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Written by Tinkerbell_too

Our e-brake boot was ripping at the seam, so we decided to replace it. Here you can see our split...





and our cracking...




I chose leather replacements from Redline Goods. They offer tons of leather colors and many stitching combinations. We were highly impressed when the part arrived. The part was made of high-end leather and had perfect stitching, just as we had ordered. Definitely a piece fit for a show car.



Before...



After...



Here are some close up before and afters...

Before...



After...



REMOVAL OF THE SHIFTER BEZEL...

You are removing the front portion of the center console/lower section of the dash which encompasses the shifter bezel. You can see the line where it starts right below the 3 buttons (traction control, fog lights, and rear defroster). The first thing you want to do is remove your shift knob. The stock unit is a simple screw off knob. Unscrew it and set it to the side. NOTE: I did not take pictures while we did the disassembly, I had to go back and mock some of them. This is why you will see the knob still in place on our pictures!

You want to start at the top on each side where the edges overlap onto the center console. I used a screw driver to gently pry the edge up enough to free the inner clips. You have to be gentle to not mar the surfaces. Then you move down about half way. There are tools out there that will work better then a screw driver. They are actually blue plastic pry tools. They are made specifically to help with the removal of plastic parts without marring them. They are available at Summit. Of course I got them after I had to do this... LOL!





Here is what you will see as the bezel's clips start to release the console below...



Once you get the piece like this, you can gently get your fingers under the lip allowing you to pry/pull the piece upwards. You need to lift the top first as there is a plastic tab at the very bottom you must not snap off. PLEASE keep reading before you pull this piece out, so as not to damage the tab.





Here is a shot of the clips you are trying to free. They are pieces of metal that pinch the plastic tab they permanently mount too.



When they are mounted on the tab, they bow out just enough to catch a rectangular slot on the console side.





99% of the time the clips stay mounted on the tab. Every now and again one will slip off and you have to look around the inside of the console. Since there is more them one on the shifter bezel, you will be ok if you are missing one, but you might get extra vibrations.

Here is the picture of the tab I mentioned earlier. There is a tab at the bottom end that meets the center console. (You can see our GT coin holder delete in the corner of the pic to orient your view) You want to be careful not to snap it off. You want to pull the top out from the clips and rotate/slip the piece upwards and towards the radio to slip this clip out from under the base of the center console. OK now that I have shown you that, you can remove the piece... LOL!



Once the bezel is free of its clips, the last step is to disconnect the wiring for the cigarette lighter. Ours was a yellow orange weather pack (connector) with a push tab that would release it. Just push in the tab and gently pull the weather pack from its orange wiring receptacle on the cigarette lighter.





----

This install was the real trick... The object is to remove the center console so you can remove the e-brake boot from it.

REMOVING THE CENTER CONSOLE

The next step is to locate the two screws at the point where the console bolts to the dash. These must be removed.





Disconnect this connector. It has a push tab like all the other weather pack connectors in the car.





Now you go to the back of the console and open the lid.



You will remove the carpet at the bottom, where you will see two screws at the bottom of the compartment. You will need to remove these two screws as well.



Now you have to gently pull out the plastic inner liner of the console compartment. It's held in by small clips on the four corners, one of which is to the front on the passenger side where the lid latches closed. You can see the 4 rectangular slots in the right hand pic below.





It pops out with a small amount of pressure.



The reason we are removing the liner is to disconnect the cigarette lighter. It's the same type of connector as the one on the shifter bezel. The receptacle on ours is green, the weather pack connector is black. Just push in the tab and the weather pack connector will slip out.





Now set the center console liner to the side.





Now, you pull the e-brake arm up as high as it will go. The object is to slip the old boot off the handle and lift the console up and off as you go.... The boot can gently be worked over the handle as you see below.



In an ideal world, things would have worked just like I indicated, the e-brake would have pulling straight up. BUT....this is of course not the case with our car. Guess the parking brake is adjusted tighter then normal. So again this is where the directions on the internet and our car part ways...

My e-brake would not go straight up. This is all we could get (note - we took this picture after we had removed the boot - just to show how our e-brake handle wouldn't go straight up and down).



No matter what twisting or turning we did, the console was not coming out. New pads and proper adjustment spells disaster for console removal. One guy on the forums forced his e-brake handle up and snapped the e-brake cable. I was not going to play that game, so I had to find another way. One suggestion was to disassemble the e-brake mechanism in the inside of the car, but I was afraid I would never get it back together properly. Another idea that worked when we were sound proofing the car… removing the seats. With the seats out of the way, the console can be rotated and maneuvered much easier into a position that will allow the console to come out. So its up to you. We opted against taking the seats out due to this car being a daily driver at the time. I knew there would be some gluing time in our future and I did not want to rush the job!



