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Old 9th August 2015, 22:49   #1
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Default VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Hi all, welcome to my DIY guide for the VW Polo GTI spec front armrest! I was inspired to install this accessory after reading the guide for the non-GTI spec armrest by Gannu_1 here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...t-armrest.html.

The difference between the two armrests is that the GTI spec armrest has a cup holder on the back. Since it was a minor difference I assumed the install procedure would not differ but boy was I wrong! I ended up having to remove a good part of the center console. Luckily everything went smoothly with zero damage. I could not have done this without the help of Volkswagen service manuals online here http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswagen/polo-mk5.

The armrest was ordered on Aliexpress here http://www.aliexpress.com/item/20111...896319688.html. This was the only seller I could find that was offering shipping through Fedex at a reasonable rate. After ordering I had it in my hands in 7 days flat! Customs came to around Rs. 1100 and I have no idea how they calculated that number. Also, please disregard the guide that is given in that Aliexpress listing! The install procedure is much more complicated than that.


Tools required:
  • Screwdriver with #20 Torx bit
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Ratchet set with extension bar
  • Plastic opening tool (preferable) or a flat head screwdriver


My 40 piece ratchet set
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-042.jpg


My screwdriver bit set
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-043.jpg


For the screws that hold down the armrest base, I had to fashion a hybrid tool by combining bits from both tool kits. The bottom 2 bits are from the screwdriver set and the rest are from the ratchet set
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-040.jpg


Hybrid tool put together
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-041.jpg


This is the original view before installing the armrest
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-001.jpg

VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-002.jpg

Last edited by bowser : 16th August 2015 at 00:52.
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Old 15th August 2015, 22:57   #2
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Default re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Now, before we proceed, a small disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: You are following this guide at your own risk. Neither team-bhp nor I are responsible for any damages that may occur. You must be comfortable with dismantling/disassembling and reassembling large portions of your center console. This procedure was performed on a 2011 Indian-spec Polo 1.6 (Mk5) 5-speed manual. I do not know if the install procedure is the same for automatics and for Mk5 Polos outside of India. I also do not know if the install procedure is the same for the Indian-spec Polo Mk5 facelift (2015+).

Ok, now with that out of the way, let us begin! Please read through the entire guide first before you start the install!


Pull up this piece under the handbrake by grabbing the tab and lifting up. You should not need any tools for this.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-003.jpg


Behind the handbrake, carefully pry up this piece by using your opening tool.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-004.jpg


A view of the handbrake area with both plastic covers off.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-005.jpg


Very carefully pry up the gear shift cover (gaiter). Using your opening tool of choice, pry up at the arrow and slowly work your way around the cover to lift it up. If you have an automatic, you're on your own at this step.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-006.jpg

VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-007.jpg

VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-008.jpg


Remove these two screws in front of the gear shift lever with the Torx screwdriver. Remember to store all of the screws safely! Your glove box may have a small compartment that will serve as a safe place. Again, if you have an automatic, the number of screws may be different.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-009.jpg


Using the opening tool, pry open the trim around the stereo at the points indicated by the arrows. You can then slowly release the trim from the center console by working your way around it.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-011.jpg


Similarly, remove the trim around the AC control unit by starting at the bottom. Pry at the points shown by the arrows and slowly release the trim. Even if you have climate control, the procedure should be similar.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-012.jpg


Taking off the trim around the AC control unit.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-013.jpg


Remove the two screws that are now revealed. I do not know how many screws there are in case you have a climate control unit.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-014.jpg


Now this part is a little tricky. You will be removing a large plastic piece of trim from your center console. Behind the gear shift lever, you need to press down on these two large plastic tabs.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-015.jpg


While pressing down on the tabs, you need to grab the trim around the cup holders at the indicated points and slide it straight back.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-018.jpg


Make sure not to lose these metal bits near the tabs after sliding back the trim. These hold your screws in place.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-016.jpg


You can completely remove this trim piece and set it aside. Four more screws will now be revealed for removal.


In front of the cup holders, remove the two screws that have now been exposed.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-019.jpg


Also remove the two screws to the right and left of the cup holders. Here is a pic of the screw on the right. Similarly, there is a screw on the left (no pic).
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-020.jpg


At the beginning, we removed a plastic cover behind the handbrake. There is a single screw there that now needs to be removed.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-021.jpg


You can now lift the entire piece of trim that stretches from here to the front.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-023.jpg


Slide the base of the armrest under the trim and into position.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-024.jpg


There are four holes on this base that line up with four screw holes that were factory drilled into the floor of the car. Using a ratchet set you should be able to screw down the base with the four #20 Torx screws that are supplied with the armrest. This is where I used the hybrid tool that I fashioned out of 2 separate tool kits. Attached a Torx bit to the ratchet.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-027.jpg


There is a large bolt pointing up on the base of the armrest. This bolt is offset from the center. Make sure the smaller offset is towards the rear of the car as shown.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-025.jpg


Drop the trim back down and put back the lone screw.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-028.jpg


First put this small plastic piece of trim in place. This is supplied with the armrest. I forgot about it and installed the armrest first but was luckily able to slide it in.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-031.jpg


You can now set the armrest down on the armrest base. It should easily click into place.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-029.jpg


Screw down this nut using the ratchet set. It kind of grinds while turning so you might want to lubricate the nut and bolt with WD-40.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-030.jpg


You can now attach the cup holder part to the back of the armrest as shown. First touch the top part of the cup holder to the armrest and pivot it down to close. You will hear a click when it gets attached.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-032.jpg

VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-033.jpg


Believe it or not, this was the most frustrating part of the entire install! It took forever to put in this small screw. Having a strong magnetic Philips screwdriver will help. Open the cup holder to reveal a small hole to put in the screw.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-037.jpg

Last edited by bowser : 16th August 2015 at 00:58.
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Old 16th August 2015, 00:43   #3
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Default re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

CONGRATULATIONS! You have now successfully installed the GTI spec armrest!

But wait! You're not done yet. You still have to replace all the trims and screws that were removed from the center console!

Just follow this guide in reverse to make sure you don't miss anything.


Finally, some pics of the completed DIY project!

View from the rear seats
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-034.jpg


View from the front seat
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-035.jpg


Inside of the armrest. It has a nice felt lining.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-036.jpg


I also feel compelled to include a small tutorial for how to use the armrest. Lift it all the way up to "reset" it. Then put it down all the way. You can now choose which position to freeze the armrest in. Very slowly, pull it up. As you pull you will feel very soft clicks. The clicks are inaudible, you can only feel them. Keep pulling up until it is in a comfortable position. You cannot press it down again until you reset so if you pulled it up too far, pull it all the way up to reset.

Overall, the quality of the armrest is incredible. It may interfere with the handbrake and maybe even with the gear shift but you will learn to overcome this minor inconvenience.

We have now reached the end of this guide. Thanks for reading!
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Old 17th August 2015, 14:40   #4
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Default re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th August 2015, 15:57   #5
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Superb! A helluva DIY. Mighty thanks for sharing. Rated a well deserved 5 stars matey.

Wish to know is the elevation of this thing high enough to rest the elbows, say for a 5'11" bloke??

Last edited by coolmel : 17th August 2015 at 15:58.
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Old 17th August 2015, 16:14   #6
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowser View Post

Please read through the entire guide first before you start the install!

Using the opening tool, pry open the trim around the stereo at the points indicated by the arrows. You can then slowly release the trim from the center console by working your way around it.
Hey bowser quite intriguing DIY you have posted there dude.

Everything was fine but what got me all zapped was why did you have to remove the Head Unit Bezel. Rather why did you even post that procedure with the pic ??

It took me less that 10 mins to install the armrest on the GT and I can assure you, never once did I even look at the HU, let alone remove the screws, bezel, etc.
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Old 17th August 2015, 16:20   #7
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Same observation by me. Why did you go past removing just the back cover? Isn't that all that is required to fit the armrest?? What are we missing here?
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Old 17th August 2015, 17:22   #8
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowser View Post
Very carefully pry up the gear shift cover (gaiter). Using your opening tool of choice, pry up at the arrow and slowly work your way around the cover to lift it up. If you have an automatic, you're on your own at this step.
Interesting DIY. But I'm not sure if I'm missing something? I also got the VW armrest and all I removed was the back cover of the center section.

I don't see you fitting anything, anywhere in front of the back cover.
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Old 17th August 2015, 22:47   #9
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolmel View Post
Superb! A helluva DIY. Mighty thanks for sharing. Rated a well deserved 5 stars matey.

