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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 02-05-2010, 07:19 PM
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Has anyone an E39 DIY to retrofit the ski hole from trunk to rear seat cushion?

Has anyone a DIY retrofit instructions for converting a warm-weather BMW so that the "ski hole" is available?

I searched and found this thread which showed pictures of the cold-weather package "ski hole" (what is it actually called) above the rear armrest in the E39.

I'd like to see if it's easy enough to convert mine to allow skis to be stored inside.

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  #2  
Old 02-05-2010, 07:28 PM
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I have it and its a complete waste of time. Better off to fold the seat down if you can. Skis are a bit long in the e39, my board barely fits in the trunk with the seat down(it almost touches the front seats). Skis would need to be positioned between the front seats all the way to the gear shift and Im not sure but regarding the bag, I think once bindings are factored in, your skis might not fit in the bag. I know my one board doesnt with bindings on. BMW says it can fit two boards. Perhaps if you wanted to remove your bindings every day
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  #3  
Old 02-05-2010, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chong188 View Post
Better off to fold the seat down if you can.
I don't think my seats fold. I don't necessarily want the opening "just" for skis; it would be nice for anything long that hangs out of the trunk.

All I need is the "opening", not the bag per se.

I wonder if I can just cut a hole and it might work?
Or, is there a way to make my seats fold down that I don't know about?

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  #4  
Old 02-05-2010, 08:32 PM
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I had considered modifying my armrest hole for the same thing but after seeing what several had done, I did not want to butcher my car and compromise the resale value. They typically take a sawzall and cut out the hole. The edges are jagged requiring some padded edging to be jury rigged. All this can be hidden behind the armrest flap. The bigger problem is the trunk side, which cannot be cleaned up nicely. I found it was easier and cheaper to simply buy the OEM ski rack ($100 off Craigslist) and put my skis in a bag. Plus I can carry six pairs!
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
after seeing what several had done, I did not want to butcher my car
As a cross reference, this back-seat retrofit fold down thread today, where the OP "says" he started cutting the seats and then ran into trouble, got me thinking whether there were any good DIYs extant for the ski-bag pass through option and for rear folding seats.

Unfortunately, there's nothing useful (yet! ) about the ski-bag or fold-down seat retrofit in the bestlinks thread, nor in the E39 Wiki [ ] so I resorted to a Google search. [ / ]

To continue to add value, I'll see if I can put some of the better of these references for a BMW E39 rear folding seats retrofit DIY into the bestlinks thread for future use:
- E39 M5 Retrofit rear fold down seat?
- E39 M5 Possible to retrofit folding rear seats?
- E39 Fold down rear seats
- E39 Retrofittable folding rear seats?
and ...
- 3-series DIY: Factory Folding Rear Seats
- 3-series Retrofit fold down seats?
- 3-series Fold-down rear seats - conversion possible?
- E90 Folding rear seat retrofit?
- E46 what is need to retrofit fold down seats?

And, I'll put some of the better references of those below for a BMW E39 ski-bag retrofit DIY into the bestlinks thread:
- E39 Through Load retrofit
- E39 M5 Guide- Ski Bag Retrofit
- E39 M5 How to remove rear seats for Ski trap ?
- E39 M5 ski bag option retrofit
- 2803EN.PDF (272.1 KB)
- E39 M5 Rear seat pass through retrofit?
- E39 M5 Retrofit Ski-bag armrest??
and ...
- 3-series Has anyone retrofitted ski bags?
- 3-series Has anyone retrofit the Ski Bag & pass-through cargo hole?
- 3-series Winter package- DIY??
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:21 AM
delimeat52 delimeat52 is offline
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Geez, I'd entirely forgotten that the sedan's rear seats didn't fold. I guess it has been a while since I got the wagon now... The rear seats in the wagon do fold. If anyone was able to take a look at the wagon seats, say, from a junk yard on a poor E39 that had been messed up, maybe there's be some hope that the wagon ones would fit the sedan too.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delimeat52 View Post
there's be some hope that the wagon ones would fit the sedan too.
That's an intriguing idea, which deserves looking at in detail.

Thanks for the diagrams:
- Through-loading facility-seat cover (i.e., the pass-through ski-bag option)
- Rear seat (showing the fold-down seats we might be able to retrofit)
(PDF included below, for reference, in case the originals disappear.)

For the rear seat ski bag "through loading facility", I just found out today that Mack has done the retrofit himself as described here (his pictures are included below, at 640x480, in case the originals disappear).









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  #8  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:57 AM
delimeat52 delimeat52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delimeat52 View Post
maybe there's be some hope
And the 's' key is next to the 'd' key. Fat fingers ahoy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
That's an intriguing idea, which deserves looking at in detail.
If you need me to take some variety of measurements, let me know and I'll spend some time on it. Not sure exactly where the two differ, and I'd need to get an E39 sedan side-by-side to really figure it out. All my friends here are cheap and those that are classy enough have E34s that have been thoroughly abused or under-maintained by a previous owner, if you can even call that classy. If you can can make a detailed enough diagram I'll have my best go. If it gets in depth enough where some rooting around is involved like removing parts, I'm doing what remains of an inspection ii sometime in January and will take a look then when I have it in the bay with the proper tools and environment.
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delimeat52 View Post
If you need me to take some variety of measurements, let me know and I'll spend some time on it.
Thanks for the offer. I'm not sure if you mean the rear-seat ski-bag throughpass retrofit or the folding rear seats retrofit though.

At this point, I'm on hold, for both.
- The BMW E39 ski bag pass through option retrofit seems easier to handle; and there are some pictorial DIYs extant.
- The BMW E39 folding seats option is going to take something clever because I can't seem to find any decent DIYs that actually show it well.

