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Passenger Seat Occupancy Mat Sensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Passenger Seat Occupancy Mat Sensor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Plastic trim panel tool, diagonal cutters, tape

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Seat occupancy mat

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to tear leather

Performance Gain:

Remedy airbag fault codes

Complementary Modification:

Replace seat leather

The passenger seat occupancy mat is a sensor in the airbag system, helping to identify the size and position of the passenger. With this information, the airbag control module can deploy the passenger airbag in various stages, depending on passenger size and position. If this mat fails, it triggers an airbag fault code and leaves the airbag system inoperative. Replacing the mat is straightforward and can be done in a few hours. 

There are some aftermarket parts out there, which bypass this sensor, but I would advise against doing this. If you are in an accident and the passenger airbag doesn't work as designed after you tampered with the system, you may be liable for another person's injuries. 

With that ugly part out of the way, I want to help you extend the life of these mats. Do not kneel on the passenger seat. This is the number one killer of these mats. When the mats are older, a sharp movement in only one area can damage the mat. Also avoid throwing heavy objects on the passenger seat: For example, a heavy book bag with sharp edges. Read through this procedure before digging in.

The explosive charge in the seat belt pre-tensioner poses a hazard if not handled carefully. The front seat belt buckles are bolted to the inside of each front seat. If you aim to remove either front seat, disconnect the negative battery terminal and insulate the end to prevent accidental reconnection.

Avoid marring the paint and trim. Work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Start by removing the passenger seat. See our tech article on seat removing. Place the seat on a blanket or a large fender cover.


PLEASE NOTE: The mat and the module do not come together. They will need to be ordered separately. Module part #65-77-6-940-191 and Mat part #52108410538.

Once you have the seat removed, remove the three seat switch panel Phillips head screws.
Figure 1

Once you have the seat removed, remove the three seat switch panel Phillips head screws. (green arrows) Then pull the panel away from the seat, just enough so it hangs there. You do not have to remove it.

Next, work your way around the bottom of the seat cushion pan opening the seat cover retaining tabs.
Figure 2

Next, work your way around the bottom of the seat cushion pan opening the seat cover retaining tabs. These tabs are metal and you will have to bend them open using a flat head screwdriver. There are two at the front, and three or four at each side.

This photo shows how far you will bend the metal tabs.
Figure 3

This photo shows how far you will bend the metal tabs.

Once the tabs are opened, detach the seat cushion fabric from the tabs.
Figure 4

Once the tabs are opened, detach the seat cushion fabric from the tabs.

Work around the entire seat, detaching the fabric from the tabs.
Figure 5

Work around the entire seat, detaching the fabric from the tabs. Then pull the front of the seat cover up from the seat pan.

Once the seat cover is detached, locate the occupancy mat plug under the seat pan.
Figure 6

Once the seat cover is detached, locate the occupancy mat plug under the seat pan. Lift the tab to release it, and unplug it by pulling it apart.

Then working at the rear of the seat cushion, unclip both plastic clips by pulling them off the seat pan.
Figure 7

Then working at the rear of the seat cushion, unclip both plastic clips by pulling them off the seat pan. (green arrows)

Using a trim panel tool, remove the trim clip at the switch side of the rear of the seat cushion.
Figure 8

Using a trim panel tool, remove the trim clip at the switch side of the rear of the seat cushion. This will allow you to lift the cushion up and access the mat. (green arrow) Only remove the one side, the other side can stay attached.

Then pull the seat fabric out of the rear corner of the seat.
Figure 9

Then pull the seat fabric out of the rear corner of the seat.

Now it is time to expose the occupancy mat.
Figure 10

Now it is time to expose the occupancy mat. Lift the seat cushion up, and guide the electrical connector (green arrow) through the hole in the seat pan.

Next I like to prop the seat cushion up.
Figure 11

Next I like to prop the seat cushion up. You can use a screwdriver like I am, or a piece of wood. Just be sure whatever it is, it doesn't tear the cushion.

Working at the back of the seat pan under the cushion, pull the occupancy mat sensor connector up through the seat pan (green arrow).
Figure 12

Working at the back of the seat pan under the cushion, pull the occupancy mat sensor connector up through the seat pan (green arrow). Then cut the zip tie strap and remove it (yellow arrow).

Next you can remove the old occupancy mat.
Figure 13

Next you can remove the old occupancy mat. Peel it off the seat pan, starting at the front.

Once the mat has been removed.
Figure 14

Once the mat has been removed. Clean the areas where the tape was. If any is left behind, be sure to peel it off and clean the surface. (green arrow)

Place the new occupancy mat on the seat pan; align the holes in the mat with the holes in the seat pan.
Figure 15

Place the new occupancy mat on the seat pan; align the holes in the mat with the holes in the seat pan. Hold the mat in place while you peel off the tape covers (green arrow).

Route the mat over and be sure there is slack where needed and press down on the adhesive to be sure it has a good adhesion.
Figure 16

Route the mat over and be sure there is slack where needed and press down on the adhesive to be sure it has a good adhesion. Install a new zip tie strap and feed the occupancy mat connector through the hole in the seat pan. Once the mat is in place and secured, reinstall the seat cushion and cover as it was before. Be sure it is properly aligned and the metal tabs are bent over correctly. Install the seat switches and

When reinstalling the seat, be sure to replace the old occupancy mat module (yellow arrow) with the new one supplied with the mat (green arrow).
Figure 17

When reinstalling the seat, be sure to replace the old occupancy mat module (yellow arrow) with a new one (green arrow). You will recognize this part from when you disconnected the electrical connectors under the seat for removal. Once seat is installed, clear airbag fault codes and you are done.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Paul Comments: Please respond to this email because it is the second time that I sent it.
December 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I forwarded your original questions, and you follow up to the help board. You can also email the link to the sales person. I will forward it again. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: This comment is for Dina Corrales who requested the return comment from Nick on your staff. Please forward it to her so she can respond.
December 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I forwarded your info to our tech team. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: The last paragraph of your technical article says a new module is supplied with the occupancy mat. After installation I called your number and found that a module is not included but the new mat will have to be programmed.
this was misleading.
December 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It was supplied with the mat repair kit when the article was authored. I would double check with our parts specialists. It is likely included still, may not be listed in the parts spec. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:06:56 AM