Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:22 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,064
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Just what I needed: Seat twist (drivers side front seat seems turned to the side)

I'm in the middle of a parasitic battery drain diagnostic sequence, snapping photos, when I notice out of the corner of my eye, something askew in the angle of the back of the front seat.

Is it ... uh ... can that be ... is it ... um ... is it the infamous malady ... is this seat back twist? Just what I need.

I had never taken much note of the seat twist threads ... but I guess I have some reading to do now, huh?

Here's the set I'll start with, from the bestlinks:
- How to identify seat twist & fix twisted seats (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	seat_twist.jpg
Views:	286
Size:	64.0 KB
ID:	361137  
__________________
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

Last edited by bluebee; 02-06-2013 at 10:34 PM.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 02-07-2013, 05:10 AM
Chisum Chisum is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tampa, FL
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 176
Mein Auto: 2003 525i 2002 525iT 5sp
It's and easy fix just time consuming.

Chisum
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-07-2013, 05:10 AM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,355
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
I have never followed seat twist threads either. Good luck, BB. Looks like you have your hands full!

Does anyone have any idea what causes a seat twist? Was this seat twist caused by adjusting the seat length or angle (slipping off the track)? Or from leaning into the seat to access something under/in the dash? Or does it just happen (a component, like a gear, catastrophically fails suddenly) out of thin air? Also has this affected anyone with sport seats? I rarely move my seat and am curious if I am subject to this PITA malady.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-07-2013, 05:33 AM
Chisum Chisum is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tampa, FL
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 176
Mein Auto: 2003 525i 2002 525iT 5sp
The adjustment cable casing expands which pulls the end of the cable out of the motor. The fix is cut the casing remove about 1/4 inch of the casing then push the end of the cable back into the motor. The biggest part of the job is getting the seats out.

Chisum
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-07-2013, 01:12 PM
SMG_II SMG_II is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Southern California
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 56
Mein Auto: 2008 E92 335i/2002 530i
Sorry to hear that, I've gone through this on my driver's side, too, and actually my passenger side just did this to me last week.

In case it helps, I found link 8 (among other DIYs posted) above particularly helpful when I did this:

ElwoodBlues' writeup: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...45&postcount=8

I don't know if this is true or not, but my indy said you should try to get the seat back into the best non-twisted position as soon as possible lest the frame get twisted permanently. Sounds like good advice, but I assume you'll probably take care of this long before damage like that happens.

Good luck with the repair!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-07-2013, 06:48 PM
540iman's Avatar
540iman 540iman is offline
resident, old fart
Location: N.W. Indiana
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,525
Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
You do not have to remove the seat. As a matter of fact, don't even if you don't care about going that far as you might easily set an air bag service light. I just did this repair about 5 weeks ago. Loosen the seat rear bolts about 1/8" Remove the two front seatl bolts so that you can pivot the seat back (front raises up about 3" to gain clearance.

Chisum is exactly right about the cause, but removing the seat is just not necessary. Using the seat back tilt button, determine which motor drives the seat back. You must feel the cables and see which one is moving the seat and which one is the "lazy one" and not doing its share of the work. Trick is that you must raise or lower the seat back until the seat back is even across. You can measure distance to dash or just go with what feels right sitting in the seat. Once seat is even- regardless of whether seat is way tilted back or too straight up, the seat must remain in this position.

Now, the cable you determined is not doing its share of the work- disconnect it from its motor by simply twisting off the retaining ring at the motor. Using a soldering pencil or gun, melt away about
3/8-1/2" of the outside cable sheath. Using a utility knife, clean away about 3/8" of outer cable covering. This will allow the center part of the cable to not be restrained from engaging the motor drive. The outer cable covering has stretched such that the metal inside the cable is pulled out of the motor. By removing the outer cover some, the cable center will now engage itself as soon as you re-tighten the retaining ring. As long as the seat was straight when you started, it will now go up and down in "sync". You can search seat twist for pix. I am just reiterating what Chisum said and the fact that you need not remove the seat. Now just tighten down the seat again. You can wrap the cable where the surgery was done with electrical tape and then using a zip tie, put cable back in snug.

