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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is what I did to replace the shift boot on my ’05 Aero.

To begin, you should separate the shift knob from the reverse lockout. The reverse lockout clips to the shaft knob with three retaining clips. Insert three very small screwdrivers between the shift lock out and the knob. Xcelite makes a perfect screwdriver for this task. The detents are 120 degrees apart. One is at the rear of the knob. Saab conveniently puts an arrow on the lockout that aligns with one of the detents.

Once all three screwdrivers are in place, you can play around with the screwdrivers while pushing the lockout towards the base of the gearshift lever. When it comes loose, the lockout shaft will move towards the base of the shift lever about 3/4 of an inch. Now grab hold of the shift knob and rock it back and forth while pulling it upwards. The shift knob and the shift lever are splined and the shift knob is held to the lever by a friction fit. If you keep wiggling the knob while exerting upwards pressure, the knob will come free from the shaft.

Once the knob is off, the reverse detent and the shift boot can be removed together. Note: There is a spring between the reverse detent shaft and the shift knob. Make sure you remember to put it back in place when you reinstall the shift knob.

Here is the hard part. The shift boot is retained to the reverse detent with lock wire compressing the boot into a groove on the reverse detent. You can remove the old shift boot by finding the twist area of the lock wire and unwinding it. The old boot will come out of the groove and can be discarded. When reinstalling the new boot, the larger area of the boot goes towards the front (away from the arrow on the detent). It is REALLY helpful if you have lock wire pliers to reinstall the boot.

I lined everything up and used a small screwdriver to compress the boot into the groove while gradually tightening the lock wire. I found .025" lock wire fits perfectly (yes there are different sizes of lock wire). If you are friends with an aircraft mechanic, he or she will have the lock wire pliers and the lock wire. If you want to purchase them, try Aircraft Spruce or eBay. It is probably possible to install the boot using regular pliers, but you will need about three or four hands.

Once the boot is attached to the shift detent, slide the detent onto the shift lever and work the boot retaining spring into place. If the boot is not lined up properly, it may be possible to rotate the detent until the arrow is towards the rear of the car. Now, drop the spring into place and reinstall the shift knob by aligning the shift pattern and pressing downward until the knob bottoms out. If the knob is exceptionally loose, you can use adhesive to hold it in place but I do not recommend it in case you ever want to remove it again. Silicone adhesive would probably be the best choice since it comes loose easier than more permanent adhesives like Super Weatherstrip Adhesive. Pull up on the detent to snap it into place and you're done.

If you have everything in hand when you start, the whole job shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes.

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