Interior upgrade - leather shifter

unitacx

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2006
Location
Alexandria, VA
TDI
2002 golf
My old shift boot was starting to show more base fabric than vinyl, so to ebay for a "genuine leather" shift boot...

This is for A4 chassis, but should fit other models with clamp-below-shift knob arrangement. It's not as utilitarian as a timing belt change or even a vent hole in the radiator overflow connector but can be a cheap but useful mod.

OEM leather shift boots are something like $178 - $248 (although perhaps with a leather shift knob grip). Good quality leather boots with elastic bottoms on eBay are in the $15 range (cheaper for the type that need to be cut into the flange). It turns out that the task of replacing the boot onto the shift knob assembly is not much more complicated than replacing a complete shift knob and boot assembly.

WHAT TO SELECT:
There seem to be several types. First, all variants require removing the shift knob. That entails basically, "destroy the [metal] clip" (Bentley's terminology) beneath the shift knob. The shift boots come in different varieties:

- OEM - This may or may not include a new shift knob.

- imitation leather with elastic

- leather without elastic. - the leather is slit and inserted through the base flange. This is different from the OEM vinyl boot, which has an elastic band that slips around the base flange.

- leather with elastic band to fit the base flange. This is more convenient because the base flange is in fact designed to accept the elastic band

- leather with chrome base band. I'm not sure if these are overlays for the OEM flange or are replacement flanges, but seem to be part of the OEM setup for leather shift boots. I figure if I wanted bling, I'd get an LED one with multiple colors that cycle about the base. But I think plain leather is better bling.


REMOVING SHIFT KNOB AND OLD BOOT:

1. Lift up rear portion of old boot from base flange and lift base flange, starting with the rear. (The front comes out last.) .

2. Invert the old boot over the top of the knob, exposing the clamp and sleeve assembly.

3. Destroy crimped-on metal clamp (Bentley's wording)

4. Lift shifter off of shift rod.

5. Carefully pry clamping sleeve (outer black sleeve with 2 "v" cut-outs) in direction away from knob. That should release boot from knob.

6. Pull old boot off from below the knob.

INSTALLING NEW SHIFT BOOT

7. Insert new boot into place on knob assembly below knob. OEM design has stitched seams fore and aft, but most will fit either fore/aft or on opposite sides.

8. Press clamp onto knob. "V" cutouts face down, away from knob. (Bentley incorrectly shows the cutouts facing the knob.)

9. Pull boot down to extend smoothly over clamp so it doesn't bunch up over the base of the knob.

10. Position base of shift boot over base. Wide part with wide tab fits front. (The front tab will fit under the console.) You can turn in the rear part so the edge folds under to keep the edge from be visible, but I think the visible edge peeking out from the flange does not detract from the leather boot's appearance and sort of gives it authenticity of sorts.

11. Replace shift knob and base in car. It is not necessary to replace the metal clamp, and Bentley does not mention replacing the clamp, but it is possible to use a spring or screw hose clamp if desired. My experience is that the clamp is unnecessary.
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Location
Scotland
TDI
2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
I got a nice leather one for about £14 UK or so for mine, the guy actually sent me two so I've got a spare. Not sure the rest of the car will last long enough though lol
 
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