Auto Shifter Cover Instructions
Tools you will need:
Phillips screw driver
Sharp razor blade
Small straight slot screw driver (optional)
Here are some pictures to explain the terms that I will be using.
1. First you need to remove the trim from around the base of the shifter cover. Start by removing the ash tray, and remove the pocket under the radio. Both just pull out. Then remove the screws under the ash tray and pocket.
2. Then you should be able to gently pull the complete trim up. The shifter will still be attached to the car with a screw that’s under the cover, so don’t try to pull the whole thing off.
3. This picture is looking at the bottom of the trim around the shifter. Gently push on the tabs that hold the center trim into the outer trim. Then push the center trim up and out.
4. Remove the 4 screws that hold the “fancy” middle cover on.
5. Remove the old shifter cover from the center trim. Pull the cover up over the bottom of the shift knob. You will then see a screw on the side of the shift knob. Remove that screw and pull the shift knob off the car.
6. The gear selector button should now just slide out of the shift knob. Put it aside so you don’t lose it.
7. Remove the old cover by cutting around the buttons on the end, like in the picture(if you still have enough of the old cover left).
8. Pull the old cover off from around the button and ring, and hopefully the ring comes out. If the ring doesn’t come out, try some small needle nose pliers to pull it out. It’s only being held in by the old cover.
9. If the button on the other side didn’t come out when you pulled the cover off, then put a long screw driver in the other side of the shift knob and push the button out. Don’t worry if the little tabs break off. The pressure of the new cover will hold it all together.
10. You should now have the shifter knob without the cover on it, and the button and metal ring out. Clean all the old cover off the shift knob.
11. Take the new cover and find the “R” mark on the inside of the cover. The R is for the rear of the cover. That part of the cover is where your palm would go on the shifter knob.
12. Slide the shift knob into the side of the cover, making sure that the knob is positioned correctly.
13. Take both needles and put the thread in them, and tie a knot on the end.
14. Now you can start to sew the cover onto the knob. For the best results, tie the end of the thread in a knot on the inside of the cover, like in the pictures. After tying the knot, cut off the extra thread, but make sure you leave at least 5mm or 1/8 inch of thread. If you don’t, the knot will come undone. To sew the cover you will want to start at the bottom of the cover and work upwards
This picture is to illustrate how to tie a knot to start out. This picture shows the back of the cover. Take the needle and loop it through the two threads that make up the triangle. Then tie a knot.
15. You will want to sew both sides of the cover at the same time, so make sure you have tied each thread on each side before you start.
16. Start sewing the cover like in the pictures below. The needle should never have to poke through the leather. You are just looping around the threads that are already there. This turns out to be a very strong way to hand sew a cover. The idea is actually borrowed from the way Ferrari sews their steering wheels. Sew a few times on one side and then sew a few times on the other. Alternating back and forth until you reach the top. Make sure you pull the thread tight at least every couple of sews. The thread is very strong, and will with stand a lot of pulling, but might not be necessary. Pull the thread until the two pieces of leather come together. To illustrate this better, I’ve used a different color for each item. The blue thread is to show how you will be sewing.
16.5 Sometimes it can be hard to sew the cover in one motion like in the pictures above. Especially around the corners. So, to make it easier, you can do it in two steps. Sew through one side of the triangle thread, then sew through the other side. Like in these pictures.
16.75 Here is a close up shot of what the sewing looks like.
17. When you get finished sewing up each side, loop the thread through one side and tie a knot, just like you did when you started.
18. Now you can start to finish the ends of the cover. First fold over the leather into the button plug hole. Make sure the material isn’t too long. If it’s too long then the button plug won’t be able to go all the way in the hole. Trim just a little bit of material from the end and fold it into the button hole again to check it’s length. Remember, it’s easy to cut material away, but you can’t add it back.
19. Once the material is the correct length, you can start to glue it in the holes. CAREFULLY open the super glue. It’s very runny! Once the super glue is open, test it out on a piece of paper, so you know how fast it comes out and how to control it. To use the superglue once it’s open, tip it upside down, if the glue isn’t already coming out, then VERY gently squeeze the end of the bottle. Take your time and be careful with the glue. You don’t want to get any on the outside of the cover(or your fingers!).
20. Hold the cover upside down like in the picture(seems to be the easiest way to start) and apply one small drop of glue to the inside of the button plug hole. Put the glue on the shift knob, not the cover. Then very carefully, fold the cover over and onto the glue and hold it there for 20 to 30 seconds. Using something like a small screwdriver, or a tiny finger works best for holding the cover onto the glue.
21. After each time you use the glue you should check your fingers to make sure you didn’t get any on you. If you get glue on your fingers and then touch the outside of the leather cover, it will ruin the cover.
22. Now put another drop of glue on the inside of the button plug hole and fold the cover onto it and hold it there until it dries.
23. Keep gluing around the inside of the button plug hole another 2 times until it looks like the picture below.
24. To help install the button plug, I’ve taken a razor blade and cut an angle on the inside edge. Again, don’t worry if you have broken off the little arms that stick up (like I’ve done). The cover will hold the plug in very tight. This is optional but I would recommend it.
25. A little more trimming of the cover might be needed at this point. See how the leather is sticking out, into the button plug hole a little(red dotted line). Take a very sharp razor blade and trim/make small cuts in the leather until it lays as flat as possible. It doesn’t need to be completely flat. The red dashed line shows you where you will need to trim, but make sure you don’t cut the leather too high up. The green arrow shows the part of the leather that will be visible after the plug is installed.
26. Before pushing the plug into the hole, double check that you are working on the correct side.
27. Now put the plug into the hold and push as much as you can. If the plug won’t go in, try putting the plug face down on a hard surface, then put the shifter over the plug and press down on the shifter until the plug goes all the way in. If there is just no way that the plug will fit inside the hole, then you will need to trim more of the leather off until it will fit. It should be a tight fit.
28. Now you can start working on the other side of the shifter, the side with the ring and button. Start by gluing the cover to the inside of the button hole, just like you did on for the other side. As you can see, I didn’t do quite as good of a job, but it won’t matter, the metal ring will hold it all in place, and it will look good.
29. A little trimming might be needed on this side too, like in step #25. Remember to make small trims each time.
30. The metal ring is fairly sharp around the edges, so pushing it in by hand it NOT a good idea. It will cut your fingers. So here is an easy way to install the metal ring. Place the metal ring on a hard or semi hard surface. A cutting board or a hard piece of wood works great. Then take the shifter knob and line up the button hole with the metal ring and evenly press down. The ring should slide into the button hole with some force.
31. Once the ring is flush and into place, you can slide the button into the hole.
32. Now the shifter can go back into the car. Start by flipping the bottom of the cover up so you can get to the screw. Appling a little bit of grease to the inside, middle part of the plastic button will make the button movement a little easier. But make sure you don’t get any grease on the leather cover.
33. Install the large plastic trim back into the car, and install the 4 screws that hold it down. The 2 in the ash tray and the 2 under the radio.
34. Slide the shifter knob back onto the shifter inside the car. Then install the screw that holds it on. Then push the leather cover back down.
35. Next push the elastic part of the shifter cover into the slot in the middle, fancy cover.
36. Install the elastic part of the shifter cover onto the middle plastic cover of the car.
37. Slide the fancy middle cover down and install the 4 screws, to hold the two middle covers together.
38. Now the middle plastic assembly should push down and snap in place in the middle of the car.
39. Now go for a test drive with your new shifter cover.