Removing the Center Console

[AW, KS, A/H] I do not find any mention of the procedure in the service bulletins. However, there is a thorough and clear illustration of the removal sequence in the shop manual (p. 20-43 for the ’91 book). In addition, be very careful when removing the console cover. First remove the clock by pulling straight out. (Small screw driver to help pull out is useful, don’t scratch the vent). Then remove the two screws behind the clock holding the A/C vent in.

This is the tricky part: removing the A/C vent wrong may scratch the console cover if you don’t do it carefully: On the bottom of the vent is two clips about 5mm from each side. These need to be pushed up to release the vent. Two screws behind the vent and one screw under the center glove box will release the console cover.

The retaining screws are hidden under the base within the center glove box. Pry up the bottom using a flat screwdriver to get access to the 4 phillips screws. There’s a little indentation at the back of this piece which helps you pry it. Then remove the four screws and pull the whole arm rest straight up.

[GM] Another thing the manual does not show clearly is that the handbrake must be set as high as possible to get the center dash panel over this piece.

[DOH] Tips that would have saved me time and $$:

  1. OEM shift knob screws off.
  2. The console paint scratches easily, be extra careful with sharp tools
  3. Use electrical tape to protect the leather and console
  4. Be careful not to drop screws behind dash
  5. Retaining clips on the clock display unit are on the sides.
  6. Retaining clips on the vent unit are on the bottom, about 1" or 3/4" from the sides.
  7. Pull/pry units in 4+5 out about 1/8" before trying to disengage clips
  8. Use a toothpick or something somewhat soft to disengage clips
  9. Disconnecting the two electrical connections at the base of the console can be a pain in the a**
  10. Put the shift knob back on the shifter before removing the radio, otherwise you run the risk of scratching up the radio buttons on the shifter threads
  11. Use a vacuum to suck all the schmutz out of the air temperature sensor fan. (located on the console)

[MBA – 2000/1/30] I would like to add, that rather than using tape, I put an index card, or similar card stock, across the area below the vent. Actually, I slide the stock a little UNDER the vent so as to protect from scratches the vent will cause as it tries to ride over the paper. I use a stout feeler gauge to release the clips which are all but dead center over the climate controls two knobs.

[JFR – 2000/5/27] I stick a very thin jewelers flat blade in from the side, then use the end of it to move the metal spring tabs up. FAQ says to use a toothpick; I had much better luck with a screwdriver. That will release the vent so it just slides out . The tabs are on the bottom of the vent about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in from each side of the vent faceplate, and are anchored towards the front of the car, so the tab end that springs down to lock in the vent is towards the rear of the car. Release one side at a time, pulling the vent out a bit after releasing each tab so it doesn’t spring back into locking position. Takes only light pressure to release the tab. Don’t try going in from the bottom, as you’ll risk scratching up the climate control unit face plate. Page 22-84 and 20-43 of my 92 NSX service manual shows the tab locations.

[MBA – 2000/5/27] I’ve never tried it Jim’s way, but it sounds great. What I do different is to remove it like in the book with the tabs released from the bottom rather than the side. The way I avoid damaging the gray material at the very top of the center console plate is to practice safe wrench. (not to suggest that Jim is pliers promiscuous) The area at the top of this plate scratches so easy its disgusting, and it scratches when the bottom of the top vent rides over that top edge as you pull it out and down. It can also be scratched of course with the tool you use to release the tabs.

Anyhow, the way to protect the console center plates unique finish, will require a piece of thin rubber or plastic, SOFT, cut to the exact width of the area of the center plate between the leather covered console sides. In a pinch, paper card stock will work. Tuck the protector material under the bottom edge of the top vent assy. Be sure and tuck it all the way up so that it stays put and protects the whole area. If I recall the material should go up about 2 mm. Now when you insert a tool, or when rolling the vent forward to remove, you won’t scrape the gray finish, which really stands out when scratched because the material underneath has a mirror finish.

To release the tabs, you can use a small, thin pocket screwdriver, or a flat type feeler gauge blade about 40 or 50 thou. The two release tabs are directly above the two knobs – fan and temp – almost perfectly aligned. Like Jim said, release one tab at a time.