Interior trim

I restored a lot of E46 things that were scratched up, or had been replaced with nasty parts, or were just installed incorrectly.

Then it was on to interior trim. The heater control/ashtray surround was replaced with new, because scratched from use. Fair enough after fifteen years of service.

The shifter trim cover was also scratched and replaced with a second hand one from a donor 318i that was in amazingly good condition.

Then the centre console between the front seats was replaced with new, because again, mega scratched, largely from front seat back/forth movement by kids getting in the rear seats, and daily his/her driving position adjustments, which drags the front seatbelt assembly across the plastic every time. This won't happen again on my watch... I added some furry Velcro stick-on to the back of the seatbelt clasps like there is on newer BMWs that have slidey seats, to stop that shit from ever happening again. That was a simple fix that the blokes at the factory eventually cottoned on to.

Also, the oddments tray near the handbrake was replaced, because it had been replaced with cup-holders, which were also mega scratched, didn't match the original trim, plus looked so American. I know that in later years they were added to all BMWs from the factory, probably because they were an oft-requested feature, or chief competitors Mercedes or Audi did so, but they are discreet pop-out jobs that add amenity without compromising other great features, like oddments tray storage, which is really handy.

My attitude to cup holders is that if you want coffee, drop the roof and go drive to a cafe and sit for a while, watching the world go by, and then return to ze be-em-vee and drive it, not sip in it. I don't care if you're late for work. So be it. Get coffee when you get there.

Cars are for driving, and for concentrating in, not for treating like a rolling lounge room, kitchen, or bathroom to put your makeup on. Long road trip? Put your bottle of water in the glovebox, and it won't fly around in a crash and smack you in the head, or get you burned, like flying coffee might.

Arraow's last owner had replaced the original telephone preparation insert with the cup holders, but saved the old bits for me. The original part was in pretty bad nick, so I replaced that with an original equipment odments tray. Given that bloke had only owned him for less than three years it was surprising to see how banged up his newly installed and prized beverage holder was.

Gallery

And while on interior trim, the rear vent cover behind the back seat headrests was also replaced. How is it possible that this piece of trim could get damaged? Looking at Internet photos it's actually quite common, with others suffering much greater damage than my car, but I can't get my head around why. Fingernails from grabbing for the seat belt? Probably. But why grab from the top of the seat belt? It makes it hard, so who does that?

So that's $1,410 on badges and trim parts, all of which were original parts, which mostly came either from Latvia or Lithuania.

Is that the only business that Lithuanians and Latvians get into? New car parts for old cars? Seems like no one else on the planet does it.

Image

  • Seats fixed up and sprayed with DupliColor Vinyl and Fabric paint, because wear, and fair enough.
  • Door cards cleaned up and sprayed with DupliColor Vinyl and Fabric paint. Scratched how, people?
  • The rubberised trim around the netting at the back of the driver and passenger seats was fixed up while spraying the leather. All I had to do was complete the scratching off of the rubberised coating, mask up and then paint those bits with the vinyl paint too. Nobody will notice that trim being different, because it's at floor height, and will wear better anyway. Plus, you can't buy new back panels for the sport seats from anywhere any more. Not even Lithuania or Latvia.

Inside the boot/trunk there was a tray on the left hand side installed at at an odd angle, plus the carpet trim on the side and rear walls was not right, and sticking out in places. This was because an aftermarket Eonon head unit had been previously installed to replace the original screen, which was a good move to get modern navigation, spotify and more in an old car, but whoever installed it didn't care for proper trim reinstallation.

There was a mass of wiring and connectors below the tray meaning it could not sit where it should, and so all it took was to relocate some of the chunky retrofit connectors and add some cable ties. That's all fixed now.

While I was at the Eonon, I tweaked its colour changing backlights to properly match all the other interior backlighting, which is a deep shade of orange. The colour selected by the previous owner was orange, but it wasnt the right shade.

I also re-painted the storage tray that didn't fit because it was all scratched up.

My O.C.D. regarding cars continued.

Photo