Center console switches removal
The removal of the center console switches involves loosening the center console and to accomplish that possibly also the removal of the radio and multi-information display (MID). Loosening the center console to remove the center console switches sounds worse than it actually is – unless really clumsy it should take less than ten minutes. The location and amount of the screws that hold the center console differ with the style of center console and the car's transmission. On a center console with wood trim three screws are hidden inside the opening where the multi-information display is installed. To reach those the MID must be removed. The regular plastic center console has two screws behind blind caps just above the MID location. Be careful when removing these caps to avoid damage to the plastic. Although not strictly required for the removal of the plastic center console, it is recommended to remove the MID here too. It makes handling the center console a lot easier.
The multi-information display is secured in the center console with retaining tabs – three small ones on top of the unit and one wide tab on the bottom. The bottom tab must be pressed to remove the MID. To gain access to this tab it is necessary to remove the radio. Once the radio is out and disconnected, reach in the opening and firmly press the retaining tab on the bottom of the unit while simultaneously pushing the MID towards you. Usually it slides out without much effort but in some cases the top retaining tabs block it. Just push harder and carefully wrench the unit out. The MID is connected with a single cable. Release the connector's locking lever and unplug it. All connectors behind the center console fit in one direction only and the shape or color makes clear where they should connect to. There is no real need to label the connectors although it never hurts of course.
The remaining screws are underneath the shifter's leather boot. Grab the boot on both sides and pull up. It just clicks softly in the center console and should come off quite easily. Then grab the shift knob with both hands and pull hard and straight up. This will require some force! Avoid accidently hitting something – like your face – when the shift knob comes off the shift lever. In cars equipped with manual transmission there is only one screw in the opening – undo it. In case of an automatic transmission, the shifter plate must be removed as well. There is a fragile pin through the shift lever for the older automatic transmission without Steptronic. The pin is held in position by a clip on the driver's side. Press the clip upwards until the pin can move. Newer Steptronic transmissions do not have this pin. Now undo the two remaining screws holding the shifter plate and lift it. Unplug the connector attached to the transmission switch and remove the shifter plate from the center console. The metal shift lever has sharp edges – wrap a small soft towel around it to avoid damaging other parts.
Make a picture of the center console or write down the location of each switch surrounding the shifter for the installation later on. Normally the wiring harness points out what goes where but a photograph or drawing removes all doubt. Lift the center console a bit and push the center console switches out from underneath. Press the small retaining tabs on each connector and pull to unplug.