Wish to know is the elevation of this thing high enough to rest the elbows, say for a 5'11" bloke??
Sorry I can't provide any feedback on that. I'm 5'5" and it's fine for me. Haven't had a chance to get an opinion from someone taller! The armrest is not height adjustable but it does tilt up and down. You may be able to place it at a comfortable spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Hey bowser quite intriguing DIY you have posted there dude.

Everything was fine but what got me all zapped was why did you have to remove the Head Unit Bezel. Rather why did you even post that procedure with the pic ??

It took me less that 10 mins to install the armrest on the GT and I can assure you, never once did I even look at the HU, let alone remove the screws, bezel, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amanomics View Post
Same observation by me. Why did you go past removing just the back cover? Isn't that all that is required to fit the armrest?? What are we missing here?
Quote:
Originally Posted by VellVector View Post
Interesting DIY. But I'm not sure if I'm missing something? I also got the VW armrest and all I removed was the back cover of the center section.

I don't see you fitting anything, anywhere in front of the back cover.
Hi guys, can you please let me know if the armrest you got has the cup holder at the back? For this model, after removing the back cover, the armrest aluminum base does not fit in. You need to remove the screw in the middle and lift up the entire section to slide in the aluminum base of the armrest. But you cannot lift the section without removing all these trims. Here is the pic:
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-023.jpg

You need to lift the center section and slide the armrest base under it.
VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation-polo-armrest-024.jpg

The base of the armrest for the non-cupholder model fits in directly without needing to lift up the section. This is a small but very significant difference that resulted in a lot more steps to perform the install. That's why I decided to create a separate guide from Gannu_1's guide

Last edited by bowser : 17th August 2015 at 23:08. Reason: added pics for a better explanation
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Old 20th August 2015, 18:42   #10
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Sorry for the back to back posts but the forum doesn't allow for editing a post after 30 minutes.

I just got confirmation from forum member SLK that when he installed his GTI style armrest, he had to lift the rear portion of the center console to get the armrest base in. However, it got damaged while lifting because it was too tight without removing all the trims outlined in this guide.

So I will mention this again: if you have the GTI style armrest with the cupholder then please follow this guide. If you have the armrest without a cupholder then you can follow Gannu_1's guide here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...t-armrest.html.
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Old 20th August 2015, 18:59   #11
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Ok, thanks for clarifying that.

Chances are, after seeing your DIY, people will prefer the non-cupholder one!
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Old 21st August 2015, 23:23   #12
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowser View Post
Hi guys, can you please let me know if the armrest you got has the cup holder at the back?
Interesting. Thanks for clarifying. I got the one without the cup holder since my polo is only used to transport one person. Looks like I saved myself a lot of work without realizing it.
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Old 9th October 2015, 12:57   #13
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Thanks for the detailed DIY procedure with pictures.

I have ordered a GTI armrest as well for my Polo TSi. Hope I don't have to remove the complete center console assembly. However, I will keep your warning in mind and if it requires too much bending to insert the arm rest base, I will play it safe and remove the complete console.
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Old 9th October 2015, 22:27   #14
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Thanks for the detailed DIY procedure with pictures.

I have ordered a GTI armrest as well for my Polo TSi. Hope I don't have to remove the complete center console assembly. However, I will keep your warning in mind and if it requires too much bending to insert the arm rest base, I will play it safe and remove the complete console.
Please let me know how it goes! If you're getting this done at a workshop make sure to watch those guys like a hawk! They have a tendency to lose screws and force components too hard.

Also, never ever tell the VW service center guys that you removed all those trims for the install. They'll immediately say you voided the warranty.

I had this experience first hand but my warranty was already expired anyway
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Old 14th October 2015, 13:13   #15
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Default Re: VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowser View Post
Tools required:
  • Screwdriver with #20 Torx bit
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Ratchet set with extension bar
  • Plastic opening tool (preferable) or a flat head screwdriver
Hi, What size socket did you have to use to fasten the bronze color nut that fixes the arm rest to the metal base? I have ordered an armrest which is on the way, and now I need to order a socket wrench. There are different types of socket wrenches which support different ranges of sockets. Want to make sure I get the right one. Also, would it be possible (even if it may be difficult) to manage this installation with normal spanners or is a socket wrench absolute necessity?

Thanks in advance for the help.
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