Well, as most owners know, the interior "paint" used at the factory wears off the console on these cars. From research I found out the paint was LATEX based.
I decided to remove my center console arm rest, clean it up good, and brought it to my local Home Depot to do a color scan and have them whip me up some paint.
I got an exterior SATIN mixture.
So I brought home that quart and a assortment of foam brushes!!
First order of business was the remove some interior panels to make the job a little bit more professional looking. You could leave everything in place and do a ton of masking, but I figured all that time masking I might as well learn how to take the dash apart and have less chance of spilling paint on the carpet!!
So here is what I started with:
BEFORE STARTING PROJECT: PUT TOP DOWN and PARK IN A PLACE WHERE THE CAR CAN STAY FOR A DAY OR SO WITH OUR BEING BOTHERED
So I started by removing the glove box door. When you open your glove box, one side you will find a limiting strap and the other side you will find a piston to control the open speed of the door so it does not slam open. These both have a small push clip you need to remove. A small flat blade screw driver pops them right off!
Once you remove those clips you can now close the glove box door. Now on the underside there are 4 screws at the hinge location that hold this door on. They are in pairs so remove one pair then the other.
NOTE* MB USED MANY DIFFERENT SIZE SCREWS ON THE DASH ASSEMBLY. BE SURE AND MARK WHERE THESE SCREWS GO BACK TO!!
Once all 4 screws are out, slowly open the glove box drawer and let it open all the way. Now gently pull the door assembly towards the seat and it should slide right off the hinge mounts.
Now to remove that section of the dash...
Open the passenger door and look for the black panel with the two large turn fasteners in it. The panel looks just like the fuse door on the drivers side. Remove this panel by turning the quarter turn fasteners with a flat blade screwdriver or a quarter!
Once this panel is off, in the upper left corner you will find a Phillips screw you need to remove.
Now you get to lay upside down on that passenger floor!!There are a total of 4 screw that need to be removed. Two are on the black perforated panel that covers your air cabin filter mount and two are to the side of each hinge mount location. Once hardware has been removed, remove the black perforated panel by gently pulling down and back from the front edge and it should drop right out for you. put that off to the side for now. Also be sure to mark and tag those screws!!
Ok you can come up for air now.. Now you need to remove the screw that is in the AC/HEAT vent assembly. This is a Phillips screw located in the top center of this vent. you may have to get down low to see it but it's in there. Remove and tag it!
Now you can remove a total of 8 screws surrounding the perimeter of the glove box and two in the center. Be careful as the last screw comes out cause the assembly may want to fall. Bag and tag those screws!!
Ok, by now the assembly should be falling out on it’s own. Remove it from the vehicle and then pop put the AC/heat vent from this panel.
Your passenger side should now look like this:
Now over to the drivers side…
As with the passenger side, open the door and remove the fuse box access panel.
Remove the one screw in the upper right hand corner. Bag and tag!
Under the steering wheel you will see a “U” shaped panel. There in one scre in the lower center section of this panel. Remove. Bag and Tag!
This panel will now just pop out. Pull out from the bottom first to clean the lower panel, then pull down to slide it out of the upper panel.
Behind this panel are two screws. Remove, bag and tag!
Ok, time to stick your head under the dash on the drivers side..but before you do, get a 8mm wrench or socket or nut driver!
Ok once your under the dash, near the center middle, there are two bolt heads. Remove with a 8mm tool and bag and tag!
All the way to the back, right before the panel reaches the firewall, there are two Phillips screw that need to come out. Remove, bag and tag!
Ok now lets move over by the hood release. There are two screws here we will remove. One is by itself on the panel and the other one is on the side of the hood release bracket. Remove both of those and tag them!!
Ok now over on the other side of this this panel (side closest to radio), you will see on the underside of the padded section a small access hole about the size of a dime. In that hole is a Phillips screw that needs to be removed. Remove and tag it!
Ok you can sit up now!.
We need to remove the AC/HEAT vent retaining screw just like we did on the passenger side. Remove that screw and tag it.
Now we can remove the vent assembly that will also take part of the headlight control with it. Once removed you will see the two final screws holding this panel on. Remove the two Phillips screws and support the panel as the last one come out. Remove the panel and set aside, bag and tag those screws!!!
Now we will move onto the upper dash panel that surrounds the gauges. This will be a quick one!!
First pull out the two black knobs on each side of the speedometer. The knobs are used for setting the clock and dash light intensity as well for setting trips as well as other things!! They pull straight off.
Below the key switch there are two screws that need to be removed that are now exposed from removing the lower panel. Remove and tag!
Now gently grab the lower edge (edge closest to steering wheel) and gently move towards drivers seat. After you move it about 2 inches, gently pull down to release the upper clips. Once they are free, wiggle that upper dash around til it comes out..Kinda tricky the position it needs to come out in.
Ok now remove the center console armrest. Open it up all the was and remove the two Phillips screws located on the back side inside the compartment attached to the hinge of the cover. Bag and Tag!!!
Now you should have a mess like this!!
From here I was going to remove the entire center console but realized it would be easier to just leave this section in the car. IF I was to be doing a major color change, I would have taken this out.
You should now have an assortment of parts that look like this:
From here you can clean them (I used Isopropyl Alcohol ) and start the painting process.
Foam brushes seem to work the best. Get yourself a good assortment of them!!
I put many lights coats on instead of heavy ones. By putting on light coats you will retain the “grain” on all the pieces.
Be sure to give ample dry time between coats. I put a total of 4 coats on everything.
Few tricks on paint th center console while it is in the car. Paint the rear most first. Move the seats all the way forward and position the seatbacks as far forward as they will go. I then painted all that was exposed behind the seats. I let it dry for a good 20 minutes and moved the seat all the way back into its normal position. From there you can paint the rest of the console.
You can tape off trim pieces around the shifter, radio, AC/HEAT controls or just take your time like I did. Even if you mess up and paint gets on the non painted surface, when it is dry, your fingernail can just scrape it off! If you like me and keep your nails really short, A plastic fork works wonders getting into the nooks and crannies!!
I also removed my shifter know cause it was a mess. Stained, dirty , just plain ol’ yuk. After a good cleaning and drying, I gave it the same treatment as the rest of the interior.
By now you should have a bunch of pieces paint and drying!
I waited 24 hours for everything to “cure” before I started putting the bits and pieces back together.
Putting everything back together is just the reverse of what you took off.
In the end this was my finished product:
Very happy I took the time to do this. Full weekend project between the dis-assembly , painting, dry time and then putting it all back together!
Well worth it and the car looks factory fresh!