i decided that i wanted an 8-ball knob on my shift-lever, replacing the boring, ordinary one that has the shift pattern engraved on the top.
i looked around a number of different places, locally, and discovered that the only place i could get a “regulation” 8-ball-sized shift-knob was a place where i had to order it, and then wait a few weeks until it came in — none of this “order on amazon and have it in four days” crap, this is an OLD SCHOOL customising shop which offers real 8-ball shift-knobs, not those dinky, small 8-ball-wannabe shift knobs that look cool for about 6 months and then wear out, here.
i knew i was probably going to have to match the threads on my car, so i went and measured them, and bought the proper size tap, while i waited for the 8-ball itself to arrive. it came in about a week ago, and, immediately i noticed that there was a big problem: the knob came with two plastic “inserts” and three set-screws that were supposed to hold it in place, but my car (which is a hyundai, with metric everything) not only wouldn’t fit, but i actually destroyed the proper sized plastic insert trying to get it to work.
i discovered that, to work with my shift-lever, with its metric threads, i would have to make a “shim”: i would need to get a brass rod the same diameter as the hole in the 8-ball (½"), and drill it out to the correct dimensions to accept a tap (10×1.25 metric thread), at which point i would drive the rod up into the hole in the 8-ball, drive in the set screws, and screw it in place.
first step, finding a ½" diameter brass rod. i figured i would go down to the local home depot and pick one up… but home depot doesn’t have ½" brass rod, and hasn’t had ½" brass rod for at least a year. no problem, i surmise… i’ll just go to mcclendon’s, they’ll be sure to have it. WRONG… they knew what i was looking for, but said that they stopped carring ½" brass rod when it became “too expensive”… 😕 i’m reasonably sure that i could have bought ½" brass rod at hardwick’s, but i would have had to drive into seattle for that, and i didn’t feel like driving that day… not only that, but with the information that brass rod had suddenly got “expensive” i wasn’t sure that hardwick’s would have it, and i didn’t want to drive all that way for nothing…
so, i ended up buying 8″-to-9″ (random length) of ½" brass rod online for about $5.00 (which is what i expected to pay anyway, so i don’t know what they were talking about at mcclendon’s… too expensive??), and proceded to start to drill it out, but very quickly discovered that it was going to take a REALLY long time to do it manually, if i wanted it to be anything like the quality that i would expect to have on my car… but i know a guy who owns a machine shop in the south end of downtown seattle! 🙂
so, this morning, i went down to his shop and made a shim of the proper size, with the proper machinery, and it, literally, took five minutes (and most of that time was setting up the machine), and now i have a beautiful, new, authentic 8-ball gear-shift-knob on my car! 😎
i would be doing a lot more of this kind of stuff if i didn’t have to wait around so long for materials to be delivered, that i used to be able to go down to the local hardware store and buy…