Nonsmoker conversion DIY by GregW

By diyauto
( 3 )

Nonsmoker conversion DIY

Compliments of GregW in Oregon @


US cars come with ashtrays front & rear standard. Why, I don't know; I would guess the number who smoke in their M3s is very low. Here are instructions for inexpensively replacing the ashtrays with more useful storage compartments.

Here are the parts diagrams:

The rear is easy (just pop out the ashtray insert and put in the bottom mat, no need to replace whole part 5. However, if 3 is not available, you can get 5 and use the bottom mat from it) :

3 Floor mat velours - 51 16 6 960 687 

Replacing the front ashtray with the glasses compartment is more involved, because you must remove the top of the console. Note that you do lose the 12V lighter/power outlet. Here is the part needed to convert the front:

8 Spectacles tray (comes w/ bottom mat part 9) - 51 16 7 132 376 

1) Remove the console top: A) Disconnect the bottom of the shift boot from the console cover; B) Starting at that opening gently but forcefully pull up on the cover. There are 8 friction fit prongs in pairs: a) either side of the ashtray; b) either side of the shifter; c) behind the shifter; and, d) at the very rear. Lift the armrest to be able to lift the rear free.

2) You can either just disconnect the ashtray/lighter electrical (squeeze white connector and pull) or disconnect all 3electrical connections from the cover and remove it from the car, which is probably easier.

3) Remove the ashtray unit by removing the four T10 Torx screws on the bottom. Remove the two foam donuts from the front prongs before taking it out. 

4) This part is optional. The astray is illuminated by a small orange LED on a chip on the underside of the outer main unit. 

To provide illumination to the new compartment, drill a 1/4" diameter hole in the center of the compartment in a similar location. Then, remove the LED and associated wiring from the ashtray unit. Cut off the lighter wires and splice the ground wire as required. Epoxy the LED over the hole that has been drilled and let dry.

5) Unless you have purchased a new trim cover for the operable lid, you will need to remove the one from the ashtray unit and reinstall it on the sunglass unit. This is slightly tricky. Starting ther operable edg toward the rear of the vehicle, use a small screwdriver to pry the cover loose, starting at one side and working across. Once it is free, you can slide the cover forward, free of it's restraining tabs. When reinstalling, make sure all tabs are engaged and work the edge you initially removed back over the lid piece.

6) Attach the unit back on the console cover with the four screws, reinstall the foam donuts, reconnect electrical, and press the console cover back in place, working the shift boot through it's opening first. Reconnect the shift boot and you're done!