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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:23 PM
mrserveon68 mrserveon68 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3
Mein Auto:
driver seat problems

I have a 1990 535i and the driver seat back is twisted. the right side of the seat will recline all the way back but when you try to let the seat back up the right side comes up and the left side of the seat starts to twist. If anybody knows how to fix this let me know plz, it would be a big help.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:35 PM
Domecq Domecq is offline
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Location: Antioch CA
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 525i
seat twisted

I have a 89 525i series with a similar problem. The driver seat just started twisting inward. The seat is now hard to seat on. The left side is potruding as it twisted inward. The right side is down and lower. None of the controls can unmangle this seat. Help! Also my shifter knob came off and I managed to seat it back in and connect the pin but it is still now properly in place.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:43 PM
zaleonardz zaleonardz is offline
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Location: South Africa
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 263
Mein Auto: F30,F30,E70,F10,F01
Easy fix guys....

Your electric seats run on various cables that are inserted into motors, and what happens with time, I dont know if the plastic expands or the metal cable shrinks, but the crux of the story is that the inside of the cable has pulled out of the motor.

This involves taking the seat out, cutting back on the cable plastic, and resetting the seat with a drill, but there are plenty of howto's on this one on the web. Just google E34 seat cable problem.

I can do a complete seat in about an hour and a half....

Let me know if you dont come right
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:09 PM
danielcash danielcash is offline
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Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 525i touring
twisted seat, e34

Hey guys, I have to let you know, I've had the same problem, the twisted seat backrest, on three DIFFERENT vehicles. An '89 735i, an '89 535i and now on a '92 525i. The gentleman who gave you the fixing advice is correct and it's a very common problem. However, the seat is a bear to remove, you have to do it just so. (Be aware, there are clips in the front to secure it to the floor, while the rear bolts into the floor.) Also, the canles are not that easy to locate, identify, ect. I'm not so sure it should be considered an easy fix. I had a bmw certified shop, well respected guys, quote 2 hrs and it took over five! They honored the quote, within 1/2 an hr anyway, all totaled it was $235. Almost any bmw certified shop will have a repair bulletin on this and they should quote you somewhere in the area of 2 hrs. I'd think twice about doing it yourself, unless you have a mechanical backround, the right tools, a strong back and some cold beer. Good luck, let us know how it goes. Oh, I forgot, the cause, for me anyway, seemed to be excessive "tapping" on the recline function, as in "fine tuning" --That's when all of mine malfunctioned, so I've learned now. After the repair, be gentle, use longer strokes to set the incline and then LEAVE IT ALONE! I have my switch secured with some weather stripping in front and in back of the switch itself. This way, the fore, aft, up -down, rocker and headrest all still work. It will happen again if you're abusive to it. Good luck on it.

Last edited by danielcash; 07-10-2010 at 04:17 PM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:53 PM
zaleonardz zaleonardz is offline
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Location: South Africa
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 263
Mein Auto: F30,F30,E70,F10,F01
Indeed, taking out the seat is a little bit tricky, and you are going to suffer if you dont have anybody helping you.

Its doable, but perhaps I do make it sound a bit simple, here is the process in a nutshell that I use.

(Note that if you have a problem with your headrests that the motor turns, but the headrests do not work, you can do the cable repair by just pulling up on the rear cover of the seat, you do not need to take the seat out for that, access to the cable is easy by just pulling out the back cover)

There are two torx screws (E12 if memory serves, but dont quote me) Take those out.

Remove rear bottom seat, exactly like you would do to get to the battery.

If you can,retract your headrest so that they are level with the seat

Move your back rest as far possible as you can,.

There are two screws at the back which you have just removed, and the front of the seats are held in by a hook in front, so what you would need to do is lift the seat from the back upwards (this is where it helps to have the seat moved as far back as possible, if its too high up, you will just hit the roof lining, and not get the seat out).

While lifting the seat up, you should kinda push forward at the same time to clear the hook, takes some fiddling, It is always nice to have one person with his head looking at the clips, and the other person lifting the rear of the seat and pushing kinda forwards/upwards while lifting)

Once you have cleared the clips, the seat will be loose. You should be able to get to the electrical harness, and just unclip the connection.

The safety belt actually mounts onto the seat, and its your choice if you want to remove it. I have done them before by just pulling out the safety belt still attached to the seat, but thats cause I was lazy, you can remove the bottom of the seat with two screws, and undo the safety belt.

Ok now that you have the seat loose, you or your buddy have an individual job. it is one persons job to pick up the bottom of the seat while the other helps by lifting on the rear seat back.

If you are the one moving the bottom, it is your job to make sure that the bottom of the seat rails do not hit any trim panels, those things can cause major damage, but its easy if you watch it...

Once the seat is out on the floor or on your bench, put some towels or something down to put the leather part of the back rest onto so that you do not scratch it..

You will see two motors on the bottom, each has two cables that goes into it, so there is 4 cables in total that you would have to do.

Loosen the motors by removing 6 smaller screws that holds the motor bracket together, both motors are on the same bracket.

The second that you have the motor loose, you can pull it upwards and you will see how the bracket actually holds the cable in place. all 4 cables will just come loose then.

you will now clearly see that when you look at the metal part of the cable, there will be one that is just barely peaking out of the plastic sheeting, this is your problem, but if your going to do all this work of removing the seats, you may as well do all four cables, it just makes sense.

So what I do after I have the cable loose, you will see that it has a metal surround that holds the cable into the motor. I take a stanley knife, and I cut around the base of this connector, so that I have the front metal part in my hand.

I then take the metal connector over to my vice, and use a small push to remove the nylon bush, and I put that away for later use.

Then I use a blowtortch to heat up the old plastic that is still left in the connector, and use a screwdriver to push the plastic out.

You will note that this metal connector was just crimped onto the plastic cable with 3 little jagged edges, so that it just grips the plastic.

I use a drill bit back that is exactly the same size as the hole to uncrimp or push back the metal edges that grips the cable.

So bascially, what you have done is you have removed about 2cm of the plastic cable. this is actually all that you need to do.

Now if your seat is twisted, you can reset the seat by using a battery operated drill with variable speed, and a torque setting (set it to its lowest setting) and attach the drill to one of the cables, and slowly adjust it until you get the seat back into alignment, you will have to play with the other side of the cable until you get the seat into a zero position or where its no longer twisted.

Once done, take the metal cable clip, install it over the wire again, and use a punch to recrimp the metal clip back onto the plastic cable, I do this by using a punch and a metal block, bit tricky on the first one, but you will get it.

Ok, thats basically the job, do that on all four cables, and installation is the reversal of course....

Having typed all this out, perhaps the job is quite a bit more challanging then I originally stated, but its not rocket science, with some basic skills, you can figure it out..

Like I said, I can do a full seat in like an hour and a half, but I have done a few of them...

Feel free to drop me a msg if anything is unclear.

Good luck
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