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Written by: Tinkerbell_too

My stock shift boot was worn, so the obvious thing to do was to replace it.

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



This boot is definitely FAR superior in quality to its stock counterpart.

Before...



After...



Here are some close up before and afters...

Before...



After...



The installation instructions were perfect for 90% of the cars, but we had the odd ball... LOL! We thought it would be a straight forward replacement like the instructions indicated, but of course, my 2003 was not that easy. So to make it fair for those of us with the difficult cars, I made my own additions to the included instructions. I also passed the info on to Redline. They had mentioned sending people to our site if they have any of the variant cars.

It was really not bad with some calm patient work.

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 to.



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 than 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 picture 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...



Once the bezel is free of it's 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.





REMOVAL OF THE SHIFTER BOOT FROM THE BEZEL

Once the shifter bezel assembly was out of the car, to keep things clean and easy to orient, I turned both the stock boot and the new boot inside out for the removal and installation process...

The instructions indicate that there would be a metal ring that the shift boot was attached to, that was in turn attached to the shifter bezel. This metal ring should have been screwed to the plastic bezel. This is where our car diverts from the instructions. Instead of screws, our ring was attached to the bezel via melted plastic tabs. See, our bezel had locating tabs instead of screws. At the factory, once the metal bezel was seated on these locating tabs, they used a device that was hot and actually melted the tips of the plastic tabs down to secure the trim ring. Great design until you have to remove and reinstall it. UGH!





So, with careful thought and a bit of praying, I started to remove the ring from the bezel by prying up the melted portions of the tabs....which of course were so weak that most just broke off.



We got lucky and some of the tabs were only slightly melted so I was able to work the ring off without prying and breaking them. This was great because I could reuse them to secure that portion again without modification. However, the one pictured above was going to require some work.

Once your melted tabs are pried up enough, you can simply slip in a screw driver and twist to pop the ring off it's tab.





If you are lucky, you will have some that still have a usable hook shape to them like this...



Now, the boot ring can only go on one way. The ring is not symmetrical, so its pretty obvious how it goes. Here are the parts separated... Worst case, the tabs are there to help keep you oriented. But, to be on the safe side... mark the top and bottom, and the front and back. A simple line in the bottom of your shifter bezel that lines up with a matching line on your boot ring before you remove it will work wonders for your peace of mind.





INSTALLING THE NEW SHIFTER BOOT & RING ON THE SHIFTER BEZEL

Ok so here was the tricky creative part. All your tabs line up only one way with your bezel. If you were gentle with the old tabs, you might have some that will hold down your bezel on their own. I was able to keep some of mine intact, even though they were melted over. In total, they held half of the bezel secure. For the other half I had to come up with a creative idea. For the tabs you can not reuse, you can use the below trick.

The idea was to use a very small screw and washer to secure the bezel to the old tabs. Yes I needed a VERY small screw and washer. Well fortunately, I have done something similar to this once before. I had found sunglass screws are about as small as you can get, are about the right length, and are pretty easy to find.



Just go to a Wal-Mart or the like and buy an eyeglass repair kit for the screws and screw driver. Or get a mini screw driver set from the hardware store and get some broken or dirt cheap glasses to rob the screws from.

Finding a small washer was the hard part. I looked about the shop and noticed a hook kit for the back of a picture frame.



The hooks use very small nails to secure them to a frame. The holes in these hook ends were the perfect size for my screws. The hooks are brass, so they can be nipped off with strong wire cutters and can be used for washers...



Bingo there was my screw & washer. You can see how small they are in my hand.



Now you have to make a hole in your tab. It has to be just under the size of the screw. A drill bit that small can take some work to find, so instead I used a small nail. I held it with my pliers and heated it really hot with a candle. Then I simply melted a hole into the tab for my screw. Be careful, if you wiggle it to much you will make the hole too big for your screw. Take it a bit at a time till you make the hole just right.



Then simply run in your new screw and washer... For further measure, I would recommend dropping a bit of glue in the hole. It will work like lock-tite. (When I had to remove the Shifter bezel to sound proof the car, I had lost a screw and washer)



Here is the new boot mounted to the shifter bezel...



INSTALLING THE SHIFTER BEZEL

Now that the new boot is installed on the bezel, you can reinstall your 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.





Redline suggested installing the bezel with the boot inside out. The idea being that you would fasten a zip tie to the end of the boot around the shifter arm. Then pull the boot down right side out. The zip tie holds the boot tight to the arm. I tried this method did not like the way the top puckered, nor did I like the way the fastener of the zip tie bulged on the side of he boot. I felt over time the leather would rub there and tear.

Instead I opted to use the factory rubber piece that was in my original shifter boot. I simply removed it from my old boot. I then installed this rubber piece on the shifter arm and installed the boot right side out over the rubber piece. There was the perfect interference fit between the rough leather back & the rubber. The boot top was held up perfectly with no puckering. No zip tie needed! You can go with your personal preference here.

No pic of the rubber piece during reinstall, but this pic shows how good the rubber holds the boot's neck in place!



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 you shifter knob back on!
 
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