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Shifter knob removal


February 4, 2008
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'88 Bronco II XLT
I want to remove and replace the shift boot on my 88 B-II 5-spd/4x4, but I can't figure out how to get the knobs off the shifters. I've been told to use an adjustable wrench under the knob and hit it with a hammer, but doing it that way a) hasn't worked and b) it has the potential to mess up the knobs. What's the secret?

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well the knobs are pressed on and have splines on the shifters. so thats the only real way i see you getting them off is by using a wrench and smackin then with a hammer. or someone on here might know an easier way. maybe you can fab up some type of U shaped tool to slip in place of the wrench. it would possibly cover more surface area then the wrench.
good luck

The Chilton's repair manual has the following steps:
1. Disconnect negative battery cable.
2. Remove plastic shift pattern insert from shift ball.
3. Heat the shift ball to 140-180 degrees F with a heat gun. (Hair Dryer?)
4. Position a block of wood beneath the shift ball and tap with a hammer. Careful of finish on ball.

Install - reverse procedure and heat the ball to 140-180 degrees F before installing on shifter.


Thanks, Bill. I would guess that, except for the removal of the center disc, the same technique would work for the transfer case shifter. I would guess a heat gun would do the job, too. I wonder why it is necessary to disconnect the negative battery terminal?

I believe that any of these repair manuals probably are trying to avoid a "law suit" if one of these things catches fire during a repair job. I had the same question today when I replaced the ignition lock cylinder in my 88 XL. I did what they said, there was only one simple wire that needed to be reconnected, the balance was mechanical.

I had a friend who had a body shop. He wouldn't touch a car unless the battery was disconnected.


Yeah, there is a lot of CYA in most service work. A lot of shops, even when you say "Don't do anything beyond what I've agreed to," will do more because "it was going to need it anyway, and if I didn't, you'd blame me when it broke." Sometimes it's legitimate, sometimes it's questionable.

i know this is an old thread but i was just wondering the same thing and i found this in search.

i passed up the chance to light my truck on fire and just went straight to the hammering with a deadblow hammer, hitting the bottom of the knob while pulling on the knob with my other hand and it slowly came off after about 30 seconds...

I have still not gotten the knob off, but did discover that the rattle I was trying to fix only occurs when the front hubs are locked and the 4WD is disengaged with the tranny in 5th. So until I get everything else sorted out (like the tin worm and such) I just make sure the hubs are unlocked unless I'm facing really bad conditions. Besides, I put less than 500 miles a year on this one. But thanks for reminding me I have a problem to resolve - - - one day.

I've always been able to get them off by grabbing them with both hands and twisting them till they turn.

Lot of elbow grease required, once they spin, they pop right off.

FYI, you'll have to use a gob of RTV in the knob when reinstalling. Otherwise they will come off later when you least expect it.


Maybe a combination: twist enough to loosen it, then hit up-side the head sort of thing. Thanks.