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For the Mk3 Mondeo with manual transmission...
If the gearshift gaiter (the leather / plastic bag around the gear lever) is letting the interior of your car down, here's how to replace it. This takes about 45 minutes once you have the part.
This guide is based on a pre-facelift Mk3 5-speed manual.
- New gearshift gaiter. I got mine from GaitersBoots on eBay for just over a tenner including p+p. Get one specifically for the Mk3 Mondeo: they have various colour stitchings available if that's your cup of tea.
- Small flat-blade screwdriver for bending staples.
- Long-shafted large flat-blade screwdriver or similar metal instrument with plastic handle for melting tabs.
- A heat source. A gas hob is ideal; a candle would suffice.
- Small stout wire cutters.
Top plate removal
Remove the gearknob by turning anti-clockwise:
Lift off the reverse interlock spring:
Pull up the rear edge of the top plate, then detach the plate from the console by pulling gently rearwards. The yellow "peg" fixings are intended to stay on the console, but mine came off with the plate. It doesn't matter.
The top of the gaiter is held onto the silver part of the lever with an elasticated hem. Simply pull it off upwards, one section at a time:
Removing the old gaiter
The gaiter is stapled to a black plastic ring, which is held onto the top plate with melted plastic tabs:
You need to squeeze, and possibly cut these tabs to free the black ring. Try to leave as much material as possible on the tab, as we'll need that later to re-fix the black ring. Work on a soft surface to avoid scratching the visible face of the top plate - the photos are on pale concrete for clarity only as I was working on a black rug.
Lift off the gaiter and the black ring. Keep the other parts safe - we'll be coming back to those later.
With a small screwdriver or similar implement, bend up the (strong) staples ready for cutting. Try not to break the brittle plastic ring: do this on a firm surface:
Then cut the staples with your cutter. Look out for flying debris - I should probably advise you to wear eye protection.
Separate the old gaiter from the black ring. Then, using the big pliers, or whatever other method you fancy, work around the black ring removing the bits of staple. This is the hardest part of the job, and the end of the disassembly task.
Fitting the new gaiter
At this point, I was envisaging having to sew the new gaiter to the black ring. That's when I discovered it came pre-cut to exactly fit the black tabs on the top plate, so there's no need to staple or sew the gaiter! GaitersBoots: you guys rock. I thought the gaiter would be a generic part, but it's truly made to match the vehicle. If yours differs, I suggest cutting slots in it with a very sharp knife to do the same trick.
So, fit the new gaiter to the tabs on the top plate. There are a number of ways to do this incorrectly, so make sure the holes line up and that you've got the gaiter the right way up:
Looks finished! But it's not secured yet...
Refit the now-stapleless black ring over the tabs, trapping the edge of the new gaiter. The black ring has a "bend" to match the top plate, so it only goes on one way around. And yes, I did manage to break my black ring (top of photo), but a dab of superglue sorted that out. It's actually not too critical.
Using a large flat-blade screwdriver and a heat source (I used our gas hob), go around the rim melting the black tabs over the black ring. Do this in a well ventilated area, as the plastic smells a bit when melted. Try to "spread" the plastic a bit like butter, and press down on the black ring near the tab to try to close the gap as much as possible (not shown, as I didn't have enough hands to do that and take the photo). Obviously, take care with very hot screwdrivers. If you're unsure about this, get a grown-up to help you because the screwdriver is hot, hot, hot!
The finished article, ready for re-fitting:
Top plate refitment
Re-fit the top plate to the console - push the elasticated hem over the lever to the right position, push the front edge in under the centre stack, then press down on the rear edge to secure:
Replace the spring, plastic bit downwards:
...and screw the knob back on.