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Center armrest and rear interior panelling disassembly

32650 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  TPBenz

I recently removed the center armrest and almost the whole rear interior cover of my 2007 SL 550 (R230), searching for a rattling noise coming from the back.

(see this thread:

When putting everything back together I took some photos to show others how it works.

Side panels on center console

The side covers are held by clips only.
Start carefully unclipping on the rear end, using a wedge for the first clip.
The first pic shows the passenger side panel, while pic 2 and 3 show the driver panel.

Rear armrest

Open the lower compartment of the center armrest and remove the two screws (R15) (pic 1).
Remove the rear armrest (is slightly hooked under the rear wall panelling).

Center armrest

Prerequisite: Rear armrest must be removed first!

Remove the ‘carpet’ in the lower compartment of the armrest (pic 1).
Remove the 2 screws in the lower compartment of the armrest (pic 2).
Remove the 2 hidden screws in the front (T15) that connect the armrest to the center console (pic 3-6).
Those screws remain inside the armrest and won’t fall out (pic 9).
Move the armrest upwards to unhook it from the 2 bolts in the bottom and then slightly backwards to unhook the plastic lid from the center console (pic 6).
Remove the 5 cable connectors at the back of the armrest (pic 14).
The armrest will still be connected to the yellow vacuum pipe.
That vacuum pipe applies underpressure to lock the center console (see below).Take care not to remove the whole vacuum unit (white piece), because that would result in the armrest lock lid to snap to one side (Haven’t tried it myself, but I read that you should try to avoid taking the white unit off).
You should rather remove the yellow vacuum pipe or the grey connector from the white unit.
I tried it for about 15 minutes with several small screwdrivers, trying to push the brackets apart but finally I gave up and took a pair of nippers and cut the yelow pipe off.
It’s a pain in the ass and the most complicated part of the whole center/rear interior disassembly. At least it was for me (pic 7,8).
Once the center armrest is out, you will hear a fizling noise coming from the disconnected vacuum pipe whenever unlocking the car.
Unless you press a finger on the vacuum pipe after unlocking the car, the 2 rear compartments and the glove box won’t unlock because the central locking system can’t build up enough underpressure (pic 10).
Due to disconnecting the cables from the armrest (which has 2 buttons for the mBrace system inside), you will get and error message in the dash board.
The alarm system is probably affected as well, because the interior sensor is disconnected, but there won’t be any error messages coming up for that (pic 11).

Rear compartment covers

Those covers are held by two clips on the top and hooked into the body of the car at the lower side.
Can be easily taken off after opening rear compartments.

Pic ‘rearside2’ shows the passenger side with removed cover.
You can see the 4 holes for the clips and the hooks.

Rear side panels

Prerequisite: Rear compartment covers must be removed first!
Rear compartments must be open.

Remove the alluminum cover on the middle pillar (4 screws, T10 I think) (pic 1).
Remove the screw behind the rear compartment cover (T15) (pic 2).
Remove the black rubber from the top downwards (pic 3, in this pic the sidepanel is already removed).
Unclip the plastic part from the footboard with your hand, move it slightly upwards so that the side panel can be unhokked (pic 4).
Unhook the side panel from the rear compartment (pic 5).
Remove the side panel. It’s held by 2 clips on the side and 2 clips/hooks at the back (pic 7).

Rear wall panel

Prerequisite: Rear side covers must be removed first!

Remove the 2 screws on each side (T15 I think) (pic 1).
Take off the cover, it’s help by another clip in the middle (pic 3).

Rear compartments

Prerequisite: Rear side covers and read compartment covers must be removed first!
Removing the rear wall is helpful, too, especially for the driver side compartment with the CD changer. It’s otherwise hard to get out.

Loosen (no need to remove) the two screws on the rear side of the compartment (T30 I think). The compartment is hooked over it (pics 1 and 2).
Remove the 2 screws on the front (T15) and the plastic hook in the middle (driver side only) (pic 3).
Remove the compartments. Take care of the yellow vacuum pipes, they are hooked into the back of the compartment (pic 4).
They can be unhooked but it’s hard to disconnect them completely, the go somewhere into the compartment cover.

