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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:42 PM
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tim330i tim330i is offline
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First BMW F30 Recall - Front Headrest Height

BMW F30 3 Series Recall headrests

The sixth generation BMW 3 series, chassis code F30 was just launched on February 11th, 2012 and has gotten off to a resounding success. The media reviews of the new 3 have been extremely positive and the readers of Bimmerfest.com that have picked up their F30s have enjoyed the improvements over previous generation BMWs.

The launch of any new product line is of course not without issue and the F30 has had a few so far. The stop/start feature has already required one service update and I have a feeling that won't be the last. Thankfully this recall is for a much more basic problem. The front headrests can be raised more then legally allowed. BMW has a legal obligation to fix this issue before a car can be sold, but if you already own and F30F30 3 series effected by this problem I don't expect you'll be racing to the dealership to get this fixed.

Effected Models
2012 Model Year F30 3 Series 328i and 335i produced from October 2011 to March 2012

Problem
The front headrest maximum raised height may not comply with federal transportation standards.

Is My BWM F30 3 Series Included in this Recall?
The easiest way to check is raise both front headrests to their maximum height. Inspect the chrome headrest support posts, if you see two notches on the post you're in the clear. If you can see more then two notches your car is eligible for the recall service.



The Fix
If your F30 front headrests can be raised above the federal height standard the BMW techs at your local dealership will perform the following steps to correct the issue.
  • Move the front seats and seat back in the forward most position.
  • Remove the rear seat panels from both front seats.


  • Position the headrest so only two notches are visible.


  • On the inside of the seat slide locally sourced hose clamp onto one of the head rest posts and tighten. This prevents the headrest from being able to be raised to an unsafe height.


  • Reinstall rear seat panels to front seats.

Required Parts for Repair
  • BMW PN 52201964201 - Retaining pin for seat back removal (may not be required)
  • Hose clamp - Locally sourced - BMW recommends McMaster item 5416K11

I just check and the Bimmerfest Project F30 328i has 4 notches visible on the headrests making it eligible for the recall. Anyone else have an F30 BMW 3 series that is effected by this recall?

Last edited by tim330i; 05-01-2012 at 09:12 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:56 PM
BobBNY BobBNY is offline
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Really?

Fix with a locally sourced hose clamp? I'm all for a creative temporary MacGiver fix but this isn't what I was expecting from BMW.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BobBNY View Post
Fix with a locally sourced hose clamp? I'm all for a creative temporary MacGiver fix but this isn't what I was expecting from BMW.
I agree. I know it makes no difference in any way but the use of a hose clamp does rub me the wrong way.

Tim
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:16 PM
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99.99999% of those affected will never know how it was fixed. We wouldn't either if we didn't.have access to inside information.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:17 PM
micknugget micknugget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
I agree. I know it makes no difference in any way but the use of a hose clamp does rub me the wrong way.

Tim
Then think of it as a BMW approved adjustable alloy travel limiter.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:23 PM
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CE750Jockey CE750Jockey is offline
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"...but if you already own and F30F30 3 series effected by this problem I don't expect you'll be racing to the dealership to get this fixed".

You got that right. I bet most won't bother.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:58 PM
malc410326 malc410326 is offline
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Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
I agree. I know it makes no difference in any way but the use of a hose clamp does rub me the wrong way.

Tim
+1 This is quite an annoyance and frankly not even worth the bother....But just knowing this is the solution, the use of a hose clamp?!?!
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:25 PM
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White05X3 White05X3 is offline
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Really? A hose clamp? I can see drilling the post and inserting a pin perhaps. Maybe a flared rubber grommet...but a hose clamp? I wonder if that is going to be their solution on new production cars.

On the bright side a decade from now some F30 is going to break down in the middle of nowhere with a blown hose. The dedicated F30 fan will recall the hose clamp on the headrest. Five minutes later our hero is back on their journey. Really this is just a new location for BMW to store spare parts and is quite clever.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:00 PM
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So the FMVSS has a regulation on a maximum height for head restraints? Who was the health & safety expert that thought of that?!

Probably the same group of folks who thought having an amber side marker was a crucial safety feature........if one can't see 4,6 metres of car behind the headlights from the side, he/she probably is legally blind.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:42 PM
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Wow. One word. Jenky.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:57 PM
Glen E Glen E is offline
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it's not a recall, it's a service action...actually Tim, I'm surprised you used it....you do not have to "race" anywhere to get it done...I assume the hose clamp was chosen as it's fast and effective...no cars can be sold or delivered untill the fix is done....I don't think many would want to wait while AG designed a pin and more elegant solution while their car sat at the dealership for weeks....
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Last edited by Glen E; 05-01-2012 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White05X3 View Post
Really? A hose clamp? I can see drilling the post and inserting a pin perhaps. Maybe a flared rubber grommet...but a hose clamp? I wonder if that is going to be their solution on new production cars.
Actually a hose clamp is a simple, elegant and appropriate solution. A grommet that was pressed into place can be pulled out of position by yanking on the headrest, so that's no good. Drilling the post accurately would be difficult without removing it from the car, at significantly greater labor expense and risk of damage to the active head restraint components. If BMW dealerships typically have a drill press in the shop, I haven't noticed one yet, and hand-drilling plated and/or case-hardened parts--the headrest post is at least plated, maybe hardened--is a PITA. Then there's the possibility of weakening the post by drilling a hole large enough to accommodate a pin that can't easily be sheared, so BMW wouldn't want to solve one "safety" issue by possibly introducing another. On balance, the clamp is a smart way to go: Slip it in place, crank down until it bites hard, done and good for practically forever.

