Removing of shifter knob for 4-speed automatic transmission

Changing of automatic shift knob, to certain people in Vwvortex community, is a taboo, or in a certain VW modification cult group, is socially unacceptable. Well, I must emphasized that such mentality only prevails in a small group of vwvortex'ers, fortunately.

Perhaps, the strong feeling against the act, is based on the assumption that anybody who attempt the modification is trying to be manual-stick wannabe. That to drive an automatic-transmission vehicle is a joke of century, at least to this unique group of interesting earth inhabitants. In the true spirit of Veedub modification culture, I am sure this is a fallible thinking.

Anyhow, not withstanding such a dark force, I decided to go ahead with the modification, although I am still in search for a well-styled aftermarket automatic shift knob.

1. Turn on the engine, and shift the gear to Neutral. In many versions of How-to guide, the instruction said D or gear 3 or 2. For 4-speed automatic transmission vehicle, it has
been verified that either of the modes mentioned is okay. This might not be the case if your vehicle is tiptronic transmission, and should stick to gear 3 as most has suggested.

2. Pull down the chrome sleeve that covers the shift shaft as shown on the left. This will unlock the gear, and the knob button will be loose.

3. Then press the knob button and pull out the knob with some amount of force.

If you inspect the shift rod closely, you notice that the only movable mechanism is the plastic rod that's contained within the shift rod. When you press the shift knob button (with the stock knob intact), it actually depresses the plastic rod, and mechanically unlock the gear during "P" and "N" position. Hence, one can conclude that for 4-speed automatic transmission vehicle, one can replace its stock shift knob with any universal aftermarket shift knob, since it does not have any tiptronic plate or overdrive mechanism.

Upon looking at the internal of the knob, you notice that there isn't any complicated mechanism in the knob button. The knob button basically will keep in contact with the tip of plastic rod when the knob is plug on the shift rod. The plastic cylindrical clip within the knob is designed to held and clamp on the shift rod tightly.

Tips: I realised that if the car is parked under scorch hot sun for a few hours, it will be easier to take out the shift knob. This is possibly because that the plastic clip inside the knob has expanded due to the heat, and hence make it easier to plug out the shift knob.

With the stock knob removed, I begin to hunt for a nice aftermarket automatic shift knob to replace, as my stock knob surface is starting to peel. I wanted to make sure that the DIY removal of stock knob is possible before I commit myself with a new aftermarket shift knob.

The hunt for the new shift knob is not easy. There's little market for automatic shift knob, and alot of nice shift knobs made by Rapid, Momo and Sparco are mostly for manual shift stick. I bump across OEM automatic shift knobs like those for Audi and Porsche, but they cost an arm (more than US$150). My choice was thus limited to the Momo automatic shift knob, as shown below.

4. Insert in the chrome cover bottom as shown in the picture.

5. Screw 2 allen nuts to the Momo shift knob such that they are flushed to the inner wall of the knob. The Momo shift knob comes with allen key and nuts, and the knob itself has 3 holes at the edge of the thread (as shown on the left photo) for one to screw the allen nut so that the knob can be firmly secured on the shifter shaft rod.

6. With the allen nuts in the knob, slot the knob into the shifter rod as shown on the left. Do not over-screw the allen nuts, otherwise the knob can not be inserted down the shifter rod.

7. With the knob sits nicely on the plastic shift unlock rod, turn the knob so that wording "MOMO" is aligned, and depress the knob slightly (not all the way round), and begin to screw the 2 allen nuts tightly. The reason of depressing the knob before screwing the nuts, is to have the knob as low as possible.

Knob is secured by 2 nuts, the 3rd allen nut is not required as it'll prevent the bottom chrome cover not able to cover the knob.

8. Screw in the chrome cover bottom, as shown.

and voila, a new aftermarket shift knob for my automatic gear transmission BORA.

21 thoughts on “Removing of shifter knob for 4-speed automatic transmission

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