Rieger Illuminated Shift Knob Installation: August 2003

Installation Problems     Installation Tricks

Completed Photos

Installed and Lighted

As you can tell by the photo above, this shift knob matches very well with the interior of my GTI.  The problem was finding the time to install it and overcoming a few problems in order to get it right.  The purpose of this page is to supplement the installation instructions as well as show what the shift knob looks like when its installed.  

Installation Problems

Ashtray Assembly

The problem that I had was getting the ashtray out.  Mine didn't want to budge.  Since I really didn't have a Bentley manual to look up the install, I wanted to be really careful to not break any plastic tabs.   The above photo shows the guts of the center console with the ashtray assembly still in.

Close-up of Ashtray Assembly

Here's a close-up of the assembly that needs to come out.  Even with the screw out, it wouldn't come out.  it would wiggle a little.

Clip under center console through the shifter hole.

You can see the clips that sit under the shift boot to help hold the ashtray in place. 

Okay... Here's the trick.  Everyone said to just wiggle it around and it would eventually come out.  What people didn't say was that it helps to push it away from you as you wiggle.  The ashtray has to move back about an inch before it will come out.  Once I figured that out, the thing popped out as easily as everyone said it woud.

Installation Tricks

I did three things that made the installation go well.  First, I think the leather boot that I had was meant for a New Beatle.  It didn't want to fit between the two trim frames.  I ended up slicing through the leather so the tabs from these frames would click together properly.  It looks great and should stay put. 

The next thing I did was to use plugs on the lead wires for the LED.  This will make it much easier to take apart if I ever need to remove the ash tray again in order to do a mystery gauge install that I'm contemplating.  Here are photos:

Here is the bottom of the shift boot and the ashtray with exposed wiring.

I used some plugs that I got from Radio shack for $1.69 for a bag of 5.   I think they're called spade plugs.  The nice thing about this install is that if I ever need to remove the center console, or make any changes to this install, I don't have to cut and re-solder wires. 

Close-up of the ashtray.

Close-up of the boot

I added heat shrink wrap around the wires since that section sits very close to the shift linkage.  I figured the wires would last longer.  Electrical tape would work, but wouldn't be as good since it gets pretty hot in the tunnel.

These are the plugs.

Notice that I used different plugs for the red and brown wires.  This makes it so that I couldn't get them cross wired if I wanted to.  My problem is that I'm partially color blind and it isn't always easy for me to tell the difference between colors.  This makes things easier for me.

Wires in place before I tucked them away.

I wrapped the plugs in electrical tape before I put the ashtray back in place.  That will prevent shorts.

Here's what it looked like right before I closed things up. 

Notice the shrink wrap that protects the wires from the shift linkage.

The third thing I did was to shorten up the shift stalk.  I took about 2 inches off the shift stalk.  That shortened the throw up a bit and made the shifter feel even better.  You could make it shorter than this, but I thought that might affect shifting into 6th and Reverse.    If you look at the photo below, you'll see that the stalk is very short...

Completed Photos

Quite short shifter

Shifter lit with dash LEDs

Knob close-up.

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