Note this is a post I made on the FocusST.org forum.
Like many Focus ST owners out there I don’t like the shift throw length on the ST. Unlike most people I find it too long not for performance reasons rather due to my size. I’m a bit short and I have to reach for fifth gear and sixth is so far behind me that it’s even more uncomfortable than fifth.
When Cobb released their short shift plate I purchased it. Since then Mountune has a released a replacement shift arm. The big question I’ve had is which is better. The few people who I’ve seen that have the Mountune arm haven’t used the Cobb plate so they can’t compare the two. Since I wasn’t truly happy with the Cobb plate (for reasons I’ll get to later) I decided to get the Mountune arm and see if it was any better.
I set the Cobb plate to 30% reduction because I was worried about the additional force shifting would require. Fortunately 30% was the perfect amount of reduction. Shifting also felt like there was less slop. It felt crisp and precise.
Unfortunately, the Cobb plate had a few issues. First, I don’t like the additional amount of force required to shift. It is minimal and for most people they won’t notice or mind. But I really didn’t like how it felt. That said it wasn’t enough that I wanted to remove the plate and go back to stock.
The second issue was a clunking noise when I shift. Third gear in particular. This has been said by others. I don’t like this.
The third issue I had is the bottom of the plate is too thick. This I didn’t notice until I took it off. The bottom of the plate when I removed it had the paint scraped off from shifting. The plate wraps around the shift arm but the bottom part of the plate will scrape the assembly under the arm that the arm attaches to. The plate bolts were tight and there wasn’t any wiggle of the plate itself. So this isn’t an installation issue.
It feels similar stock with a shorter throw. Gear selection is more mechanical in feel and less slop. More slop then the Cobb bracket though. I didn’t notice any additional force necessary than stock.
Which Do I Prefer
Mountune but I’m looking at overall comfort. For most people I wouldn’t recommend it though.
The Mountune kit is considerably more expensive than the Cobb plate. Most people wanting a shorter shift throw want a short throw. They don’t want a short throw to make driving the car more comfortable. So the feel and force won’t matter to most people. The Cobb plat gives you a choice of 30% or 40% while the Mountune arm only gives you 25% reduction.
Also, the Cobb plate does feel better (aside from the extra force). The Mountune arm just doesn’t have the clunking and the extra force that I couldn’t stand.
Installation of the Cobb plate wasn’t as easy as Cobb makes it out but not bad.
The Cobb instructions say to remove the shift arm, install the plate and put the arm back in. When I tried tapping out the roll pin that holds the shift arm in place I couldn’t get it to budge. I tried using the screw Cobb sent with the plate and hammering out the pin and I gave up. The Cobb instructions say to be careful you don’t hit the pin to hard and send it flying off into the engine bay. I didn’t have that issue because I couldn’t get the thing to budge.
Fortunately, you don’t need to take the shift arm out to install the plate. You can put the plate in place, hold the bottom in place and screw it together from the bottom. This is what I ended up doing and that was it for installation.
Ten hours and a beat up shift arm and it’s done. In a word installation went poorly.
For the Mountune arm you really do have to remove the stock shift arm because the Mountune part is replacing it. So I really did have to get that roll pin out that I had trouble with and ended up ignoring during the Cobb installation.
The Mountune kit comes with a pin removal tool (punch) and it’s smaller than the pin. This fact will become important later. I used the punch to hammer out the pin and it took a lot of force and a lot of time. Probably an hour of straight hammering but I got the pin out.
At this point I hammered the pin to the front side of the Mountune arm, put the arm in the car, aligned it and started hammering the pin though. Again it took a lot of force.
I got the pin about half way in and when I stopped to take a short break I realized the roll pin had deformed on the end I was hammering It was so flattened that that was no way it was going all the way though.
So I have the arm installed and the pin only holding on one of the two points it’s supposed to hold. This means that there is a good possibility of it shearing at some point. I can’t push the pin though because it won’t fit now and that means I can’t push it out like I did originally.
The battery box came out so the pin could be backed out. I figured I’d just get a new pin and try again.
More hammering to push the pin out using the punch and remember how I said it’s smaller than the pin… While the punch went inside the pin. This did two things. It expanded the pin making it hold tighter. It also, pushed one of the inside layers out of the pin but didn’t move the top layer. Again, it made it even tighter.
For those who haven’t seen the roll pin it looks like a Hostes Ho Hos. It’s one piece of metal that’s rolled over itself so there are three layers with a hole in the middle.
The punch just pushed out the inner layer and expanded the upper layer so it held tighter. I know it’s was held tighter because I switched to the bolt the Cobb kit came with for pushing out the pin which is a bit larger than the punch. It didn’t budge.
Hammering wasn’t working so the next idea was to try a C clamp to push the pin out. On one side goes the bolt on the side with the pin a socket was put over the pin so it would go into the socket as the socket is pressing around the pin. The bolt ended up bending instead of pushing out the pin…
Next idea try pulling it out from the front. Vice grips and screw drivers didn’t get anywhere. Well, not anywhere it did eat though the top layer of the pin. So it looked better.
Final idea, drill out the pin. Don’t do this it sounds like a good idea but it isn’t. I really isn’t. An air drill was used so it had enough power. It did go into the center of the pin and began drilling it out. It did heat up and start trowing little flaming bit out. Also, as it turns out the pin is really hard. Harder than material around it. So drilling out the pin in hopes that it would weaken and shear isn’t going to happen.
Back to the C clamps. At this point I had gotten a stronger bolt. Slowly, oh so slowly it came out. It did end up ruining the clamp and it did eat though the front of the shift arm around the roll pin.
The pin at this point is throughly destroyed. I used a class 10.9 M6 bolt to attach the arm instead of the roll pin. The M6 is very close in size to the roll pin. An M7 is too large by the way. There is some play with the bolt which is not present with the roll pin. As far as shifting is concerned I don’t see a difference.
FYI, I did drive the car with the roll pin half in and with the bolt. I couldn’t tell a difference between the two.
My advice to anyone is if the roll pin doesn’t come out easily, don’t put it back in. Either get a new one or try something else.