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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Removal of AC vents from Trim



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      10-26-2011, 04:53 PM   #1
hypnotiq
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Removal of AC vents from Trim

Hello all!

I do have a question however I would like to introduce myself briefly. I am a somewhat newer member to the forums. I signed up a couple years back and dropped by these forums every now and then. Recently I picked up a 2008 335i in late August and have loved every minute behind the wheel. It wasnt too long before I got used to driving stock, so I got a couple things done.

At this point I am installing 3M Di-Noc C/F on my trim. I have come across the center trim and have found it difficult to remove the AC vents from the trim. There are six clips above and below and I can barely get any give on it. I searched already and have found very little about how to do this. I did read about some trim removal kits though that do help but I'd like additional insight. Does anyone have any best practices in regards to removing this without damaging anything?
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      10-26-2011, 05:08 PM   #2
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I did it this past weekend, not too difficult but you definitely want to take your time and have lots and lots of patience. I assume you are talking about the main air vent with the hazard/lock/DTC buttons on it, correct? The only way I managed to get those vents off was to use a very small flat-head screwdriver to pry the tabs up one by one. The trick is to apply some pressure to the vent/trim to stop the loosened tabs from falling back in place when you move on to the next one. When I say apply pressure, I mean apply some force (but not too much!) separating the trim and vent (pulling them apart), and at the same time, move to the next tab.

Yea its kind of a pain the first time you do it, but after removing those vents a few times I now find it much easier. Best of luck!
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      10-26-2011, 05:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! I was afraid someone would say that it would just take patience. Unfortunately it will take some time as well. I'm sure it was worth the patience because I have all the pieces except for the ashtray and this large part and I definitely enjoy the look!

One side note question. Will the vinyl start to deform in the summer time? I live in AZ where it gets up to 110 degrees outside. It gets to about 130 in cabin at times..
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      10-27-2011, 10:14 AM   #4
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Just thought I would mentioned that I did get it out! You were right about pushing out from the other side to get all the clips out one by one. I was able to apply the vinyl and it looks great! Thanks for the help.
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      10-27-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypnotiq View Post
One side note question. Will the vinyl start to deform in the summer time? I live in AZ where it gets up to 110 degrees outside. It gets to about 130 in cabin at times..
Where I live (Tallahassee, FL) it doesn't get near that kind of heat so I'll let someone else chime in.

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Originally Posted by hypnotiq View Post
Just thought I would mentioned that I did get it out! You were right about pushing out from the other side to get all the clips out one by one. I was able to apply the vinyl and it looks great! Thanks for the help.
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      10-27-2011, 04:08 PM   #6
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If you use CA glue to hold down all the backside edges, nothing will lift in extreme temps. You can buy CA (Cyanoacrylate) glue at hobby stores or wood working stores. It is estremely strong and will never come loose. I used it on all my peices.
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      06-16-2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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I'm stuck on the center vents right now, which row of 6 clips should I pry off first?
I can get the top row to unclip, but then I cannot even get to the bottom row clips even with the thinnest flathead screw driver. Any tips on how to unclip the bottom row?
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      06-16-2013, 03:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterWang View Post
I'm stuck on the center vents right now, which row of 6 clips should I pry off first?
I can get the top row to unclip, but then I cannot even get to the bottom row clips even with the thinnest flathead screw driver. Any tips on how to unclip the bottom row?
ok, so pretty much start from the corner clips. undo one with flathead screw driver and make sure your try to push it out. so when you do unclip it, it stays unclipped. then do the second one, while keeping the first one unclipped.

hopefully you understand what i mean. Apply pressure to the unclipped ones and make sure they dont clip back in. go on a circle. take your time
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      06-16-2013, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idrift4wd View Post
ok, so pretty much start from the corner clips. undo one with flathead screw driver and make sure your try to push it out. so when you do unclip it, it stays unclipped. then do the second one, while keeping the first one unclipped.

hopefully you understand what i mean. Apply pressure to the unclipped ones and make sure they dont clip back in. go on a circle. take your time
I have no problem getting the corners to unclip but I can't get the bottom rows :/ can't reach in there even with any of my tools
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      06-17-2013, 09:58 AM   #10
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No need to get to the bottom row. With a little downward pressure on the vent once the top clips are off, it will come out. Procedure described: Once the Top Clips are released, with Trim in Left hand and Vent in right hand, gently push the vent downward with your Right hand with a little pull away from the Trim. The bottom clips should release and the vent will come off. Just be gentle and don't pry too far down or you can break the bottom clips. I've removed that center vent several times and while a pain, it does come off with the method I described.

As far as the 3M Vinyl in heat, it'll stick just fine as long as you don't get any air bubbles trapped under it which would bubble up when it gets hot and the air in the bubble expands. Edges can be tricky and release a bit when hot, but adhesive enhancer will take car of those area and ensure a strong bond.
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      05-05-2017, 11:04 PM   #11
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All of your techniques worked perfectly, I'm glad a thread started in 2011 and ended in 2013 could find its way into my M3 and help me remove that stubborn center vent. Thanks for the help boys and keep posting!!
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      05-06-2017, 01:36 PM   #12
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I used a very small flat head screwdriver to press in the plastic tabs .. also had a helper (girlfriend) hold one side while I worked on the tabs on the other. like everyone said patience is the best technique
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