Shifter Lens, Boot and Handle upgrade

One of the areas that doesn’t age very well on a C4 Corvette is the console area. The shifter knob is handled each time the cars driven thus wearing down the leather. The shifter boot catches all ashes, dirt and any other debris in the car over time. The sun fades and cracks it too.


The lens that covers the needle showing what gear your end suffers pretty much the same fate.

But they are pretty easy to restore to new again. Here is how.

This howto covers the automatic equipped cars.

I purchased my parts for this job from Eckler’s Corvette. This included a new leather shift boot, new shifter indicator lens, and a wood grain shift knob.

Removal of the Shifter Knob

First we need to remove the shifter knob. Take a small flat head screw driver and lift the shift knob button straight upward.

Next locate the C clip retainer down inside the shifter knob.

Using lock ring pliers is the norm but I found that the pick tools I had worked better since the clip is so far down inside the knob that my pliers were to short to reach the clip.

Once the clips removed the shifter knob simply lifts straight up when pulled on.




Removing the center console lid

Now lower the steering wheel to its lowest position. Then remove the tilt lever from the steering column. This unscrews counter clockwise. If you cant turn it easy then locate the flat area on the lever shaft and use a wrench to turn it.

After removing the tilt lever you need to remove all the screws from the dash panel that covers the instrument cluster. Now remove the instrument cluster panel.

Next the center dash panel that has the air conditioning vents, radio and climate controls needs to be removed. The screws for this panel are on the left and right side where it meets the dash. The left side screws were covered by the instrument cover you removed earlier. Also there are 2 screws at the bottom of the panel. My car did not have any screws holding the center panel to the dash pad but I believe there are supposed to be screws there so check there to be sure. Now remove the center dash panel and set it aside.

Now you need to remove the console lid itself. There are screws hidden inside the center console glovebox area, the middle of console and at the front of the console cover.

Next lift the console lid up slowly. Note the location of the pin that hangs down on the gear position needle. This forked tab will need to go back over the pin that is part of the shifter when you reinstall the console lid later.


Now unscrew the shifter indicator light sockets from the shift indicator housing. Mine had fallen down into the console area so mine never worked to begin with. I put a new bulb in the socket since the bulb was blown too.  While I was at it I added a second bulb socket and spliced it into the factory single bulb socket to fill the other empty socket from the factory. As others had asked about the empty socket from the factory I figured I’d update this letting everyone know there is just one bulb from the factory. The single bulb goes into the hole that is towards the rear of the car.

Unplug the cigarette lighter’s power connector.

Now lift the console lid out.


Upgrading the boot, lens and knob

Turning the console lid over you will notice 4 screws hold the leather boot in place. One at each corner. Remove the screws and then pull the boot thru the bottom side you have facing you now.


Put the new boot up into hole where you removed the old boot from. Reinsert and tighten the 4 screws.


Now remove the shift indicator housing by removing 2 screws, one at each end of the housing. Once this is done the housing lifts off.

This would be a good time for a thorough cleaning of all the parts. The back panel of the shift indicator housing on mine was filthy.


Once you have it all cleaned up simple reassemble the shift indicator housing using the new lens. Reinsert the 2 screws in the housing and tighten them. Be careful to not use to much force on these screws as they are very course thread sheet metal type screws going into very flimsy metal holes.


Once the shift indicator is attached you need to slide the new boot over the shifter while lowering the console cover back into place. Reconnect the cigarette lights and put the bulb holders back into the bottom of the shift indicator housing.

Now lower the console cover back onto the center console making sure the forked tab goes over the shifter pin. You can move the indicator needle by moving the forked tab to help line it up. I found putting the transmission in the drive position made reinstalling the cover much easier.

Next push the shifter knob back onto the shifter itself. I replaced the knob with a wood grain knob since the leather knob was badly worn.

Install the C clip back into the shifter knob. Now press the shifter button back into place.

Reinstall the console cover screws. Then place the center dash panel back onto the dash and put all of its screws back in. Then put the instrument cluster panel on and its screws back in.

Now thread the tilt steering lever back into the column and tighten it down.

Congrats you now have a your shifter area redone.

When I replaced the bulbs in the shift indicator housing I used LED bulbs. I ordered both white and red so I can swap back and forth since I didn’t know which I was going to use in the end. The 194 Bulbs I use throughout the car when switch over are these.

Jtech 10x 194 168 2825 T10 5 SMD White LED Car Lights Bulb

Jtech 10x 194 168 2825 T10 5-SMD Red LED Car Lights Bulb

Another handy thing about these bulb is the way they have a white base for the white ones and a red base for the red ones. So I can quickly figure out which I one is which when grabbing one for a project.


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