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Installing Redline Armrests in the Doors

This is a description of my experience installing Redline leather armrests in the doors of an R56 MCS Coupe. You must decide whether you want to try it yourself, or have a professional do the installation. Here is what the driver's side looks like, installed. The original armrests were grey vinyl and looked pretty cheap. I decided to go with a black on black look. The silver thread visually ties it into the silver trim on the door. I'm very happy with the way it came out.

Armrest installed but door not cleaned for photo (click on image for larger photo)

The first thing to do was to remove armrests from the car. The armrest is held in place by tabs in the support structure that go into slots in the back of the armrest.

Slots in top of armrest

Slots in bottom of armrest

Armrest support with tabs top and bottom

I reached behind the top of the armrest and grabbed the edge and lifted it up to release the tabs from the slots while carefully pull forward.

I have no experience with upholstering. So, there may be better ways to go about this. You may also want to take the armrests to a professional and have them install the Redline leather covers. Should be a quick job for someone that knows what they are doing.

I used 3M 90 High Strength Spray Adhesive. I left the factory vinyl in place and sprayed a coating of 3M 90 on it. I also sprayed the inside of the leather covers. Unfortunately, some spray got onto the front surface of one cover. After it was on the armrest I was able to remove it by rubbing with a paper towel and then a brush. It may have been better to try before it dried. One person told me they were able to remove 3M 90 from their armrests with denatured alcohol. Best to try it in a hidden area before using it.

The trick was to make sure the stitching seam is properly aligned in the front end and back end. I placed the back end down in position and made sure the front end lined up. Then worked from the back forward, pressing it down with my fingers.

Once the front surface was down and smoothed, I wrapped the remaining around the edges and glued it down.

When it was dry I trimmed the leather back to the edge of the vinyl underneath. There is a groove in the plastic that helps. So, none of the old vinyl showed.

The Redline leather is fairly thick. So, I carefully skived it down on the inside of the armrest with a large box cutter knife I sharpened to razor sharp. Skiving was necessary for the armrest to fit back on the structure -- especially where the leather bunches up at the ends.

To replace the armrests I hooked the bottom on the tabs and pulled up to get the top over the top tabs. With some effort, it snapped into place.

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