I've been wanting to know the same thing for some time and did a search and came up w. some good info on the topic, but also an how-to but the link was broken. IMO you DO NOT want to remove the locking mechanism. I wouldn't sacrifice safty for you or the car just for a new shift knob. It can be done though by modifying the plactic locking piece inside the current shift knob and not loosing the shift lock if I am correct. Don't quote me on that I am not 100% positive. How exactly i'm not sure either. I haven't taken this on myself yet. It's not #1 on my list of priorities. I know it can be done though w.o. sacrificing the saftey of the shift lock I believe and there are numerous different AT shifter I have seen used.