Monday, November 9, 2015

Update... Changing Out the (Robson Leather) Shift Boot

As I hinted at in my last post, the one thing I did not like about the NISMO GETRAG transmission kit upgrade for my car was the shift boot that had to be custom made by Robson Leather for the R33.  While Robson Leather products are fine (I have some of their carbon products on my car), I was not happy with the stitching color (I would have gone for red or black), and the leather they used felt, frankly, a bit cheap, almost "pleather" like.  It didn't have the nice leather smell, either...Oh and that snap button... WHY?

Anyway, I was told at the time I picked up the car was, that the R34 shift boot did not fit the R33 because the cut for the base was different for the cars.  I didn't really know what this meant, but figured it must be how the boot is connected to the base. Conversely, the R33 one wouldn't fit for the GETRAG because of the pull up switch for reverse, which necessitates a cut out (and thus the snap button) in order to be able to fit the boot over the shift lever.

Since I had found success with replacing the OEM shift boot and parking brake boot a long time ago - in fact back in 2006, before I even started this blog - I went back and checked to see which company I had bought the set from, and to hope they were still in business and I could order a modified one to replace this Robson set.

I found that RedlineGoods was still in business, and after chatting with the owner Mike a bit, ordered a black leather, black stitch shift boot modified to fit the R33 base. Or so I thought.

Looks and smells great!
About 10 days after I placed my order (as you can see pricing is fantastic!) I received the shift boot in the mail. Just like my parking brake boot, the leather LOOKED like leather and smelled fantastic (i.e. expensive).  

I should note that, one reason that Robson Leather's leather may not have smelled like leather is that Japanese consumers generally do NOT like the smell of leather, and so car manufacturers do their best to eliminate that smell from leather interiors. (Really!  Have to "fix" that on my Lexus...)

Anyway, once I had a free evening I went ahead and unscrewed the BNR34 shift knob from the lever, then by removing that one screw behind the ashtray, disassembled the shift boot surround, and also removed the center console in order to get access to the hand brake boot (oh and I had to repair the switch for the rear diffuser fog lamp too).

See those metal clips? Have to remove them first
First order of business was to remove the metal clips holding in the Robson Leather shift boot from the surround.  Note, yes, one clip was missing...

After removing these clips, all I had to do was peel off the leather and begin installation of the Redline boot.  Simple, except...

Ok, something doesn't line up...
Unfortunately, it appears that Redline had sent me a standard BNR34 boot, not one modified as requested (and paid for, actually). This meant that I had to punch my own holes to get the boot to fit on the pins properly.

As for the hand brake boot, that was relatively straightforward - all I had to do was remove the Robson Leather one and replace back with what had been there previously, the 10 year old Redline one.

Just make sure the metal ring fits snugly... will "snap" in.
The end result looks like this:

Done! Wait, something still doesn't look quite right...

Much improved (I think)! Note, no more snap button - strategic use of Velcro is a much needed improvement. Although, it's interesting how the 10 year old Redline handbrake boot has more sheen compared to the brand new shift lever boot.  I will try to use some leather cleaner/preservative on the new boot and see if things don't even out. If not, I will simply order a new hand brake boot.

Also I note that the OEM, original handbrake handle itself looks very shiny. I actually have a solution to this, hopefully I will be posting that soon!

Finally - for those who care to comment - do you think I made the right decision with the black stitching? I was thinking about red stitching in order to match the "R" logo and the red LED lighting I've done to the key surround and the doors (as well as the OEM red material seats) but thought a subtle, OEM look would be more in line with my car...


stj88 said...

About the hand brake lever, i had a OEM Carbon Nissan one on my gtst! Only realized when i bought my current GTR that r33's don't come stock with those! Their apparently extremely rare and expensive! If i knew that i would have taken the damn thing of! :(

Zach Ketrow said...

I think the black stitching looks great but red stitching would look even better. I feel that your car is so tastefully done that the red stitching would only benefit the look so I say go for it if it's not too much of a hassle.

Johnny said...

Hi man! I say go black stitches! Because its already red everywhere in your car (seats, doorpanels, steering wheel, armrest) i think its gonna be to much with the red stitching.
Just look at the R34 GT-R Clubman, perfect interior. A bit red but not to much :)

Aki said...

Thanks Johnny for your comment!!

Jonathan Joye said...

Crud! Tried to edit a spelling error and deleted the whole thing.

Tried to say, the benefit of the snap button is that it is easier to remove the console trim if you're tinkering with wiring and whatnot, and with the snaps undone, you can pull the slack out of the boot and vacuum in the creases easier :-D (GD-chassis STi has snaps on the shifter and handbrake boots)

Aki said...

Jonathan - no I get it. But to me it looked sloppy, that's all.