Now that my suspension is sorted out and my exterior is looking how I want it, I decided to tackle some interior modifications next. I had my RS4 e-brake handle leftover from my Audi A4, so I went ahead and installed that first. With my previous A4 I had no desire to change the automatic shift knob, mostly because the S-Line came with a perforated air-leather already. My S4; however, came with a smooth leather shift knob that looked tired, dated and kind of cheap (see below for a side-by-side comparison). Keeping with the OEM+ theme I like to modify my car with, I sought out an RS4 shift knob for my S4, and the results are pictured in this post…I’m super happy with how it came out, and for a relatively low investment of about $225 for the handle + shift knob I gave the interior a new & fresh look.
To buy the shift knob, check out eBay:
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I’ll go into some installation tips next as it’s not entirely straightforward, although it’s easy to install yourself after reading this. These tips apply the B6/B7 Audi A4, S4, RS4, as well as other models with a manual transmission ranging from the TT to the Audi Q5. One interesting thing you may not expect is that the shift knob comes with the leather boot attached, so it’s all one assembly. To install, start by removing the leather shift boot – there are two tabs along each side of the bottom of the shift boot (they’re on the long side – see below) that you’ll try to grab and pull inward toward the center of the shifter. I’ve pictured these tabs below – you only need to get one side out and the other side will simply fall out of place:
Once the boot is loose from the interior trim, you can pull the boot up and above the knob to expose the metal fastener that holds the knob down. You can’t simply pull the knob off, but instead this metal clip must be removed. Audi designed these retainer clips to be a one-time use, so you’ll basically destroy it. I picked up a new hose clamp from a nearby hardware store for $1.50 to replace it. To make sure I had the right size I just brought the shift knob & boot into the store and sized it up in the aisle.
I was able to break the OEM metal clip off using a flat head screwdriver – it’s super strong and you can basically just bend it until it breaks. Once it is removed, the knob will pull off very easily, leaving you with an exposed metal pole:
Next, place your replacement clip over the bottom of the boot but keep it loose so you can slide the new knob on over the pole:
Make sure the top of the knob is lined up correctly, then push down all of the way until you hear it pop or click into place. Once it’s in, tighten the screw down as tight as you can so the knob never pops off during spirited driving or hard shifting.
Lastly, pull the shift boot down and snap it back into place with the interior trim, and you’re set.
Here’s one more picture to show how well the knob matches both the RS4 e-brake handle and the perforated leather steering wheel of my S4: