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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-21-2006, 02:02 PM
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Mister Chow Mister Chow is offline
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Repairing Power Seat Switch-DIY

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So the switch for the power seat snapped off and I figured it was going to be a "cheap" fix with a new plastic stud from BMW. Well no, the little plastic stud is part of the whole switching control box and costs a bundle.

I tried to glue it back together but it was like building a ship inside a bottle so I decided to open'er'up and try to do a better fix.

First thing, remove the switch covers. They pull straight out. Don't twist!

You'll have to take the side trim panel of the seat off. This photo is looking from the driver's footwell. You need to pop out a plastic clip (that took a lot more force than I thought!) and undo a torx screw. There's another plastic clip on the back of the seat but it's possible to access everything without having to pop that one out.
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The switching control box is clipped to the trim panel and is plugged into the actuators.
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Disconnect the plug and unclip the control box.
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And this is what it looks like. I took the picture after I fixed it so both studs are complete.
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This is the toughest part of the job. To open the box up you have to flip open all 8 plastic clips simultaneously and pry the box open. Thankfully there's no glue. I used bits of cut up plastic to hold each clip open and then used a thin screwdriver to pry the box open.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2006, 02:19 PM
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Mister Chow Mister Chow is offline
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Part II

After you have the cover off you still have to pry up the clips on the brass plate to expose the studs.
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Backside.
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Backside without brass plate.
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This is what everything looks like taken apart.
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Then it's a simple matter of using some crazy glue and fixing the broken stud.
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I got a little cocky and though I would reinforce the stud by filling it up with urethane sealant.
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Big mistake! The stud has to be hollow to fit back together. Thank god for Dremel tools.

Reassembly is a two minute job. Much much easier than the disassembly.

I used a dab of vasoline on the plastic to plastic parts to reduce friction and hopefully lesson any stress on those studs. I also switched the two studs (which are identical) so the repaired stud is on the less often used backrest adjustment.

Oh and one more thing. Your seat won't move if the control box is out, the seat memory buttons won't work. So either make sure your seat is in its proper position or plan not to use your car until the job is finished. It should only take a half hour or so plus the time it takes for the glue to dry.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2016, 09:26 AM
stilldriving stilldriving is offline
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Question on seat button repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Chow View Post
After you have the cover off you still have to pry up the clips on the brass plate to expose the studs.
Attachment 89047

Backside.
Attachment 89048

Backside without brass plate.
Attachment 89049

This is what everything looks like taken apart.
Attachment 89050

Then it's a simple matter of using some crazy glue and fixing the broken stud.
Attachment 89051

I got a little cocky and though I would reinforce the stud by filling it up with urethane sealant.
Attachment 89052
Big mistake! The stud has to be hollow to fit back together. Thank god for Dremel tools.

Reassembly is a two minute job. Much much easier than the disassembly.

I used a dab of vasoline on the plastic to plastic parts to reduce friction and hopefully lesson any stress on those studs. I also switched the two studs (which are identical) so the repaired stud is on the less often used backrest adjustment.

Oh and one more thing. Your seat won't move if the control box is out, the seat memory buttons won't work. So either make sure your seat is in its proper position or plan not to use your car until the job is finished. It should only take a half hour or so plus the time it takes for the glue to dry.

Good luck!
Thanks for this Mister Chow.
When I bought my car the switch was missing. I have a brand new one. There are three prongs sticking out of the side of the seat. I am missing the stud or studs completely as they were not anywhere in the car when I bought it. Is there anyway to buy the studs? Secondly, do I still need to go through this whole procedure if I do find the missing studs?
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  #4  
Old 12-26-2016, 07:15 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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If you look at the first picture in the original post, you will see a small white post. That is what is underneath the hollow black post. When mine broke, I simply removed the old black post, filled the switch hole with hot glue and pressed it onto the white post. Since I am the primary driver, the switch rarely gets touched. This repair is temporary and won't last forever, but is easily redone.
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2016, 09:57 AM
stilldriving stilldriving is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
If you look at the first picture in the original post, you will see a small white post. That is what is underneath the hollow black post. When mine broke, I simply removed the old black post, filled the switch hole with hot glue and pressed it onto the white post. Since I am the primary driver, the switch rarely gets touched. This repair is temporary and won't last forever, but is easily redone.
I don't have any posts. I don't have anything on the side of my seat where the button snaps onto other than the three pins sticking out of the side of the seat. I have a brand new button cover (the black button that apparently "snaps" on to those 3 pins) as that is what I bought new not realizing I have no way to mount it. I'm in a real pickle and I need to know if I can buy those posts or some refer to it as a sheath, anywhere on Earth. When I manually play with those pins they work so everything works it's just that I have no way to mount the new button I bought that snaps onto the top of those three pins...
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2016, 11:40 AM
528iAut 528iAut is offline
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It is unbelivable, the E39 is a total tragedy when it comes to the brackets at the side of the seats that holds the controls, I have never seen someting that badly designed.
It is a wake-up call that the Rover 75 (which in many ways is an E39 clone) has nearly identical brackets and they are as solid as steel, I just dont understand this....
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  #7  
Old 01-11-2017, 03:49 PM
stilldriving stilldriving is offline
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supplement to DIY SEAT BUTTON FIX (PICS UPLOADED)

