If you are like us then you enjoy a traditional manual transmission. Sure modern automatics are faster and are easier to use in city traffic, but the use of the third pedal adds so much to the driving experience.
Apart from the steering wheel the shifter is the most touched thing on a car with a manual gearbox. Because of this the leather or vinyl that is used can quickly look tired and in need of replacement.
If your shift boot is letting down the look of the rest of the car, then here are the steps to replace it.
These are the steps that we followed to put a new leather shift boot on our Project Porsche Boxster R. The 986 generation Boxster steps will be similar to other Boxsters, Caymans and 911s. Other makes and models will also have steps that are close to this, but there may be a few steps that are slightly different.
Step 1: Purchase a Replacement Shift Boot
It sounds like a no brainer, but the shift boot replacement you purchase can make the installation much easier. If you buy a quality part it can save you much frustration. We received our new leather shift boot from Redline Accessories. Note that they are not an advertiser with us and did not compensate us for using the product.
Step 2: Remove the Old Shift Boot
In our Porsche Boxster we needed to remove a plastics trim piece in the center console below the radio. To remove this we used a flathead screwdriver with the flat end wrapped in a microfiber towel. The towel helps make sure you don’t scratch the trim.
Once this trim was out we could get to the plastic piece at the bottom of the shifter boot. Again we used the flathead screwdriver wrapped in a microfiber towel. We carefully put it under the bottom plastic piece that is held with clips and slowly worked it out of the transmission tunnel console.
Next we removed the shifter knob. For us the knob was difficult to pull straight up, but when we put the shift lever into reverse (since our car is a 5-speed it is down and to the right) we were able to use leverage by pushing our legs against the floorboard. After we did this it popped right out.
Step 3: Remove the Old Leather
Once you have removed the shift knob you need to remove the old leather. Since you will be replacing the leather if the old leather boot rips it won’t affect the rest of the installation.
First you remove the leather around the bottom piece of plastic that the shift boot bottom connects to. Once the plastic piece is removed, remove the leather from the knob. You will need to pop out the shift pattern piece of trim at the top and then work the leather away from the knob. We weren’t able to remove our leather from the knob without tearing it.
Step 4: Install the New Leather
First take the bottom trim piece and then fit the cut openings at the bottom of the boot to the corresponding nubs underneath the trim piece. Contact cement can be used to help make sure the new leather boot stays in place.
The top shift knob slips down from the top. You can make sure that you have it going the correct direction by matching up the shift pattern trim piece. Using contact cement helps the shift knob to stay in place and a flathead screwdriver can help to make sure the top leather fits into the top “crater” opening. The shift pattern trim piece then goes into the shift knob.
Step 5: Put the Shift Boot Back in Place
Push down on the shift knob to put it into place on the shifter lever. Then push the bottom trim piece down on the transmission tunnel center console using gentle force to snap it back in place. You will then need to put the trim piece that was removed from the center console below the radio back into place. The piece pushes directly into place with little effort.
Step 6: Drive
The new shift boot is now in place and you should now be able to enjoy a drive with your sharp looking new leather shift boot.
That’s all you need to do to put in a new leather shift boot. We know that words are not always easy to follow, so we also filmed our installation. Check out the video and then scroll down to the comments and let us if you have ever installed a new shift boot in your car and share your experience.