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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just acquired a 2001 Alpina B10 V8. :-D It has a mobile phone installation including cordless handset in the front centre arm rest. I just removed the aerial from the back windscreen, switched the phone to 'off' and disconnected the X400 connector for the phone system near the sat nav unit in the boot. I have had a quick look around at options as to what to do about the centre arm rest. Right now I just removed the cordless/DECT handset and I have a storage area for sunglasses etc. now albeit it has a phone charger sticking up. I am not sure what's really worth doing. As far as I can see my options are:

1) Do nothing.

2) Install a third party black plastic storage tray in place of the existing charging cradle in the arm rest. I presume I can do this without having to remove the entire arm rest. Anyone know what kind of Torx screwdriver I need for the small screws at the back of the charging cradle?

3) Replace the fixed partitioned arm rest with a sliding arm rest and underneath storage tray from another E39. However, the Alpina has stitched leather so even if I bought one in cream leather it would still not quite match the rest of the car, but close enough. However, even with this solution, the storage area under the sliding arm rest isn't that big really - as I noticed in my previous E39 540i. So not sure I'm really gaining that much more than just implementing 2 above.

4) Replace the fixed partitioned arm rest with just an fixed arm rest pad - leather colour might not match.

Any other options?

Thanks in advance for the input.

Cheers
 

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Hi,

Congratulations on the purchase!

Pictures would help as it's possible what with Alpina options, that what you have isn't in other E39's. For instance, I don't think other cars had a 'cordless' telephone based on the DECT technology and also, due to that you might have an Alpina specific leather trimmed armrest area etc.

Overall though, it sounds as though you don't want/need the telephone connected/useable - so you could just leave as is which will also cost you nothing.

If you wish to remove it and replace, then perhaps by picking up a slide/lift armrest from another E39 and having it re-trimmed to better match your interior would be the best way ?

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Hi

I'd say also nip over to http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/ which is a UK centric forum (I have the same username!) and there's an Alpina section too. Plenty of knowledgeable members there who may know plenty more. Also take a look at the Alpinaregister website as well.

A replacement oem plastic tray can be had for very little money which is an option you've covered as well, so really, it comes down to what you want.

Interested for the cordless phone option though !

My bro & sis in law had an 03 Alpina B3S convertible and I absolutely HATED the thin Sport steering wheel it came with, I sold quite a few M Sport SMG steering wheels to Alpina owners who were also similarly annoyed with theirs! felt much much better ! don't know if you've had the same miffed feeling with your example as yet !

Every first Monday of the month 6pm'ish onwards, is German night at the Ace Cafe in NW London - it's not too far from IKEA, and the A406/A40 Hanger Lane Gyratory - next one is tomorrow and seeing as we have this funny yellow thing in the sky, it looks like it'll be a really good event - pop along if you can ?!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I guess there is a fourth option, to install a replacement tray in the armrest and also cannibalise the opening and sliding mechanism from an existing E39 armrest and use the original Alpina armrest as above so I have 2 compartments. It would be nice in a way to keep the original armrest. But I could perhaps consider that as a phase 2 objective unless I have to take the whole thing apart anyway for the first part.

The steering wheel is a bit on the big side and because it isn't the quickest rack, you end up really having to turn it quite a bit. Ideally I'd have a small 3 spoked wheel with Alpina buttons on it (a B3 wheel?) - would look much better too - and a quicker rack (fantasy). As it is, it's very light but near zero feel - you feel more through the seat of your pants.

Thanks for the recommendation.
 

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I had the same in my B10 and ordered the oem BMW centre tray that replaces the phone tray. Means you keep the Alpina leather bits and lose the phone stuff. I also ordered an undertray and lid from a standard E39 but you need to do some cutting to end up using the top bit you have and an opening armrest.

