Arm Rest Latch Repair

by: GSO_Passater



The arm rest on my 99 was flopping around. I do a lot of driving and the arm rest being in a comfortable place is a nice thing to have. This repair was inspired by and is based on this one that is in the Information Base:
Armrest repair

Total time, about 2 hours.

It is best to work on the car in an area where all 4 doors can be opened without problems. A clean work bench is also nice.


  • ¼ drive screwdriver with interchangeable bits, socket adapter
  • ¼ drive ratchet
  • 8mm socket shallow well
  • 13mm socket shallow and deep well (for reach only)
  • Ball Peen hammer
  • Torx T-handle wrenches T-30 and T-15
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat blade screwdriver – Large
  • Pin Punch
  • 400 Grit sandpaper
  • Round file (it was a chainsaw sharpening file)
  • Cordless Drill
  • Not shown, PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench, Vaseline, two butter knives, instrument size screwdriver
  • toolsused.jpgToolsused2.jpg


  • none

Console Removal: From the console, remove all of the rubber inserts in the rear console. There are 3, one under the arm rest, one in front of the armrest with coin slots and one inside the arm rest (black with nubs).

Open the armrest fully. Using a big flat blade screwdriver, pry the driver side hinge toward the passenger side with one hand while tilting the lid toward the passenger side as well. The lid will ultimately pop out. It is easiest to do this while installed, rather than afterward

Here is a close up of the cover, removed:

Raise the Armrest to the full upright vertical position.

Push the front seats all the way to the back and lower them as far as the mechanism will allow. On the side of the rear portion of the console, there are little plastic covers that need to be removed. A small flat blade screwdriver or pick does great. These are located about at the front edge of the front seats; there are two, one on each side.

Using an 8mm socket on the screwdriver, remove these two screws

Directly under the armrest, there is a flange nut that holds down the rear console. Using a 13mm socket on the end of the screwdriver, remove this nut.

Move the front seats forward as far as possible. Extend the rear cup holder. Remove the rear ashtray. Where the ashtray was, looking down, there will be 2x nuts that hold the rear console in place. Using the 13mm deep well socket on the ¼ inch ratchet, loosen and remove these nuts.

Pull the rear console back slightly; lift the front edge over the shifter portion of the front console half. At this point, reach under the rear console half and disconnect the fuel door electrical connection.

It is a tight fit, but slide the rear console half over the parking brake.

Remove the passenger side pivot cover by just pulling, remove the driver side pivot cover that also has the front and back attached again by pulling. This is a picture of the cover, off the car.

Inside the arm rest, remove two T-15 torx screws on the bottom; also remove the foam insert. Put it somewhere it will not blow away.

Inside the arm rest on the sides, remove the two Phillips head screws.

Separate the two halves of the arm rest lower housing. Using a butter knife, there will be two small tabs holding the back seam of the housing together, one on each side, put the butter knife between the tab and the curved part of the liner housing. The two curved halves should separate slightly, but easily.

At this point, use the two butter knives to gently pry the inner liner from the lower housing. Start from the pivot end on one side and separate the liner from lower, gently prying around until reaching the front. Do the same on the other side.

The lower plastic housing will be attached to the metal frame by two T-15 torx screws, remove these. Remove the housing from the frame after the screws are out.

Rotate the metal arm rest frame to the straight up position.

Turn the Arm Rest over. Using the T-30 torx driver, loosen until the head of the screw is nearly flush with the bottom of the metal frame, but do not remove (yet) the screw on the bottom of the arm rest frame. Leave 6 or so threads engaged. Tap the screw head with a hammer to separate the two halves of the arm rest metal frame. Once the metal pieces separate, remove the screw. This makes work easier.

At this point, the hole for the latch pivot pin can be seen. Warning: There is a spring under the latch that could be lost in the next steps, please use care. Support the casting so that a pin punch/ball peen hammer can be used for driving the pivot pin out of the housing. It should not take too much force to drive the pin out. Note that disassembly of the pivot mechanism is not required.

Once the pin is removed, the lock lever and spring can be removed. Spray the hole in the lock lever with PB Blaster and clean the lock lever hole by using the round chain saw file to remove the corrosion. After cleaning, a small dab of Vaseline smeared in each hole will lubricate the hole for the future.

Put the pin in a drill, using the drill to spin the pin while the corrosion is removed by the sandpaper. Keep the sandpaper lubricated to prevent clogging, I used the PB Blaster. Do both ends. Check to make sure the pin slides freely in the lock lever before proceeding.

Once the pin slides freely in the lock-lever, remove the pin and lubricate the pin lightly with Vaseline.

Lightly tap the pin into the hole in the arm rest until it just barely protrudes, put the spring in place (forgot to get a picture here), put the lock lever in place and tap the pin until it seats completely. The area near the hole’s edge can be center punched one time to prevent the pin from accidentally sliding out, but there seemed to be enough friction when the pin was pushed back in to prevent the pin from coming out during normal use.

Prior to reassembly, I removed the rear cup holder, but this step is not really necessary. To remove the cup holder, squeeze the two black tabs that are under the rear ashtray and the rear cup holder should slide out. It did make putting the two fasteners in the back slightly easier.

At this point, reassembly is the reverse disassembly. If the spring was lost, a new extension spring can be purchased at Ace Hardware, 9/32 x 1 5/8 x 0.035, cut off to about 1 1/8 inches.

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