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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Civic armrest mods have been mentioned and documented quite a bit. But being a new owner, I want to share a little more information from my attempt while I'm still excited about getting it to work.

My 2006 G1 had the generic JC Whitney armrest in grey when I bought it, resting unsecured over the original plastic console around the e-brake. The position of the armrest suited me, and the large storage space was welcome. But the hinges on the JC Whitney armrest had broken off long ago, so the padded lid wouldn't stay where it should. Not even a little. And the top of the e-brake console had gotten gashed up by the bracket somehow, and on the driver's side the edge of the sheet metal bracket had actually cut through the carpet... :(

So this past weekend, as mentioned in the What did you do to your G1 Insight today? thread, I went to the nearest Pick & Pull and found some Civic armrest consoles. Unfortunately there wasn't a single beige interior in the right model year Civic in the entire yard, but I came away with four examples.

Edit: Here is a link to the whole album of pics.



Taking the one on the left, which looked to be in the worst shape of the MY2000 units, I went to work scrubbing and cleaning. I was very surprised at how well the armrest itself cleaned up.





Next post I'll compare the two consoles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Let's compare the original console with the replacement. The Civic console is a couple inches wider and a few inches longer than the G1 Insight console.

Here's the side-by-side view:


Here's a top-down width comparison:


And here's the Civic console on top of the Insight console:


From the last view, you can see that the Insight console is open at the back. In the next post, we'll take a look at why that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The G1 Insight console attaches to the car using a wide tab at the front that slips into a receiver attached to the floor, and to two brackets at the rear that hold plastic screw inserts. The back of the G1 Insight console is sloped to follow the "wall" behind the seats as it rises from the floor, and it is open at the back to fit over a protrusion of formed metal surrounding the base of the brackets.

The Civic console has a straight base that rises from it's center tunnel, because there's always a rear seat and it has to appear finished from that angle.

Overhead view of the console brackets. They are folded at the edge for strength, but are not more than a 1/4 inch wide without the plastic screw receivers.


View of the brackets from the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In the thread that inspired me, by mjspiess, the back of the Civic console was trimmed at the back bottom. This would have reduced the height of the armrest, and I decided to take minimal steps at each stage to keep my options open.

So I started off with just the two slots for the console brackets to pass through.


From this view test-fitting the Civic console, I got the width of the cuts and the distance between them right, but the position may be a little off to one side. And you can see just how tight the clearance is between the seat levers and the console.


A little gentle pressure was required, but I got the console between the seat levers and lined up to clear the brackets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's quickly apparent that the bottom of the Civic center console doesn't match the floor pan and center tunnel of the G1 Insight even a little...


The view from the floor shows just how far off the shape of the bottom is, but there is a plastic insert in the Civic console that prevents anything from falling out of the storage compartment, so this doesn't have to be a big deal...


View from above showing how things lined up at the back.


And the front, where the view shows that things may not be completely centered...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Based on the initial fitting, I decided to do a tiny bit of trimming at the front of the piece before reassembling it. First I knocked off the two tabs that hadn't been broken off before I found the part. Next, I tried to remove about an 1/8th inch / 2mm (?) from the central 3.5 inches in front of the coin tray, and generally smoothed that surface. Apologies for not taking a close up at the time.

When I had disassembled the Civic console, I noticed that the bracket holding the rubber gasket that the emergency brake handle passes through had more surface rust than I liked to see. Since the bracket was already out, I grabbed a can of Rustoleum matte black that said it would neutralize surface rust, and sprayed the bracket all over.

It may not show up that well, but in this photo the bracket on the right is painted matte black.


So far I haven't tried to attach the Civic console to the car in any way, aside from being wedged in tightly front to back. It's fairly solid at the rear and doesn't wiggle, but it wants to pop up at the front. Lifting the armrest lid from the compartment will bring up the front of the console.

If this positioning seems to work, I'll have to think about permanent attachment. That might be a challenge at the front, if I want this to be reversible and not leave the shifter console with some ugly holes...

Here are a few views of the reassembled console in place.





 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So this is what I'll see waiting for me when I drive to work tomorrow morning:


My biggest concern is whether the armrest currently comes far enough forward to support my elbow, given where I like the seat to be for pedal reach, etc. The height seemed okay, maybe a little lower than I would like, but I'll worry about that tomorrow.


To your question @dsteele713, it feels very solid as an armrest. And there's no problem putting the emergency brake all the way down to the stop, provided the front of the console hasn't come up.

I had thought to drill holes to screw it to the factory brackets at the back (with longer screws), and maybe use velcro under the coin tray in front. That might still work if I trim more material at the front edge of the Civic console, so it isn't under tension and wanting to pop up. I'll see how it goes tomorrow.

And when I sort all this out, I'll have to decide if I want to keep looking for a beige one... :D
 

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Nice report! You're more thorough than me. All I did was dremel the front to match the contour of the shifter console. I jammed it in there, letting the back ride on top of the Insight brackets. It fit well, so that's all I did. It is not attached in any way. I have room to rest my right arm. It made my 2500+ mile trip to Insightfest much more pleasant.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nice report!
Thanks!

All I did was dremel the front to match the contour of the shifter console.
I used a cordless Dremel with a small cutting disc to make the slots in the back and take off the remaining front tabs, and one of those sandpaper cylinders to take a little bit of material off the front center. Handy gadgets, aren't they?

I jammed it in there, letting the back ride on top of the Insight brackets. It fit well, so that's all I did. It is not attached in any way. I have room to rest my right arm. It made my 2500+ mile trip to Insightfest much more pleasant.
If it works, it works. Hmm - having an extra 1.5" (at the back) from riding on top of the brackets might be nice...

After ~120 miles today, the Civic console didn't move around at all. I opened the armrest lid several times, and the front of the console never came up the way it had when I was fitting it. No trouble with the emergency brake either.

It's very nice, and I got some compliments on it today. It would be great if it were an inch or two higher and a few inches forward, but I'll see how it goes over the next week or two.
 

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A Dremel is like a pickup truck. You can get by without it, but once you have it you figure out lots of ways to use it.

Sam
 

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A Dremel is like a pickup truck. You can get by without it, but once you have it you figure out lots of ways to use it.

Sam
"When the only tool you have is a Dremel, every problem starts to look like an anything."
 
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