However, none of them took the highly ingenious and innovative approach of swapping out the wagon folding seats (if that's easily done) ... so the jury is still out on the rear folding seat retrofit.

To continually add value, after reading all the links above, I added the best to the bestlinks thread as follows:
- BMW E39 rear ski-bag arm rest pass-through retrofit DIY (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
- BMW E39 rear folding seatback/folding seats retrofit DIY (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Of course, as always, if you know of better links, please either add them to the bestlinks thread or post them here so others can find them more easily.

Last edited by bluebee; 12-21-2010 at 12:03 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2010, 12:08 PM
delimeat52 delimeat52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Thanks for the offer. I'm not sure if you mean the rear-seat ski-bag throughpass retrofit or the folding rear seats retrofit though.
Folding rear seats retrofit. I have the wagon ('02 530).
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  #11  
Old 12-21-2010, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delimeat52 View Post
Folding rear seats retrofit
Keep that thought in mind, as someone may be contemplating the retrofit and that wagon switcheroo idea seems ideal.

BTW, while I was researching, this idea caught my eye as a dooozie!

- Retrofit a small refrigerator into the otherwise useless rear seat armrest!

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  #12  
Old 12-21-2010, 04:34 PM
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It would be a lot easier to buy a sedan with the kit. Really. My car has the 60/40 folding seats, and the ski passthrough. Easy to overlook, but it's not something I will after trying to move stuff with a car that doesn't have one.
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2010, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delimeat52 View Post
Geez, I'd entirely forgotten that the sedan's rear seats didn't fold. I guess it has been a while since I got the wagon now... The rear seats in the wagon do fold. If anyone was able to take a look at the wagon seats, say, from a junk yard on a poor E39 that had been messed up, maybe there's be some hope that the wagon ones would fit the sedan too.
I have a sedan with 60/40 folding rear seats - I believe it's an option available for most if not all sedans. The ski hole & bag are on the 60 side.
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2010, 04:02 AM
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Better yet, put a subwoofer in the armrest pocket.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...416&highlight=
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:14 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Keep that thought in mind, as someone may be contemplating the retrofit and that wagon switcheroo idea seems ideal.

BTW, while I was researching, this idea caught my eye as a dooozie!

- Retrofit a small refrigerator into the otherwise useless rear seat armrest!

That fridge looks great. I like that idea.
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  #16  
Old 12-22-2010, 08:58 AM
540nj 540nj is offline
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I hear you compromise the structural integrity of the car by cutting out the ski hole. You would add unwanted flex over bumps and hard driving conditions. Their are differences in the bulkhead between fold down seat cars and normal seats, besides the hole. I'd be happy to take pics of my car with fold downs if it would help.

dave
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2010, 09:06 AM
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If I ever decide to vent my sub into the cabin, I will probably only use a hole saw and drill perhaps 8 or 10 "ports" into the cabin and then dress it with some speaker cloth. That should not affect the stiffness of that panel appreciably.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:13 PM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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Quote:
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I hear you compromise the structural integrity of the car by cutting out the ski hole. You would add unwanted flex over bumps and hard driving conditions. Their are differences in the bulkhead between fold down seat cars and normal seats, besides the hole. I'd be happy to take pics of my car with fold downs if it would help.

dave
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I doubt it. I don't think BMW would make the retrofit kit if it compromised the structural integrity.
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  #19  
Old 12-23-2010, 09:36 AM
540nj 540nj is offline
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Quote:
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I doubt it. I don't think BMW would make the retrofit kit if it compromised the structural integrity.
Where do you see a ski bag retrofit kit for the e39?? Never heard of one...

Though only doing a ski hole vs complete fold down wouldn't hurt rigidity as bad.

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  #20  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:03 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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The skibag retrofit would have a very minute affect on structural integrity...the little hole (for the ski bag opening) versus the size & amount of metal left just wouldn't be a huge affect. BUT...if you cut out the entire metal reinforcing structure between the C pillars to install the folding seats...now you're moving into structural integrity. You'd have to remove the enitre metal structure seen in the pic below that separates the trunk from the cabin:



Tackling this mod is right up there with turning your e39 into a rag top...its not impossible...but be darn sure you know what you're doing....if not, the end result will be a rickety bucket of bolts.
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  #21  
Old 12-23-2010, 11:51 AM
sidneyj sidneyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540nj View Post
Where do you see a ski bag retrofit kit for the e39?? Never heard of one...

Though only doing a ski hole vs complete fold down wouldn't hurt rigidity as bad.

dave
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http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...-retrofit.html
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  #22  
Old 12-23-2010, 03:04 PM
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Love those pics! From an audio only perspective the cutout works GREAT! Easily a 30 to 40% improvement in bass sound quality after this mod. I love it. Good luck Bluebee!
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  #23  
Old 12-23-2010, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
Good luck Bluebee!
By now, I've long ago decided against either modification (the ski bag or the more draconian folding seats) as it's just too much work for me.

But, it's still good to compile the references for others who have the same question.
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  #24  
Old 12-26-2010, 02:21 PM
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Thanks, learned something new!

Re: fold down seats vs regular - seems that the fold down seats themselves have additional bracing missing from normal seats. So this could be how the lack of bulkhead is compensated for. Realoem references two part numbers for bulkhead (with and without fold option), but doesn't show a picture of the fold down bulkhead.

dave
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  #25  
Old 12-26-2010, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
By now, I've long ago decided against either modification (the ski bag or the more draconian folding seats) as it's just too much work for me.

But, it's still good to compile the references for others who have the same question.
LOL I think you're afraid of ALL DIY's. Have you even done any yet? Though I'll give you props for being the Queen of useful info!
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