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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 09-05-2008, 02:28 PM
Mhawryluk Mhawryluk is offline
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Location: Houston, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: '06 550i
Unhappy 540i Comfort Seat Recline Malfunction

Ok, tried searching for similar posts, nothing came up. If this has been answered somewhere else, please be kind enough to post a link to the thread.

2002 E39 540iA Sport with Comfort Seats.

Passenger side seat reclines (and forward) only on left side. Right side frozen, which results in the seat twisting, not reclining.

Thanks to google and a host of previously bookmarked BMW sites, I now know that there is one motor for the recline function and two gearboxes (one on each side) connected by a linkage from each side of the motor.

I checked the motor connection and I can feel the linkage moving inside the sheath that connects the main motor to the right side gearbox.

The E36 was notorious for a broken gear in seat mechanism and practically everyone sells that particular gear, but I have found nothing like that about the E39

Lets say that I need to replace the gear box. The cost about $150 and would be a pain to replace - mainly because of the position the seat is stuck in prevents easy access to the screws securing the cover of the offending gearbox. But I still think replacing a particular gear would be far easier than replacing the entire mechanism.

I already took the seat out, and surprisingly that's pretty easy. Luckily the seat is stuck in a comfortable seating position, so I just unplugged the motor to keep anyone from accidentally torquing the seat.

Anybody have any suggestions?

Thanks,

Myron in Houston
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2008, 02:39 PM
QSilver7's Avatar
QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Posts: 5,791
Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
The "magic word on the 5 & 7 series for this condition is "SEAT TWIST". Its not the gear in the motor that goes wonkas in the e34/e39 e32/e38...but its the cable that disengages from the motor housing.

Trust me...a simple search using "seat twist" on just about every 5 & 7 series forum (especially the e34 & e32) will give you plenty of hits.

Here's one from this forum from just a few months ago: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...01&postcount=1


Here's a link to the seat diagram...#13 is the drive for the upper seat back...and #14 are the set of flex-shaft cables:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...77&hg=52&fg=15

__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 09-05-2008 at 02:54 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2008, 03:07 PM
Mhawryluk Mhawryluk is offline
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Location: Houston, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: '06 550i
Sweet!

Thanks!

"Seat Twist". . .who'd have thunk.

This was the jackpot!
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2008, 04:07 PM
Mhawryluk Mhawryluk is offline
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Location: Houston, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: '06 550i
Problem Solved!

Thanks for the links.

It took me 30 minutes without taking the seat off. I recommend having the car running with max A/C directed towards the floorboards - if you're doing this in Houston.

I just removed the two hex screws (8 mm) on one side - which was easier for the outermost connection vs. the inner - otherwise I would recommend taking the seat out. It was still a contortion act and I'm no gymnast, but it can be done.

With the two screws out, it left just enough wiggle room to pull the motor past the bracket that secures the linkage. It slipped right out. I used a power drill to confirm that the gear box worked and lined up the seat as best I could.

I used a pair of pliers and a lighter, pulling on the metal end while heating it. It eventually came loose and slipped right off.

I trimmed 1/4" off the hose and then pushed the connector back on while applying more heat until it fit in completely. Once cool, it was very secure and you couldn't tell anyone had touched it.

I plugged it back into the motor and tested it before I put the screws back. It worked like a champ.

I replaced the two screws, put away the tools, positioned the seat to what I think my wife would like and came inside for a beer.

Thanks again for all your guidance!

Myron
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2011, 11:46 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Location: Omaha NE
 
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Posts: 12,835
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlyers8 View Post
Anyone in the Southern California area, I will fix your seat twist for $300 per seat (depending on location). I have done a number of them now and have a solution that has yet to fail. E-mail me @ rjkidder32@msn.com
Wow,

Interesting you charge $300 for something that people can fix for free at home!
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2011, 11:47 AM
thecushion thecushion is offline
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Location: NE,Arkansas
 
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Mein Auto: 02 s55 AMG,02 540i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlyers8 View Post
Anyone in the Southern California area, I will fix your seat twist for $300 per seat (depending on location). I have done a number of them now and have a solution that has yet to fail. E-mail me @ rjkidder32@msn.com
Dude stop trolling
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2011, 09:53 AM
NCJunglist NCJunglist is offline
BCH Imports
Location: Concord, NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: E46 M3 Comp Package
I find people will pay a lot to just have things fixed because they don't want to. I especially love fixing things that people "fixed at home for free" and F'd it up. I charge a stupid fee for those folks...
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