over a less expensive T-56 we could have picked up used--we don’t want to lose that.  So we scoured the Internet for alternatives and came across this beautifully machined piece by SIKKY Manufacturing on a 350Z forum pictured below:

Unfortunately this shifter was manufactured as part of SIKKY’s LSX 350Z/G35 Mount Kit which 1) is for a 350Z or G35 and 2) fits the shifter block of a GTO style T-56 transmission..  Very similar to the transmission we’re using, but not similar enough to bolt up or be redrilled to fit.  We could only hope they were MotoIQ fans when we gave them a ring and told them about our project.

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Monday, May 28, 2012 7:09 AM
The GM coil brackets were probably an assembly line thing. It takes only 4 bolts to attch the bracket, but 8 bolts to seperately attach the coils. I went full on budget weight weenie on mine and reduced them from the original 509 grams to 407 grams.


plus stuff with holes in it always looks cool, in a different way then professional crinkle finish and billet of course.

Nice work, I'm jealous, and this thing will be 50 state! wow!
Steve Choi
Steve Choilink
Monday, May 28, 2012 12:05 PM
Can we expect to see a production FD/LS swap kit from motoiq?
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Monday, May 28, 2012 7:50 PM
Why would we? We couldn't ask for a better quality more complete kit than what we got from Samberg!
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:21 AM
I never Ever thought I'd see Holley mentioned favorably in a MotoIQ article. I guess the old dogs have some good tricks still.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 6:57 AM
So nice to finally start seeing some of the finishing touches. That shifter is sick :p (too bad that no one's gonna see it) Hey, holley still makes some great stuff...
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