If you have the 4 spoke wheel then the 3 spoke from a facelift is a million times better, I also read about someone swapping the M5 steering box onto a B10 with great results as it reduced lock to lock by about a turn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey thanks for the input Barry. If I have to cut the parts up then I think I'll stick with the tray insert into the armrest itself for now. I presume the existing phone tray screws in from underneath? So I have to take the whole armrest apart to remove it? There are 2 small screws at the back of the tray under the recharging cover (T5?) but I'm not sure they hold the tray in.

My car is a facelift model. So would I be right in assuming that the post-facelift B10 came with a choice of 2 wheels or did the 3 spoke come a little later as standard? I have seen a 3 spoke wheel on a regular E39 in the past in the BMW showroom way back and it did look the business.

Very interested what you said about the M5 steering box. I presume you mean the E39 M5 right? Both use recirculating ball steering I am assuming. I will have to look into that.
 

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Hi

The Alpina's were fitted with the 'Sport' steering wheel in later examples, and these were based on the E46 3 spoke wheel that was 'thin' all the way around. Here's a pic of the one in the B3S Convertible my Bro & sis in law had;



To me, it felt pathetic! absolutely not suited to the performance orientation of the car itself. Quite a few Alpina owners with similar oem wheels, will take it off and put it into storage, and fit a steering wheel from a later E46 or E39 that's the 'M Sport' SMG version. This is thicker and has the thumb grips and it feels so much better to hold and use in the car.

I think you'll probably find more details on the steering box element on Alpinaregister - I'm not so clued up on oily bits !

Are you both popping into the Ace Cafe later this evening?! absolutely fantastic weather - so gotta make the most of it, before the usual grey and cold, damp and rain returns soon!!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi Dennis, great picture. It really does look fantastic. Having just come out of an E46, I can appreciate its steering wheel! So the E46 SMG wheel paddles will work on the B10? Do you know how they compare in terms of resistance to the B10 wheel's buttons? The reason I ask is that I sat in a one of the new end of line red ltd edn M3s the other way, E92, and had a feel of the paddles and they are pretty stiff. Maybe it's because it was new? Do they wear well these E46 SMG paddles? Just curious. I would assume that coming across a 3 spoked Alp steering wheel is quite rare.

I had the same style 4 spoked steering wheel in my old E39 540 and I hated it then lol.

I had a hunt around the net for details on the M5 Hydro steering box - looks like quite a job. I'd have to defer that to a specialist to do although that could get very expensive. Not sure how many miles these boxes last for (better to source one from a lower mileage crashed M5). A new one is about a grand and a half so I have understood.

lol you are giving the Ace a hard sell here! Yeah, I will definitely come up at some point, for various health reasons, can't make it right now. Cheers.
 

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Hi,

No problem on the event later this evening, it's every first monday of the month so whenever you are feeling better and enough energy for it, pop on over! the harder sell today is that we ACTUALLY have some nice weather ! so that almost guarantees an excellent turn out for later this evening. During the usual cold dark months theres less numbers, only us regulars make it each month! that said, even during those months, there's still a good 30-40+ cars that will be there.

I changed my 530 Diesel Touring to a Alcantara E46 M3 CSL wheel a few years ago now -



This is the steering wheel style I'm mentioning to you - it's much thicker and feels fantastic. The paddles are in fine working order and I've not noticed really if they're stiff to operate etc - they just 'work' ! The multi function comtrols can be easily swapped over and these steering wheels are available in leather too - the SMG versions are rarer to find though and as such, sell for higher prices than the non SMG ones. I had quite a few of them 1-2 years ago, and a number of Alpina owners purchased them to replace that sorry looking 'thin' thing they put in !

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting. Thanks for posting. I must admit I've never really been a fan of the look of the CSL steering wheel but it is likely the most ergonomic of all. Yeah, the reason I mention the stiffness of the E91 paddles is that the buttons on the back of the Alpina B10 steering wheel are really light and effortless to press. They really are quite something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I had the same in my B10 and ordered the oem BMW centre tray that replaces the phone tray. Means you keep the Alpina leather bits and lose the phone stuff. I also ordered an undertray and lid from a standard E39 but you need to do some cutting to end up using the top bit you have and an opening armrest.
Hey Barry, what needs cutting to get the hinged/sliding mechanism to fit the arm rest? Just wondering about the extent of the job. Do you need to cut the metal hinge? Cheers.

