Shifter knob replacement


rxctrs

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The knob on my shifter has been rotating slowly for about 10 years, and this past spring it just decided to come off in my hand, mid-shift. The plastic insert had finally cracked apart completely, and a few pieces came out, so I decided I like the original one which is now nice and shiny, and I ordered a new one from Ebay for about $17, shipping included.

It just arrived and looks like new, with a pebbly texture that will only take 20 years to rub smooth, so I took it out to the truck, figuring that this would be a very simple repair, but the damn thing won't go over the splines. I pushed hard, and even got out my trusty rubber mallet to give it a few whacks, but it doesn't want to seat on the splines. It looks like the interior does not have any preformed splines - evidently it makes its own when you push hard enough.

So, my question is, how hard do you have to push on this thing to seat it it? I am an engineer with a long history of "hit it harder to make it work", but I don't want to crack that nice new plastic piece on top. I am looking for suggestions about how hard to hit it, and with what. Should I try to pry the top piece off before I whack it?

All suggestions are welcome...
 


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ericbphoto

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Heat it to soften the plastic?
 

projectRanger93

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Either heat it, or add a bit of lubrication. You made sure the number of splines of the knob are the same as the original?

Also, what kind of engineering? Mechanical? I'm also an engineer, so that motto wouldn't work for me as a lot of people would be unhappy something broke.
 

rxctrs

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Either heat it, or add a bit of lubrication. You made sure the number of splines of the knob are the same as the original?

Also, what kind of engineering? Mechanical? I'm also an engineer, so that motto wouldn't work for me as a lot of people would be unhappy something broke.
There are no splines inside the knob. It is smooth plastic all the way down. The old one looks like the splines were formed when it was pressed into place. Heating the spine with a torch might work. I don't think that lube would do the trick - the knob does not seem to want to mate with the spline in any way - it is like it is hitting a hard stop. It is difficult to measure the plastic because it is so far down inside the knob, but maybe I can figure something out.

In my profession (nuclear), we don't hit stuff, unless it involves a very carefully calculated, calibrated and expensive device, and LOTS of training, practice, experience and supervision. However, I also have my own boat and do lots of stuff around the house, so it turns out to be necessary and appropriate for those applications. I have broken stuff, but the boat has never sunk, and I have never broken anything really expensive. Wisdom comes from experience - experience comes from a lack of wisdom.
 

Bird76Mojo

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I would drill it to the next drill bit size smaller than the splined shaft and then use a 2 part epoxy to hold it on the lever.. That way you have a slight interference fit as well as the epoxy to hold it secure. Just a small enough hole in the knob where it could be forced on by hand.
 

rxctrs

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I would drill it to the next drill bit size smaller than the splined shaft and then use a 2 part epoxy to hold it on the lever.. That way you have a slight interference fit as well as the epoxy to hold it secure. Just a small enough hole in the knob where it could be forced on by hand.
That is a good suggestion. I figured out last night that I must have enough drill bits in the house to figure out the size of the hole, and I can measure the spline, and then I will likely take your advice. It will get the new knob firmly attached, hopefully for 20 more years.
 

Bird76Mojo

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You could probably use any glue you like to be honest. Using very little of it might also be a good idea, so if you ever need to remove the knob in the future, you can just pull and brute force it off again. If it comes off when driving, no big deal, just glue it again.
 

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If it is close to fitting get a cup of hot water and let it soak for a bit. Carefully remove it from the water and it might have expanded enough to fit tightly when it cools down.
 

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For that matter, just toss it in a pot of boiling water for a minute. Carefully run out to the truck with it and just push it right on.
 

rxctrs

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Well, I can report success. I discovered that a 5/8" drill bit fit EXACTLY into the larger section of the hole in the bottom of the knob, but stopped when it hit the part that is supposed to be pressed on to the spline. It is probably about 1/16" smaller. I gently used the drill bit to make a very slight chamfer on the spline section, and then used a rubber mallet to whack the knob, and VOILA!, it took the spine!. A few more hits with the rubber mallet to seat it a bit more and I now have a new knob installed on the shifter. Not perfectly aligned, but I think I understand the shift pattern by now.<g>

Thanks to all for your suggestions and I hope that someone else can benefit from this experience.
 

TikiX

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Hey, could you post the link to the ebay knob? I’ve been looking for a OEM style to replace spinning knobs on both my trucks, and the ones I see online look like junk.
 

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Ford changed the style of the knob sometime in the '00s ('04 maybe?), OEM ones like these still seem to be easily obtainable (and will fit the older truck shifters)...


However none of the style used on '90s trucks with the plastic shift pattern insert showed up for me (not any new or NOS ones anyway). You may just have to keep checking ebay from time to time to see if anyone lists something.
 


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