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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My plastic seat belt holder on the seat of my Z3 snapped. Does anybody know how to replace this without ruining the seat? Do you just try to pull it out?! Thx!
 

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Unfortunately, replacing it means removing the upper leather seat cover. It's held on by; There is a post at either end of the vinyl seat belt guide, which pokes through two holes in the leather seat cover. Behind the seat cover, there is then a plate the full size of the belt guide that acts as a giant washer / reinforcement. Two speed nuts are used to hold it all together.

I hate speed nuts. Crazy work trying to get them off. So in this application, it would be really super hard to only partially remove the seat cover. I've read of guys trying this though. Didn't hear what the outcome was. They removed the back vinyl "clam shell" trim on the seat, and then unzipped the zipper in the back. The problem here is, I don't see that this would produce enough slack and looseness in the seat cover to get your hand up in there. Seems like one would have to release the metal tangs that are holding the seat cover down at the bottom, and then cut the hog rings holdiing the listing in at the middle of the seat. Not easy work.

But, in theory, if you could get the seat cover loose enough.. you could take a dremmel tool with a cutting wheel attachment and carefully (so as not to hurt the leather) disect the old belt guide section by section. Eventually getting to the point where you're cutting the vinyl pins off. This would release the dreaded speed nuts into your hand behind the leather, and fish them out of there.

The new belt guide should come with a new backing plate and speed nuts. Putting speed nuts on.. is waaay easier (they like to go on).

I read that someone tried JB Weld but it didn't work. Still, there might be some kind of super duper molecular inter-terciary space manifolding atomic vinyl epoxy that could bond the two broken pieces. :bs: Seriously tho.. might want to do some research on it. There are bunches of different kinds of epoxies out there. Just cuz JB Weld didn't work...
 

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i bought new guides as a safety thing since they are re doing my seats, no speednuts come with them sadly, backing plate does though
 

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01silber said:
i bought new guides as a safety thing since they are re doing my seats, no speednuts come with them sadly, backing plate does though
That was very smart. My Roadster only has 13k on her.. but still .. I should have done that too. Doh!

New speed nuts can be had at the dealership for just a couple bucks. (They're the larger ones).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! Huge job!

First of all, thanks a lot for the great explanation! It seems to be a huge job though. Opening up the seat cover from the back indeed does not give you enough working space.

Trying to find something to join the two broken pices, might be an easier solution? It broke right above the bottom connection point.
 

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luciano136 said:
Trying to find something to join the two broken pices, might be an easier solution? It broke right above the bottom connection point.
If you can find something, let me know. There are a lot of people with the same problem......it's discussed a lot on the Roadfly forums, and nobody seems to of found a "glue" solution. I've tried superglue, epoxies, and silicone with disappointing results. :dunno:
 

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super duper molecular inter-terciary space manifolding atomic vinyl epoxy

I have just found a product called Gorilla Glue. This stuff has repaired lots of different substances for me. I would try it on the plastic. It requires clamping for about 4 hours, so it is not an instant fix. I found mine at OSH, and have seen it at Home Depot.

Good Luck, and let me know if this works for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: SoCalZ3

Maybe I will give that a try. Not sure how I'm going to clamp it though... And I'm not going to hold it for 4 hours ;-)... I'll try to get it today and let it sit overnight.

Thx for the suggestion!
 

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One more thing...

Read the instructions! Gorilla glue expands a little and foams a little as it sets up. Use enough, but not too much. The excess (if any) can be trimmed with a razor blade.

You may want to practice on something less important for the first use.
 

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luciano136 said:
Since you'll be at the hardware store anyway, pick up a micro QuickLok clamp. Jorgensen makes 'em too. They're the pull trigger style of bar clamp with two rubber ends. They make the giant ones for wood working, sure.. but they also make a whole range of little dinky ones. Might have to call a specialty wood working place to find them.

Two other possible solutions:

- There's a bazillion kinds of plastics and vinyls, all with different chemical make ups, so this may not work.. but worth trying .. is to head over to the plumbing supply isle and pick up some PVC epoxy and also some ABS epoxy. Have you ever seen someone use this at a construction site. Amazing stuff. It comes in a tin can, and has a "cotton ball" brush built into the screw top. You usually use a separate cleaner solution first. Then you dollop the epoxy onto the two sides of the vinyl to be joined, wait a pre-specified number of seconds (says on the can), and then you joing them together. The number of seconds you wait is really short, and the cure time is really fast. Might still want to clamp, but holding it might do too.

The bond that it makes is scary strong. Like.. basically you cannot break it. It quite literally melts a layer of the vinyl and molecularly bonds / welds them together. I don't know that there's enough of a seam in the broken belt guide to provide enough surface area though. A plastic pipe joint has a lot more surface area.

