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A-Pillar Trim Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

A-Pillar Trim Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

*

Tools:

T-20 Torx bit, wrench to fit bit or ratcheting bit driver, small flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

A-pillar trim, trim clips

Performance Gain:

Repair worn, sagging trim.

The interior pillar panels cover the interior body pillars of the vehicle. The A-pillar is located at the front windshield. The B-pillar is located between the front and rear doors. The C-pillar is located behind the rear door. Replace any broken trim panel clips and work with care so as not to damage the trim panel finish. 

In this article, we will show you how to remove and replace the A-Pillar trim on an E46.

E46 models are equipped with curtain airbags above the doors. Do not use sharp metal tools when prying an interior pillar panel away from the roof liner. To avoid marring the trim or damaging the airbag, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out the trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The interior A-Pillar trim (green arrow) on BMW E46 models has a fabric coating that sags and becomes detached over time.
Figure 1

The interior A-Pillar trim (green arrow) on BMW E46 models has a fabric coating that sags and becomes detached over time. You may notice the fabric bunching up in lower corner of dashboard. This is the beginning of the fabric becoming detached

This photo shows an example of how the A-Pillar trim fabric detaches (green arrows).
Figure 2

This photo shows an example of how the A-Pillar trim fabric detaches (green arrows).

Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever out A-pillar fastener trim cover.
Figure 3

Using a small flathead screwdriver, gently lever out A-pillar fastener trim cover.

Work your way down the cover, gently levering while pulling it out of the A-Pillar trim.
Figure 4

Work your way down the cover, gently levering while pulling it out of the A-Pillar trim.

Now, you have to remove the A-pillar fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 5

Now, you have to remove the A-pillar fasteners (green arrows).

Using a ratcheting bit driver or a T-20 Torx bit in a wrench, remove the A-pillar fasteners.
Figure 6

Using a ratcheting bit driver or a T-20 Torx bit in a wrench, remove the A-pillar fasteners.

Once the fasteners have been removed, pull the A-Pillar trim away from the A-Pillar, then slide up and out of the dashboard.
Figure 7

Once the fasteners have been removed, pull the A-Pillar trim away from the A-Pillar, then slide up and out of the dashboard. Install the new A-pillar trim and fasteners. I find that the new trim piece goes into the dashboard easier if I wiggle it back and forth while sliding it down. Install the A-pillar fastener cover.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Adam Comments: I did this but stripped the black torx bolt - what you call the a pillar fasteners - where can I buy them?
August 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From pelican parts. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ejatlanta Comments: If i take off the old A pillar trim can I not somehow tighten the fabric or re-glue it instead of buying new ones for $100. each:
January 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not been successful reattaching it, but it is worth a try. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:21:30 AM