By Sam Logan:
These systems operate on most vehicles particularly street machines, track-day cars, road race and drag race vehicles. The system MasterShift displayed at the 2012 exhibition was designed for the new Tremec T-56 Magnum.
In bump-shifting, which is described as sequential electronic shifting, the driver simply pulls a lever backwards to up-shift or pushes it forward to downshift. According to Louis Zember, head of MasterShift, “This concept, which uses the clutch pedal to activate the shift, appeals to those who enjoy reaching forward and grabbing a lever.”
In contrast, the higher-tech paddle shifter replaces the gear lever, which is removed entirely, and the gear changes are performed on the steering wheel. The chief advantage is obvious: it allows drivers to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. It also performs gear shifts on manual and automatic transmissions faster. The average shift time is 250 milliseconds (one quarter second) to 350 milliseconds, and because it is electronically controlled it always shifts to the correct gear. Like the bump shifter the paddle mechanism relies on clutch operation with each shift.
The installation usually involves placing the electronic controller in the trunk away from any heat source and running the cables from it to the shift lever on the transmission. The controller contains the electronics and the gear-driven motor. Automatic transmissions use a smaller controller with one motor. Manual transmissions, on the other hand, use two motors to power the gear selection longitudinally (through the fore and aft gates) and laterally (through the neutral gate). Additionally, Mastershift’s kit easily adapts to any existing cable-driven system.
These systems do not require any internal modifications to the transmission and still use the factory clutch to retain full control of power to the wheels. Furthermore, both manual and automatic systems feature safety measures that protect the engine from over revving and isolate the transmission from high shock loadings. In addition a safety device prevents the engagement of reverse gear (or Park) unless the vehicle is completely stopped.
MasterShift already has paddle shifter kits available for Tremec’s T-56, T-56 Magnum, TR-3650, TKO, T-5 and most cable-shifted transmissions as well as all automatic transmissions— electronic and non-electronic.
Currently working in conjunction with Pratt & Miller, they are engaged in developing new kits for street-going Corvette models C5, C6, ZO6, and ZR1. Though Mastershift has won this prestigious 2012 SEMA award they have been developing paddle and bump shift systems for 10 years and have been in production for the past seven.
For further information contact:
MasterShift Electronic Paddle Shifters