BMW E28 Interior A/C Grille/Ashtray Removal

Removal of the grille is much less frustrating if you know where all the fasteners are and what steps to follow in removing the various pieces. Go slowly and DON'T FORCE ANYTHING! If any part seems to be stuck, look again for hidden fasteners. If your E28 is even halfway as dirty as this example is, installing gauges shouldn't be your first priority! :)
1) Start by removing the two small covers on top of the rearmost end of the center console. Pry them up with a razor blade or other very thin object so you don't make any gouges. At the bottom of the console, you'll see a 7mm screw on each side; loosen these, but don't remove them. Pull the rear section of the console backwards as much as possible. On later models, there is a pin which sticks into the forward section of the console; make sure this pin is fully disengaged.
2) If you have a manual transmission, grab the edges of the shift boot where it meets the console and pop the boot off, then go to step 3. If you have an automatic transmission, pull up on the panel to the right of the shifter slot and it'll pop off. There are three screws to remove: one hidden on the left and two in plain view on the right.

(click on any picture for a large version)
3) Remove the two 8mm screws at the front of the console opening and the 10mm nut at the rear.
4) On each side of the upper console, remove the 8mm screw, large Phillips-head screw (might be under a cap), and small Phillips-head screw.
5) Pull the lower console up to clear the stud for the 10mm nut and back about 2" (disconnecting and removing the window switches and rear window lockout can be helpful with this), then pull the upper console back and remove the two screws on top.
6) Push the Radio/HVAC panel back and remove the three screws holding the top of the grille. Note: some cars will require radio removal for this step.
7) Remove the two screws hidden under the grille, outboard of the ashtray, one on each side. This will require a narrow-handled screwdriver. Even though these attachments are slotted, the screws must be removed.
8) One at a time, gently pull each side of the grille backwards and disengage the pin going into the forward-most section of the console. Gently spread the grille and rotate the grille up, pivoting it about the ashtray area. When you feel a tug, reach in through the side and disconnect the cigarette lighter connections and the ashtray light.
9) Continue to rotate the grille until it comes free. Rejoice - you've just removed your grille!


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