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Gearknob, gaiter and surround removal, replacement and general tarting up - GUIDE

Discussion in 'A4/A4 cabriolet/S4 forum(B6 chassis)' started by SuperBaaaad, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. SuperBaaaad
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    SuperBaaaad New Member

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    [Feb 11, 2013]
    So this weekend I decided to start the first of many things I've wanted to do to my A4. The first being sorting out the scratches on the rubber couated bits of my interior and replacing the gaiter - mine had a small tear in it. I thought I'd post up a small guide - hopefully might be of assistance to people in the future.


    My gearknob surround was quite scratched, which you can see here:
    [​IMG]


    I also needed to replace my gaiter as mine had a tear in it:
    [​IMG]


    First step was to remove the gearknob, gaiter and surround. A pretty simple task - the gaiter simply 'popped off' - first lifting it from the front (closest to the dash) then from the back. Then, the gearknob simply pulls off.


    I then removed the gaiter from the plastic part at its base - to which it had been stapled to.


    Next, I removed the gaiter from the top, where it attaches to a metal ring. This bit was a complete ***** to do. My hands absolutely kill.


    Basically, it was held in place by two pieces of plastic - a ribbed, conical shaped piece:
    [​IMG]
    The conical piece popped off, although in doing this, I snapped the tiny pieces it clipped on to, but on reassembly, this didn't matter - I'll come to this later.

    With the conical piece off, the next task was to remove, what I can only describe as a plastic 'plug' which held the top of the gaiter to the gearknob:
    [​IMG]

    Getting this piece out was a nightmare - it was stuck in so tight and I had very little leverage. Basically, I couldn't work out if it was clipped in, in simply held in through being such a tight fit. I decided that, being just a tiny piece of plastic, even if I broke it, it wouldn't cost a lot to replace.

    So I spent the next 20 minutes, slowly levering it out:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I could then remove the gearknob from the old gaiter.

    With everything separated, my next job was to remove the scratched rubber coating from the surround.

    First task was to remove the chrome trim. It was held on by parts of it bent back underneath. I was worried that, as these were plastic, if I tried to bend them, they would snap, but discovered that whilst feeling quite stiff and fragile, they actually flexed fine. I bent them all straight then removed the trim:
    [​IMG]

    Having read several guides on how to remove the coating, the best way I found was simply to scratch it off using my fingernails. What these guides didn't tell you was it was then a nightmare to get it out from under your nails.

    Once I'd got the worst of it off, the next job was to pinch some of the Mrs's acetone (nail varnish remover):
    [​IMG]

    I simply put some of this on to a cotton wool ball, and rubbed the surface of the surround. This removed the rest of the rubber coating, leaving me with a nice shiny surface:
    [​IMG]

    To replace the rubber coating, I bought some Plasti-Dip:
    [​IMG]

    http://www.plastidip.co.uk/eStore/i...low,White,Red,Green,Orange,Brown&pid=PDL-0009

    Once dries, it forms a rubberised skin that's extremely durable, and I would say that it gives the closest match to the original rubber surface.

    I then masked the middle of the surround and gave it three coats - once every 30 mins or so.

    The final result was nothing short of amazing - I'm so pleased with it:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    * The photo shows some scratches on the chrome surround, but in real life they're hardly noticeable so I'm not going to worry about them.

    I then reassembled doing the above steps in reverse order.

    The bit that nearly caused my fingers to bleed, was getting the top of the gaiter back in to the gearknob, with that ridiculous plastic clip. After trying several different ways of doing this, the one that I found worked the best was this:

    1. Push plastic clip up inside the gaiter, so that its edge is at the top edge of the gaiter. When you look through the clip, you will notice every 90 degrees, a small indentation:
    [​IMG]

    These match four protrusions on the gearknob, so make sure that when you push the clip up, it is the right angle:
    [​IMG]

    2. Push this into the gearknob. This will require a fair amount of force as it's such a tight fit.

    3. Once in, turn the gaiter inside out and re-attach the conical piece:
    [​IMG]
    *I snapped the pieces on the 'plug' that the cone clipped to, but once I'd pushed the cone on, it was so snug, there was no way it was moving. I'll just keep an eye on it - it'll either stay on or fall off - in which case I'll just order a new one.

    That's it for this part - the gearknob should be firmly attached to the gaiter.

    I then attached the base of the gaiter to the plastic piece the original gaiter was stapled to. The plastic piece actually has four 'hooks', so instead of stables, I simply made four small incisions into my new gaiter and hooked it on:
    [​IMG]

    By the way, my new gaiter was £5 from ebay. Take your pick: a4 leather gaiter | eBay

    I re-attached the crome trim to the surround, then the plastic piece the base of the gaiter is hooked on to, clips in to the surround, and ta da:

    [​IMG]

    I'm so chuffed with the result. Cost all of £15 and next to no tools. I reckon it took about 2 hours in all and simply requires patience.

