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      08-10-2008, 12:48 PM   #1
AndyM
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Let's Remove the Armrest

Removing the center armrest without removing the entire center console is not difficult. I did not like the useless bins for storage in the stock armrest so I got European version with the bigger storage space.

Tools required
10mm Socket and wrench
T-20 Torx Bit

Removing the Stock Armrest.

Raise the armrest and next to the USB/iPod interface is a cover. Remove it and you will expose a 10mm nut:



Remove the 10mm nut (make sure you do not drop the nut into the center console). Set the cover and the nut off to the side.

On the back of the center console is a trim panel. To remove the trim panel, pull straight back. I was able to do it by hand (no tools) by gripping it towards the bottom. You may need to use an interior trim tool to remove the panel.



With the trim panel removed, you expose 4 fasteners: 2 T-20 Torx screws at the top of the armrest and 2 10mm nuts at the base. Begin by undocking the cell phone connector from the armrest and then remove the 4 fasteners.



To remove the armrest, you will need to lift it up until it clears the 2 captive bolts at the base. The center console has enough play to allow you to clear the bolts. Once you have the armrest over the two bolts, slide the armrest back.



If you are simply removing the armrest, you are done. To install the armrest, it is the reverse of removal.

If you are installing a new armrest, there is more to it if you have the iPod sleeve. The iPod sleeve is held in place by 3 self tapping T-20 screws. To access the screws, open the sleeve and lift the velvet-y backing.



Remove the three screws:



A new armrest will not come with the sleeve. The sleeve is expensive, so you will want to re-use it. To transfer it to a new armrest, use a piece of paper with the paper aligned with the longer (left in the picture above) and the bottom edges. Use a pencil to mark the holes on the paper. Align the paper on the bottom of the new armrest and transfer the holes to the new armrest. The T-20 screws are self tapping, so all you need to do is line up the iPod sleeve and screw it down.

Here is a comparison of the larger storage armrest and the worthless one. I lined the bottom of the new one with some toolbox drawer liner to keep things from sliding around a bit.

note: new armrests come with a new lid, I have one off for another project.



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      08-10-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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Well, they aren't "useless bins" if you have a phone. In mine, the plastic comes out of one of the bins and is replaced by the mounting for my phone, which is then charged and connected to the shark fin.
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      08-10-2008, 01:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethchan View Post
Well, they aren’t “useless bins” if you have a phone. In mine, the plastic comes out of one of the bins and is replaced by the mounting for my phone, which is then charged and connected to the shark fin.
I don’t have a cell phone. :wink:
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      08-10-2008, 02:20 PM   #4
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Another great DIY Andy, I like the single larger storage area.
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      08-10-2008, 04:43 PM   #5
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I think the two small storage areas in the armrest are very useful, many of the things i use everyday fit snug in there with no problem...wouldnt you have things rolling around on sharp corners in the large storage compartment?
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      08-10-2008, 04:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135iPSU View Post
I think the two small storage areas in the armrest are very useful, many of the things i use everyday fit snug in there with no problem...wouldnt you have things rolling around on sharp corners in the large storage compartment?
You should go with what works for you. I would rather have the larger storage than the two little compartments (That I found to be very awkward).

The toolbox liner on the bottom keeps stuff from sliding around.
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      08-12-2008, 12:26 AM   #7
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Is the other project by chance related to being able to use the 2nd cupholder normally?
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      08-12-2008, 06:22 AM   #8
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Andy, do you have a part number for the Euro arm rest? I am trying to see if I can get the center storage bin (on the dash where the iDrive would be if I had it) and the wallet holder but my dealer is closed until the 25th of this Month. If you have the part number, I'll see if I can get that too.

