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-   -   E30 AF Center Armrest Installation - 91 318ic (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=393039)

BlackBMWs 08-24-2009 08:08 AM

E30 AF Center Armrest Installation - 91 318ic
 
I read a post last month about BMW OEM optional armrests for our E30s. I looked and could not find a new or used one so I looked to eBay for a clone of sorts. Sharing this info as there seemed to be a few folks interested as I was.

So this is a new armrest I got off of either US or UK eBay for less than $50 shipped. I installed it in my 1991 318ic. The black color I think matched up with my interior. Sorry about the dirty interior, (Flower blossoms from one of our trees) I'll claim I'm still working on the car... :D
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01765.jpg

It has a non-lockable, lift open storage compartment, with a magnetic lid closure.
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01763.jpg

There are three retractable soda can holders, not cup holders. They actually work quite well, although, a can in the front one interferes with spirited shifting...
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01764.jpg

It is attached to the car via three beefy bolts on each side I picked up at Lowes. (Hardware store) Four small screws and washers were originally included.
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01768.jpg
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01766.jpg

For installation, I adjusted my emergency brake adjustment to seven clicks, so it would stay low. (I was at nine...) I also mounted the armrest so the rear ashtray was still accessable. The positioning is perfect for me.

I'd describe it as nicely made, but light duty construction. I noticed when taking the previous picture, the corner fabric is already showing. :( The material is vinyl, not leather. Anyway, I made a few mods to try to beef it up and have it last a bit longer.

I had to strengethen the bracket/armrest attachment point by adding four allen head bolts to get the bracket more support. I drilled the bracket and armrest lower plastic plate and wooden base to accomidate the allen bolts, then I epoxied the bracket to the armrest and screwed/bolted it together. Below is the installed picture.
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01769.jpg
Note how thin the bracket metal is. I should have taken pictures while I was modifying it. Sorry. Took about 20 minutes. I purchased the allen screws and epoxy at Lowe's

I will modify and attach a pair of glovebox straps to the storage lid, so my 16 year old's friends won't rip the lid off the hinges when they are looking inside.

As far as mounting the armrest, I used six bolts with attached washers instead of the four screws provided in the kit. I had to drill the mounting holes in the supplied side brackets a little larger to accomidate the bolts. After drilling through the drivetrain tunnel, I placed a touch of silicone sealant in the holes before getting the bolts in place for water protection.

Impression:
So, it definately will support the weight of arms and it is comfortable. The storage area won't hold much and the floor of it is not designed to hold much weight. The can holders do work pretty well for 12 oz cans, taller cans are more subject to centrifugal force.

I will plan to replace the shorter allen bolts with longer ones that I will secure with a nut and fender washer for more rigidity. I just have to keep it low as to not interfere with the rear can holders.

All, in all, I suspect with care, it could hold up. It's not very tough, so if abused, it will break easily. In a vert, it will be subject to the sun and elements. (I'm usually top down everywhere...)

With care, It should last me awhile. Cheers! :cool:
http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSC01770.jpg

fcsteve 08-24-2009 08:47 AM

that is the biggest and crappiest looking armrest i have ever seen. i dont know how you could drive stick wit that massive box between your seats. for anyone else looking to do this properly .. HUSCO, its much smaller, mounts nicer and wont take up your whole center area between your seats

BlackBMWs 08-24-2009 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fcsteve (Post 4458558)
that is the biggest and crappiest looking armrest i have ever seen. i dont know how you could drive stick wit that massive box between your seats. for anyone else looking to do this properly .. HUSCO, its much smaller, mounts nicer and wont take up your whole center area between your seats

:D Yes, it does take up the space between the seats, but it does do what it's intended to. I'm interested if you have a better one. Do you have a pic or link to this HUSCO you mention?

For a DD, this one works for me. From pics of the original BMW OEM option, this one looks close but I don't imagine that it is the same quality.

fcsteve 08-24-2009 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackBMWs (Post 4458593)
I'm interested if you have a better one. Do you have a pic or link to this HUSCO? For a DD this one works for me.

http://r3vlimited.com/board/showthre...ighlight=husco

http://r3vlimited.com/board/showthre...ighlight=husco

if you look around you can find them for relatively cheap. i found a husco in the yard a few months back but passed it by. they look too out of place IMI

BlackBMWs 08-24-2009 09:18 AM

Yes, this does look better, thanks! It dosent look anythink like what I remenber thinking the OEM looked like. At $279 new though is a little up there. I'll watch for a used one for when the big one colapses...

Thanks! :thumbup:

Krumchev2 08-24-2009 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fcsteve (Post 4458558)
that is the biggest and crappiest looking armrest i have ever seen. i dont know how you could drive stick wit that massive box between your seats. for anyone else looking to do this properly .. HUSCO, its much smaller, mounts nicer and wont take up your whole center area between your seats

it is quite large :dunno:

BlackBMWs 08-24-2009 08:53 PM

Maybe I should take another shot a few steps back. ;)

claver 08-24-2009 09:30 PM

it looked fine from the top pics, once i saw the one in between the seats it looks rather huge.

Krumchev2 08-24-2009 09:52 PM

The only reason i'd want it would be for the cup holders. I have to wedge any type of drink between my seat and the door :eeps:

noexceptions325 08-24-2009 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Krumchev2 (Post 4460807)
The only reason i'd want it would be for the cup holders. I have to wedge any type of drink between my seat and the door :eeps:

lol i should post my cupholder.... its one of those walmart velcro ones. I NEED COFFEE IN THE MORNING and i spilled it in my door one to many times

Krumchev2 08-24-2009 10:01 PM

Yeah i spilled a Monster in my door. Quite pissed cleaning that sticky mess out of there :mad:

_Ethrty-Andy_ 08-25-2009 04:32 AM

agreed. thats one thing BMW missed out.

BlackBMWs 08-25-2009 08:17 AM

I found a thin travel cup that fits in the front holder snugly. Only really good on the freeway when I'm not shifting alot, otherwise it goes in the rear holder.

I actually use a cup I bought for my E28 which has a really wide base and shaped like a triangle that sits well on the dash. Nix sharp turns though.

I installed this armrest as a comfortable armrest and as that it gets an 'A'. Cupholders are 'C-"/Canholders gets an 'A' and Storage is a 'C'.

claver 08-25-2009 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackBMWs (Post 4461469)
I found a thin travel cup that fits in the front holder snugly. Only really good on the freeway when I'm not shifting alot, otherwise it goes in the rear holder.

I actually use a cup I bought for my E28 which has a really wide base and shaped like a triangle that sits well on the dash. Nix sharp turns though.

I installed this armrest as a comfortable armrest and as that it gets an 'A'. Cupholders are 'C-"/Canholders gets an 'A' and Storage is a 'C'.

I do have to have an F- for the look.


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