So I was able to upload pics so now you can see what I have and exactly what I need...

Thanks again and please chime in. Can I get the sheaths because it looks like I need only the sheaths...



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Chow View Post
After you have the cover off you still have to pry up the clips on the brass plate to expose the studs.
Attachment 89047

Backside.
Attachment 89048

Backside without brass plate.
Attachment 89049

This is what everything looks like taken apart.
Attachment 89050

Then it's a simple matter of using some crazy glue and fixing the broken stud.
Attachment 89051

I got a little cocky and though I would reinforce the stud by filling it up with urethane sealant.
Attachment 89052
Big mistake! The stud has to be hollow to fit back together. Thank god for Dremel tools.

Reassembly is a two minute job. Much much easier than the disassembly.

I used a dab of vasoline on the plastic to plastic parts to reduce friction and hopefully lesson any stress on those studs. I also switched the two studs (which are identical) so the repaired stud is on the less often used backrest adjustment.

Oh and one more thing. Your seat won't move if the control box is out, the seat memory buttons won't work. So either make sure your seat is in its proper position or plan not to use your car until the job is finished. It should only take a half hour or so plus the time it takes for the glue to dry.

Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 10-21-2006, 08:54 PM
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lex89 lex89 is offline
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Very nice write-up. I wish you had posted this a couple months ago. I just paid $250 for the dealer to do the job. Good to know there's another way
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2006, 06:49 AM
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Mister Chow Mister Chow is offline
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Thanks.

It's kinda silly that the switch can't be fixed more easily. It's not an uncommon incident to kick the switch when entering the car in a tight parking spot and the $250 for a new switch is silly for a $0.50 piece of plastic.

Hope it helps next time!
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:33 PM
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z0lt3c z0lt3c is offline
what does this button do?
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did you leave the rear clip in and just bend back the plastic cover to expose the switch?


Did everything re-assemble properly when going this route?


Any idea how to get that rear clip out if, say, you also wanted to replace the plastic cover?
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2006, 06:48 AM
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Mister Chow Mister Chow is offline
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The rear clip is hard to access unless you take the back of the seat off. I tried prying the seatback off a little and all I got was some loose change. Considering the front clip took so much force, I didn't want to risk breaking the cover. If you had a "Y" fork to remove those clips it would probably be a lot easier.

Besides, you can access the switch with only the front fasteners removed. I moved the seat up all the way to give better access.

The whole thing goes together super easy, no problem.
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2007, 07:19 PM
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Worked Like a Charm!

Awesome post...I kicked my fore/aft/up/down button off this evening as I was getting out of my 03 540 and it broke the peg inside the switch at the base. When I saw it was going to cost $250 to fix at the dealer, I did a search in this forum and found this post. Thank you for posting step-by-step pics...I'm not the handiest person in the world, yet with this guide, was able to repair my switch in about 45 minutes. Well done.
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  #13  
Old 09-13-2007, 08:13 PM
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Mister Chow Mister Chow is offline
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Thanks, I say spread the wealth (of knowledge.)

Coincidentally, I thought I might have to look this post up myself. The hotel valet returned my car with the switch cover knocked off this weekend. Luckily no intervention was necessary.
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  #14  
Old 09-13-2007, 11:49 PM
rogan rogan is offline
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I've got the same problem but don't have the plastic bit to glue back on. I was thinking of getting some rubber hose with an OD the same as the switch cover and an ID the same as the white plastic thingy. Hopefully it'll work
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  #15  
Old 09-14-2007, 06:15 AM
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put it together and add it to the FAQ please. good info!
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  #16  
Old 09-14-2007, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by chivas View Post
put it together and add it to the FAQ please. good info!
There's already a link to this thread but I'll do some cutting and pasting.
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  #17  
Old 09-14-2007, 07:08 AM
toi toi is offline
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http://www.koperformance.com/

they have just the outer plastic part of that switch here for like 9 bucks.such a nice site to shop for parts like these.cheap too
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  #18  
Old 09-19-2007, 07:09 PM
rogan rogan is offline
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Fixed mine now.

