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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 05-01-2008, 02:27 PM
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Tips and suggestions for replacing destroyed E39 driver seat adjustment control panel

My E39 driver's-side lower seat control panel is destroyed. I guess all I need to do is replace it and plug it in. Before I do that, I wonder if you have any advice for me to build my courage up to tackle this repair? It's still hanging by a thread (in back, somehow).

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  #2  
Old 05-01-2008, 02:32 PM
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Is there only one major connector powering the seat controls?

Twisting the broken seat control panel a bit as it's held on somewhere in the back only ... I can see a single connector with tons of pins, with some of those pins bent ... so I guess the first order of business is for me to see if I can get the connector back on and to see if things actually work.

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  #3  
Old 05-01-2008, 02:57 PM
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The black box with pins -> Where does it come from?

Some quick questions ...

Which color would you get? Is it "grau"?
And, where is the part found for that million-pin black box?
Is that black box part of the outer cover?'

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  #4  
Old 05-01-2008, 04:12 PM
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That black box is not apart of that trim piece, so it xcan come out and be replaced.... I think it is called the seat control module......

If you get in the back seat and follow the trim to the back of the seat you wwill see a torx (*) screw that holds it in place there.... It is not an impossible replacement, youcan do it..... Just be patient and take your time to make sure you get all the screws out and back in.. If you line up the broken one, I bet the old screws are still there.


I have no idea what color that is....
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2008, 04:32 PM
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when i took mine out i belive there will be a piece on the back of the panel the is wedge inbetween the upper seatback and lower seat. i think there is push in clip that holds it in place, a little forcefull prying got mine out. stupid thing!
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2008, 04:55 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
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I just changed my outer covers last week, so I think I can help here.

"Is this black box with pins part of the cover or is it a separate part to order?"
The black box is a separate part independent of the cover. Personally, I would try the plug first before even considering ordering the black electrical box. Electronics in our cars are insanely expensive, and the cost for that part may very well be close to the cost for a used driver's seat that would come with that part, and more.

Which color would you get? Is it "grau"?
You would get grau, yes. However, notice that your seat cover is scratched and the white plastic is showing through. My grau seat covers were in a similar condition and fixing the cosmetic defect was the genesis of my replacement effort. I would suggest getting schwarz (black, BMW part #52 10 7 058 008), because black will hide the future scratches that are inevitable. This is possible because the black seat covers are made of black ABS plastic and not painted, thus a scratch will not take off paint and expose an off-color base material.

Some tips, since you asked:
- The seat control buttons simply pop off, but are held on very securely. It's nerve wracking, but they're just on there tight.
- The seat covers themselves are each held on with two Torx screws and three plastic rivets. Again, the plastic rivets are in very tight and will likely necessitate destruction for removal. These rivets create a lot of frustration. Replacement plastic rivets are sold in sets of six (BMW part#52 10 8 150 020) and are markedly inexpensive, so I would urge you to get these as well.
- The seat covers are sold in a set of two, and come with one out of six holes filled in with a button cover. Since you have the "basic" electric seat like I do, your controls will fill three more holes, so if you wish to change colors you'll need to purchase the final two button covers, which curiously enough come with two each of the button covers that already come with the seat covers. If you purchase the seat covers and the button covers, you'll end up with two extra button covers per side. Now I'm not sure if this was an idiosyncrasy with my dealer, but a set of seat covers came with two - one for the driver and one for the passenger - while a set of button covers was for only one side. I needed to order an additional set of button covers. To summarize, I purchased one set of seat covers and two sets of button covers. This will fill in all of the holes with four identical button covers to spare. I have leftover buttons in both grau and schwarz, as well as the passenger's side seat cover. If you wish I can sell them to you for a dollar or two over what it will cost me to ship them.