I do have a minor beef with "locally sourced," though only because cheap US hose clamps don't like being reused more than a few times...not an issue here.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen E View Post
it's not a recall, it's a service action...actually Tim, I'm surprised you used it....you do not have to "race" anywhere to get it done...I assume the hose clamp was chosen as it's fast and effective...no cars can be sold or delivered untill the fix is done....I don't think many would want to wait while AG designed a pin and more elegant solution while their car sat at the dealership for weeks....
BMW calls it a recall in the dealer document -

Quote:
Recall Campaign 12V- XXX Maximum Raised Height of the Front Headrest Is too High
They're just handling the recall with a service action.

As I said I understand 100% why the hose clamp was chosen and find it to be a easy and simply solution to a problem that could easily be over engineering. Because a solution works and is simple doesn't mean it always fits the bill. We could all be driving econoboxes that would transport us from A to B just as effectively.

Tim
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:28 AM
Glen E Glen E is offline
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thanks - a recall it is!
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Last edited by Glen E; 05-01-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:10 PM
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I find the "jerry rigged" repair totally unacceptable. I've owned many cars over the years and never elected to raise the headrests from their lowest position. Now I'm stuck with the headrest in a higher position than I desire. The so called fix limits the height but also limits the headrest from going all the way down to the top of the seat back. Check the headrest position on any advertisement for any car....guess where it is located. I want the headrest to perform as advertised.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:14 PM
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tim330i tim330i is offline
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I don't believe the fix limits the headrest going down. That seems to be some other limitation.

I got the recall letter in the mail today, anyone else?

Tim
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:47 PM
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I got mine too, still no BMW key fob USB though...
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
I don't believe the fix limits the headrest going down. That seems to be some other limitation.
IIRC, I think that is somehow connected to the Active Head Restraint function. The E90 platforms have the same problem: The front seat headrests are delivered in the lowest possible position but if you ever raise them, they cannot be lowered again all the way to the original position. They stop one click above bottom and that's all you get. I inquired several times about this, both before and after purchase, but apparently the only means of reversal is to disassemble the seat.

If true, it's disappointing to hear the F30 has the same silly flaw.
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  #19  
Old 06-28-2012, 02:15 AM
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I was a little shocked when I saw the hose clamp. Out of sight, out of mind...
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:22 AM
akthorp akthorp is offline
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If I had an F30 I wouldn't want it fixed so I wouldn't even take it in. But, when you take it in for scheduled maintenance is BMW going to be obligated to fix it whether the owner wants it or not?

Hopefully it won't be an issue by the time I take the plunge.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:22 AM
vern vern is offline
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How do you take the seat back off?
cheers
vern
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:07 AM
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tim330i tim330i is offline
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Originally Posted by vern View Post
How do you take the seat back off?
cheers
vern
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There is a complete instruction set for removing and replacing the seat back. I'll see if I can get my hands on it for you. This should get you most of the way. This is from the recall bulletin.


Position the seat to the uppermost height setting and the forwardmost seating and
backrest position to locate the two retaining pins. Remove the rear panel on the front
seat backrest. Refer to Repair Instructions "52 13 198 Remove and refit/replace the
rear panel on the left or right front seat backrest."


For the rear panel, two types of retaining pins were used. For cars produced prior to
mid-February 2012, the “tree”type pins were used, and must be replaced. Carefully
remove this type, and discard. From mid-February 2012 forward, the newer
expanding rivet “push pin” type have been used, and are reusable. Push in the center
pin through the clip until it falls out, and then carefully remove the retainer.


If the reusable push pins were removed, you must remove the seatback leather from the
retaining tabs to recover the two center pins. Bend the seat tangs downward and pull the
leather off in an upward/rearward direction. Collect the two reusable pins and install the
leather to the tangs through the original holes; and then bend the tabs upward to
secure.


Refit the rear panel and secure with two retaining pins. If the original pin was a “tree”
type, install a new “tree” type. A “push pin” type can be reused by inserting the retainer
to the seat panel and seat frame; then insert the center pin back into the retainer, until
flush.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:40 AM
vern vern is offline
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
There is a complete instruction set for removing and replacing the seat back. I'll see if I can get my hands on it for you. This should get you most of the way. This is from the recall bulletin.


Position the seat to the uppermost height setting and the forwardmost seating and
backrest position to locate the two retaining pins. Remove the rear panel on the front
seat backrest. Refer to Repair Instructions "52 13 198 Remove and refit/replace the
rear panel on the left or right front seat backrest."


For the rear panel, two types of retaining pins were used. For cars produced prior to
mid-February 2012, the “tree”type pins were used, and must be replaced. Carefully
remove this type, and discard. From mid-February 2012 forward, the newer
expanding rivet “push pin” type have been used, and are reusable. Push in the center
pin through the clip until it falls out, and then carefully remove the retainer.


If the reusable push pins were removed, you must remove the seatback leather from the
retaining tabs to recover the two center pins. Bend the seat tangs downward and pull the
leather off in an upward/rearward direction. Collect the two reusable pins and install the
leather to the tangs through the original holes; and then bend the tabs upward to
secure.


Refit the rear panel and secure with two retaining pins. If the original pin was a “tree”
type, install a new “tree” type. A “push pin” type can be reused by inserting the retainer
to the seat panel and seat frame; then insert the center pin back into the retainer, until
flush.
Thanks Tim ,your the greatest. Them high head rests are driving me nuts. Got to find away of lowering them Thanks again
cheers
vern
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:28 AM
vern vern is offline
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Thumbs down

Checked out what kind of pin I have holding the seat back in position and wouldn't you know it I have the "Tree Type Pin". I tried removing them and couldn't get them out. They must have a special tool to remove them.
cheers
vern
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:44 PM
vern vern is offline
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Thumbs down

Nobody disturbed by not being able to bring the head rest flush to the seat back?
cheers
vern
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