Here some more pics from the back of the car with the center armrest and the parts or the whole rear interior panels removed:

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Great write up and thanks for the pictures. It would be nice if a moderator would gather all of the helpful post like this and make a sticky “ R230 Technical/DIY Threads” so it is easy to find when it is needed. I’m having a problem with the center console lower lid latch. It is pointing toward the left door and it will not latch without help. Does the vacuum pipe control the latch? Also the seat lumbar does not work not sure if it is related.

check this picture, that's how it should look like:

The vacuum pipe indeed controls the latch. Once you unlock the car, an underpressure is applied for a few seconds that unlocks the glove box, the 2 rear compartments and the armrest compartment.

Check if the locking/unlocking works for the rest of those: Open the roof, lock the car and then check those compartments from outside, without unlocking the car.

Awesome write up.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to share all this.
Great write-up and so much more helpful with the pictures. Thanks for taking the time to post this information. I own both Porsche and BMW but the SL65AMG is my first Benz and every car is a bit different.

I also agree with lonnie77. It would be nice to have a DIY section such as 6speedonline has for other cars.
Great write-up and with the pics its even better than the WIS
Fantastic set of pictures.
I've done the same disassembly, but never think to get pictures.
I did this today and I will add it is a t20 for the screws and you must use the screwdriver type because the sockets are usually too thick to access the front screws. Also if you are trying to remove the lid and swap it for another it is kind of tricky.
Remove the four screws on the bottom of the arm rest
Remove the pins that pivot the lid and center tray if applicable.
I also found it just a bit easier to remove the cross beam that the strut mounts to which makes the next step a bit easier
There is a Screw on each side on the inside of the metal frame towards the rear. these go through the metal frame and keeps the leather trim on the side on these can be tricky but I found if you open the lid all the way it is doable and you will need a 1/4 drive and a short t20 bit.
Also you will want to remove the light on the inside of the arm rest to free the wire harness.
Once that is done you should be able to remove the metal frame and lid.
To get the center tray out I just squeezed the pivot point a bit and slipped it forward but it looks like you can wiggle it down and pull it out.
I also popped of the cable retainers on the rear of the arm rest so I had some slack.
The lid can be a pain but I realized that there is a pivot point which just about the furthest part out and if you rest it on the bar that prevents it from coming off you can pivot the rest forward and out of the bracket that holds the original pivot point that the rod and c-clip went through. I have some pictures if anyone needs them and I'm just too lazy to host and post them.

Good luck
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Lid latch broken

OK I got the arm rest on the bench but cannot see how to remove the latch so I can replace the broken piece.
Do I just pry off the leather or something. I see no fastener of obvious place to pry from'
Hello Shoerny, thanks! I have a remark:

The hidden screws at the front of the lower compartment in my car (2005 SL350) are T20, not T15. They are angled slightly outward. One (me at least) can easily be fooled by the tool hitting the trim (where the shaft is wider than the bit) rather than hitting the screws. One should use a really thin screwdriver shaft and press firmly, while letting the tool finding the hidden screws. Simple in hindsight, kept me trying for ever!
I made a flash photo with my phone to find those tiny slots hiding the 2 screws.
Yes the hidden screws are t20’s I ended up drillping the holes slightly larger to get the right angle for purchase on them
Excellent detail!
I need to remove my console and find out why the lower compartment won't open and the upper compartment won't latch.
I had to get a dremel tool to cut the latch part out of the top and repair it - when I acquired the vehicle it would not latch and it was a pain to get to the bottom part. After I cut it out, I fixed the mechanism and glued it back together. Works like a charm now.
I had to get a dremel tool to cut the latch part out of the top and repair it - when I acquired the vehicle it would not latch and it was a pain to get to the bottom part. After I cut it out, I fixed the mechanism and glued it back together. Works like a charm now.
It seems like the top half on mine the latch in the arm rest top top isn't making contact with the latch in the console bin.
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