After trying the stock leather wrapped knob, then a shorter ZHP knob (both with a Rogue SSK and stock shifter), I knew I wanted something taller.  Short shifters IMHO don’t really do much but make it more difficult to shift and move the shifter further away from the steering wheel.  The problem is compounded when your size (6’2″) isn’t exactly compatible with your car (MR2 & M Coupe.)  In the end it’s all about finding what works best for you and your setup.  I had seen several folks running the Jaffster Knob on their BMWs, and I seriously contemplated going that route.  That said, I really didn’t care for its appearance.  It would be fine in a track car, but I wanted to maintain the OE-look of my M Coupe.  A bit of searching led me to Rob (username: robsgotit) on the forums, who makes custom Delrin knobs to order.  For starters I ordered a tall white Delrin (it’s cheaper than black) for the M3 to see how it did.  I was impressed, much better feel, easier to reach, and Delrin doesn’t get hot like a steel knob will in the Summer.

I ran with the white knob in the M Coupe for all my track days, to the point I decided I needed a more aesthetically pleasing knob for full-time use.  I wanted it to have a OE-like shift pattern on top as well.  Major issue: my car has a swapped in 6-speed, BMW never made a round knob on a 6-speed car.  The knobs are made on a lathe, so they can be most any shape, as long as it’s a consistent radius.  BMW started using their oblong oval shaped shifters on the E36, which (AFAIK) was the first car offered with a 6-speed manual.  E30’s had round knobs, so 5-speed pattern inserts are easy to come by.  So I searched and searched, finding a company in the UK that made 6-speed inserts that were round for their custom stainless steel knobs.  I had them mail a couple inserts directly to Rob, and he machined a recess in the top of the knob for it.

When the knob arrived, I was immediately disappointing by the quality of the insert.  It’s not particularly bad for an aftermarket decal, but that’s all it was, a gel covered decal.  It simply didn’t look OE.  So I ordered up an OE 6-speed insert from LeatherZ.  The stock insert is very high quality, with a chrome look and sealed under a layer of thick acrylic.  As expected, it was oblong as well as having various thickness as the acrylic rolls off towards the edges.

 Delrin knob next to two inserts The sanding steps involved

In order to make the insert fit my knob, first I had to increase the depth of the recess Rob had cut for the emblem.  Luckily I had a perfectly sized drill bit for this.  Next I had to shape the OE insert so it was perfectly round and had an even top surface.  I coated the back of the emblem with epoxy to protect the underlying chrome and coloring.  I then adhered the rejected decal to the back of the OE insert to serve as a guide as I sanded away the excess portions of the oblong OE emblem.  I used my bench belt sander for the rough cuts, then moved on to 240 grit wet sanding to fine tune the shape.  From there I progressively moved from 400 to 800 to 1500 to 2000 to 3000 grit wet sanding.  I finished it with some Meguiars Plastic-X polish, which left it with a crystal clear look.  The insert was then mounted into the knob’s recess using some plastic epoxy.  The end result: an easy to reach and manipulate knob with a much closer to factory look.

Finished Delrin Knob New Black Delrin Knob Installed


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