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Ford’s 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission is based on the ZF 6HP26 gearbox and debuted in 2005 in the 2006 Explorer. Later, in 2011, Ford chose it for use in the S197 Mustang platform behind the 5.0-liter V8 Coyote engine, which is when its capabilities as a stout performer began to shine through. In stock form, many racers have proven it can handle well over 600 horsepower at the tires. The 6R80 has been used in more than a dozen different cars running deep into the 7-second zone at the dragstrip with the available aftermarket internals.
These achievements don’t make a note of the thousands of enthusiasts with this robust transmission in their weekend-warrior Mustangs. In 2013, Ford introduced the Select Shift capability to the 6R80; as it is an electronically controlled transmission, there is no way to outfit the vehicle with a traditional aftermarket shifter. The Select Shift technology allows the user to put the transmission into Sport (S) mode and then use a rocker switch to shift up and down through the gears at will. It’s a great option, but the factory shifter handle leaves much to be desired from an appearance perspective.
Enter the transmission experts at Hurst Shifters. They dissected the factory shifter and debuted this slick handle replacement that utilizes the Select Shift capability in the transmission while improving the appearance and functionality of the factory shifter handle. The Billet/Plus Pistol Grip automatic shifter handle with manual shift buttons for 2013-2014 Mustangs equipped with the 6R80 transmission offers plug-and-play installation that can be done in the comfort of your garage in well under an hour with just a few standard hand tools.
The pre-built billet handle and two screws to secure it in place are in the box, along with an installation guide and a snazzy Hurst sticker.
Sticking out of the handle’s bottom end is the female Select Shift plug to interface with the plug on the factory shifter base. Here we can see the small locking tab on the plug.
The Billet/Plus Pistol Grip Auto Shift handle has a trigger in the top-most finger notch. In addition to improved aesthetics, it offers a positive feel.
The side buttons work correctly with the Select Shift system in the transmission to upshift and downshift the 6R80 at will. If buttons rated for roll control and transbrake functions are necessary, the Hurst Billet/Plus Pistol Grip Side Plate 2 Button (p/n 1539004) will operate those components instead while retaining the factory 6R80 shifter base and the new Billet/Plus Pistol Grip Auto Shift handle.
The factory leather-wrapped shifter handle has a nice appearance for a stock vehicle, but any enthusiast is going to want to step it up a bit with the new Billet/Plus Pistol Grip Auto Shift handle with manual shift buttons. Functionality isn't degraded one bit, but the appearance is ratcheted up by a factor of 10!
The factory shifter trim ring lifts right up with a bit of coaxing; pop it off and set it out of the way. It is important to note that the shifter must be in the neutral position, so make sure to chock the wheels both front and rear to prevent the car from rolling.
The cupholder/center console also lifts out of its home; open the storage compartment door, grasp the console at the rear, and pop it up. Empty the cupholders first, or there will be pennies or other junk flying all over the inside of the car.
Under the console, there will be two plugs at the back side if the vehicle is a Premium with the MyColor option. Otherwise, there should be one plug. Disconnect these.
At the front of the console, another plug goes into the trunk release/traction control switch. Push down on the small red tab and disconnect this plug. It only fits in one way.
To remove the factory shifter handle, use a thin-bladed screwdriver and pop the handle trim loose from the handle. Take care to protect the finish.
One of these T20 Torx screws hides under the trim on each side of the factory leather handle. Remove them and set the screws aside.
There are six tabs to be released on the factory shifter base to access the plug for the Select Shift buttons. A thin-blade screwdriver works best to release the two clips at the rear; with these released, pull up on the shifter cover gently. Apply slight pressure to the four side clips to release them and pop the shifter base up.
The small Select Shift plug hides inside the factory shifter housing. The release button is on the passenger side of this plug — it may be helpful to slide that thin-bladed screwdriver in there to help release it. Once unplugged, remove the factory shifter handle.
Before sliding the new Billet/Plus Pistol Grip Auto Shift handle with manual shift buttons into place, route the internal wire harness into this channel and through the trim panel on the shifter base. Point the wire off to the passenger side of the shifter base so the wire reaches the male plug end.
With the new handle centered on the shaft and plugged in, install the two new Philips-head screws and snug them down to lock the handle in place.
After the handle is secured to the shaft, reverse the disassembly steps. Snap the shifter cover back together, plug in the console harnesses, and replace the trim ring. Enjoy your new shifter!