Arm Rest Upgrade

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Robert Gay

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So, I needed to fix/repair/replace the center console underside, due to the plastic/polymer cracking all the way across on my '04. I ordered a metal replacement from am-autoparts on eBay. It is a based designed to fit earlier model Explorers, up to 2001, but I found it works flawlessly with the Sport Trac center console arm rest as well. It was shipped quickly - I had it Wednesday and it was purchased on Monday. Installation was super fast - maybe 15 minutes, including finding the right sockets.

So first I popped the covers on the rear of the center console to expose the bolts that attach the arm rest bracket to the rest of the vehicle with a flathead tool on my Leatherman. These are 4 5/16" bolts. Make sure you don't drop them - they'd be a pain to fish out from the bottom of the center console.

After removing the mounting, unscrew the lid of the armrest. This is easily done with a Phillip's head screwdriver. Despite the instructions provided with the base plate, I kept the screws.

With the lid removed, you need to drive out the square polymer pin that connects the arm rest to the bracket. A hammer will get it started, but you may need to use a punch to get it through the second hole. Discard the pin, it will be replaced by two bolts.

Now you should have the lid and the base plate separate, as well as the bracket. Attach the bracket on to the new base plate with the two included 5/8" (not 7/16", as the instructions indicate) bolts. You'll need both a socket and box-head wrench for this part. Do not over tighten, otherwise the lid will be unable to be raised. Once you have established that the bolts are secure, it is time to screw the lid to the new metal base plate. The kit includes new Phillip's head screws for this, but on my Trac, these screws did not want to bite into the metal tabs on the old lid. I simply reused the old screws. Since they are designed for flush applications, they stick down a little bit, but so would the new ones (domed heads). When you are screwing the base plate on, make sure you have the rear cup-holder pulled out.

Finally, check to make sure the arm rest rotates smoothly when the cup-holder is in and locks in place when it is out. Head back to the vehicle, and slide the assembly back into place on the center console. Align the bolts and tighten them up. Double check for fit and function, and pop the two covers back into place. Done! Looks like new, but now there is metal all the way through, from the base plate to the hinge pin to the bracket - no more polymer, and more strength.



Tools Used:

5/16" socket with extender

5/8" socket

5/8" box-head wrench

Phillip's head screwdriver

Flathead screwdriver



Time:

15 minutes



Difficulty:

So easy a caveman could do it
 

Steve McKellop

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Nice fix. Should have snapped a few photos and sent it in as a project.:supercool:
 
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Robert Gay

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Thought about snapping some shots, but I figured this would suffice. I could take a before-and-after picture of the underside of the console. Super easy to do.
 

Jeffksf B

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Ebay link to the product maybe?

Mine isn't cracked yet, I did have to install some larger screws because the originals pulled out.
 

EddieS'04

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PageRob,,, write that up in a project form and send to project submissions. Get a wrench next to your name.:banana::supercool:
 

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