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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 06-01-2015, 07:48 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 9
My Ride: turns in early
Thumbs Up DIY: Suede/Memory Foam Armrest Mod/Wrap (Pics)

So, picked up my first and only BMW a few months ago. Though in good condition when I purchased it, there was a puncture in the driver side door armrest.

After dealing with it, I've decided to wrap it while incorporating a lil' foam mod I've picked up from my motocross days (installing bump seats).

What did I use?

-1 yard black microsuede (Joanns, 50% for $7.99 a yard)
-Super 77 Spray Adhesive
-Yoga Mat (memory foam)

-First, pull off the arm rest from the door starting from the forward-most part and working back. Forward is the keyword, as there is a tab in the rear that will be snapped if you work from the back.
Something to note is that you do not need to take off the door panel to do this. This is a common rumor i've read on the fourms and it's totally false. But be aware they are a pain to pull off, and require lots of force.

-Next, pull off the synthetic leather from each pad. Be careful not to pull apart the padding underneath it when you do it. I went on to clean the actual padding itself with a rag and some water, considering it was dry and had a lot of grainy pad on it.

-Now, get your sisters yoga mat out, form a stencil in the shape of the arm rest and cut it out. Apply ahesive to both sides, wait till its tacky, then press and stick the mat to the pad.

Let dry, while focusing on pressing the edged all around for a good bond. I then took it to the bench grinder, yes bench grinder, and finished up rounding the edges off there. I've done this before so it wasn't foreign work, but I'd recommend taking it slow and smooth so that either padding doesn't grab.
Continue working the whole way around the piece, smoothing out any bumpy edges that WILL probably show through after wrapping with the suede.

At this point, the end is near. Clean the surface, then apply adhesive to both the memory foam and suede back. From here on, beware of getting the glue on your fingers and transferring it onto the suede. I used rubber gloves with seemed to help as I could degrease them periodically.

Things I realized during/after..
-You DON'T need to remove door panels to pull off the armrests.
-The mat material has a cubical-texture to it. Given that the suede is quite thin, you're able to feel the pattern through the material, which is fact, feels different but kind cool.
-And yes, the "memory foam" seems to work as my elbow made a nice but not permanent indent in it on the way to work today. Makes me wanna wrap the center console next..

Apologizies about the crappy Blackberry Z30 pics above^^^, but the following are what both arm rest look like installed in my 01' 325ci.

Last edited by Mark506; 06-01-2015 at 08:06 PM.
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