Thanks!
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      08-12-2008, 07:04 AM   #9
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CAMike, look at part number 2 in this diagram. There's different part numbers for different color interiors.
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      08-22-2008, 11:26 PM   #10
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Lucky man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyM View Post
I donít have a cell phone. :wink:
Electronic leashes they are.
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      09-07-2008, 10:41 PM   #11
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So, Andy, where can I buy the large compartment armrest? I checked the link larryn provided, but when I tried to enter the part numer I got a message saying that it is not available from Bimmerspecialist.com.
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      09-08-2008, 07:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemohan View Post
So, Andy, where can I buy the large compartment armrest? I checked the link larryn provided, but when I tried to enter the part numer I got a message saying that it is not available from Bimmerspecialist.com.

I don’t know what Bimmerspecialist.com is. You can order it through your BMW dealer’s part’s counter.
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      09-08-2008, 09:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyM View Post
I don’t know what Bimmerspecialist.com is. You can order it through your BMW dealer’s part’s counter.
Thanks for the reply. Bimmerspecialist is the site that larryn's link in post #9 goes to. It appears to give 51167143596 as the part number. Do you know if this is correct?
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      09-15-2008, 08:52 PM   #14
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Hi Andy, I'm keen to purchase this part through my dealership, however my car has the preparation for Bluetooth, meaning there is a cradle in the armrest, although I have no plans to use it.

Do you know if I'll be able to change to the one with the bigger storage bin? The cradle is not in use, but I don't know if it has anything to do with the Bluetooth functionality that I do use.

Also, is the new arm rest you fitted any shorter than the original? ie: does it enable the use of the one remaining cup holder (if you have iDrive)?
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      09-15-2008, 09:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemohan View Post
Thanks for the reply. Bimmerspecialist is the site that larryn's link in post #9 goes to. It appears to give 51167143596 as the part number. Do you know if this is correct?
Bimmerspecialist must be a banner ad on RealOEM.com, which is where I linked to.

Talk to your dealer with the part number from RealOEM, and they should be able to help you.
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      09-15-2008, 10:11 PM   #16
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Anyone know if there is an armrest delete option, or some type of block off plate to make the removal of it look finished. Thanks Jeff
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      09-15-2008, 10:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cozza View Post
Hi Andy, I'm keen to purchase this part through my dealership, however my car has the preparation for Bluetooth, meaning there is a cradle in the armrest, although I have no plans to use it.

Do you know if I'll be able to change to the one with the bigger storage bin? The cradle is not in use, but I don't know if it has anything to do with the Bluetooth functionality that I do use.

Also, is the new arm rest you fitted any shorter than the original? ie: does it enable the use of the one remaining cup holder (if you have iDrive)?

I do not have any experience with the bluetooth items. I suspect that it will not work as the phone requires a cradle that fits in the stock slot. The height is the exact same size/height as the 2 slot one.
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      09-15-2008, 10:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyM View Post
I do not have any experience with the bluetooth items. I suspect that it will not work as the phone requires a cradle that fits in the stock slot. The height is the exact same size/height as the 2 slot one.
Thanks Andy. You're not required to use the phone cradle that sits in the arm rest for Bluetooth to work. The cradle is only to charge the phone, I just don't know if removing the cradle will affect any other aspects of the Bluetooth.

Can anyone answer this question?

Also, could you please tell me if the new arm rest is any shorter in length than the factory one, and if it will, as a result, make it easier to use the cup holder?
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      09-15-2008, 11:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cozza View Post

Also, could you please tell me if the new arm rest is any shorter in length than the factory one, and if it will, as a result, make it easier to use the cup holder?
It is the same size and size shape and same height, it is not different than the one in your car.
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      09-15-2008, 11:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
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It is the same size and size shape and same height, it is not different than the one in your car.
Thanks mate. A shame, as I was hoping I might actually be able to use my one remaining cup holder!
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      09-16-2008, 08:10 AM   #21
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Great post!

How much should we expect to pay for the replacement bin? I don't see any prices on the pages linked above.
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      09-22-2008, 07:44 AM   #22
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Great post!

How much should we expect to pay for the replacement bin? I don't see any prices on the pages linked above.
Dunno what it costs in the States, but it was close to $750 Down Under!
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