Really, itís all about one nut...
it can be a real pita....
There were three of us installing armrests, Bill in his Steel Grey/Black/Black í99 2.3, JonT in his Dark Green/Beige/Beige w/subwoofer í99 2.8 with sport seats and me in my Boston Green/Beige/Black í97 no subwoofer 2.8 and sheeps.
JonT and I got the limited "dot" edition beige armrests, Bill got traditional black, all of us bought the extra armrest instead of sending JonM our armrests. Itís nice to have a back up- I know I already had to replace mine because the rubber bands that hold the top lid on had broken- and for $22.35 itís an easy splurge.
The box arrives and you can clearly see itís a BMW part.
Neatly packaged, you see the contents include JonMís card and instructions, the armrest and a spare nut, bolt, and cover.
Tug on the Hand Brake cover at the rear end gently and it comes out.
There is the nut in place in the little well behind the Hand Brake. It is all that stands between you and a new armrest.
So, now you have your hand inside the Hand Brake opening and you are feeling around to see what kind of nut/bolt you have. If you are lucky like Bill and JonT, itís just a nut and bolt and you can unscrew it- but USE sticky tape to make sure you donít drop the bolt in there, as you will see, THAT is a BIG PITA!
My bolt was not standard- and after much debate and argument I got it out with a needlenose pliers. It had nothing to grab on top, so a nut driver was useless, and we couldnít see what it was. JonT and I unscrewed it a bit first, using the needlenose pliers but couldnít tell if we were getting anywhere. It turned out to be a very annoying little contraption with a plunger type head, a split screw lock tite.
Soon after I hear JonT cursing. He had happily set to unscrewing his normal nut and bolt, and his bolt dropped down into the Hand Brake well.
This is a MAJOR pita.
After unscrewing everyting he could find to unscrew, JonT notices that he can not remove or even move that plastic cover over the Hand Brake as it is one piece all the way under the dashboard.
The area is very hard to see into, with the help of a flashlight we located the bolt, which happily had not fallen into one of the holes-to-nowhere inside the Hand Brake well.
Panic reared itís ugly head... can you imagine having that thing rattle around in your car.... forever?
I popped the cup out of itís spot behind the Hand Brake to get another access into the well.
And with a very long screwdriver and some strong double stick tape extracted the bolt in a grown-up version of "Operation".
So we used sticky tape on the bolt when we screwed the new one in, to make sure it didnít fall while JonT was installing it, but he forgot to screw back in all the nuts he had removed before, so he had to remove it and reinstall it one MORE time.
Moral: Sticky Tape now or More Sticky Tape later.
Installation could hardly be simpler otherwise. There are two little tabs in the front of each armrest so when you pull it out, lift the back end first, and when you put it in, make sure you put the front in in first, tabs under.
Billís black armrest looks elegant and feels great. I would love to see the black dotted version ...
Emmyís armrest looks smashing- and really funny with the dots. They are fun to play with when I am driving. Looks nice with the sheepskins.
To really see how great the dots look, JonTís sport seats with his "dot" armrest
OK so now all 3 cars have the new armrests and they are just great. You can tell what kind of loving care went into these armrests, and yes, it does occur to us to ask why BMW wouldnít do this themselves, but hey, itís so much fun to deal with JonM, who cares?
the armrests are not perfect, as JonM has said, but IMHO-they are still utterly wonderful.
'97 2.8 Boston Green Metallic w/Beige, Black Roof, V1, Chrome Magnetic Stone Guards, Rollover Protection Bars,
Limited "dot" Beige LeatherZ armrest
Wind Deflector, Floor Mats, Trunk Organizer, Parcel Net Seatcovers, and power top