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Old 09-17-2012, 04:08 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,767
Mein Auto: 530i 2003
I know this is an old thread but I had occasion to replace this trim panel today and found a method to deal with the plastic rivets. I checked the entire thread and didn't see the answer to this problem.
And I found it is not necessary to remove the seat back trim to release the rearmost rivet.

There is no doubt that these rivets are TIGHT! I tried prying under the rivet heads with no luck at all. Visibility was minimal, space was tight and the force required was high. I kept slipping off the rivet.

Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
This #6 post by PJB covers all the basics but I still was confused as to the LOCATION and SIZE of the two #T30 Torx screws and what the three plastic rivets looked like and their location also. I couldn't find them on my own and I had to literally tear the old BMW seat outer cover off in order to find them. I had to cut them out as they would not come out any other way (PJB was right).

I hope this picture shows it for the next person. Basically, the two #T30 Torx screws are on the top and the three plastic rivets are on the bottom.

One Torx screw is at the very front, the other is at the location where the seat back joins the seat bottom. One plastic rivet is in the front bottom, another in the middle bottom, and the last one (the toughest to see) is at the back bottom.

DOES ANYONE KNOW IF I NEED TO REMOVE THE SEAT BACK (how?) to get to that last rear plastic rivet?

Finally I did this.
1) removed the two torx head screws
2) raised the seat as high as it would go and as far forward. Then put the seat back as upright as it would go. It gave just enough visibility to see the locations of the 2 rear rivets from the rear seat footwell, especially with the new panel for reference.
3) inserted a tack puller (trim tool or screwdriver would work too) between the tab of the trim panel and the seat frame, not between the rivet head and tab. The rivets then popped out easily.
4) with the seat back upright, there was enough space to release the rearmost rivet and work the rivet and tab out of the pocket
5) moved the seat rearward ward and released the front rivet the same way

The rivets can be removed from the old panel for reuse by sqeezing the barb end close to the head with a pair of pliers and pushing them through. It needs a tight sqeeze and a firm push. This is what was so tight; why I couldn't pry the rivet out in situ.

For assembly,
1) insert all three rivets into the holes of the trim panel tabs, just as shown in Bluebee's picture. There is room to position the panel with the rivets in the tabs
2) position the panel on the seat and start the two torx screws. Just a few turns so they are locating the panel & won't fall out and get lost but will allow the panel to move easily
3) wiggle the tabs/rivets around until they enter into the holes of the frame; they will almost fall into place on their own, since the panel is positioned by the screws. Push each one home as it locates in the frame - they will seat quite easily. Front one from the front of course, the two rear ones from the rear seat area. Move the seat as convenient
4) tighten the two torx screws

BTW, I found I didn't need to disconnect the seat control switch block from the harness connector/plug. After releasing the trim panel, there was lots of harness length for access to release it from the old panel and snap into the new one.

Once I'd figured this out, it became a 10 to 15 minute job total. It just took me 45 minutes of frustration to work it out
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