GT3 Gearknob Install
Both the GT3 and Sport 350 come with alloy ball gearknobs, the GT3's is polished and Sport 350's brushed. These have always been seen as the sporty Esprits and the gearknob help that with a look and feel of something fast. I ordered a GT3 Gearknob from PNM Engineering for around £40. Added to my gearshift surround, handbrake sleeve and sill pates, the interior has had a quality makeover. These should fit all Stevens Esprits, I haven't checked at present if they will fit Giugiaro Esprits.
I would advice against buying an aftermarket gearknob, as I think this will cheapen your interior. The GT3 Alloy Ball is the perfect upgrade and isn't overly expensive for a genuine Lotus part (makes a change).
This isn't going to be the most difficult job you attempt on your Esprit, but just so you do it properly, I'll show you how it's done. Should only take 30-40 minutes.
Parts supplied by:
You will need the following parts:
You will need the following tools:
I won't explain how to unwrap your gearknob, but once you have it's time to take the center tunnel trim off so you can get at the gearstick. The MY92 tunnel has two screws that hold it under the compartment. Velcro holds it at one end and it slips under the pocket between the seats at the other. Check how yours is attached, as you don't want to be pulling at it, as this could damage it. Later models have the fuel cap switches, which will need disconnecting (from underneath the trim).
Once the trim is off (well almost), you can either remove the gearstick with the trim still attached (as I did) or undo the cord holding the gearstick to the gaiter. You may find a rubber gaiter which if it's like mine was, will be badly damaged. I've removed mine, but if yours isn't damaged, you'll need to remove the 6 small screws on the metal plate holding it down. To remove the gearstick, remove a single bolt (13m I think!). You should then be able to gently pull the stick free.
I now undid the cord to remove the stick from the leather gaiter. You now have a free gearstick to work on. Time to remove the old gearknob. Apparantly Lotus add a little glue to the stick before the knob goes on. Mine was too stiff to pull off, although some will come of easily with a bit of a pull if the glues seal has been broken. I wedged a large flat screwdriver between the knob and stick and loosened it by hitting it with a hammer. Once I'd worked around and loosened it a little, I could then pull the old leather knob off (ooh!). If you've got a vice, then it will make it much easier (remember to protect the stick when tightening the vice), but I managed without one.
Not sure of the technical terms, but the shaft of the stick is ridged, which grips the knob once it's pushed on. To attach the GT3 Ball, just push it on, turn it upside down on something very soft, that will protect the ball. Then use the rubber mallet to gentle ease the knob on (ooh!). I ended up hitting mine quite hard, so make sure you've got the ball on something that won't damage it. Also make sure you don't damage the bottom of the stick. Be careful.
Once the knobs firmly in place, check that the reverse collar moves freely, as you'll probably need reverse at some point! Now you need to replace the stick by following the guide in reverse order. Some of the tricky bits include replacing the fuel cap switch (if you have one). Lining the gearstick up to replace the bolt shouldn't cause to many problems. Make sure it's tight, but don't over tighten it. Check the gearstick selects the correct gears and that the collars working, before replacing all the trim.
I've always wanted one of these since I first saw the GT3 interior. Then I saw the Sport 350 interior and wanted the gearshift surround as well. Then my brother had a Ford Puma, with the same sort of gearknob, then he got a Lotus Elise and bought an aftermarket gearknob in the same style. I loved them all, so what took me so long to put one on mine is probably down the me thinking the Lotus one's were £80 and having other bits to do first. Once I found out it was only £40, I actually made Pete at PNM check the price!
As for the fitting, it was really easy. I've already had the trim off a couple of times, so that wasn't as much of a problem as if I'd not done it before. Removing the old knob was also easier than I thought, although everyones may not be the same. One thing I did do wrong was when reattaching the leather gatier, I tied it too far up on the stick and it wouldn't let me use the reverse collar! So all the trim had to come off again to re-tie it correctly.
Overall I'm very happy with this little modification. Not to expensive, easy enough to do and look great. The ball does get a little hot in the summer and I'm guessing a little cold in the winter. But I'll suffer for style!
This mod was performed by kato on his 1992 SE
Info from a LEW User
One little thing u might like to add at the bottom of the GT3 gearknob conversion page is the difference between early and your later style gear stick. your 92 car had the leather vauxhall looking knob, mine 90 my SE had the renualt plastic rubbish knob. to fit my GT3 knob, i had to turn down the gear lever on my lathe where the knurling is on the knob end (ooh err missis) to allow the new knob to fit on. So, old gear levers are 12mm, gt3 knob was 11mm inside size iirc. so probably they changed it when they improved the gear shift mech. on later cars, ( i think the later ones have right hand cables and rear linkages too, so ive seen). my lower gaitor was completely sh&66ed too!
Peter Andrews (aka, pitstoppete) 1990 SE, in silver.
If you try this, feel free to e-mail me with your Verdict at email@example.com