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Investigative Tinkerer
5,011 Posts

8 Posts
Stupid Easy, 10min Seatbelt Guide Fix

Hey all, first post here.
Bought my first BMW last week (2001 Z3 3.0i) and other then being really unimpressed with the quality of the plastics, I really like this little car!

Anyways, from reading the posts around here, I see the seatbelt guides breakage is a common issue, and there are a few good write ups and/or "kits" out there.

I REALLY wasn't into taking my seats apart, and I had already bought the new guides from BMW when I found out what a PITA they were to thinking cap on time.

Seeing as the last seven vehicles I've own/ed are Jeeps, I'm used to fixing things that should have been taken care of at the factory :tsk:

Anyways enough blah blah blah...


1 - Drill (on hand)
1 - Drill Bit (on hand or about $1-2 to buy, I used an 11/64 but a 3/16 should be fine too)
1 - Counter Bore or large drill bit (1/2"ish should do it) (i already have a counterbore bit on hand, but you can buy a cheap one from Home Depot for <$5)
1 or 2 - New guides from BMW (mine were #52 10 8 410 505 and 52 10 8 410 506) ($$$ in Canada :mad: )
4 - #8 Nylon Drywall Anchors ($2)

1) Remove any remaining pieces of the old clips

2) Drill holes through the Guides using the tabs as a drill guide

3) Counterbore the exit holes just enough for the screw it sit kind of flush (i may change the screws to a counterbore type in the future)

4) Remove the tabs sticking out of the back (i used a grinder, but a sharp knife and some patients should do it)

5) Screw in the nylon anchors, make sure you are screwing into the plastic backing in the seat, not just the foam.

6) Screw the guides to the seat and paint, jiffy or whatever the screwheads (i will buy some flat black model paint later)

7) Don't tell whoever broke the guide (in this case it was my wife) how easy it was to fix and ride the guilt wave as long as possible (ie: damn it honey, now I HAVE to go buy that new tool to fix this) :angel:

Best part about this fix, is if it breaks again, it is a quick replacement.

hardtop potentate
479 Posts
z3 Seat Swap DIY--older seats into newer car

Recently, when I bought second-hand black leather Z3 seats to replace my blue leather seats, I discovered that the electrical wiring had changed during the course of Z3 production. I'd need to rework the electrical wiring if I wanted seat adjustment, heat, and occupancy sensors to work correctly. After many months of stalling, and occasionally taking another befuddled look at the wiring, I decided to just dive in.

Wiring diagrams were of no real help, since the wiring colors didn't match what was present on the seats. I purchased a complete wiring harness in the hopes that I could scavenge the needed parts. In retrospect, that wasn't necessary, but it did help me determine which wires on the seats connect with which wires in the car.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no wiring expert, and I offer these instructions simply as a helpful guide to you if you're contemplating the same mod. There may be other approaches that work better, and these instructions may not pertain to all seats and all year vehicles. In this case, the seats are 01/97 production and the car is 04/2001 production. I believe the wiring changed in 04/99 with the 2000 model year cars, though there may have been other iterations along the way. Also, I believe the ///M seats maintained the earlier wiring throughout production....

Supplies Needed:

~ 10mm, 13mm, 16mm sockets w/wrench
~ adjustible wrench
~ hammer
~ blankets or towels to place seats on (they'll be upside-down alot of the time)
~ wire stripper and crimper tool
~ butt connectors, blade connectors, wire nuts, or soldering tools
~ portable lighting to see under seats
~ plenty of workspace at the side of the car
~ several hours to complete the task

Step 1:

Use the power adjuster to raise both seats as high as they'll go--this will give you more working room under the seats later on. Slide both seats back far enough to expose the nuts on the floor at the front of the seats' rails. Use the 13mm socket to remove all four nuts (two for each side of each seat). Next, slide the seat forward to expose the nuts at the rear of the rails. If your seatback is reclined, release it to full upright position to get better access to the rear. These nuts will now be removed with the 16mm socket. Now use the adjustible wrench to remove the bolt that holds the seatbelt to the seat base, and in the case of the roadster, work the strap out of the seatbelt guide at the top of the seat.

Step 2:

Disconnect the negative battery cable using pliers or the 10mm socket. Make sure you have your car's stereo code #--once the battery is reconnected, you'll need to reenter the code to use your stereo.

Step 3:

Tilt the seatback rearward as far as possible--this will allow better leverege for working under the seat, and also easier removal from the car. lift the back of the seat forward toward the windshield and get in behind it with lighting so you can see where the connection from the floor meets the seat connection. It is a yellow and black boxlike plastic structure that is fastened to the seat bottom. You can twist it to unfasten it from the seat. Once it's unfastened, the wiring can be disconnected by pulling on the black plastic piece on the side labelled 'a' in this image (The connection is shown already disconnected):

Here is an image of the connection that comes out of the floor (already disconnected):

Step 4:

Remove the seat from the car being careful how you lift and swing it out--It's easy to gouge your sill plate or center console. Set it upside down on the blacket or towel for easy reference to its underside. Set the replacement seat near it so you can compare the connections.

Step 5:

Remove the black plastic 'caps' on the floor's yellow connector for easier access to the wiring. Remove the cap on the seat-side connector as well.

Step 6: Passenger Seat only

Look at the underside of the replacement seat and you'll see the "seat occupancy sensor" which is shown in the following image. This needs to be connected in order for the seatbelt tensioner to fire and passenger side airbag (if equipped) to go off in event of an accident. The airbag indicator lamp will light up on your instrument panel if this is not connected when the battery power is restored. You will then have to pay for either the reset tool or a trip to the dealer to reset it. The driver's side doesn't have the occupancy sensor--the car assumes there is a driver present in the event of a crash. This image shows it disconnected--a white plug inserts where the arrow is:

Step 7:

On both replacement seats you'll see connections like the following:

The black plug is for the heating feature, and the white plug is for the seat motors. Because I had bought a separate wiring harness, I was able to salvage the parts that plug into these and make the following connection using butt-connectors (you can use blade connectors, wire nuts, or solder if you prefer). If you use butt-connectors, gentle pulling will ensure that you've crimped them sufficiently.

As I hope you can see, I only cut and rewired what was necessary to make the circuits complete. Some of the wiring from the old seats was compatible with the wiring in the yellow floor connector, and I plugged those seat wires right into the yellow seat-side connector as shown is this image (the central three blocks of wiring in the connector):

The outside blocks of wiring--one at each end--are what were converted to the old style plugs.

Place the replacement seats back into the car and get in behind them to reconnect everything. Reconnect the battery cable and test your connections.

I don't know what some of the connections were for, but none of it was redundant, and they've worked well since completion. This isn't the complete story, as I've forgotten some details in the 2 weeks since I did this. Questions, comments, or corrections are welcomed, but please post replies to the following thread:

19,585 Miles
11,141 Posts
Lets remove the Z3 door panel (part two)

>>>> SEE ABOVE POST #58 <<<<

Screws are one use.


Pin tool is now $76.74r

<img src=

Hook tool is now $34.51r

Removing outside handle:

Lock Cylinder removal:


Premium Member
1,439 Posts
The Z3 FAQ post is for how to content. Please do not post in this thread asking for specific information not listed in this post. Please create a new thread in the general Z3/Z4 forum with your questions***8211;you will get better responses this way!
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