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· Bimmerholic
1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is meant to be a supplement to this DIY, which shows how to glue the female end of the connector back together, but does not help if the whole locking lever is broken; and also to QSilver's excellent repair DIY (referenced below.)

The seat switch module controls the forward/backward movement of the seat itself; the movement of the backrest; the movement of the headrest, and the movement of the steering wheel. Because of a poor design, if the plastic trim piece that surrounds the seat becomes loose (see below), then the female and male ends of the module separate. Eventually, the female end breaks...or the locking lever breaks...or both break, and the even the slightest movement of the trim piece will pull the two ends apart.

Result: no seat or steering wheel adjustment, and no seat memory function.

In my case, since the white locking tab was broken, even when I took the whole trim piece off and stuck the two halves back together, the two ends would work their way loose.

Thus, I wanted a permanent fix that did not require replacing the connectors.

Step 1.
Remove the seat adjustment buttons. Use a wide flat blade screwdriver to pry them straight off. Or a damp cloth to pull them off.

Step 2:
Remove the two #30 Torx screws, one one the front of the trim piece and one on top (borrowing these images from QSilver's writeup on BimmerforumsDIY)

The issue with the one on top is that it's not accessible unless the seat back is reclined, which is impossible if the switch is not working. So, you may need to remove most of the trim section, press the halves of the connector together until you have power, then recline the seat back and remove the screw.

Step 3: Remove the plastic rivets, of which there are three:

Be careful to keep them intact.

Here's an image of the male end with the broken locking lever. Once this piece is broken, there's no easy way to repair it:

Here's the female end, with the standard broken part:

Step 4

I placed the broken section of the female end back where it belonged, connected the two halves, then wrapped the entire thing tightly with electrical tape:

After that, I clamped the whole thing together with a zip tie:

Step 5
In my case, I had another problem: the metal tab at the front of the trim piece that the front Torx screw held had cracked and disappeared: this was the reason the trim piece got loose in the first place and caused all the trouble:

My solution was to glue a washer on this area with Gorilla Glue and then put the Torx screw through it, then tighten it down:

I'm not totally convinced this will hold forever, but it beats buying an entire new trim panel.

Of course, my neighbors started making cracks about "fixing my fancy BMW with Gorilla Glue" but hey, whatever works!

Step 6:
Put everything back in reverse order, then press the switches back into place.

Now, even if the trim piece comes loose, the two sides of the connector should not separate; there's enough slack in the wiring for a little play, should the loose trim piece pull on it a bit.

That's it, hope this helps someone else.

Thanks to Q for the excellent write up.

· Seek to understand,^Value
25,378 Posts
This is meant to be a supplement to this DIY, which shows how to glue the female end of the connector back together, but does not help if the whole locking lever is broken; and also to QSilver's excellent repair DIY (referenced below.)
I recognize some of those pics as mine! :)

Good work!

So that every thread improves our tribal knowledge base, let's organize the best DIYs for future reference.

Here is what is currently in the VERY best of E39 Links thread:
- SEAT & STEERING WHEEL CONTROLLER BREAK OFF: seat covers that don't protect switches for both the steering wheel tilt & driver's seat control (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

Looking at each of those, and adding yours, and re-arranging in order based on utility to newbies ...

These seem to be the best, in this order, for the seat switch repair itself:
- DIY on the Notorious Seat Switch by Qsilver7
- Broken Seat Switch, Permanent Fix DIY, by Josh P.
- Tips and suggestions for replacing destroyed E39 driver seat adjustment control panel, by bluebee
- Seat Switch Repair DIY, & Driver's Seat and Steering Wheel Adjustment Gremlins..., by NoTempoLimit
- Power seat switch failure, by Prof
- How to replace the Seat Trim on an e38 (For those who love pics!), by IBHenry
- Aluminum reinforcement of plastic trim on the front seats, by DavidC

And, these seem to be of interest, being related to the seat-switch-related steering wheel anomalies:
- Calling QSilver! Which connection in the sterring column...., by Al's 540i
- telescoping steering wheel, by mmoghbelli
- Telescopic steering wheel malfunction, by shockler

So, putting it all together, in what looked like to me to be the best order, (in a keyword-rich short sentence) we get something like this (please review):
- SEAT & STEERING WHEEL CONTROLLER BREAK OFF: seat covers that don't protect the seat control switch handling both manual & automatic driver seat control (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) & the related automatic steering wheel tilt (1) (2) (3)

As far as I know (please review), these are the best references for the master seat control switch DIY.
I just put 'em in the VERY best of E39 Links thread for others to benefit from in the future (as always).

· Registered
13,521 Posts
Nice write-up. And what's really funny...I had to click the link to "my" DIY. I didn't even remember doing it...I had to click the link to see what you were referring to. :eek:

I guess because I reply to this problem and it's companion issues a lot ("my steering wheel doesn't work anymore")...I assumed you were referring to me making some comments with a couple of pic thrown in for good measure. Geez...I'm getting memory is fading. :p

· Bimmerholic
1,831 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't believe you can get just the lever. But you don't really need it (and it's prone to break anyway), just tape the entire thing together.

· Bimmer ****ie
62 Posts
My 02 530I developed this issue in the last day or two. No power driver seat functions or steering column functions so I am hoping to find a loose connector to the seat module. I did have the seats out a few months ago to fix the twisted seat back issue so may have not gotten the plug back in good. We'll see.:dunno:

· Registered
20 Posts
Sorry to bring up an old thread, but does anybody know if I can order this locking ever by itself? If so, can you provide the part#.

Hey... the lever itself I don't know how to order, but I just ordered the "cap" that includes the locking lever for $15. I'll get you the part # that I used tomorrow morning... don't know if I'd recommend what I did, though, because my part was not an exact match. I got it on, locked, and my seat plugs in and works, but I won't be able to get it back off without screwing something up. The old (correct) one just slid apart with no issue. I will provide some more information once I can get the pictures sorted.

· Registered
20 Posts
"Covering Cap"

So, here's what I did. It worked, but not well. I hope someone can improve on it.

My covering cap (that's the name of the part with the locking lever) was broken.
 photo P1020607_zpsxbo9jrgx.jpg

On it was a Siemens part # B1026-Y240. Internet search led me to BMW part # 61 13 6 913 644. It might actually be a Mini part #. I ordered one for $15 (incidentally, I found places where I could order them for $.87, but minimum $200 order).

Next, I took a small flatblade screwdriver and levered up the tab in the middle of the "covering Cap". It broke. The block with the wires slid right out like a pop tart out of an open, shimmery new package.

 photo 91f79516-c1a1-4c26-acdd-49b6c3625dea_zpsindiu9y7.jpg

Here's the bad part. I think the new, blue covering cap is not exactly like the old, black one. I slid the wires back into the new one about a third of the way and they stuck like glue. I couldn't get the block back out to see what the problem was without breaking the covering cap. So, I was able to force the wires all the way in to the new cap with unnatural force. That's the part I don't like. Anyway, once in, it connected to the seat control module and locked in place.

 photo P1020614_zpszwpoxsxb.jpg

Here's one theory on the difference between old and new if anyone would like to check. The old one, as seen below, has two protrusions on the inside that are directly across from each other. The wiring block slides in along those guides. The new covering cap seems to have an extra protrusion on the left side, lower than and in addition to the one in this picture, that caused me problems. Hope this helps somebody.

 photo P1020615_zpscicsqpbz.jpg
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