Edit: Just found this post elsewhere:

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/57430-alternative-center-armrest-redo.html
 

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Well that post is about right, the phone tray or tray no. 9 here: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/k/n/192.png both foul the metal undertray (you can see the ridge in the centre of part no. 5) from the hingeing armrest when you try and bolt it on. I was planning to use an angle grinder to try and take enough metal off but never got round to it. I bought a used tray from Quarry motors and I guess some of the designs may be slightly different.

A quick tip if you decide to just swap the centre trays over - slip a credit card between tray & side leather bit to unclip the phone tray! I also ordered a new one of part no. 10 because it's impossible to clean up and only about a fiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah unfortunately the pics aren't displayed anymore on the post on the M5 forum. I gather that his solution was to grind down the underside of that centre tray no.9 whereas it sounds like you are doing it the other way around, grinding down the top of the hinged/sliding base no.5. The used tray you bought, is that part no.9 or no.4? Yeah the front handle no.10 on my armrest is really scratched up, might be nice to install a new one if it is that cheap.

So I can prize out the existing no.9 phone tray as you suggested without having to take the armrest apart? Would I be correct in assuming that one can remove the no.10 once no.9 has been removed? Or would I need to dismantle the whole armrest to do that? Cheers!
 

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I didn't think the tray (no. 9) was thick enough to grind down enough hence I think the metal ribs are better to do. I also meant to say that I bought a top armrest and storage box from Quarry and the idea was to put the Alpina top part onto the sliding metal base which is of course no. 5.

Just to clarify the realoem pic - no. 1 bolts onto no. 5 or in our case no. 2 is there and that's the unit you need to remove to get to no's 9 & 10.

IIRC then to take the Alpina armrest off (no. 2) you need to pop off the rear air vents (2 screws I think) and then it becomes obvious but you do need to remove that bit to get at the wiring to the phone and remove that.
 

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Taking off the armrest is dead simple. Slide your fingers into #6 and lift up. It will pop out of the socket. Slide it out and then push down on the air vent. it is not secured and will slide down easily. Then pull it out. There is a cord connected to it, but ignore that and set it aside. You will see two screws at the base of the armrest. Unscrew those and the armrest will lift right out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. Job completed! :)

I got slightly stuck a few times but figured it out. Needed T15 screwdriver to remove 4 screws holding the pad (2) from the base (5) once I undid the 2 screws at the back. Wondered how to thread the cable back through the base (5) as the connector on the end was rather large. Just cut the cable in the end. :) WTH The tip with the credit card was a real help, I wouldn't have figured out how to putsh the existing phone cradle out through the bottom of the pad for ages otherwise.

Not sure there is much more room in the centre compartment (9) than before but it looks much smarter. Managed to remove the last of the glue from the aerial inside and out removal so the back windscreen looks much better now too. Pushing the air vent back up was a bit fiddly and like the guy says on his page on diymybmw, it doesn't want to seem to slide all the way up to close the gap with the base (5).

I wonder, how does one actually remove the black plastic handle (10) at the front of the pad? I had a quick look to see how one might remove it but it didn't seem immediately obvious to me.

I may repeat the procedure to install a sliding/hinged base but it's hard to know what needs cutting down until it arrives and one has a look at it. For me anyway, this was the main job. Even with a hinged base, storage areas in the centre of the cabin are still a bit on the poor side IMO.
 

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I just came upon this thread. You may want to look here for some great info on changing out the arm rest. I used this as part of the info when I upgraded to an OEM bluetooth module installed in place of the factory non-functional original phone. I just added the tray in place of the phone holder in the armrest. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks! Yeah I decided not to bother integrating bluetooth. I used that same article, it seems to be hosted in multiple places!
 
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