Last edited by 540iman; 02-07-2013 at 06:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-07-2013, 06:55 PM
Ltmax's Avatar
Ltmax Ltmax is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Jacksonville, FL
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 170
Mein Auto: 07 750i, 02 540i Sport
Don't worry too much, this is a very simple fix and you can do both in just a few hours and that's taking them out of the car. In the car is even faster, but I'm not a fan of cutting the cables in the middle as I've had to fix a few a second time that eventually went bad (damaged/kinked the inner shaft/cable) that were fixed this way a few years down the road. If you do decide to remove the seats, it's also best to go ahead and trim a little bit off of all four cable ends (two underneath seat, and two on side of seat) so you never have to worry about doing it again. (Learned that lesson the hard way too..)

Plus taking the seats out gives you such a great excuse to clean away the years of crud and other stuff from the areas of the carpets that you just can't get at when they are in the car....

Last edited by Ltmax; 02-07-2013 at 07:04 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-07-2013, 10:13 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,064
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Thanks for the advice & admonishments.

Right now, I'm working on parastic battery drain, and then it's a new expansion tank.

Once I get those two critical items fixed, I'm going to attempt the seat twist repair.

So, any and all advice as to how to minimize the damage until those two are done, is welcome!
__________________
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
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-08-2013, 09:04 AM
EddieNYC's Avatar
EddieNYC EddieNYC is offline
-Eddie
Location: Forest Hills, New York
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,054
Send a message via AIM to EddieNYC
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
It is very easy. Can be fixed with minimum tools and lots of patience!!

Done it 4 times already..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-08-2013, 10:23 AM
540iman's Avatar
540iman 540iman is offline
resident, old fart
Location: N.W. Indiana
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,525
Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
If you do decide to pull the seats, just make sure step#1 is disconnecting your (dead!) battery. Then, when you go to remove the seat, the piano wire that is connected to the seat that tells the air bag system where your seat is at relative to the dash (is the seat forward, in the middle, or back) can retract without setting an airbag arror. This wire is part of a linear transducer that keeps tension on the wire at all times like the pull-out dog leashes that retract automatically to not let there be slack between yourself and the dog. This wire will retract as soon as you disconnect it. Then you can disconnect the motor connectors and pull the seat. I prefer to leave the seat where it is. I can certainly see where removing the "extra" cable sheathing close to the motor rather than somewhere in the middle would prevent the now hacked-up cable from kinking at that point, but if you secure the cable snug on either side of the surgery area with cable ties, the cable should not be able to kink at the area of the work being done. Removing the 3/8" of outer wrap in easily done with a soldering pencil or soldering gun and then clean-up the melted "goo" with an exacto knife or utility knife just to make the area smooth and clean. When you search "seat twist", you will get a better post with pictures of what you are doing. I am too lazy to take pictures when I am working on my car-sorry. Hopefully someone else's pictures and my narrative will make what you need to do very clear. Bee, you really need not worry about this DIY as it is one of those that sounds harder describing it, than it really is! G/L
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-08-2013, 05:11 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,064
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
This wire will retract as soon as you disconnect it.
This is great to know because I like to line up my ducks before I do any job. Of course, that means it takes me far longer than anyone else, but, I do learn things which you guys already know somehow.

It's encouraging that you say it's easier than it appears to be - because the seat is something I've barely touched (other than the seat control panel on the side).

Right now ... I'm reading up on this... and hope to approach it this weekend if the weather cooperates.
__________________
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
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-08-2013, 05:33 PM
Studawg's Avatar
Studawg Studawg is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: SC
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 259
Mein Auto: 2003 540iT M Sport
Its very easy, both of my front seat were twisted as well as the height control of the seat bottom only worked on one side, on both seats too. So 4 adjustments were broken, I fixed them all without removing either seat, or any bolts or anything, by using a pair of wire cutters and a razor blade in a pair of small vise grips. Took about an hour. Check out the video on youtube about it.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
diagnostic, leather seats, seat back assembly, seat repair, seat twist


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms