B&M’s Hammer Shifter Install on a Fox Body Mustang

Aftermarket shifters have traditionally been designed and engineered as “look at me” pieces that have not only functioned better than a stock shifter, but also looked racier. In the old days, we grabbed aftermarket shifter handles like real men and got after the smell of burning rubber, pinned butterflies, speed, and noise.

Our Vortech supercharged Fox body Mustang is making over 480 hp to the rear wheels.

However, times have changed. These days, we like more tasteful aftermarket performance products for our Mustangs — products that blend in and work with our Mustang’s factory persona yet provide better performance. We want reliable quick-shifting performance without the drawbacks of a bulky, cumbersome aftermarket shifter.

B&M Console Hammer Shifter

B&M Racing & Performance has stepped up to the plate with its new Console Hammer shifter (Part No. 81002) for 1987-93 Mustangs, which virtually disappears into your Mustang’s console unnoticed. There’s also a Console Hammer for 1994-04 Mustangs. The Console Hammer drops right into the place of your stock Automatic Overdrive shifter in a matter of a couple of hours and goes right to work doing what you’d like it to do unnoticed except for the way it feels in your hand and the way it performs when the twist gets toasty.

Here’s B&M’s Hammer shifter for 1987-93 Mustang with AOD/AODE transmissions. You get the Hammer shifter, bezel, leather boot, gaskets, T-handle, and detailed instructions.

The Console Hammer is a traditional ratchet style shifter and because it features a positive mechanical park/reverse lockout, it is NHRA/IHRA legal for racing.

With 440 hp and 580 lb/ft of torque on tap on our ultra-clean Fox body Mustang, we needed a shifter that was going to keep up with the power we are making. This ’93 Mustang is on the ragged edge of the stock engine’s capabilities, with additional power being applied by a Vortech T-trim supercharger. Being able to control the power-per-gear was going to be our next battle.

B&M’s ratchet action shifter mechanism allows positive upshifts and downshifts without the risk of an erred shift into park or reverse. A park/reverse lockout allows you the freedom of rapid-fire shifting without risk. And when the action’sover, you can shift into park or reverse by simply lifting the lockout.

“The Console Hammer is a traditional ratchet style shifter,” Chris McCollum of B&M tells us, “and because it features a positive mechanical park/reverse lockout, it is NHRA/IHRA legal for racing.”

“We wanted to create something people wanted in a high-performance Mustang shifter — something stealthy that’s easy to install and fits in with a Mustang’s interior,” said McCollum in regards to the development of these new shifters. He added that you can expect traditional B&M quality and performance from the Hammer shifter along with a tasteful appearance where no one really knows it’s there but you.

Close inspection of the Hammer shifter demonstrates precision components engineered to work together smoothly with crisp upshift/downshift action. This is aerospace grade engineering designed to withstand tremendous abuse before any service is ever required. This means crisp upshifts and downshifts. What’s more, the Hammer’s lockout design keeps you from accidentally shifting into park or reverse.

Precision B&M Engineering

B&M has engineered the Hammer with precision components designed to work together like a Swiss watch taking all the slip and slop out of automatic shifting. What’s more, B&M thought of compatibility with your Mustang’s steering column lock and safety interlock. This means you need to make sure both are connected to each other during installation, otherwise, you’re not going anywhere.

This exploded view shows the park/reverse lockout and release, which prevents an erred shift into park or reverse during shifts and makes the Hammer NHRA/IHRA legal. Mild modifications need to be made to the Ford interlock cable to make it compatible with the Hammer shifter.

B&M ’87-’93 Mustang Console Hammer Features

  • Unique multi-positioned trigger for user comfort in various shifter positions
  • Reverse lockout feature meets NHRA and IHRA requirements
  • Includes lighted gear indicator & polished aluminum T-Handle
  • Fits Ford AOD ’87-’93. C4 transmission requires #81020 installation kit
When installation is complete, you should be able to lock the ignition and remove the key when the Hammer is in park. Some Mustangs are fitted with brake pedal interlock, which prevents you from placing the selector in gear unless the brake pedal is depressed. This is something else for you to think about during installation.

Also Engineered For Ford C4

Not only is the Console Hammer designed to work with the AOD and AODE, it can also be converted to work with the vintage Ford C4 Select-Shift automatic by ordering the B&M Part No. 81020 C4 conversion kit. The 81020 conversion kit includes the shifter cable, bracket, and shifter lever you’re going to need for your C4 action adventure.

Be Careful Out There

Because you want to be safe, properly support your Mustang with jack stands on all four corners and check stability. Get the car at least two-feet in the air for easy access underneath. Never work underneath your Mustang using a hydraulic jack for support, which can get you maimed or killed. Always use eye protection whenever you work on your Mustang and protect your ears from loud noise or even the steady din of shop equipment.

The Hammer’s factory style bezel/indicator sports an LED lamp and indication graphics (not shown). Once installed, no one knows it’s there but you.

Ford’s factory shifter is a nice piece by OEM standards. However, during the mad rush environment of racing, you need precision B&M Hammer shifter 1-2-3 performance. Disconnect the linkage underneath and unplug the indicator lamp. Four bolts come out to release the shifter using a 10mm socket. There’s a lot to removing a 1987-93 Mustang console, which is necessary for shifter replacement. It’s a good idea to take pictures of your installation before removal. Then, snap pictures as you go to avoid any confusion during assembly. B&M’s instructions are very specific, which makes disassembly easy.

Installation Is Simple

Probably the toughest part of B&M Hammer shifter installation is removal of the console, because you have to disassemble the dashboard at the console and glove compartment. Though this is a pesky detail, there are tougher assignments you could have on your Mustang.

Again, disconnect linkage underneath as well as the lamp power from your stock shifter. Four bolts hold the shifter in place and you'll need a 10mm socket to remove these bolts.

The Hammer shifter is fitted with its shifter to the body gasket. The shifter is seated and four bolts installed.

Our shifter is installed. From here, you'll go underneath and connect the shifter linkage - including the steering column lockout and brake pedal safety feature - and connect the shifter indicator light. Mild modifications need to be made to the Ford interlock cable to make it compatible with the Hammer shifter.

The shifter cover fits our console perfectly, yielding a factory original appearance. The B&M bezel and shifter indicator snap into place with no tools required.

We like this cool leather boot, which makes our automatic look more like a short-stick manual shifter. Ignition on, the B&M Hammer offers LED indication from the factory power lead.

Finished installation looks like this with the B&M T-handle that fits right in the palm of your hand. Once installed, take your B&M Hammer shifter out for a little roadwork.

Article Sources

About the author

Jim Smart

Jim Smart cut his teeth on automobiles in the 1970s with a passionate interest in Ford and Chrysler musclecars. After serving in the United States Air Force, he transitioned into automotive journalism as editor of Mustang Monthly magazine in 1984. In 1990, Jim joined Petersen Publishing Company as a feature editor at Car Craft, and later as editor of Mustang & Fords, then senior editor at both Mustang Monthly and Mustang & Fords. Jim writes for a wide variety of automotive publishers and websites.
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