Great deals on TJ parts on Amazon!

Looking for parts for your Jeep Wrangler TJ? Checkout the selection of TJ parts Amazon has to offer, many with 2-day Prime shipping!

Click the image below to browse TJ parts on Amazon.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Parts on Amazon

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

DIY Leather Shift Boot

Fulton_Hogan

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
280
Location
Florida
My original shift boot had developed a couple of worn-through spots, so I decided I'd make my own replacement. I tried to document the process if you think you'd like to attempt the same. My LJ is a 2005, it comes with the unobtainium metal frame, so these notes will work for like-equipped models. If you have a different model, you could still make a boot, but you would need to modify how you attach it to your console or frame.

First you need to remove the old boot and its attached frame from the Jeep (below, upper left) as you will be using the original boot pieces to make templates for your new boot. Notice the front and rear of the metal frame are shaped differently. The longer part is the front and the offset tab is the rear (below, upper right). I could just pull the vinyl/pleather off the frame by hand (below, lower left). Go slow and don't warp the frame. Before you rip the original stitches, I HIGHLY recommend you mark the panels and alignment notches for later (below, lower right).

Old Boot Removal and Marking.jpg


Use a stitch ripper and take your time.
Stitch Removal.jpg


When you get the leather apart, flatten out the original pieces as best you can and trace them on some poster board; make sure you mark which panel is which and include the alignment notches from the originals (below, upper left). Then outline those templates on a piece of leather (below, upper right). I used a piece of oil-tanned leather sold by Tandy Leather under the name Kodiak. Being oil-tanned means it is better-suited for outdoor use, so it's a little more resilient than other types of leather. You don't need a whole side, only about a shoulder's worth of leather. Once cut, do a test fit of the panels, this is why the alignment notches are important (below, lower left). You can tell where you will need to make the new stitching holes by measuring from the original pieces. Then stamp the spots where you will adjoin the panels together (below, lower right).

Templates and Stitch Prep.jpg


This is the laborious part, hand stitching; technically this is saddle stitching which is stronger than machine stitching. You could stitch the panels with a machine if you have a thinner leather or a heavy-duty machine, but saddle stitching is still nicer/stronger in my opinion. Stitch the panels together (below, upper left). You will leave the boot open on one edge. Then glue or tape (I used double-sided seam tape) the extra edge material back. This is where you will stamp more holes to make the fancy stitches you see on the boot. (If you're curious, these are called Double Top-Stitched Seams.) Once all these holes are made (below, upper right), you will stitch each decorative seam. One done, you will need to join the open ends together. This is pretty tricky, but you should have the panel-joining holes on the edges of each fold. You hand stitch as before, but you will be fishing the needles through the channels the leather made when it was folded back on itself. This will close up like a zipper as you go (below, lower left). Once done, you'll have a nice boot (below, lower right).

Saddle Stitching the Boot.jpg


You'll need to use good adhesive to fix the boot to the frame, I used contact cement (below, top picture). Make sure the boot's rear and front edges are aligned to the frame's front and rear, and going one side at a time, spread glue, fold the boot edges under, clamp in place and allow to dry (below, bottom picture).

Fixing Boot to Frame.jpg


When it has dried, you simply snap the frame back into the console piece and reinstall on the vehicle.

Test Fit.jpg


If you use a heavier leather, it will take some time to break in. I can already tell that will be the case with this one. If you need to, I recommend applying some liquid saddle soap, specifically 'Fiebing's Liquid Glycerine Saddle Soap' or Fiebing's Neatsfoot oil to get the leather conditioned.

Thanks for checking this out and good luck with your projects!
 
OP
Fulton_Hogan

Fulton_Hogan

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
280
Location
Florida
Great job!

Unobtainium metal frame is correct — I've been looking for one for a few years
Thanks, it helps to have some years of leather work experience.

I was worried about how I'd find the frame when I started, but I got lucky.

I took good reference photos and some micrometer measurements just in case I ever wanted to get one made out of metal sheet. It looks relatively simple, just needs to be bent to shape.

Overall:

Later TJ Shift Boot Frame (top).jpg


Height:

Later TJ Shift Boot Frame (edge).jpg


Thickness:

Later TJ Shift Boot Frame (thickness).jpg
 

TheBoogieman

Disturbed American
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
6,702
Location
C-Ville VA
Great job! I could never make one look as nice as yours. I lack the necessary skills and patience. I've tried. :unsure:
Instructions
1. Drink bottle of Crown Royal.
2. Cut hole in bottom of cloth bag.
3. Slide over shifter and tuck around bezel trim.
4. Wake up next morning and get bitched out for screwing up the wife's car, instead of my Jeep.
5. Pay dealership $250 for new shift boot. :(
Crown Royal.jpg
 
Last edited:

BlueC

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Messages
1,101
Location
NC
Great job! I could never make one look as nice as yours. I lack the necessary skills and patience. I've tried. :unsure:
Instructions
1. Drink bottle of Crown Royal.
2. Cut hole in bottom of cloth bag.
3. Slide over shifter and tuck around bezel trim.
4. Wake up next morning and get bitched out for screwing up the wife's car, instead of my Jeep.
5. Pay dealership $250 for new shift boot. :(
View attachment 333570

And that's reason enough for a cop to pull you out for a friendly cavity search. :LOL: