To fill a hole, or two.

The hole in the gear shift tunnel seen from above with the black steel cover bolted in place to close the hole.

Today is a metal work and woodwork day.
I decided to make pieces to close the holes where the gearstick mechanism was. Keeping to a minimal cost I decided to use some scrap steel sheet that was previously a washing machine.
After taking some measurements I folded the sheet to form a patch piece that replicated the outline of the gearshift mechanism body, a large flat surface and a stepped flange for the bolts. I added folded edges for rigidity and then TIG welded the corners.

A piece of bent steel sheet bent up at one end with a tab for bolts, and a folded flange around the sides.
Old washing machines come in useful after all.

I test fitted the patch and then marked the holes for the underneath bolts. These were drilled out at 8.5mm for the M8 bolts. With the patch bolted from underneath I was able to mark the holes from above. Those holes were drilled to take two M8 rivnuts so that M8 bolts could be used from above.

The made up bit of steel sheet test fitted un the tunnel under the car where the gear shift mechanism used to be.
Well, that filled a hole.

With everything test fitted I was able to clean up the patch and spray it with cold galvanising spray, and then a satin black top coat.
For some reason my phone decided that these next two photos needed to be in black and white for that atmospheric feel!

The folded steel sheet blanking panel, sprayed black and bolted in under the tunnel to close the gear shift hole.
That looks a lot better.

I was able to reuse the foam gasket from the gearshift mechanism so it is properly sealed again.

The hole in the gear shift tunnel seen from above with the black steel cover bolted in place to close the hole.
Looks good from above too.

So onto the plastic trim. The trim piece was unclipped from the gearstick boot and the opening used as a template for cutting out a filler piece. I decided to use an offcut of 6mm birch plywood for this. I included the tabs to make sure the plywood would fit nicely, and clip in flush with the surface of the plastic trim.

The underside of the plastic gear stick boot trim, with a plywood piece cut to an oval shape, with tabs, to close the hole.
And that fills another hole.

In the car it looks fine and fits well. It is currently sanded and sprayed satin black. Even though it was the top of the range Skoda Octavia Elegance, back in 2001, it was never a wood trim kinda car.

The gear stick trim refitted in the car centre console with the wooden insert closing the hole.
That will work!

I won’t fit the plywood permanently yet as I want to be able to drill it easily for switches later. It might even be a good place to add extra USB sockets, to run the SatNav, MP3 player, and charge phones.

This is how it looks painted in satin black. It is a little blacker and shiner then the plastics, but not worth doing anything about.

A view of the centre console with the gearstick removed and a black blanking plate in place. There is a lot of light glare on the fresh paint.
Mmmmm, shiny!
A different angle view of the black cover plate looking darker without the light shining off it.
Very black.

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