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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-28-2012, 12:53 AM
013137 013137 is offline
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e36 Power Seat Gear Replacement DIY

In this DIY I will be replacing my recliner gear.

Tools needed:
1.)Torx screwdrivers or socket bits (T-30, T-25, and T-20)
2.)Socket and ratchet to remove the seat (5/8" socket)

Project time:
1 Hour 40 Minutes (You actually should complete it faster, stopping and taking pictures for this DIY is what made the install take longer for me)

1.)The first thing that you are going to want to do is to remove the 2 plastic caps which are covering the 2 nuts that hold the front of the seat to the floor of the car (one nut and cap on each side):

Now you can remove the 2 nuts, they require a 5/8" socket.

2.)Now you are going to want to remove the 2 bolts that are holding the rear of the seat down to the floor, they use the same size socket as the 2 front nuts did:


3.) Now that the seat is completely unbolted, you are going to want to go to your trunk and remove the cable from the negative terminal of your battery, doing so will prevent an unwanted airbag light from appearing on your dash once you unplug the seats wire harness.

4.) Now that you have removed the cable from the battery's negative terminal, go back into the car and tilt the seat back and peek under it, you will see the wire harness which is 1 large and 2 small female and male connectors, carefully disconnect all three of them:


5.) Now you can carefully remove the entire seat from the car, or do what I did, which was simply turn it upside down in the car. The next thing that you are going to want to do is to remove the black plastic kick plate, there's only one T-30 torx bolt holding it on:


6.) Now that you have removed the kick plate, the 2 motors and gearbox should now be visible:


7.) Now you are going to want to remove the 2 motors, there are two T-25 torx screws on each motor that connects it to the gear box. You will have to remove the motor which is sitting on the top first:



8.) Now that the top motor is removed, go ahead and remove the lower motor and sit both of the motors to the side out of the way like so:


9.) Now you are going to want to open up the gearbox, so remove the six T-20 torx screws that are holding it together. (REMEMBER WHICH SCREW GOES WHERE, BECAUSE THE 2 ON THE BOTTOM ARE ACTUALLY MUCH LONGER THEN ALL OF THE OTHERS):



10.) Next you are going to want to go ahead and open up the gear box, you may have to gently use a flat headed screw driver to pry it apart. Remember, GENTLY.:


11.) Now you can carefully remove the gear of which you are replacing, in my case it was the recliner gear which is at the top. The lower pink gear controls the bottom portion of the seat. Here is the threaded rod in which the recliner is supposed to be pressed onto, but the gear has disappeared because it had broken off an was chewed to tiny bits by the gearbox, which is why my recliner wasn't working. :


12.) Generally when you buy a new power seat gear, it will not come with the threaded rod already attached, so you will have to carefully use some sort of bench press or clamp to press the new gear onto your old threaded rod. I didn't have to do this step because I purchased my gear already pressed onto a new threaded rod from a forum member. :


13.) Now you are going to want to reinstall the threaded rod and new gear into the gearbox like so:


14.) Now make sure you lube everything up nicely (get your mind out of the gutter ), and put the gearbox back together. It may take some effort to get the gearbox face back on, so just wiggle it and play with it for a while until it snaps into place. Then re-install all of the screws (remember that the 2 longest screws go on the bottom):


Now re-install the motors starting with the lower one first, then the upper motor, then re-install the plastic kick plate which is held on by one torx screw. Put the seat back into the car, or in my case just flip it back over, then re-connect the 3 harness wires that you removed earlier. Now bolt the seat back down, re-install your battery cable back onto the negative terminal of your battery, and enjoy fully functional power seats again.
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Last edited by 013137; 01-28-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2012, 08:58 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Nicely done! I would suggest a change in the order of steps, though. Take the negative battery cable off FIRST. It's all too easy to start unbolting stuff and forget that step as you get into the project. All it takes to get the dreaded SRS light is one thoughtless moment of unplugging the harness. If the negative battery cable is already unplugged, you never have to leave the interior until the job is done.


@ "get your mind out of the gutter".

Ed, this needs to be linked in the stickies, please.
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2012, 09:09 AM
013137 013137 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Nicely done! I would suggest a change in the order of steps, though. Take the negative battery cable off FIRST. It's all too easy to start unbolting stuff and forget that step as you get into the project. All it takes to get the dreaded SRS light is one thoughtless moment of unplugging the harness. If the negative battery cable is already unplugged, you never have to leave the interior until the job is done.


@ "get your mind out of the gutter".

Ed, this needs to be linked in the stickies, please.
Thanks! And the reason why you need to hold off on removing the battery cable is because you will need the power seat to be functioning while you are unbolting it. You will need to slide the seat back to gain access to the front bolts, then you need to slide the seat forward to gain access to the rear bolts.

Haha just decided to throw in a little humor.

That would be great
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:19 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 013137 View Post
Thanks! And the reason why you need to hold off on removing the battery cable is because you will need the power seat to be functioning while you are unbolting it. You will need to slide the seat back to gain access to the front bolts, then you need to slide the seat forward to gain access to the rear bolts.

Haha just decided to throw in a little humor.

That would be great
this is a very good point...and i would edit it to reflect metric sizes, no fractional (sae) sizes on our cars...

other than that, good job!!

and i 2nd the motion to add to stickies...(after teh edit...)




df
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:47 AM
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jonesin jonesin is online now
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5/8" is a direct fit for the 16mm...

And added to stickies, great write up!
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2012, 09:59 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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Thanks for writing this up! It will undoubtedly help many people down the road.
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  #7  
Old 01-28-2012, 10:00 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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yeah, i know that. and 3/4 & 19mm, 5/16 & 8mm, 13/16 & 21mm as well.

i just don't like to see guys go after a 13mm with a 1/2" wrench. it's why i hated the 80's cars because they were both...


i no longer assume that people will know what is or isn't metric after i worked with a guy that was using said 1/2" tools on a vw. not to mention they like to use a lot of allen heads as well, which are also metric...

he kept wondering why they were stripping...

just a pet peeve of mine...carry on



df
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  #8  
Old 01-28-2012, 10:11 AM
013137 013137 is offline
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Yes, the 5/8 socket fits perfectly. But I have done some investigating and I found the exact torx bit sizes that I used, I just now edited it into the DIY Jonesin please ad this new edited version to the stickies instead
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Last edited by 013137; 01-28-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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  #9  
Old 01-28-2012, 10:16 AM
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jonesin jonesin is online now
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All good, I just pasted the link to this page itself
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I grew up in a time when the internet was just a baby. Grammar back then versus now... holy cow. You could watch the degradation of society as the internet became more mature.

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