Squeaky / Creaky armrest - Mazda CX3 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-19-2015, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Squeaky / Creaky armrest

Anyone else have a center arm rest that squeaks and creaks with even a very light touch of the elbow? Lifting up the arm rest, I see a piece of what looks like foam pipe insulation exactly like you'd use for your hot water pipes in your home. The foam is wrapped around the hinge I think. Appears like they're using this to either provide some resistance to motion of the arm rest or just to fill up space in an otherwise ugly gap. It seems like this foam pice is the source of the noise as it rubs on the harder molded plastic of the arm rest. It's a little disconcerting the amount of noise it makes considering the car is only two weeks old. Hopefully it's just part of the break in process and it goes away.

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post #2 of 12 Old 09-19-2015, 10:15 AM
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I've got mixed feelings about the armrest. It's only an accessory in Europe and that is the deep one. Your US versions are not factory fitted but added at the import centre - the car leaves Japan with a little trinket box at the back of the console. For fitting of the arm rest, they need to remove the console and drill it to accept a metal bracket near the base. That might influence it creaking in service but to be brutally honest, despite the fact I can have the console out in five minutes flat, I haven't fitted mine because I want to see if I can manage without it. The reason is that the same style of armrest is sold for other marques as a tacky accessory and that is exactly what it looks like to my eyes when it just about shuts off the cup holders and the parking brake.

You can look if it's tight at the bottom but I wouldn't expect a flimsy thing with all that leverage transmitted back to the base to be very satisfactory. They did a poor job of arranging the centre console, maybe something they will address in future revisions.

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post #3 of 12 Old 09-22-2015, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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It seems to me that the noise is coming from the hinge rather than the base where it's bolted/screwed into the console, but I could be wrong. It's as if the foam insert could use some lubrication on it or something, but I'm hesitant to try anything because there'd be no going back if I do. Anything you put on there would soak into the foam and would be permanent and could lead to premature break-down of the foam itself.

I agree that the whole center console design is a little wonky and the cup holder and arm rest situation is a bit annoying. I've had my CX-3 for a little over two weeks now and I still haven't gotten used to the location of the volume knob. I keep reaching for the dash when I need to mute the stereo (there is no on/off function apparently). The volume controls on the steering wheel take a long time to move the dial more than a couple notches and don't offer any mute function that I'm aware of unless there's a hidden button combo/sequence to do it. I wish Mazda had figured out a way to put the entertainment controls on the dash above the HVAC controls and put the cup holders forward a little more. It's a little car, so it's not like it's a long reach to the dash.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-22-2015, 03:47 PM
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I've had mine for a couple weeks and the only complaint is the squeeky arm rest. I agree it's the hinge not the mounting.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-23-2015, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasher View Post
I've had mine for a couple weeks and the only complaint is the squeeky arm rest. I agree it's the hinge not the mounting.
I'll say this - when the salesman was away I practically thru myself on the armrest...and it withstood my WWF body slam! It's fine...a little higher than I might want for an armrest...but not so high that you don't have to flip it back to retrieve a drink from the cupholders. Really bad design...but I really did not mind it that much.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-23-2015, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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I poked and prodded at it a little after work today and found that the foam insert doesn't wrap all the way around the hinge. I pulled it out and it's actually a teardrop shape and it's double-stick taped to the bottom of the armrest. Looks like it was intended to simply keep debris from getting into the hinge and binding things up. The armrest still made the squeaky noise even after pulling out the foam.

