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Seat Belt Guide Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Seat Belt Guide Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$35 to $70

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Plastic trim panel tool, diagonal cutters, tape

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Seat belt guide kit

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to tear leather

Performance Gain:

Seat belt guide functions normally

Complementary Modification:

Replace seat leather

The seat belt guide is mounted to the side of the seat, near the headrest. It is made of plastic and breaks easily. When the guide breaks, the seat belt floats so that when you are buckling in, grabbing and searching for the seat belt can be a pain.

The guide can be replaced in a few hours. You'll have to remove the seat and peel back the leather cover. There are a few different methods for replacing it. The method I am going to describe is fast and makes attaching the new guide a snap. Read through this procedure before digging in.

Keep in mind that front seat belt buckles in BMW Z3 models are equipped with pyrotechnic automatic pre-tensioners bolted to the inside seat rail. The pyrotechnic device has an explosive charge, which is triggered by the airbag (MRS) control module in case of sudden deceleration such as a car crash. Once triggered the device cinches up the seat belt by 55 mm (about 2 inches). The pyrotechnic pre-tensioner poses a hazard if not handled carefully. When you go to remove either front seat, disconnect the negative battery terminal and insulate the end to prevent accidental reconnection.

Avoid marring the trim. Work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

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 seat you are replacing the guide on. See our tech article on seat removing. Place the seat on a blanket or a large fender cover.

This photo shows the guide we will be replacing (green arrow).
Figure 1

This photo shows the guide we will be replacing (green arrow).

Working at the bottom back of the seat, unclip the seat cover from the plastic channel.
Figure 2

Working at the bottom back of the seat, unclip the seat cover from the plastic channel.

Next you will have to peel open the center seam that runs up the back of the seat.
Figure 3

Next you will have to peel open the center seam that runs up the back of the seat. Use a small flathead screwdriver to disengage the plastic channel.

Once the channel is disengaged, peel the seam open to the top.
Figure 4

Once the channel is disengaged, peel the seam open to the top.

Next peel the second half of the cover away from the bottom of the seat.
Figure 5

Next peel the second half of the cover away from the bottom of the seat.

Once the rear of the cover is unclipped, pull the bottom of the upper seat cover through the space between the cushion and the backrest.
Figure 6

Once the rear of the cover is unclipped, pull the bottom of the upper seat cover through the space between the cushion and the backrest.

Using a plastic trim panel tool, gently lever the seat belt guide apart.
Figure 7

Using a plastic trim panel tool, gently lever the seat belt guide apart. Under the seat cover there is a plastic bracket and two locking washers. In this step, you want to lever them apart far enough to fit a pair of diagonal cutters in the gap. Be very careful not to damage the seat cover.

Using a pair of diagonal cutters, cut the plastic stud off the seat belt guide.
Figure 8

Using a pair of diagonal cutters, cut the plastic stud off the seat belt guide.

Once you cut the plastic studs, remove the guide from the seat.
Figure 9

Once you cut the plastic studs, remove the guide from the seat.

Working at the bottom of the seat back, remove the plastic trim clip.
Figure 10

Working at the bottom of the seat back, remove the plastic trim clip. Then slide the plastic seat form down slightly. You do not have to remove it. Just lower it enough to fit your hand under the cover to reach the area of the guide.

Reach behind the cover and remove the plastic guide support (green arrow).
Figure 11

Reach behind the cover and remove the plastic guide support (green arrow). You can throw this away, the new guide comes with one.

Here are the old (green arrow) and new locking washers.
Figure 12

Here are the old (green arrow) and new locking washers. The new ones are easier to install, this is good news as it is a tight working space.

Next you have to attach the new locking washers to the support bracket.
Figure 13

Next you have to attach the new locking washers to the support bracket. I like to tape the washer in place, this way they don't fall into the seat and it makes aligning the three parts much easier. Once you have the washers centered and taped, cut a hole in the center of the tape for the plastic stud on the guide.

This shows the washer installed, viewed from the side the guide attaches to.
Figure 14

This shows the washer installed, viewed from the side the guide attaches to.

Slide the plastic support into the seat back.
Figure 15

Slide the plastic support into the seat back. Align the holes in the seat cover with the holes in the support.

Start by attaching one of the plastic studs.
Figure 16

Start by attaching one of the plastic studs. I place the guide at a 90 degree angle, then attach it to the washer. Once attached, I rotate the guide and attach the second plastic stud to the washer.

When attaching the washers to the plastic studs, reach under the steel seat tune and hold the plastic washer in place while you push the plastic stud and lock the two together.
Figure 17

When attaching the washers to the plastic studs, reach under the steel seat tune and hold the plastic washer in place while you push the plastic stud and lock the two together. Once the guide is properly attached, reassemble the seat cover and install the seat.

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Comments and Suggestions:
jeff Comments: Also, thankyou very much for the guide! Whole process took me about an hour. Only suggestion to the guide I'd make is that for people referring to the seat removal steps first, it might be worth making it clear to disconnect the battery if they don't have an airbag reset tool. There's plenty in that guide that might require power at certain points, such as opening the roof after disconnecting the wires from the seats.
July 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jeff Comments: Hey Torch, thought I'd let you know that I ran into the same issue with the old piece in the seat stitched in. I just left it there and put the new one with new lock piece taped in place behind it. It did make it quite hard to get the plastic to lock in because of the double thickness of the plastic inside the seat, but i finally got it to bite and think it will stay in place. The double support thickness might actually make the whole thing less likely to break in the future. Also was quite easy to slide the plastic in because there was a plastic piece to guide it on top of rather than fighting foam and seat innards.
July 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Torch Comments: There is no way to get to the step in figure 11. I go to the point of being able to touch the end of the plastic piece, but if look at the seat you'll notice that the plastic support is sort of sewn in.
November 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have done this procedure for years using the steps shown. If you are having trouble, try removing the entire seat upholstery. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Peter Comments: Z3's that came to Australia 1996 to 1998 suffer from the leather dash board surround behind the speedo and infront of the passenger shrinking.
I need the in light brown 2 leather curved sections .
February 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:07:31 AM