Repairing a Sagging Center Console Armrest
Contributed By: Bill Kelsey
This is a very simple and effective repair that should be
completed in an hour or so (except for the paint drying
Tools needed: T-40 Torx bit and driver/wrench; electric
drill with steel-cutting bit; staple gun (or alternative);
tools for the bolts and nuts (match the size of the bolts and
the drill bit).
Hardware needed: about 10 sets of bolts (1/2" long), nuts,
and washers (I had leftover stove bolts from some steel
shelving and they fit perfectly).
Recommended: spray rust converter/primer and spray anti-rust
- Unbolt the armrest from the console (this requires a T-40
torx bit) and remove it.
- Pull up the top rear of the armrest cover (it should not
- Remove the staples holding the bottom rear of the armrest
- Slip the cover off of the armrest. Save the sheet of
material between the foam cushion and the cover. (It makes
sliding the cover back on much easier.)
- Remove the foam cushion; it is a single piece folded
over; it is not attached. Save the foam, either to reuse it
or to serve as a pattern if you are going to replace it with
medium density (like the original) or high density foam (much
better support and more resistant to breakdown).
- Remove the two screws holding the piece of wood at the
rear of the armrest frame and separate the wood from the metal
- The metal of the armrest is two metal pieces, spot welded
together. One of these is made of heavy metal, and is where
the armrest hinges. The other is a large pressed steel piece
that runs down the center of and supports the armrest cushion.
The sagging is probably due to the spot welds holding these
together having broken. (If you examine the spot welds that
broke, you may wonder how the armrest lasted as long as it
- If the welds have broken, separate the two metal pieces.
If the large pressed steel piece is bent, straighten it with
an appropriate hammer. (In the unforgettable phrase that
appeared on the IFSJA list some months ago, beat it like a
spastic monkey!) If the pressed steel piece is broken or too
bent to be straigtened, abandon the repair (unless you can get
a replacement piece from another armrest).
- If the welds have not broken, then the sagging is due to
the pressed metal piece having been bent. Straighten it as
above. If the welds are strong, once the metal is straightened
reassemble the armrest. If the welds appear weak or some are
cracked or broken, drill them out and continue.
- There is a hole through both pieces of the frame.
Insert a 1/2" long bolt and nut here to hold them together,
with a washer against the pressed metal piece.
- Drill out the broken welds, through both pieces of
metal.Insert bolts, nuts, and washers. Add a second row of
holes about 2" forward of the drilled out welds, and insert
bolts, nuts, and washers. The double row of bolts will secure
the two pieces together and be better able to withstand the
strain of use than had the single row of spot welds.
- Remove the bolts, nuts, and washers, and separate the
- Using a spray rust converter, spray the metal pieces.
Let dry according to the instructions with the paint. Once
dry, spray the pieces with a rust-inhibiting paint. Let dry.
- Reassemble the frame, using the bolts, nuts and washers.
Reattach the wooden piece to the back of the frame.
- Place the old or new foam cushion around the frame, and
place the sheet of material over the foam. Slowly work the
cover over the cushion.
- Pull the bottom rear of the cover up to the top of the
wooden piece. You should be able to see the original staple
holes -- more or less align these and restaple (a staple gun
is very helpful here) or use some other fastener (carpet
tacks, brads, etc).
- Pull the top rear of the cover down over the top of the
wooden piece. You may have to pull the entire cover
towards the back a little to do this, especially if you
replaced the foam cushion.
- Reattach the armrest to the console.
- Go for a drive, and let your arm rest!
Aberdeen, South Dakota
'79 widetrack Cherokee "S"