Then, the other question is whether the seat belt guide is either ABS or PVC vinyl. What I would do is order a replacement set anyway. You know you're going to need them some day. BMW is good about imprinting the plastic / vinyl type on the back of their parts. Check it out. It may actually say "ABS" or "PVC", and then you'll know which epoxy to use.

And, if you wanted to test this first.. really, this is what I'd do. Buy the replacement belt guide, and... break it. Seriously. Then try gluing it together again. You'll get gluing practice (not getting it everywhere), and once the mended part sets up hard, you can test it to see how strong it truly is.

If you do decide to apply the epoxy to the guide on the seat, you clearly cannot use the cotton ball applicator (will get everywhere). Toothpick will take too long. you only have seconds to apply it. Go and buy several plastic syringes from a medical supply place. I use these all the time for work like this. Invaluable. Now the trick is, you'll want a couple types, and then you'll have to test them for tolerance to the epoxy... as the epoxy will melt them if they match the epoxy type. So.. if you need to use PVC epoxy, you want syrniges that are made of some other kind of plastic / vynil. Anyway, the syringe will give you pin point and instantaneous glue delivery abillty, with no spill over.

- This idea will be even tougher; Line the broken part all up, hold it tight, and drill some holes through the belt guide and into the backing plate behind the leather. You can't possibly hurt the seat. It's foam back in there. And the leather.. well, you'll always have a belt guide there, and it's already got two large holes. What's two more little tiny 1/8" holes.

Now.. pop rivet the guide in place. You might even be able to find black pop rivets. Ideally, you want the pop rivet heads to not be in the full "dragging path" of the belt, or the belt will polish off the head and wear off the black.

If the belt guide broke way down low, near the base, it will be harder to pull this off, but I still think it would be doable. It wouldn't be that ugly actually, and someday you can pull the seat cover and replace the whole thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
clamps & glue

Thx again for the great help! I found both the glue and the QuickLok clamp at OSH. Those clamps are pretty cool! They are very light and seem perfect to use on the seat belt guide. I'll give it a shot later and see how that goes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All glued; waiting for result...

Well, I put on the glue about 1.5 hours ago. The downside is that the clamp won't stay on; it's jumps off the seat belt guide because it is not a nice flat surface. On the other hand, putting the 2 pieces together might have enough pressure without the clamp. I just checked and it already looks pretty solid. I did put some clear tape behind the holder so I didn't get any glue on the leather. I will have to check tomorrow whether it's strong enough or not. It definitely looks pretty good, it will depend on the strength of the glue...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks like it worked...

Looks like the gorilla glue is holding! It has only been a day of use but looking good! :thumbup:
 

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That's great news!

:D Thanks for the update. I'm happy to hear that the repair went well.
Good Luck, and Many Happy Miles,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
SoCalZ3 said:
:D Thanks for the update. I'm happy to hear that the repair went well.
Good Luck, and Many Happy Miles,

Dave
Thx! Where do you live in Socal btw? Coming from Belgium, I DO enjoy my convertible here! Hurray for the sun ;-)!
 

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I live very close to Los Angeles. The suburb (if you can call it that) is Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley. I am about 30 miles North-East of down town L.A.

My Z3 has been in the bodyshop for the last week and a half. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get it back. I am really looking forward to turning in this rental car and going topless again!

Where are you located?
 

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Strangely enough I posted this problem in the DIY and received no replies. Glad I checked here.

I broke mine while moving the seat forward and the tensioner didn't release. This is an ongoing problem on the passengers side. It makes my wife crazy when I tell her to lift her butt off the seat to pull out the belt.

So the Gorilla glue is working out?

I'll give it a try also. The alternative sounds like a pain in the ass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Blacksheep said:
Strangely enough I posted this problem in the DIY and received no replies. Glad I checked here.

I broke mine while moving the seat forward and the tensioner didn't release. This is an ongoing problem on the passengers side. It makes my wife crazy when I tell her to lift her butt off the seat to pull out the belt.

So the Gorilla glue is working out?

I'll give it a try also. The alternative sounds like a pain in the ass.
Any luck with the gorilla glue? It's probably been 2 or 3 weeks now and it's still going strong! No problems...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SoCalZ3 said:
I live very close to Los Angeles. The suburb (if you can call it that) is Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley. I am about 30 miles North-East of down town L.A.

My Z3 has been in the bodyshop for the last week and a half. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get it back. I am really looking forward to turning in this rental car and going topless again!

Where are you located?
I am in Huntington Beach now. I usually drive up north to go to the Angeles National Forest. Angeles Crest Highway is perfect for some roadster driving! Lately there are a lot more cops over there though! And you have to be careful for bikers and rocks on the higher elevations (7000+).
 

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Tried the Gorilla Glue on the broken seat belt retainer on my Z3......been a week, and it's the first thing that has lasted that long :)
 
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