leapdragon » So far, the thing that’s got me absolutely stymied is the armrest cover on the center console. The current cover is too worn for my tastes, so I’ve picked up a new vinyl cover from eBay. So far, so good.
Except I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the cover off.
I’ve seen pictures of it off—four screws. The first two are easy, they’re both T25 near the hinge. However, I can’t figure out how to access the two screws at the side farthest from the hinge. They are not exposed.
leapdragon » SO tonight I decided it was “do or die” time for my eBay vinyl armrest cover replacement.
I fired up VIDA and studied the (wholly inadequate) diagrams and then started going at it. Turns out that the armrest top (just the top, not the cupholder) is three distinct parts.
After removing the Torx T25s near the hinge, your first instinct is to pry at the topmost cover (the one with the vinyl wrapped around it) but in fact, what you have to do is pry away one of the plastic layers of what Volvo calls the armrest “frame.” This is not easy, as the seam is very tight and also for no particular reason Volvo decided that the frame should not be completely separable into two parts without removing the armrest.
However, if you start by the hinge (the place where the frame parts are actually least able to be pried apart, but where the gap is biggest), you can insert a plastic shim/pry tool in the gap and then carefully but forcefully slide it toward the front (away from the hinge) while inserted, then pop the front end carefully apart:
THAT’S where you find the magic hidden screws—under this plastic piece. Though you can’t free up the hinge end, you can pull the two halves of the frame apart enough to get a T25 in there (with a T25 bit and a ratchet, for example) and get the screws out (here in green, already loosened).
Once you have the screws loosened, there are two plastic “clips” on each side (circled in orange) that you have to pry upward somehow, which will pop the buttons out. After that, the top cover just… falls right off.
Those tiny “clips” are a super-big problem.
1) There are two of them holding each button at the same time
2) They are designed in such a way that you cannot get anything in to pry at their ends
3) The working space is super tiny
4) They look very much as though they will break off at the drop of a feather, and then the buttons won’t stay in
I ended up holding a light with my teeth, sticking a pill bottle in between the plastic layers to keep them apart, then working very gingerly with two pairs of tweezers at once (one in each hand) inserted at the *sides* of each clip (there is a gap on the sides). When you get them just right, the button will spring right out of the armrest.
Anyway, once I got the top cover off, the rest was easy—pry off the old vinyl, scrape away all the gunk, then use 3M trim adhesive and apply the new vinyl to it, then reassemble.
End result looks like this:
Do I recommend doing this the eBay vinyl way? In the end, no. This was a huge PITA and came with a lot of stress about breaking delicate things and doing a good job with the gluing, etc. It was messy and also frustrating.
I think next time I’ll just do what people have suggested, buy the whole armrest, and take apart the console.
But now there are pictures somewhere on the web showing how to do this if someone wants to. I understand this two-button armrest style was used on ’05-’07 XC70 and V70 R cars, possibly others as well. I’d much rather have had the “all the screws are accessible” style like in the YouTube vids, Volvo.How to get the armrest cover off