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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The rear seat center seat belt in my 1999 528it wagon is stuck. It will not pull out at all and stays in the retracted position up next to the seat back. I think that the inertia spring that keeps the belt from moving when there is a sudden stop is broken. The new seat belt is not that expensive but I am having trouble figuring out how to get it out. Any clues or pointers on how to get at the seat belt mechanism for a wagon are appreciated. The rear of the seat is accessible because it is a touring/wagon model with a fold down rear seat.
I jsut cant see or feel any fasteners to release the seatback. The Bentley states only the standard sedan seat is covered, so no help there in that great big thick tech manual!!
 

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HPDE Instructor
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Never mind. you don't want to do this. next time i'd get a cheapo lap belt as it is only used for the baby seat.
 

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E39 wagon centre rear jammed seat belt

My seat belt jammed when the seat was in the down position. I removed the belt and dismantled it to find the fault but could not understand it so I bought an new one and this has jammed too. I think it might be that it has been allowed to retract too far. If that is the case then I can fix it provided I can get the belt out of the spool. Can anyone help me unwind my belt, please.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
freeing rear middle seat Touring

Major PITA design. the side belts work fine when dropped and returned to their upright and locked position!
Get a removable clamp of some kind , or ssome twine or rope to hold the belt after this next step
Remove seat bottom by releasing at the two front anchor points, just push reallyhard and it should release from the teeth on each side. using a 17mm, unbolt the middle belt anchor point.
Release the belt into the reel and it should now be free. take about a foot of belt,coil it up and secure with clamp, twine, whatever. rebolt belt. reinstall seat bottom.
Now figure out how you will hold that slack in belt for the next time it loks up. you can release the "saved" coild of belt toward the reel and it will unlock.
trouble is you have to do this every time for it to reliably release, AFAIK.
Good luck. Like I said, MAJOR PITA. Shame on BMW for not getting a better vendor design, in an otherwise marvelous road and track machine
 

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Unbolting the belt mounting and creating slack did not help . The belt was stuck. I took the complete belt out of the car and went to a friendly specialist BMW mechanic and he said there was no secret button to release the belt The only solution is to just keep on pulling and letting go. I sat down, made a cup of tea, stuck the end of the Bowden cable in a drawer and started tugging at the belt and moving it, tilting it whilst keeping it vaguely in the position it would be on the back of the seat. It only took about 5 minutes and it came free. I clipped the belt so that it would stay unspooled, fitted it to the car and in half an hour I had saved myself 1.5 hours of BMW time (for that job) and a big slab of money. Don't forget to push the belt through the hole in the foam seat and also through the guide hole at the top of the seat. Thanks for your advice. I hope this is of use to guys with similar problems. Just keep tugging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
stuck e39 touring middle seatbelt

Paul, great going on the stuck belt. I tried the pulling leting go while tipping the seat as you described. No joy. I think the Bowden cable interlock jams the belt(I think it is supposed to trip the ball bearing belt lock so the seat back can be laid down wiethout binding the belt). I can't find anything in the Bently about it. I'll keep trying. How didyou reattach the carpeted trim panel on the seatback when you were done? All my plastic barbs broke off, so I had to use some rubber glue to sort of reattach the trim panel!
 

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I cannot work out exactly what the Bowden cable does but I suspect it is there to ensure that the seat is upright and locked into position. If the seat were not so positioned the belt would be useless as the passenger would be unrestrained. The little button on the belt stops the belt retracting fully and leaves enough slack in the belt to allow the seat to fold flat even though the seat belt will lock when you lower the seat back. The internal workings of the belt mechanism thinks that the car is in an accident because when the seat back is reclined a big ball bearing inside the mechanism will have moved forward, as it would do in an accident, triggering the lock mechanism. Therefore that little button on the seat belt must be present and also there must be the guide at the top of the seat back ($7) which does not allow the button to pass through. This is, I think, the answer to your "Now figure out how you will hold that slack in belt for the next time it locks up." If your seat belt will not unlock however often you tug at it, then maybe your belt mechanism is faulty. If it keeps locking up it means that you cannot use it but at least you will be able to fold the seat up and down. I need to get mine working as in UK they check that the belts are working properly each year (as well as loads of other things) and a fail of the seat belt means no certificate, invalid insurance etc, I think it was easier to unjam the belt by taking the whole mechanism out - not really easier but it worked, perhaps because I could tilt it in all different ways, I shall be using mastic to stick the trim panel back onto the the seats as the clips are mostly broken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
second touring

forgot to mention this is the secon e39 touring I've had. gave my first one with the broken belt mechanism to my daughter after replacing the mechanism. second unit had the sam issue. I fished it out, locked the baby seat in place, and never removed the baby seat. the present car has the same issue. But it does come loose when I unbolt the anchor. You're in
UK? I love Top Gear. Are those guys over the top for you , or do you like that show?
 

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With regard to Top Gear, it has been immensely popular around the world but I believe the US version uses US presenters. Jeremy Clarkson and Co (UK) just act like big teenagers doing silly things with fast cars and big budgets. It is what loads of men (including me) would love to do and get paid for it. It is over the top but that is why it is successful. I understand that the US did not take the Clarkson version because his team like mocking everyone and everything inc the Brits and the Americans. It was assumed that USA would find it offensive (justifiably). This is what I heard
 
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