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REMOVING THE E-BRAKE BOOT FROM THE BOOT RING

The boot is held onto the ring by staples.





The staples don't go all the way through.



This eliminates the idea of remove and reuse. So instead, we will be gluing the new boot to the bezel. I know I've said in other tech articles that I don’t trust glue in a car with the hot and cold; however, there is much less stress on this part when it is installed. It is not under constant motion, nor is it ever pulled fully taunt. Plus the boot ring actually pinches the material between it and the console. If you get the speed washers tight enough, there should be minimal chance for the glue to fail.

Here you can see just how the stitching failed on our stock boot.





Here is the new boot...



Pay attention to the orientation of the stock boot. Compare it to the new one, so you will know what orientation to mount the new one. For a final check, you can scribe a line in your boot ring and take a marker and make a corresponding line on the INSIDE of your new boot. Now we removed the staples with a small screw driver. REMINDER: Be careful with the boot ring so it does not break, it's just thin plastic.



Once the staples are out, then you just separate the boot ring from the boot.



INSTALLING THE NEW E-BRAKE BOOT TO THE BOOT RING

I have found that the best tool to help get glue to stick evenly, lay flat, and stay in place while drying is binder clips. They spread the load out better then c-clamps and are less bulky. The most important part… I clipped the new boot in place with binder clips on the boot ring to be sure I got the orientation right before I did any gluing. For my glue, I choose a 2-step style glue. You put glue on both surfaces, let it flash, and then stick the pieces together for a stronger bond. It dries clear, but it is still flexible.





To be sure I kept things oriented correctly, I only glued things a portion at a time, and left the binder clips in place on the areas I was not gluing yet. I removed the clips in the area I was gluing, as I glued it, and then replaced them to hold the pieces in place while they dried.





Here is the part all clipped up… looks crazy, I know, but it works like a charm!





I left the part alone to dry for close to 24 hours and then removed the clips.





You can see the leather sits nice and tight..



-----

INSTALLING THE E-BRAKE BOOT

Then it was back to the car. I had to gently get the boot ring and boot back in the console with out damaging it.

Reverse the removal procedure. You slip the boot over the handle.



Then you have to twist and gently work the bezel down in the console through the E-brake hole.











A shot from under the console...



In the front, there are channels that the boot ring will slip into. You can just make them out in the pics below.





This was interesting to get the boot ring into.





Once it’s in place nice and tight, you have to line up and work the ring onto the tabs.



The tabs are located in approximately these areas when you are looking from above..







Reattach the speed nuts... this was harder then taking them off... Again be careful and gentle.





Once your speed nuts are attached, you can work the boot the rest of the way down on the handle and you can push any of the excess leather material down into the recess of the console. Once on, it will look nice and tight from above... We also added an e-brake handle cover from MGW!



-----

INSTALLING THE CENTER CONSOLE

Now all that is left is to reverse what you did to get the console loose. Make sure you shimmy the console forward and down into place. I know ours was pushed around quite a bit during the fight to get everything in and out with it in the car.
Get your console liner and get it oriented to drop back into place.

Before you push it in connect your cigarette lighter. Black weather pack snaps back in place to the green receptacle.





Drop it in and pop it back in place. Now do a final check of your console's position.





Put the bolts back in the bottom of the console compartment, BUT DON'T TIGHTEN THEM ALL THE WAY! we need to check the front of the console to be sure things are fitting tight!



Reinstall those bolts holding the console to the dash.





Now reattach the wiring you unhooked up front by the shifter.





Now tighten the bolts all the way down in the console's compartment. Replace the carpet.



INSTALLING THE SHIFTER BEZEL

It's basically the reverse of the removal. You first start the shifter handle through the boot. Then you connect the wiring to the cigarette lighter. The yellow orange weather pack connects to the orange receptacle on the shifter bezel.





With your boot now installed on your arm, you have to focus on reattaching the bezel to the console. The first step is to install the front of the lip to the center console where the front tab is. Again be careful or you will snap the tab off. You need to slip this clip under first.



Then you work the bezel back into position, making sure the 4 tabs get in their corresponding slots.



There are 2 on each side...





I was worried we might get some loosening at these clip points, (warnings from the forums) so I opted to take some thin sticky-back sheet felt and actually stick it to the metal clip where it meets the plastic slot. This worked wonders for tightening the piece up and stopping any road creaking. Once the front tab is in place and the tabs are seemingly seated in the area of the slots…



Then you just give the bezel a push at the sides in the center of the lip and then at the top (two areas you initially pried) and the piece snaps back in place. If you used any felt the piece will be TIGHT in place now!

Now you can screw your shifter knob back on!
 
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