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Power Seat Repair

Discussion in 'E32 (1988-1994)' started by JThomas, Apr 23, 2018.

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    JThomas

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    I just picked up a very nice original 1994 740i. Both of the front seats have issues with their power positioning. When you try to recline the driver's seat, only the left side of the upper seat wants to recline, putting you in a "leaning" position to the outer portion of the seat.

    The right seat will not power forward or backwards and similar to the driver's seat, when you recline it, the left side of the upper seat wants to recline putting you into a leaning position towards the center of the interior.

    1. Has anyone experienced this problem before and what was the fix?
    2. Because both seats want to "lean" the same way, is there some electrical/circuit problem going on?
    3 Do these seats have multiple motors that have possibly gone bad in both seats?
    4.Anyone know of a BMW specific shop that can repair the issue? This car was purchased as a fun "historic" BMW, so I'm not looking to break the bank on repairs, but I need to be comfortable while driving.

    Thanks,

    Joseph
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    MGarrison

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    JThomas

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    Thanks for the response, much appreciated. After looking at the link you sent me, I had no idea this was such a common issue.
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    MGarrison

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    Found some info specific to E32' & E34's - besides google &/or youtube, try searching 'seat twist' (or any relevant keyword combinations) on some of the other forums like bimmerfest.com, bimmerforums.com, bimmerpost.com, bimmerboard.com, and within any E32-specific sub-forums. Since your posting here in the E32 forum, figuring that's what you have as opposed to the first year of an E38, although I imagine any of this is applicable to E38's also.

    Found this on a method for shortening the cable sheath, apparently on E32 seats; was for the headrest, but follow-up comments talk about this for the seat twist.

    https://e38.org/forums/posts/5326

    Here, somebody removed the end of the cable, cut the sheath shorter, and put the end back on - seems like a bit of a hassle compared to the above method. If there's a downside to the above, I suppose it could be the risk over time of the sheath slipping from the hose clamps or overtightening the clamps on the outer sheath so the cable within couldn't spin. So, shortening the sheath at the end, maybe risk of the sheath coming free from the end eventually, but, cable within should be able to spin without issue. Can't say which way is better, but some careful cutting and splicing with some fuel hose and hose clamps sounds pretty simple. I think I'd try to cut the sheath against a piece of wood or something to at least try to reduce the risk of slipping and cutting fingers though if opting for that route.

    http://m.odometergears.com/howto/E34_Seat_Cables_Fix.pdf

    This excerpts a couple of relevant posts -

    http://www.nmia.com/~dgnrg/page_11.htm

    If the cable is broken, then replacing it might be the only repair - bavauto mentions gearbox issues as a possibility too, so you'd have to do some more searching to get specifics on that -

    https://blog.bavauto.com/4897/1993-bmw-525i-e34-drivers-seat-back-twisted-e32-e23-e24-e28-e31/

    You can use realoem.com to look up parts & part #'s, easiest is to put in last 7 of your vin, unless you know your production month/year. Knowing the part number, you can google search it ("BMW xxxxxxxxxxxx") for sellers & price comparisons.
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    JThomas

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    MGarrison:
    Thanks a lot! I just got the car late Sunday night and all I have been able to do is wash it, register it and detail it. Work sometimes gets in the way of fun. As soon as I get a chance I will look into this issue further, but I do appreciate your support.
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    JThomas

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    Just an update. I took the car to my local BMW dealer, which is located about two miles from me. A long serving technician was very familiar with the seat twist issue. The car was repaired in short order and now functioning properly.
    MGarrison likes this.
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    MGarrison

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    Good to hear, can't beat that!
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    rollingthedice

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    Which fix was used? How much did it cost? I spoke to BMW in Pleasanton and they estimated $800/seat to replace the cables for the seat twist issue on a 2003 E39.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    The seat twist issue is caused by cables shrinking and the shrouding need to be cut away. There are no parts involved just labor. And that cost depends on what the shops hourly rate is. The second link shows the repairs on ad e34 seat. Just google e39 seat twist and you will see many DIY with pictures on the repair.

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