    Attached Files:

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  3. crazypainter
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    crazypainter Member

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    [Feb 11, 2013]
    Does the 2wo hours include the write up?? Fair play to going to all that effort showing it all. Looks fantastic by the way, very satisfying I am sure. I know exactly what you mean about those pesky clips !! Good work and top workin posting the step by step.........
    #2
  4. archemist
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    archemist Member VCDS Map User

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    [Feb 11, 2013]
    nice job and thanks for posting
    And
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  5. crazy88
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    crazy88 Loving the anonymity

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    [Feb 11, 2013]
    I think I need to try Plastidip on my windows switch rubbery surround bits. I might just start scratching it off when driving and in a few weeks it'll be ready to spray.

    Good guide! Looks so much better now too.
    #4
  6. DeeGee68
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    DeeGee68 DeeGee68

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    [Sep 11, 2013]
    Hi

    I am looking to fit a custom gear knob (not Audi) will it be very difficult to do? I have no experience mechanically so may get it fitted by an expert especially after seeing the step by step guide above. I would also like to know what size adaptor reducer I would require to fit the gear stick, if any?

    Thanks for all your help and assistance.

    ATVB!

    David.
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  7. SmoothAssault
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    SmoothAssault Will design for mods

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    [Sep 11, 2013]
    The only aftermarket gear knob I ever fitted was on a fiat punto because the stock one was made of plastic, it just slot over the shifter and then a little allen screw on the rear held it in place. Piece of cake. Don't know what your custom gear knob is like, it may be similar?

    I think most of these aftermarket gear knobs come with a selection of adapters, but if you really need a size I could measure mine tonight and get back to you.
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  8. DeeGee68
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    DeeGee68 DeeGee68

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    [Sep 11, 2013]
    Yes please if it is not too much trouble. I was advised to 'unscrew' my gear knob from the stick by an AUDI repair manager then was told that mine was NOT a screw type fitting but a 'push on' type? The custom gear knob is from America and they have a selection of adaptors 'screw in' and 'push on' type but in different sizes so want to make sure that I get it right first time otherwise I will be wasting my money.

    ATVB!

    David.
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  9. SmoothAssault
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    SmoothAssault Will design for mods

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    [Sep 11, 2013]
    Mine is already apart waiting to put a new one on, so it's no trouble at all. I'll take a photo to show you what you'll be dealing with when you get the old one off.

    Getting the old one off will be the most difficult part, but certainly something you'd be able to tackle yourself I'd have thought.
    #8
  10. SmoothAssault
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    SmoothAssault Will design for mods

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    [Sep 13, 2013]
    Okay, so here's the deal with the shifter once you get the gear knob off...

    B6-a4-shifter.jpg

    Looks about 10mm to me...

    B6-a4-shifter2.jpg

    I have my centre console and just about everything else removed, but you won't need to go this far so don't be put off, it should be a fairly easy little job.
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  11. DeeGee68
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    DeeGee68 DeeGee68

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    [Sep 13, 2013]
    Thanks for this I really appreciate it.

    David.
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  12. DWH
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    DWH Member

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    [Oct 17, 2013]
    Really detailed and helpful, thanks !
    Is it possible to replace just the plastic gear pattern in the top of the knob ?
    I've got a 5 speed box and want to buy a better condition knob which all seem to have 6 speed patterns. Can I buy a new 6 speed knob and then put my 5 speed pattern in it ?
    Also, is there a beige colour plasti-dip paint that matches the colour of the pale interior ?
    Thanks
    David
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  13. SmoothAssault
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    SmoothAssault Will design for mods

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    It might be possible to replace just the gear pattern, but probably at quite a high risk of damaging it. Even if you managed to get your 5 speed pattern out, you may end up damaging the new one trying to get the 5 speed pattern into it.

    Might be a better option to send your 5 speed knob to a retrimmer. They'd be able to replace the leather and maybe polish out any scratches in the chrome bits.

    It doesn't look like there's a beige option on the Plastidip UK site, but there is some information about custom colours.
    Mete page title
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  14. DWH
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    DWH Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Thanks SmoothAssault
    I'll have a chat with a trimmer that I know but think he'll have to remove the gear layout before he can deal with the leather.
    Cheers
    David

    QUOTE=SmoothAssault;1995532]It might be possible to replace just the gear pattern, but probably at quite a high risk of damaging it. Even if you managed to get your 5 speed pattern out, you may end up damaging the new one trying to get the 5 speed pattern into it.

    Might be a better option to send your 5 speed knob to a retrimmer. They'd be able to replace the leather and maybe polish out any scratches in the chrome bits.

    It doesn't look like there's a beige option on the Plastidip UK site, but there is some information about custom colours.
    Mete page title[/QUOTE]
    #13

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