The following describes replacement of the shifter boot on 1992-2004 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car with column shift. It also describes removal of the upper and lower steering column shrouds, which is required for other repairs (ie MFS or ignition switch replacement)
The column covers and boot were substantially redesigned for 2005+, though you may be able to use this as a guideline with slight changes to the procedure.
The following article was authored by troyco
INSTALLATION OF COLUMN SHIFT "BOOT"
As many of these cars get older, it's an inevitability that through daily use, (especially those with police models) the shifter boot on the steering column will eventually tear, and while it doesn't affect they way the shifter functions, it sure does look bad. And cosmetically, it can take away from what may well be an otherwise decent interior. If many of you are like myself, it's just one of those projects that isn't a priority to get done. But eventually if you have some spare time like I did, the end result is worth the little time it takes. Expect it to take about an hour with some pretty basic tools.
This job was done on a '96 grand marquis, but the procedures should be similar for most years. It should also be noted that 92-97 uses the same boot design while '98-up uses a different design, which may also vary with newer models. I bought mine from the local wrecking yard, which at $2, is most likely cheaper than what ford would charge for such a piece. The boot being used by the way is from a '94 crown vic.
The tools I used for this project are a pair of needlenose pliers, a small pick (or something similar), phillips screwdriver, 7mm, 8mm, & 10mm nut drivers (or sockets with extension), a pair of pliers, and a flashlight. I've changed a few steps in this article than what I originally did to make it easier.
1. Using an 8mm wrench, start by disconnecting the negative battery cable. After that is done, remove the knee protector (fig. 3). It's held on with (2) 7mm screws located on the lower half. Remove the parking brake release lever, then, carefully pull down on the panel to disengage the clips on the top. Next, remove (5) 10mm bolts that retain the knee bolster reinforcement panel (figure 4)
2. Remove (3) phillips screws in the bottom of the steering column cover. (fig.5) Next, use a small wrench to remove the tilt lever.
3. In order to remove the top half of the cover, you have to remove the ignition cylinder. Turn the switch to the "ON" position to gain access to the release tab (highlighted), use a pick or a small screwdriver to push in on the tab (fig. 6) and pull the cylinder straight out. (fig. 7) Next, pull off the top cover. (fig.8) ***A short video showing how to remove the ignition cylinder is available here, courtesy AKA_Rizzo
Ignition Cylinder R&R - by AKA_Rizzo
4. Now, to remove the old shift boot, push in on the bottom retaining tab (highlighted, fig. 9). Next, release the tabs holding the O/D switch wire to the boot, one is located above the bottom shift boot retaining tab, the next is located at the top half of the boot (highlighted). Now, remove the old boot. (this is only recommended if your boot is not being re-used and is being replaced with another one. Otherwise, remove it after you remove the shifter.)
5. Follow the O/D switch wire under the dash in order to find the plug in connector. (highlighted, fig. 12) Next, carefully pull out the grey locking clip that holds in the connector. Then, use a pick to release the tab holding in the connector in order to release it. (fig.13) Be VERY careful not to pull too hard on the wires or the connectors, as they are very small and may pull apart easily.
6. Now it's time to pull out the shifter from the column. Tap on the retaining pin at the bottom of the shifter to release the pin and pull it out of the housing. (fig. 14) Now, pull out the shifter. (fig 15)
7. After your shifter is removed, you need to take off the (2) clips that hold the O/D wire to the boot assembly with a pick or a small screwdriver (fig 16). Make a note of where they are located, then slide the wire and the shift lever through the hole of the new boot. The grease on the end of the shift lever can be removed, or left on as an aid to pull the new boot over the shifter (fig 17). Now is a good time to clean the boot prior to installation. If you removed any grease from the shift lever, re- apply a small amount to keep it lubricated once it's installed back into the column. Re-install the (2) clips onto the wire and then clip them back into their respective places on the boot.
8. Now comes the time to put everything back together. Start with sliding the shift lever back into the column, (fig 18) and use a small screwdriver to align the holes in the shift lever and the shifter housing, then re-install the pin into the bore. (fig. 19) Now clip the boot assembly back into place on the column.
9. Re-route the O/D switch wire back under the column and plug it into the connector. After it's clipped back into place, plug the grey locking clip back into place. (fig 20)
10. Install the top half of the steering column cover, and then insert the ignition cylinder. (fig. 21) To do this, make sure you re-install it into the RUN position and depress the retaining pin. Make sure it's completely seated and aligned in the interlocking washer before turning the key to the OFF position, this will seat the retaining pin. Next, turn the ignition to be sure it works in all positions.
11. Before you re-install any other parts, you may want to re-connect the negative battery cable and verify the ignition and the O/D switch are working correctly, as now it will be easier to make any corrections or adjustments if needed. Once you're sure everything is fine, re-install the bottom half of the steering column cover, as well as the tilt column lever and the knee bolster reinforcement panel. (fig. 22) Re-install the parking brake release lever onto the knee protector and snap the top clips back into place (fig. 23) and tighten the mounting screws at the bottom.
12. And there you have it. It definitely makes a subtle difference in the overall appearance of the interior, and it helps the car's interior hide its high mileage. The end result was worth it.-----Courtesy troyco