So far, one of the only complaints we have with our loaner X-Runner is the shift throw on the six-speed manual transmission. Every thing about the truck has that firm performance feel. The steering, suspension, and rolling stock allow you to confidently rip this sucker around the corner with maybe just a little bit of oversteer, and we all know that's the best part. However, when you wrap your hand around the shift knob and it moves a mile, some of that confidence is lost. We know Toyota built it this way to cater to the masses and not just enthusiasts like us.

We wanted to complete the continuity of the truck by giving the shifter a nice short throw, so we dusted off our account at, one of the premier Toyota Tacoma sites and a great resource for these trucks. We were browsing the message boards, when there it was, just what we needed, a link to Underdog Racing Development (URD).

We were familiar with URD, after seeing trucks it hopped up at the shows. These folks really know their Toyotas, and the new X is no exception. Little did we know, the company already had one in the garage and, like us, were unhappy about the shifter. Instead of building a whole new shift handle, like other companies out there, URD wanted to retain the stock handle. The stock shifter is two parts bonded together with a rubber-like material to deaden sound as well as vibration. It should be clear why the company wanted to hold onto--excuse the pun--this very important feature.

Instead of over-thinking the whole process, URD found a simple yet almost ingenious way to keep the handle and still shorten the throw, by simply engineering an extension. URD whittled out an extension that slips over the end of the stock shifter and a spacer plate that moves the shifter assembly up, in turn moving the pivot point and cutting the throw nearly in half, at 44 percent less.

The whole installation process can be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes, with some simple handtools. This is the serious improvement that we have wanted since the first time we plopped our butts in the X-Runner.

Underdog Racing Development
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