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Seat Rail Bushing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Seat Rail Bushing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$20

Talent:

*****

Tools:

T25, T45 Torx, small flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Seat rail bushing kit

Hot Tip:

Have seat all the way back before unplugging connectors

Performance Gain:

Remove rocking from seat.

Complementary Modification:

Clean carpet under seats

The seat rail bushings on BMW Z3 models wear out over time creating a rocking movement in the seat when driving. The seat will move fore and aft when accelerating or braking. Seat fore and aft movement is done by a threaded rod via an electric motor. The nut the rod threads into has a rubber insulator designed to remove the shock when the seat is at full extension. This rubber bushing wears out over time and causes the movement issue discussed earlier. When replacing you have two choices. There are factory rubber bushing available or plastic aftermarket bushing spacers. In this tech article I will go over how to install the aftermarket plastic bushing. The aftermarket kit includes enough spacers to repair both seats. I suggest do them all at the same time.

Start by removing the seat you are replacing the bushings on. Before removing the seat, be sure it is in the farthest back position. This will make removing the seat rail easier. See our tech article on seat removing. Place the seat on a blanket or a large fender cover.

Working at the front bottom of the seal rail, remove two T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 1

Working at the front bottom of the seal rail, remove two T25 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Then working at the back of the seat rail, remove the T45 adjuster bolt (green arrow).
Figure 2

Then working at the back of the seat rail, remove the T45 adjuster bolt (green arrow).

Once the adjuster bolt is removed, slide the adjustment rod out of the seat rail.
Figure 3

Once the adjuster bolt is removed, slide the adjustment rod out of the seat rail. You will have to move the seat rail back a little in order to fit the adjustment rod out of the rail.

Once the adjustment rod is removed, note the number of threads protruding from the end.
Figure 4

Once the adjustment rod is removed, note the number of threads protruding from the end. If you had your seat in the furthest back position, there will be three or four.

Remove the threaded adjuster (green arrow) and the rubber insulator (yellow arrow) from the mounting bracket.
Figure 5

Remove the threaded adjuster (green arrow) and the rubber insulator (yellow arrow) from the mounting bracket.

Clean the grease out of the adjustment rod mount.
Figure 6

Clean the grease out of the adjustment rod mount. Then place the threaded block inside the bracket. Slide both bushings into the bracket.

Slide the threaded rod back into the seat rail and move it into position.
Figure 7

Slide the threaded rod back into the seat rail and move it into position. Install the adjustment rod bolt and tighten it to 34 Nm (25 ft-lb). Then reinstall the small T25 seat adjuster bolts to the seat rail. Tighten then to 4.5 Nm (3.3 ft-lb)

Locate the square slot for the adjustment cable (green arrow) then pull the adjustment cable (yellow arrow) out of the drive.
Figure 8

Locate the square slot for the adjustment cable (green arrow) then pull the adjustment cable (yellow arrow) out of the drive.

Install the adjustment cable (green arrow) into the adjustment rod slot.
Figure 9

Install the adjustment cable (green arrow) into the adjustment rod slot.

Slide the seal rail toward the front while guiding the adjustment cable into the adjuster drive.
Figure 10

Slide the seal rail toward the front while guiding the adjustment cable into the adjuster drive. I like to reach inside the rail and guide it in with my thumb.

Once engaged, confirm the cable is in correctly by viewing the position through the seat rail.
Figure 11

Once engaged, confirm the cable is in correctly by viewing the position through the seat rail. You are done with one half of one seat. Now repeat those steps for the second rail on the seat. When done, check that both seat rails are in the same position. If they are off, even the slightest bit, the rails can bind. When done, reinstall the seat, then replace the bushings on the opposite side seat.

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Comments and Suggestions:
magman Comments: Is it possible to purchase those T25 bolts?
I have a couple of seats that I would like to repair but all 4 bolt heads have been destroyed by a previous attempt to remove.
I can only guess they tried to remove them without using a T25 socket.
April 12, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, they can be purchased. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John O Comments: Does this process and do these parts work for a 1995 BMW 318i with manual seats?
February 21, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe this is only for the power seats. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
CA_whaletail Comments: A very worthwhile fix.

A few tips to add:
bushings were gone- just found messy tarlike goo. So its hard to set up the screw length properly. One suggestion is to mark the rails and sliders with tape to use a reference to verify the adjusters are in the correct location BEFORE taking out the threaded rod.
after the seat is loose reattach the white connector and make sure the seat is all the way back before taking it out of the car. otherwise the t45 bolts won't be exposed.
new bushings are a tight fit. I used a vise to seat and them. Do check to see that the bushings clear the threads because the screw adjustor might drag on the plastic.
the residue from the old bushings is nasty goo- you may find some on the carpet.
August 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rich Comments: The driver's side seat of my 2000 Z3 slides forward when braking, just as you write about. What's a "reasonable" amount to pay for parts and what are the part numbers and how long should it take a repair shop labor hours? [i was told I neededa "seat track," not just "bushings," or other small parts.]
July 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are no published labor times for this repair. It should take a few hours to remove the seat and disassemble it. Try calling a few shops to get an estimate. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
musicalcoma Comments: I cannot seem to get at the t45 adjuster bolts the railing is blocking it, any suggestions?
August 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may not have the seat in the correct position. Once the front bolts are removed, the rail should slide. Going by memory. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rdrr Comments: I have this problem in my 89 Porsche 911 3.2, but have not been able to find a bushing kit. Are you able to help?
July 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If there is one available, we can get it for you. 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: Thu 4/27/2017 02:07:30 AM