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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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, 03:02 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, 03:19 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 10-21-2006, 09:54 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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  #4  
Old 10-22-2006, 07:49 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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  #5  
Old 10-22-2006, 11:33 PM
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z0lt3c z0lt3c is offline
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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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  #6  
Old 10-23-2006, 07:48 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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  #7  
Old 09-13-2007, 08:19 PM
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Peter330i Peter330i is offline
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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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  #8  
Old 09-13-2007, 09:13 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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  #9  
Old 09-14-2007, 12:49 AM
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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  #10  
Old 09-14-2007, 07:15 AM
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chivas chivas is offline
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put it together and add it to the FAQ please. good info!
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  #11  
Old 09-14-2007, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
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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  #12  
Old 09-14-2007, 08:08 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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  #13  
Old 09-19-2007, 08:09 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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  #14  
Old 02-09-2008, 09:00 PM
Pahhhoul Pahhhoul is offline
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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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  #15  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:09 AM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is online now
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Whoever starts making these things as aftermarket replacements will make a killing. If I could get a casting of one, with both outside and inside diameters accurate, I'd give it a shot myself.

Anyone willing to make a casting of this? I need these studs but find it ridiculous that I need to pay over $200 for an entire new switch.

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  #16  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:51 AM
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I had not known about this thread - so I simply wish to cross link it to here:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Tips and suggestions for replacing destroyed E39 driver seat adjustment control panel

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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2012, 02:12 PM
jarhed1964 jarhed1964 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
Whoever starts making these things as aftermarket replacements will make a killing. If I could get a casting of one, with both outside and inside diameters accurate, I'd give it a shot myself.

Anyone willing to make a casting of this? I need these studs but find it ridiculous that I need to pay over $200 for an entire new switch.



Ya know..... I wonder if those posts could be made out of aluminum?
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  #18  
Old 03-13-2013, 12:31 PM
Shader7 Shader7 is offline
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3D printed Seat Switch Boss

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarhed1964 View Post
Whoever starts making these things as aftermarket replacements will make a killing. If I could get a casting of one, with both outside and inside diameters accurate, I'd give it a shot myself.

Anyone willing to make a casting of this? I need these studs but find it ridiculous that I need to pay over $200 for an entire new switch.

First time posting - forgive me if my pics didn't upload right. I'm Chiming in late here (very late). As a long-time E39 M5 owner, I too managed to break my driver's side seat switch post boss (I kicked it getting out of the car one day). I followed this >great< thread and realized spending $250 to replace a tiny piece of plastic was ridiculous. Taking measurements from the broken bit stuck in the switch, and extrapolating the rest from images found here, I came up with the part below from an ABS 3D printer. It's a little rough and has marks from test fits in and out of the adjustment button (shown here broken as well, held together with an O-ring for testing until I can replace it). I may iterate it one time to make the fit even better but it clicks neatly into the button as-is and I expect that this first-run part will work very well. I'll fit it this weekend and report back.
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  #19  
Old 04-19-2013, 11:47 AM
caryalon caryalon is offline
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Any update on this? Did the 3D printed version work?
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