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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > Z Series > E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)

E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 12-24-2015, 02:46 PM
KRL99 KRL99 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 21
Mein Auto:
Keep stock seat / adapt new slider

I want to stick with my stock 1999 BMW Z3 Roadster seats, but my problem is the driver's side worm gear mechanism is so badly broken it literally will not move. I've tried everything (I have authored posts on this board about creative ways to get the seats moving; mine is so broken it will not move no way no how).

I can access the front nuts and remove them, but the back bolts are not accessible without moving the seat. And as stated, the seat will not move.

I'm interested in fixing the problem by:

1) literally cutting out part of the back stock seat rails so I can access the bolts and thus remove the stock seat and
2) purchasing the Corbeau driver's side dual-locking slider mechanism and (here comes the tricky part)
3) adapting the Corbeau slider to fit what's left of the stock seat rails, bolting it together as best I can.

Link to Corbeau sliders that claim to fit the factory floorboard bolt holes (but no claim to fit a factory seat of course).


I'm writing to ask what you think of that idea. Has it been tried before to your knowledge?

I'm thinking worst case I have to fabricate parts to make it work.

Update; I had emailed Corbeau asking if their sliders would by any chance fit the stock seat.
I got this reply:
"Our seats brackets are made specifically to our seats and do not work with factory seats. That being said I have no idea how they would work with your Roadster seats. Sorry we couldn't be of more help."

Last edited by KRL99; 12-27-2015 at 05:28 AM. Reason: Update - reply from Corbeau
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Old 12-24-2015, 07:02 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,862
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
You can move the seat forward manually by disconnecting the two cables on each end of the motor under the front of the seat and twisting the cables. In fact, your problem is likely that one of the cables has slipped out of the end of the motor; you can just push it back in for now. Maybe something is stuck in the track.

But if you've exhausted every possibility there, the only observation I have is that the seats are mounted way off-center on the slides. It might be hard to find a good fit for the z3 seats. I would look for replacement original slides.

Last edited by Blacklane; 12-24-2015 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:36 PM
JustinHalverson JustinHalverson is offline
Rdster Justin
Location: Augusta Ga
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 46
Mein Auto: 1999 BMW M-Roadster
Keep stock seat / adapt new slider

I've never been a fan of motorized seats. Besides adding complexity subject to failure, in the little Z3, all that hardware adds proportionally more weight. Did any Z3's come with manually adjustable seats? OR are there after market manual rails? I wouldn't mind putting that on my todo list - which is way too long already, but then it gives me an excuse to keep on tinkering.

Edit. Ok so I read the previous posts a little more carefully and clicked on the link to Corbeau. Looks like their sliders might work.

Last edited by JustinHalverson; 12-25-2015 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:15 AM
gtwhimself gtwhimself is offline
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Location: San Diego
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1998 M Roadster
Originally Posted by Blacklane View Post
In fact, your problem is likely that one of the cables has slipped out of the end of the motor; you can just push it back in for now.
Concur on this. I had to replace one of the cables on my driver's side seat. The kit comes with both cables and the plastic housings. Just wonder if an end slipped out or an end might be warn?
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:12 AM
KRL99 KRL99 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 21
Mein Auto:
Went with replacing the stock rails

One rail was stuck so I disconnected the flex cable and used a cordless drill to try and move it. It did move a little but resistance was too much and the flex cable started twisting - no good. I fabricated a custom tool out of a nail, thinking that would get me past the stuck region, but that broke the worm gear so it's not recommended. Now it won't move at all, no way, no how.

I decided to go with Blacklane's advice and look for stock rails. Luckily found a driver's seat for $100 + $6 tax - the change that fell out of the seat totaling sixty-two cents .

Next task was to go medieval with a sawzall on the old seat to cut it out.

Here was my cut plan:

Here's the rear cut:

And the front cuts:

Now I can access the stuck rail freely to do whatever it takes to get to the last bolt.

Moral of the story is, a stuck rail is no match for a madman with a sawzall who just bought a replacement seat! My seat upper is in much better shape than the junker, so next I have to figure out a way to transfer the rail parts from the junker to my existing seat, but that should be all downhill. I'll disassemble the junker rails to check their bushings before I put it all back in the car.
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Last edited by KRL99; 12-27-2015 at 05:14 AM.
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