To remove the rivets and the control buttons, I would highly recommend interior trim panel tools. I acquired the first two of the following three sets from Harbor Freight Tools for about five dollars each. The set of yellow tools is particularly durable and desirable and has proven to be worth much more than the asking price to me:



If you need more information, please see the following thread in which these seat covers are discussed ad nauseum:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=842536
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Last edited by PJB.; 05-01-2008 at 05:39 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2008, 05:51 AM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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I have both gray outer and inner covers for sale if interested. There in new condition and actually the passenger side was replaced new under warranty just before the warranty expired not long ago.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2008, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidneyj View Post
I have both gray outer and inner covers for sale if interested. There in new condition and actually the passenger side was replaced new under warranty just before the warranty expired not long ago.
I'm confused.

The REALOEM site seems to show both BMW E39 seat covers (passenger and driver) are the same part number (i.e., 52107058009, $39.62) ...

Yet the Maxmillian site seems to show the two covers as different part numbers - where the driver side being BMW part number 52108207249 & the passenger side being BMW part number 52108207250 (both $39.39 each) - yet - the driver side (which I need) says "ENDED" (which I presume to mean you can't get it).
*******>********>









I don't get it.

Is the passenger side "outer cover" the same part as the driver side (I need the driver's side) or different? I don't mind replacing both the driver and passenger side outer covers as they're all scratched up ... but it would be nice to be able to figure this out ahead of time.
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2008, 09:11 PM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm confused.

The REALOEM site seems to show both BMW E39 seat covers (passenger and driver) are the same part number (i.e., 52107058009, $39.62) ...

Yet the Maxmillian site seems to show the two covers as different part numbers - where the driver side being BMW part number 52108207249 & the passenger side being BMW part number 52108207250 (both $39.39 each) - yet - the driver side (which I need) says "ENDED" (which I presume to mean you can't get it).
*******>********>









I don't get it.

Is the passenger side "outer cover" the same part as the driver side (I need the driver's side) or different? I don't mind replacing both the driver and passenger side outer covers as they're all scratched up ... but it would be nice to be able to figure this out ahead of time.
There sold as a pair so the drivers side outer cover and passenger side outer cover is one part # even though they are different parts and are not interchangable. I think they used to sell them individually some time ago but not anymore. I can only assume this other company is selling them as seperate pieces based on what you said. I have both outer and both inner pieces if you need them.
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2008, 06:36 PM
axleman1 axleman1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidneyj View Post
I have both gray outer and inner covers for sale if interested. There in new condition and actually the passenger side was replaced new under warranty just before the warranty expired not long ago.
Do you still have the seat control covers?
If so, how much do you want for them?
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  #11  
Old 07-08-2008, 07:14 PM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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Originally Posted by axleman1 View Post
Do you still have the seat control covers?
If so, how much do you want for them?
Still got them. Got your pm also. Check your pm.
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2008, 11:10 PM
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The BMW outer cover control buttons just pry off

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
The seat control buttons simply pop off, but are held on very securely. It's nerve wracking, but they're just on there tight.
It scared me at first but the two buttons just pried off with a screwdriver.

Here is a photograph of what they look like being pried off so the next person can try it without guessing.
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2008, 11:16 PM
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Hint: Pry the seat control knobs off gently so as not to break the frail posts

For the record, especially since I had not the benefit of these pictures before doing my outer seat cover replacement, here is what it looks like under the two knobs once you pry off the knobs themselves with a flathead screwdriver.

Make sure you pry directly outward because those frail little posts can break!

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  #14  
Old 06-22-2008, 11:29 PM
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You'll need to transfer six (6) parts from the old cover to the new

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
- The seat covers ... come with one out of six holes filled in with a button cover ... your controls will fill three more holes...you'll need two button covers
You were totally on the mark here. There were six (6) parts that needed to be transferred from the old cover to the new cover

1. The black rectangular $175 USD seat control module
2. A black squarish plastic clip behind the round hole
3. The grau round hole cover
4. The grau rectangular hole cover
5. The black knob for the seat back control
6. The black knob for the seat bottom control

Here's a pic because I realize that the words don't explain it well enough even though PJB accurately described this, it didn't sink in for me until I did it.
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:36 PM
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Bring over the black squarish clip inside the round hole

It's not obvious but the black seemingly useless clip inside the round hole needs to be brought over from the old BMW outer seat cover to the new one.

