So there have been times in the last 10 years I actually thought we would get Ethyl together and start driving the piss out of her. During those times I entertain myself with ideas of things I would like to do. One thing I have been working on for a couple of years is a more business like and functional console that accommodates the reverse manual shift pattern of the TH400. I do not or am not able to drink anything in the car, mostly because of the 250 lbs springs on the coil overs which require a mouthpiece when driving on Texas concrete roads. So right off the bat the cup holders had to go. Got rid of them a few years ago but the console lacked the functionality I wanted. Even the nice looking M6 shift boots really bug me since you cannot tell what the transmission is doing in a glance. So I got hold of Brian Kilduff and picked up once of his fantastic Lighting Rod shifters. I thought the multi-lever shifter was cool, because [B]”race car.”[/B]
The unit is as solid as a piece of construction gear. I swear you would expect a D8 Caterpillar shifter to be this strong. The unit was mainly made to stand alone though Brian does sell consoles. He doesn’t provide anything that can be sculpted into the existing console lines, his consoles are just folded aluminum tunnels. I like the unpolished aluminum look but after fires and all the horseshit we’ve come through I didn’t have the heart or coin to ask Steve to make it work. So I just started the project myself. I had already been working on the console looking for ideas on electronics, switches, and so forth. In early versions I tried to use ABS Plastic to form a replacement for the shift boot.
Right away the window switches were a problem. The switch box is huge under the console. I would have loved to have scrapped the OEM Switches and put my own in..
At one point the panel hosted the fire suppression handles as well as the electronics.
Unable to overcome the switches, the earlier versions envisioned a quick release panel that the new switches would be put in (Transbrake and Lineloc). This way they would be accessible with the 1/4 turn fastener. That was used early on and eventually the carbon fiber replacement for the cup holders came to host the Leash Boost Control Display.
So I picked up the Kilduff and started trying to figure how to integrate it since it wasn’t an easy swap. In one version I built my own sheet metal console,
Wrestling with the Kilduff and fabricating the necessary components was sort of fun. I sure wish I could lay fiberglass or carbon fiber.
Eventually I have decided I have to cut the OEM Console. Didn’t want to do it but didn’t cut enough to hurt the structural integrity of it. First I mocked up the base cover with cardboard and fitted it so the console trim piece would still snap in. One of th3e difficult things about that trim piece is that they seem to have designed it so nothing else would work with it, lots of curves. I just straightened them out some.
Eventually I even cut the center trim brace on the trim piece.
Fitment seems pretty good and gear shifter travel seems to be okay. Ther is adequate room to mount the electronics behind the shifter, including the Leash boost control window which I am really considering moving above the Radio or in the hole the radio will leave. I am using aluminum as the base. Haven’t decided on the thickness but will probably have it as thick as I can and still snap the consoie trim back in place.
Here are a few shots with the shift levers in different positions.
So I cut another plate out today to see what I could do about using the shifter markings. Think it turned out great. I need one of their lips to smooth the edges of the cut out.