Seeming more like it's the just the plastic-on-plastic rubbing of the two parts at either side of the hinge. Looks like it could use a thin washer or a shim in there to give it a little clearance to move without rubbing. Either that or maybe it could use a little lube between the plastic pieces would help? I've got some nifty bluish-silvery stuff made for bicycle chains that might be a good option. Doesn't drip off easily. I'm less hesitant to try it now that I know it's not the foam piece causing the noise.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-24-2015, 09:04 PM
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At least now that foam has been eliminated as the possible reason why, something that's bound to help someone else looking into the issue as much as you are.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-28-2015, 11:25 PM
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The squeaking is coming from plastic-on-plastic rubbing between the arm rest and supporting structure. Here's how I fixed mine:

At Home Depoti bought some 1/8 inch thick felt pads... the kind you would attach to a table foot to prevent scratching the wood floor... and attached some between the plastic-on-plastic just to the front of the hinge point. Raise the arm rest and put the felt where the arm rest loads the structure. No more squeaking at all.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-29-2015, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneLyveWyre View Post
The squeaking is coming from plastic-on-plastic rubbing between the arm rest and supporting structure. Here's how I fixed mine:

At Home Depoti bought some 1/8 inch thick felt pads... the kind you would attach to a table foot to prevent scratching the wood floor... and attached some between the plastic-on-plastic just to the front of the hinge point. Raise the arm rest and put the felt where the arm rest loads the structure. No more squeaking at all.
Hey, great idea! I'll give it a shot. Thanks!
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-02-2015, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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So, I was at the dealership last weekend. My wife's 2010 Subaru Forester had developed a rather significant head gasket leak, a few exhaust rattles due to rusted heat shields, and had 2 bald tires. Total bill for all repairs and maintenance was close to $4500. The car had 91,000 miles on it and we had just made the final payment on it two weeks prior. We don't have that kind of cash on hand for repairs and to put it on a credit card would have been like making a new car payment for a whole year with no guarantees there wouldn't be other big $ repairs that come up. We decided it was time to trade it in. So what did we get?

Well, we wheeled across town to the Mazda dealership where I just bought my CX-3 in September and we got here a 2016 CX-5 Sport FWD in Reflex Blue with the optional rear camera package and a few accessories. She wanted AWD, but they didn't have any in the blue color she wanted, only black and Meteor Gray. The dealer searched other dealer inventories and couldn't find one in the color/options combo she wanted, so we settled on the FWD blue one they had in stock. Said it could take up to 3 months to get the exact car she wanted if they had to order it. Could get lucky and have one come in on a random shipment before then, but they couldn't guarantee it. So, now we've got two brand new, his and hers, 2016 Mazda CX's in the garage!

While I was there, I had the service guys take a look at my armrest. They ended up pulling out mine and swapped in one from another car on the lot. The mechanic said he put some felt material in there to help stop the squeaks. It's probably 95% improved. Still a slight creak, but it's tolerable. One thing I hadn't counted on though is that the little clip inside the phone pocket on this one was WAAAAAY tighter than the one in my old armrest. After only a day or two of use, the little felt pad on the clip was already starting to peel off leaving adhesive residue on my phone. So, I took it upon myself to disassemble the armrest to tackle this on one my own.

Four screws later, the whole upholstered top of the armrest comes off, exposing the pocket. The pocket is held in place by four tabs along the edge of the trim piece running the length of the armrest. Lift those four tabs out of their respective channels on the armrest and then slide the whole pocket forward toward the dash to remove it. I peeled off the little 1 inch felt pad off the clip. The clip on this one was bent all the way down to the bottom surface of the pocket. This made it require a ridiculous amount of force to get a phone in and out of the pocket. I actually cracked off part of my iPhone's Otterbox case trying to pull it out of the pocket.

After removing the felt pad, I took a heat gun to it to soften the plastic enough that I could bend the clip up a bit. I bent it up enough to give somewhere around 1/4" to 3/8" gap between the clip and the inside bottom surface of the cup. While the plastic was still warm, I applied a 2 inch long piece of Velcro industrial strength tape (the soft, loop half of Velcro) onto the clip where the factory felt was. I opted for a longer piece to give the phone a longer lead-in so the first contact spot was somewhere in the middle of the tape rather than at the edge to prevent any scraping action by the phone that would cause the tape to peel off.

Reassembled the cup and the armrest and gave it a whirl with my phone and found I had restored the feel of the original armrest and no more adhesive residue on my phone.
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