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BMW E39 Front & Rear Seat Removal
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front & Rear Seat Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

Door Panel Clip removal tool, T30 Torx, T50 Torx, Pick tool, 10mm socket and ratchet, 21mm socket or wrench.

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Plastic rivets, Zip ties (Tie Wraps)

Hot Tip:

Removing all seats will give you access to components under the carpeting.

Performance Gain:

Install custom seats

Complementary Modification:

You can change the upholstery if desired

There are many reasons you may want to remove either your front or rear seats. If you have a torn seat cover, your power seats aren't working or you simply want access to your fuel pump and sending unit assemblies you may want to pull out your front and rear seats. Many times stuff gets dropped in between the seats and you don't want that stuff getting in the way of power seat operation. This stuff can sometimes damage the power seat mechanism and stop in from working properly. In the case of your rear seat; the bottom of it covers the gas tank. There are two access panels, one on each side of the tank that you can remove to change either the fuel pump or the sending unit. In this tech article we are going to review how to remove both the front and rear seats.

The photographs may switch back and forth between the driver and passenger side front seats because the procedure is nearly identical. Where there are small changes between each side will be specified in the photo and the corresponding test step. Keep in mind that a previous mechanic may have lost a fastener and substituted it with something else.

Front seat:
Here we are at the outside cover the driver side seat.
Figure 1

Here we are at the outside cover the driver side seat. Start by removing the T30 Torx fastener recessed in the hole at the front of the plastic trim cover.

Here we are at the outside cover the driver side seat.
Figure 2

Here we are at the outside cover the driver side seat. There are three plastic rivets that hold on the bottom of the cover. One is mounted in the front, one is in the middle and one is in the rear. Use a door panel clip removal tool to lever out the front rivet.

Here we are at the outside cover the passenger side seat.
Figure 3

Here we are at the outside cover the passenger side seat. Move the seat side cover slightly out of the way and use a plastic pry tool to pop out the center rivet.

Here we are at the back cover the passenger side seat.
Figure 4

Here we are at the back cover the passenger side seat. To access the third rear plastic rivet you should remove the seat rear cover. Reach underneath the rear cover and pull straight back. Two spring clips, one on each side of the cover, will pop out.

Once bottom of seat back is detached, slide it downward to unhook retaining clip, then remove from seat.
Figure 5

Once bottom of seat back is detached, slide it downward to unhook retaining clip, then remove from seat. There are two retaining clips at the top of the panel, one on each side the cover. Here I only have the inside retaining clip unhooked from the seat. You will have to unhook the other side before the seat panel before you can remove it. Remember to hook both clips at the top of the panel in first before securing the bottom.

Here we are at the bottom of the back of the passenger side seat Use the door panel clip tool to pry out the third and final rivet that holds on side seat cover.
Figure 6

Here we are at the bottom of the back of the passenger side seat Use the door panel clip tool to pry out the third and final rivet that holds on side seat cover. The same clip is in 2the same position on the drivers side. You can just let it hang attached to the seat.

Remove the T30 Torx fastener on the passenger side seat cover.
Figure 7

Remove the T30 Torx fastener on the passenger side seat cover. There is no fastener on the drivers side cover, only the passenger side.

Under the driverÂ's side outer seat cover is another cover that protects the outer seat rail.
Figure 8

Under the driverÂ's side outer seat cover is another cover that protects the outer seat rail. Use a T30 Torx to remove the fastener that secures the cover. This cover is only on the driverÂ's side seat.

Here we are at the outside of the drivers side seat.
Figure 9

Here we are at the outside of the drivers side seat. Lift up the outer seat cover and unhook the rear of the cover to move it out of your way.

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front.
Figure 10

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front. Remove the T30 Torx fastener for the inner seat cover mounted at the front of the seat.

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front.
Figure 11

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front. Use the door panel clip tool to lever up on the plastic rivet. This will allow a small amount of movement of this inner panel. Push the panel towards the center console to get it out of the way.

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front.
Figure 12

Here we are at the inside edge of the drivers side seat at the front. Use a T30 Torx to remove the inner seat rail cover. You will have to reach in from the front of the seat to access this fastener. Once the screw is loose remove the inner seat rail cover. This cover is only used on the driverÂ's side seat.

Moving to the back of the seat use a plastic pry tool to lever off the two rear seat rail covers They will not pop off all the way but they should be loose.
Figure 13

Moving to the back of the seat use a plastic pry tool to lever off the two rear seat rail covers They will not pop off all the way but they should be loose.

Use a pick tool to unclip the two plastic tabs (green arrows) that hold on the seat rail cover.
Figure 14

Use a pick tool to unclip the two plastic tabs (green arrows) that hold on the seat rail cover. You can now move the cover out of your way. It is the same procedure to pull off both seat rail covers. If your seat will not move back and forth you will not be able to see the fasteners that have to be removed. You will have to reach underneath the seat and feel for the fasteners that we call out in this procedure. You may be forced to use a small ratchet and stubbly sockets to get access to the fasteners to remove them. This applies to all the fasteners mounted underneath the seat, so keep that in mind during every step.