I post this picture so someone who has not done this can see what I mean.
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  #16  
Old 06-22-2008, 11:44 PM
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The button cover clips are only coming out from behind

In case someone wishes to know, those two button covers you need to move over from the old BMW E39 seat outer cover to the new seat outer cover are only coming out from behind.

There is no way you're going to remove them without first removing the BMW E39 seat outer cover.

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  #17  
Old 06-22-2008, 11:52 PM
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The three plastic expanding rivets are a source of frustration!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
the plastic rivets are in very tight and will likely necessitate destruction for removal. These rivets create a lot of frustration.
You're not kidding that these three plastic expanding rivets create a lot of frustration!

Two of them were still on the original seat cover, which was pulled out from the holes they were in ... but the third ... the one in the back of the seat on the bottom ... had to be cut off with wire cutters!

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Old 06-22-2008, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
The seat covers themselves are each held on with two Torx screws and three plastic rivets.
Nobody said WHERE these two torx screws were located, nor what size they were.

Since I had to run to the store to buy a torx screwdriver set, I want the next person to know they are both a #30 torx screw and that one is located in the very front of the BMW E39 outer seat cover and the other is located in the very rear.

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Old 06-23-2008, 12:04 AM
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HINT: Recline the seat back in order to access the rear #T30 torx screw!

HINT: The only way to get to the rear #T30 torx screw is to move the seat back so that it's lying down and out of the way.

Only with the seat back out of the way can you access the rear #30 Torx screw with a torx screwdriver!

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Old 06-23-2008, 12:11 AM
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I am stuck trying to get the plastic rivets in the proper holes

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
The seat covers are held on with two Torx screws and three plastic rivets.
It's difficult to even SEE, let alone get to the three plastic rivet locations, especially the rearmost one at the bottom rear of the seat.

Does anyone have a trick for getting the new plastic rivets in the three holes?
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:56 AM
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I am stuck with NONE of the rivets in place for lack of access

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
The seat covers are held on with two Torx screws and three plastic rivets.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=842536
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?


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  #22  
Old 06-24-2008, 12:59 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post

DOES ANYONE KNOW IF I NEED TO REMOVE THE SEAT BACK (how?) to get to that last rear plastic rivet?
Kudos to you bluebee for making everything so explicit. The reason why I didn't post as much detailed information as you is because the RealOEM exploded diagrams typically provide enough information and also list the types of connectors. For example, the T30 Torx screw is listed at RealOEM as an m4x10 and that was enough for me. However I typically fail to realize that this might not be apparent to others; there certainly was a time when I didn't know what that meant. Additionally, I find having the replacement parts right next to me allows me to locate the connections easily.

As for your plastic rivets, the only thing that I can recommend is finesse and force. If I recall, surprisingly, it's also difficult to install the rivets, though not as difficult as it is to remove them. I believe I used the same plastic trim panel tools that I referred to in Post #6. The flat head tools provide ample surface area to distribute the force onto the head of the rivet so as to push it in straight without hurting your fingers. I did not have to remove the seat back to get them in.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
m4x10 and that was enough for me
How m4x10 translates to #30 Torx is definitely beyond me. I must have the wrong secret decoder ring setup.

Quote:
I did not have to remove the seat back to get them in.
I searched and didn't find the procedure to remove the seat back. How is THAT thing stuck onto the back of the seat anyway?
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  #24  
Old 06-30-2008, 12:34 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I searched and didn't find the procedure to remove the seat back. How is THAT thing stuck onto the back of the seat anyway?
All I can say is that while swapping out the covers, the connection locations were fresh enough in my mind that I didn't need to search around for them. Is your passenger seat cover still attached? You can check on that seat if so. I'm sure you have your seat moved all the way up and all the way forward; I had to contort myself quite a bit to get down in there, but I was able to see the hole.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
How m4x10 translates to #30 Torx is definitely beyond me. I must have the wrong secret decoder ring setup.


I searched and didn't find the procedure to remove the seat back. How is THAT thing stuck onto the back of the seat anyway?
Sorry to bring out the old topic. I plan to replace my seat outer cover. How to remove the last screw to get the old cover out without removing the seat back? Any idea?
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