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      05-03-2015, 09:39 PM   #1
Paul Ho
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Retrofitting E46 cupholders to F10 with Manual Transmission

The BMW F10 with 6-speed manual transmission has a small ash tray in front of the shifter.

Because the 6-speed manual shifter is located forward of the DSG of automatic shifter, the cup holders on the automatic are not available and will not fit in the space forward of the shifter in the MT cars.

The double cup holder from the E46 will fit with some modifications. 12 oz cans will nicely fit and do not interfere with the shifter. Larger cups will not fit. Still better than the awful ash tray and coin tray.

The pictures with the cans are in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th gears.

Parts and tools needed:
E46 cup holder. Genuine or aftermarket. 51168217953
3M weatherstrip adhesive.
Torx T20 driver.
Dremel tool with cutoff wheel.

Park somewhere flat where the car will not roll. The parking brake will be inoperative during the procedure. The car will be out of gear.

Break off the tabs on the E46 cupholder.

1) Begin by removing pulling up the boot around the shifter.
2) Pry up the trim piece around the release button for the armrest storage.
3) Take out the Torx T20 screw.
4) The rest of the center console is held in with clips. Pull up firmly starting from the back and working forward.
5) Disconnect the wires to the parking brake, idrive controller, M mode buttons, lighter socket, and comfort access antenna.
6) Push the shifter boot diagonally through the opening while lifting up the center console. You may have to move the lever front or back during this process.
7) Take the whole console out and move it to a work area outside the car.
8) Remove the 5 or 6 Torx T20 screws holding on the ash tray.
9) Remove the ash tray from the console.
10) Remove the comfort access antenna from the front of the ash tray.
11) Plug the comfort access antenna back in the car and stash in under the rear seat air ducts. If you don't put the antenna back, the comfort access for the doors and trunk won't work.
12) Mark the console surrounding the ash tray door in a rectangular pattern. I marked the cuts with masking tape. The trim piece will be cut with a dremel tool. The cut out should be slightly less wide than the E46 cupholder. The bottom is parallel to the shifter hole 8-10 mm from the opening. The supports on the bottom of the console should remain intact. You can always cut more. You can't put it back.
13) Wrap the rest of the console with a plastic bag. Tape it tight. That will keep plastic bits out of the switches.
14) Cut the hole with the dremel tool. Test fit the E46 cupholder. The front sits on the bottom cut. The round parts fit through the hole. The top is supported by the angled part of the un-cut opening. The cupholder should be tilted slightly toward the back of the car in the installed position.
15) When you like the fit, unwrap the console.
16) Glue the new cup holder in place with 3M weatherstrip adhesive. Remove any excess from the top side before fully dry.
17) There will be two triangular gaps on the sides of the new cupholder. I cut the rubber piece from the coin holder to fill the gaps and glued with 3M weatherstrip adhesive. You can use any scrap black plastic. Remove any excess glue before fully dry.
18) The gap at the top will be hidden by your HVAC controls.
19) The foam around the shifter may need to be trimmed to allow the new cup holders to fit.
20) Replace the console and reconnect the m mode, idrive and parking brake wires. Tuck the wire for the lighter socket somewhere where it won't rattle. Push the shifter boot back up diagonally through the shifter hole.
21) Snap down the console, replace the T20 screw and release button trim. Snap down the shifter boot.
22) Enjoy a canned beverage in your car with a passenger.
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      05-05-2015, 07:29 AM   #2
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Very smart!
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      05-14-2015, 10:44 PM   #3
DrKevM5
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Awesome mod. I may attempt this.
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