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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:11 AM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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Center console repair/replacement options?

The center console on my daughter's 04 325i is looking pretty ratty - a lot of the paint has worn off of the armrest itself, and from the plastic hinge area on it back as well. It's light gray. Can these things be refinished, or are there any available at dismantlers? If so, does anyone have any recommendations? I imagine a new one would cost a small fortune. A repair/replacement would make a nice Christmas present, as the car is in very nice shape otherwise, and this console really downgrades the overall appearance of the car. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:08 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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They are fairly inexpensive. There are two types. with armrest, without armrest...

#7 in this diagram (with armrest)
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...42&hg=51&fg=35

#1 in this diagram (without armrest)
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...41&hg=51&fg=35

Use the part number you find there to query other parts suppliers to order. I did an armrest delete on my 330ci and probably ordered from autohausaz.com IIRC.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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Thanks. I didn't bother checking realoem.com, because I just assumed buying these parts new would be prohibitively expensive. I'll do a search on the part numbers as you suggest to see what's available. It would be great if autohausaz had them; I didn't think they carried trim stuff.

One thing confuses me in the first diagram - it points to item 13 being the arm rest, and is listed for something like $134, but also, as you say, item 7 also sounds like a description for the arm rest, for $65.

Also, has anybody removed their center console? I haven't looked into it too closely yet, but there are no obvious visible screws, and I don't see how the armrest comes off of the rest of the console.

Last edited by Variocam; 12-07-2012 at 02:27 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:09 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Variocam View Post
One thing confuses me in the first diagram - it points to item 13 being the arm rest, and is listed for something like $134, but also, as you say, item 7 also sounds like a description for the arm rest, for $65.
Part No. 13 is the upholstered top of the armrest.

You can also get an entire armrest retrofit kit that consists of the armrest and base, plus a new center console. You may have to look under the "accessories and retrofittings" section to find them. When I retrofitted an E46 armrest into my E36, I posted part numbers for some of these kits. See the link in my signature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Variocam View Post
Also, has anybody removed their center console? I haven't looked into it too closely yet, but there are no obvious visible screws, and I don't see how the armrest comes off of the rest of the console.
The armrest base bolts to the transmission tunnel with three 8mm bolts. You first have to lift the center console up and off of the armrest base in order to access these bolts.
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:10 PM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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It turns out the arm rest is item 13, and the cheapest one I found was through ECS tuning for $117. But then I ran across this, which looks like it might be a good solution, for only forty bucks:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E-46-CEN...sories&vxp=mtr

Thoughts?
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:59 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Sorry... I did not read carefully enough. I thought the center console was what has lost the finish. Mine has this problem in a few areas where the seat belts rub.

If you are OK with the possibility the leather will not match 100% to what you have in the car, then $40 is a great option.

Removing the arm rest is pretty easy. Here's a link to a DIY I wrote when I replaced my console to delete the armrest. It was always in my way!

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=216519
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Last edited by jvr826; 12-07-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:00 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Variocam View Post
It turns out the arm rest is item 13, and the cheapest one I found was through ECS tuning for $117. But then I ran across this, which looks like it might be a good solution, for only forty bucks:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E-46-CEN...sories&vxp=mtr

Thoughts?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E-46-CEN...40651872996%26

Same cover for $30, isn't it, with shipping? yours is $43 with shipping. Found this posted as a similar item at the bottom of your listing and it is from the same Poster.

Last edited by QAfred; 12-10-2012 at 07:02 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2012, 07:43 AM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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The one you show is vinyl, while the one I found is leather, but it doesn't make any difference; in fact, I would think the vinyl one would match better. Thanks for finding it.

Anyone have any idea as to how difficult it is to install one of these covers so it looks like a factory installation, with no sags, bubbles, or wrinkles? Any tricks to the process? Thanks.
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