Leather 85.5 – 91 Instructions
Tools you will need:
Remove old cover.
1. Easiest way to remove the base of the old cover seems to be to grab the top in the middle and pull up and back a little.
2. Either pull the cover up until it comes all the way off or cut the cover off the handle.
3. If you are lucky the center cap came off when you pulled the cover off. If not, you need to remove the cap. The cap has three arms that hold it in the shifter. The cap pulls off from the top. Don’t worry if you break one of the arms off or even all three. The arms are not really needed, it’s easier to install the center cap without the arms on the cap. I would recommend cutting these three arms off the center cap. The cap will be a very tight fit and stay in without the arms.
Remove shifter handle.
4. With the cover off, remove the rubber inner cover. Pull the base of the cover off all the way around and lift the whole cover up.
5. Pull off the retaining clip at the base of the shifter handle. (Be careful not to drop it.)
6. Now the handle will pull straight up and off.
7. The top of the shifter and the handle needs to be clean. Remove glue or any remnants of the old cover from the handle and the top area.
Install new cover.
8. To help install the new cover you might need to cut some of the shift knob away to allow room for the material. If your shifter looks like the one in the picture then it’s probably a good idea. This can be done before you install the cover or afterwards.(before installing the top cap) The dark brown part of the shifter is made from soft plastic and it can be trimmed easily with a knife. If you have been driving your car without a shifter cover for a while then the plastic will start shrinking around the top can and there won’t be any room left for the shifter cover material. This can be visually seen. If you can see a little space between the top cap and the shift knob then you won’t need to trim anything. If they are tight together, then you will need to trim the shift knob so the cover can fit. This is easy to do with a knife like in the picture. Be careful and cut some of the shifter away. You will only need to trim just a little bit away, so don’t get carried away.
9. Slide the shifter handle in from the top of the new cover. Make sure the cover is oriented correctly. The cover should slide on fairly easy. Grip around the handle and slide it up. You can also use the tabs at the top of the cover to help slide the cover on the handle.
10. The cover should be all the way up, with extra material at the top. Now you can trim off the top of the cover. Cut the tabs off the top of the cover. You might need to trim a little more of the cover away too. The cover material should fold over the top of the handle but not touch the inside bottom of the handle. If you leave to much material at the top of the handle then the top cap won’t push on all the way.
11. Cut the tabs off the top of the cover. A straight cut across. Make sure you only cut the tabs off, and no extra material for now. Fold the material into the cap to make sure you have the right amount. The material should fold into the center cap, but not touch the bottom of the inside of the cap. If there is a little bit too much material, cut a little bit off the top of the cover. *Remember, you can always cut off more material later, but you can’t add material once you cut it off.*
12. Insert the cap in the top of the shifter. Here is the trick to save a lot of time. Take a needle and some thread, about 3 feet of thread is enough. Hand sew the top of the cover like the pictures. In a star patern. Try to sew very close to the edge of the material, about 1/16 inch, or 2-3mm.
13. Once done sewing you should be able to install the top cap. Slowly align the cap and push it down from the top. The new cover is thick and you need to press very hard. The pressure from the cover will hold on a cap that has broken tabs just fine. I know because mine is broken. If yours is broken make sure you have the cap lined up so the pattern looks right before you press it down. Sewing the top of the cover will hold the material where you need it to be so there is no wrinkles in the cover. When you press the cap in place the thread will either break or pull out of the material. Take your time on this step. It will probably take a few tries to push in the cap. Once you have the cap almost all the way on you might want to cut the thread that you just sewed, to help the cap go on the rest of the way.
14. Now install the base ring for the cover. The easiest way I have found is to start with the front and push both tabs through the material then push the back two tabs into the material then do the sides, and you are done.
Reinstall the shifter in the car.
15. First thing to do is pull the cover up over the handle so you can see the bottom of the handle. Then put the rubber inner cover on the handle bottom, and flip it up so that you can see the bottom of the handle.
16. Slide the handle on the shifter, and put the clip back in place.
17. Push the rubber inner cover down and into place.
18. Push the cover down, and snap in place. Start with the back and then push the front down and and sides and you are done. The leather is thick and you need to press down firmly