One thing we noticed as we started driving around the car was that during shifting, the central boot wouldn't stay latched down, the leather taut and crusty. It's twenty years old, afterall. I purchased a new leather boot from Rennbay
and went to work.
The boot itself is a finely stitched, yet oddly shaped, piece of leather. Tapered at the top to a small hole, it doesn't seem obvious how this would accomodate the larger head of the knob. But as we'll see, it went in fairly easily, minus a few kinks in the procedure. Rennbay also has a guide to installation
of a new shifter boot. They also offer different colors and centre caps, depending on your car and preference.
The knob pulls from the car the reverse of how it goes in. Infer from the reinstallation part of this entry the actual procedure of uninstallation. Basically, the knob and boot and holding ring all come off the shift level in one piece to bring inside from the sweltering heat of a black car with black leather interior.
I had some trouble removing the cap from the knob through the obvious means of popping the cap off. The twenty years of tough leather, and what I'd find out afterwards, held it in place something fierce. My thoughts pondered on just cutting it off since I'd never be using it again. But instead of just doing damage, I sliced down the stiched near the top of the bulb which can be seen in the following image and inverted the leather until only the cap was left in place. Your mileage may vary, but this seemed to be the *only* method which got me closer to its removal.
A slight tug, and the cap popped off without damage to it...that is, any damage that *I* did to it. The previous owner must have tried this once, or this was just a poor job from the factory. The inside was lined with what looked like glue, but I cannot be entirely sure. It was fairly malleable and sticky, but could be just lubrication. There is a notch in one end of the cap which holds it in place. Opposite that, the plastic on the cap has been malformed by what looks like excessive pressure with a screwdriver during a prior attempt of removal. Due to the buldge, the cap doesn't sit completely in, but at a slight angle to flush, which I will always see, regardless how insignificant it really is. There is also a quite visible scratch running across the top of the cap. Rennbay also sells replacement caps, both plastic, and stainless steel. I may have to look into that next time I order from them (probalby for the odometer gear).
With the cap off, I can focus on the new leather. First, it needs to be stretched out and around the latching ring which sits in the console of the car. Takes some maneuvering, but it works easily enough. Be careful not to stretch too far and crack the ring as it'll be difficult to find a replacement.
The boot now looks like some bondage item, but is ready for the knob to be inserted. (Ha. I get it.) From the top, slowly press the knob into the leather trying to keep the seam straight. I did my best, and it's close, but not perfect, but not obviously out of alignment either. As the knob gets further and further in, the leather will get harder and harder to maneuver. This will take some time but eventually, there will be some play in the leather above the knob where the cap will sit.
From there, the cap can be inserted, holding down the top of the leather. Again, this will take some time, and pressure, and a lot of patience. The leather will attempt to bunch up in places you don't want. It'll be hard to press into shape. You'll get flustered doing this. Eventually, the cap will start to press into place, and the leather will become tighter and smoother.
Back in the car, the inner boot was still in good shape, just driven out of place by the old boot. Getting it to wrap around the metal snap lip was difficult. The carpet under the console isn't cut perfectly, and rubs on one side. Took some time, but I managed (hopefully) to secure the inner boot into place.
Installation of the knob is easy. There are rubber grommets which ride the inside of the knob's shaft to hold it in place and reduce vibration. In the pictures above, there can be seen a clip. This piece holds the knob onto the lever. It's a rough one to press on. Once installed, that clip doesn't want to budge. The inner rubber boot reduces both noise and heat from the shift linkage and subsequently the transmission. Snap down the boot ring, and the installation is complete!
I'm happy with the result. The pictures don't do the color justice. The black leather is a striking black in contrast with the duller aged black of the console. Eventually, with the new Porsche Crest shifter cap, the new seats and dash, the inside of the car will look even better than the outside.