Remove the two T50 Torx fasteners (green arrows) that hold down the rear of the seat.
Figure 15

Remove the two T50 Torx fasteners (green arrows) that hold down the rear of the seat. If you can move the seat all the way up to see the fasteners

Here we are under the driver side front seat looking at it from the rear.
Figure 16

Here we are under the driver side front seat looking at it from the rear. Rotate blocking pin tang 90 degrees then slide it out of the bracket to remove. This allows you to remove the cable from the seat frame.

Here we are under the driver side front seat looking at it from the rear.
Figure 17

Here we are under the driver side front seat looking at it from the rear. Remove the T50 Torx fastener that secures the seat belt.

Here we are at the drivers seat inner seat rail at the front.
Figure 18

Here we are at the drivers seat inner seat rail at the front. Remove the T50 Torx fastener that mounts the inner front seat rail. It helps to move the seat to the most rearward position if you can.

Remove the T50 Torx fastener the mounts the outer front seat rail.
Figure 19

Remove the T50 Torx fastener the mounts the outer front seat rail.

There is a cover (green arrow) at the front of the seat.
Figure 20

There is a cover (green arrow) at the front of the seat. Pull the cover forward to expose the electrical connector for the power seats. You may want to lift the seat up to make it easier to get to the cover but you can access it with the seat in place.

Use a pick tool to slide the locking tab in the direction of the blue arrow to unplug the power seat wiring.
Figure 21

Use a pick tool to slide the locking tab in the direction of the blue arrow to unplug the power seat wiring. It uses a slide lock so as you slide the locking tab the connector will separate and you can unplug it.

It is easier to move the seat all the way forward and tilt the top of the seat out of the door.
Figure 22

It is easier to move the seat all the way forward and tilt the top of the seat out of the door. The seat is heavy and you need to be careful not to scratch the body with the seat frame rails. You may want to have someone help you by sitting in the other seat and guiding you from the inside. You can place a blanket to protect the finish of the car as you remove the seat. Reverse the procedure for installation. Make sure all wiring is routed as you found it. You probably want to run the seat back and forth while looking under it to make sure the wiring harness is not rubbing up against anything. You can use plastic zip ties to secure the wiring in a safe position. Make sure you torque all of the seat belt mounting fasteners to their proper torque for safety reasons.

Rear Seat Removal:
Reach underneath the front of the rear seat and pull upwards to unsecure the lower portion of the seat.
Figure 23

Reach underneath the front of the rear seat and pull upwards to unsecure the lower portion of the seat. You will have to do this for both side of the seat. Lift the whole seat all the way up to allow the seat belt buckles to pass through their openings in the seat.

Pull the seat out of the way through the rear door.
Figure 24

Pull the seat out of the way through the rear door.

Here we are at the base of the outside edge of the rear seat.
Figure 25

Here we are at the base of the outside edge of the rear seat. Remove the two 10mm fasteners (green arrow), one on each side of the car, that secure the rear door sill cover and the outer portion of the backrest of the rear seat. The driverÂ's side bolt is pictured here and the passenger side is in the same position on the passenger side of the car.

Here we are at the top of the outside edge of the rear seat.
Figure 26

Here we are at the top of the outside edge of the rear seat. Grab the top of the outer backrest and pull it forward in the direction of the blue arrow. DonÂ't try to remove the cushion yet. Move to the next step.

Lift the cushion straight upwards to unseat the metal tab (green arrow) that hold the bottom down.
Figure 27

Lift the cushion straight upwards to unseat the metal tab (green arrow) that hold the bottom down. Look at where the tab comes out so you know where to put if back for installation.

On this model with the split fold down rear seats you need to remove the two 21mm fasteners (green arrow) on the outside of each seat.
Figure 28

On this model with the split fold down rear seats you need to remove the two 21mm fasteners (green arrow) on the outside of each seat. Here we are on the passenger side at the bottom of the seat where it pivots. Here the seat is in the down position. The other side of the seat fits into a pivot point. When installing the seat put the pivot point in first and then install the outer mounting bolt. Reverse the procedure for installation. When putting the bottom portion of the rear bench seat make sure you route the seat belt buckles through their respective openings.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Rob Comments: Hi there is not cable in this seat, only a shaft
July 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Turn whatever the motor drives to move the seat manually. That is your only option. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rob Comments: Hi my seat it's all ten way to the back, I can't acces the rear bolts on the passenger seat of my 1997 BMW 540i
The power seats are not working, there is any way to move the seats manually or have acces to the rear bolts?

Hi, unfortunately the motor it's fried doesn't work at all.
Maybe I can cut the bolts
July 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the motor is faulty, you will to remove the motor, then run the seat drive with the cable run by the motor, by hand. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rob Comments: Hi my seat it's all ten way to the back, I can't acces the rear bolts on the passenger seat of my 1997 BMW 540i
The power seats are not working, there is any way to move the seats manually or have acces to the rear bolts?
July 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Locate the fore / aft motor and activate it using fused power and ground. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DLHK Comments: Thanks pelican folks.
Seat's now fixed. Your optional linkage to larger images was very useful too.
Nice one.
April 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good work!! Glad we could help out. Thank you for the feedback - Casey at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:05:17 AM