Center Arm rest


< width="800" height="600">

Picture provided by Mola

Part number for armrest in black soft leather that slides and tilts with storage tray - 51-16-2-427-367

Cost from Pacific BMW - 293.67

Installation instructions

1. Open rear cup holder and pull it out.

2. Slide out rear vents.

3. Two screws will be exposed at the rear of the armrest. Remove them.

4. Pull out armrest.

5. Remove unused cable holder below armrest.

6. Install storage tray and slide all the way forward.

7. Install armrest in open position, ensuring that the bottom of the armrest matches with the indention in the tray.

8. Install loosely m4 nuts on the threaded post below the armrest.

9. Reinstall screws in in the rear of the armrest.

10. Tighten m4 hex nuts.

11. Open and close armrest to ensure proper alignment.

12. Reinstall vent and cupholder.


Re: E39 European Center Arm Rest - HELP! (archive)

Posted by David Lowell on August 06, 1998 at 19:21:19:

I have just received:

51 16 8 196 965 Sliding Unit

51 16 8 196 954 Center Arnrest - beige

51-16-8-196-936;  this is for a black one.

51 16 8 196 967 Tray

Posted by Jim Cash on August 06, 1998 at 20:52:47:

Well that is a bit far for a beer - could you ship it here?

David - start by removing the rear cupholder. open the unit and then using one thumb push the unit firmly to the right. At the same time hook the other thumb inside the other side and pull gently toward you - you have to overcome a plastic tab - they break if not careful - that is why you have to push to one side first.

Now pull the vent unit straight down, past the tabs at the top - then pull straight out.

Now you will see 2 screws holding the existing armrest in place (just behind where the top of the vent was.

Remove these and the armrest unit will lift out.

New unit simply goes in it's place. There are 2 extra nuts you have to attach to the new unit - you will see where 2 screw attachment fasteners come through the bracket opening on the back of the tray compartment - just below where the other two mounting screws are - these new onees are to support it when it is open.

I have no information about the latch at the front ( I never completed my conversion because I was experimenting with trying to have the lift up unit - but keep the telephone - could be done but required more hardware modifications than I felt I wanted to make.

Hope that helps.

PS - there is a spare power connector down below the small storage box - near the ash tray (used for the light for the replacement casette box) - you can use this to connect to if you want to put a small light in the armrest tray.


Jim Cash
London, Ontario, Canada
BMW CCa 102929
E39 97 540iA

Center Console Removal - Easy

Posted by Hemant on March 10, 2001 at 13:45:53:


I've seen a couple of posts of those who have tried to remove the center console without luck. I got pissed off by the dealer since they wouldn't fix an ashtray after warranty, even though it was was reported and entered into their systems before warranty expiring...they can go to hell!!

Anyway, now that I've goes:

1) remove rear cup holders/vent and unscrew arm rest(see posts on
2) pull up boot around shifter and unscrew the two screws there
3) now the trick...start lifting the trim from the side closer to the front of the car. Once you have enough room for your fingers to slide below the hazard switch...push it out toward you.
4) You will now see the secret screw. With the screw out, pull the trim unit up and toward the from and the entire assembly will come out easily...make sure you disconnect the wires to the hazard, ashtray and door lock.

Don't have a digital camera but it's really quite simple.