When I got the car I only had the white piece sticking out the side of the seat; no switch cover or piece of rubber covering.

Got the switch cover for about NZ$12 (so about US$9) from the local BMW dealer, then went into my local marine shop and got a piece of rubber tubing that just squeezed into the switch cover. Rubber is ~8mm outside diameter and ~5mm inside diameter. Cut to length and push fit. Cost of rubber hose NZ$1.

Works very well and takes a decent amount of force to pull the switch cover off. So total cost about US$10 and less than 30 seconds to cut rubber to length and fit. If you're intelligent enough to know how to breathe then you should be able to do it yourself. Only tool needed was a Stanley knife to cut the rubber to length
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  #19  
Old 02-09-2008, 08:00 PM
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HELP!
I attempted to do this DIY.
When I went to try and pry the control box open a bunch of springs and rods came flying out.

My control box looks completely different from the OP's.
Anyone have a diagram of how the springs and rods are supposed to be put back in?


I would have taken pictures but my both my digital cameras have been stolen within the past month!
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2017, 09:18 AM
stilldriving stilldriving is offline
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Outer plastic part clarification

Hi. Hey can you clarify which plastic part you're talking about as I am in a pickle trying to fix my passenger seat switch...
Is it the small posts with a square bottom piece attached to it? I have a new button knob that goes on top of three posts that stick out of the side of the seat but, there are some pieces that attach the switch to the seat that I can't find anywhere. Perhaps you could copy & paste the hyperlink that takes you right to the part you are referencing? OR, the vendor's part number?
Much appreciated!



Quote:
Originally Posted by toi View Post
http://www.koperformance.com/

they have just the outer plastic part of that switch here for like 9 bucks.such a nice site to shop for parts like these.cheap too

Last edited by stilldriving; 01-26-2017 at 09:25 AM.
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  #21  
Old 04-19-2013, 10:47 AM
caryalon caryalon is offline
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Any update on this? Did the 3D printed version work?
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  #22  
Old 01-31-2015, 07:51 PM
plracing plracing is offline
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Question Just bought 2003 530i

New to 530i need to replace belts
Water pump, and idler, remained
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  #23  
Old 12-26-2016, 09:23 AM
stilldriving stilldriving is offline
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Question on seat button repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Chow View Post
Attachment 89039
So the switch for the power seat snapped off and I figured it was going to be a "cheap" fix with a new plastic stud from BMW. Well no, the little plastic stud is part of the whole switching control box and costs a bundle.

I tried to glue it back together but it was like building a ship inside a bottle so I decided to open'er'up and try to do a better fix.

First thing, remove the switch covers. They pull straight out. Don't twist!

You'll have to take the side trim panel of the seat off. This photo is looking from the driver's footwell. You need to pop out a plastic clip (that took a lot more force than I thought!) and undo a torx screw. There's another plastic clip on the back of the seat but it's possible to access everything without having to pop that one out.
Attachment 89040

The switching control box is clipped to the trim panel and is plugged into the actuators.
Attachment 89041

Disconnect the plug and unclip the control box.
Attachment 89042

And this is what it looks like. I took the picture after I fixed it so both studs are complete.
Attachment 89043

Attachment 89044

This is the toughest part of the job. To open the box up you have to flip open all 8 plastic clips simultaneously and pry the box open. Thankfully there's no glue. I used bits of cut up plastic to hold each clip open and then used a thin screwdriver to pry the box open.
Attachment 89045

Attachment 89046
Thanks for this Mister Chow.
I bought a new Switch but I don't have the post that you and so many have posted that have broken off. I have a brand new Switch button. Is there anywhere I can get the post or "sheath" (as others describe it)?
Secondly, if I can find it to purchase do I still have to go through the above-described procedure to mount the new seat button switch? Thanks again.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:02 PM
berkeleydojah berkeleydojah is offline
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Go with "q bond" better than any glue. Reinforces plastic!


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