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Seat Switch Testing and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Seat Switch Testing and Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Seat switches

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to damage seat trim panel when removing

Performance Gain:

Proper power seat function

Complementary Modification:

Clean under your seat

BMW E60 front seats are electrically operated for position, inclination and height. Seat control switches are mounted to the side of the front driver and passenger seats. There is also a memory function for each seat with four positions, which can be programmed for different drivers. Seat memory is tied in to the steering wheel position and outside rear view mirror as well. When the driver presses one of the seat memory buttons, the seat, steering wheel and mirror adjust automatically. In addition, each of 4 keys can be personalized so that seat, steering wheel and mirror adjust themselves as the driver unlocks the vehicle. The identity of the driver is provided by a signal from the remote key.

Seat switches fail and wear out over time, leaving you with a non-functioning seat. I have seen cases where the switches have been stepped on by a child or hit with something and broken. If you are left to deal with any of these problems, this tech article will show you how to replace the seat switches.

If you have a stuck seat and want to test the switch, you have a few options. You can use a BMW scan tool and monitor the switch input to the seat module or test the output to the seat motors from the seat module. The switch sends a signal over a data line to the seat module. Testing for the correct signal without a scan tool is impossible. Testing the signals to the motor however is possible using a digital voltmeter. If you don't have a signal to the motor, and can manually activate it, you can suspect the fault is in either the module or the switch. At that point you can borrow a scan tool or have someone with one check the switch output for you.

When testing seat motors, be sure to keep yourself and your clothing clear of the seat, as it could move. You don't want to get snagged or pinched while working on it.

Interior trim pieces and switches in BMW E60 cars are made of preformed hard plastic. Plastic clips or metal screws are sometimes used to hold them in place. To 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.

Switch replacing:
Switch replacing: Working at the side of the seat, pull the trim panel off starting at the rear (red arrow).
Figure 1

Switch replacing: Working at the side of the seat, pull the trim panel off starting at the rear (red arrow). Then work forward detaching the clips (green arrows).

Switch replacing: This photo shows the clips you have to detach to remove the trim piece (green arrows).
Figure 2

Switch replacing: This photo shows the clips you have to detach to remove the trim piece (green arrows).

Switch replacing: Remove the two seat switch Phillips head screws (red arrows).
Figure 3

Switch replacing: Remove the two seat switch Phillips head screws (red arrows).

Switch replacing: Remove the seat switch from the seat.
Figure 4

Switch replacing: Remove the seat switch from the seat. Pull it straight off.

Switch replacing: Disconnect the electrical connector by pulling it straight out of the switch.
Figure 5

Switch replacing: Disconnect the electrical connector by pulling it straight out of the switch. Reverse directions to reassemble the switches and the trim panel. Install the seat and check the seat function.

Switch testing: 
Switch testing: This photos shows the seat tilted backward for clarity.
Figure 6

Switch testing: This photos shows the seat tilted backward for clarity. You do not have to tilt it to remove the cover. Remove the trim cover by pulling in the direction of the red arrow.

Switch testing: With the cover removed, you now have access to the motors at the front of the seat.
Figure 7

Switch testing: With the cover removed, you now have access to the motors at the front of the seat. On the left side is the back tilt motor (red arrow) and on the right side the cushion raise / lower motor (green arrow). You can detach the electrical connectors (yellow arrow) by pressing the release tab and pulling the connector straight out. The right side switch connector is on the rear of the motor. You will have to feel your way to it. Then disconnect it just like the left side motor. Connect a DVOM across the two large wires (check a wiring diagram for your vehicle to confirm the right wiring). Then activate the switch in question and monitor the voltage. The DVOM should read battery volts when the switch is activated, either negative or positive, depending on motor direction.

Switch testing: The most troublesome motor, the fore / aft motor, is located at the rear of the seat (red arrow).
Figure 8

Switch testing: The most troublesome motor, the fore / aft motor, is located at the rear of the seat (red arrow). When this motor fails the seat can't be moved, or removed (due to restricted access to the seat rail fasteners). Reach to the front side of the motor and pull the electrical connector straight out (inset).

Switch testing: Connect a DVOM across the large wires and activate the switch.
Figure 9

Switch testing: Connect a DVOM across the large wires and activate the switch. The DVOM should read battery volts when the switch is activated, either negative or positive, depending on motor direction. If you are in a bind and need to move the seat, you can disconnect the electrical connector. Then attach fused jumper wires to the seat motor electrical connector. Once connected, power the motor in the direction you desire.

Switch testing: If the motor (red arrow) does not turn, you can detach the drive shafts (green arrows) from the motor, and manually turn them to get the seat into the desired position.
Figure 10

Switch testing: If the motor (red arrow) does not turn, you can detach the drive shafts (green arrows) from the motor, and manually turn them to get the seat into the desired position. This can help when you need to remove a stuck seat from your vehicle. Before doing so, be sure to disconnect the seat motor electrical connector (inset).

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Comments and Suggestions:
Kantz Comments: I have a BMW E60 series 520i 2004 model.
There is a problem which we are unable to solve. When u move the left seat with seat buttons on left seat, the right seat moves and vice-a-versa when u move right seat, the left one moves.
We also tried switching the seat control boxes under the seats from left to right but didn't work.
Can we have suggestions how to rectify this problem please?
November 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't have a 520i in the us, so I don;t have wiring for it. It sounds to me like there is a short in the module, sending info the opposite side module. Problem most likely on the left side in either the switches or the module. Best bet is to monitor it or the switch data using an advanced BMW scan tool. The switch inputs will be displayed allowing you determine if is the switch or module. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mercedesochist Comments: I assume B+ and ground to the seat control plug is common to both seats, but I need to know which colors are which. A diagram for the plug configuration/pins is hard to find among all the diagrams.
October 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have the wiring diagram to share.
I would grab a repair manual. It will have it.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mercedesochist Comments: I'm currently converting 2004 BMW seats to a 1976 Mercedes 450 SL. I just need to know if that is a step up or a step down. My 911 has Recarro which are very similar to the BMW seats, and I'm rather spoiled with those as well.
October 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't know. Best bet, measure each seat bracket. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Domingos Comments: How do i unbolt the motor? Can you send me pictures of where are the bolts?
February 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will h ave to some self-exploring of the part and locate them. I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ahmir Comments: I have 05 530i E60 both front seats stop working at the same time it started as a intermitting problem then stopped I checked both seat for broken wires that was okay the switch has power at the red/grn wire I have no power out of switch signal wires to the module I'm not sure what it should be the module has power but I'm sure if it's the main supplyI no schematic l replace the passenger module and all the fuse are ok any suggestions
February 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: COuld be a faulty fuse or relay / module.
I would grab a repair manual. It will have the wiring diagram and fuse locations.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Domingos Comments: Hi. How can i detach the shafts from the motor on figure 10? My seat doenst move foward or backward
February 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Unbolt the motor, then pull the driveshaft out of the motor or seat rail. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:43:49 AM