3-Series (E46, E90)Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.
Just registered today. I have a 2002 325xi. Few weeks ago an umbrella fell between the passanger seat and door, activating the seat back recline switch. I noticed that next morning. Motor was on all night, drained the battery. Recharged and started the car, however, seat back will not move up to normal position, I could hear the motor when the switch was activated, but no motion in the seat back. I pulled the seat out of the car, removed the tree motors. The reclining mechanism is rack and pinion type. I have loosened the racks however the seat back still does not move. I do not see any obstructions etc. that can jam it iplace. Wat is the reason for this and how do I get the seat back operational again. Thanks.
Sounds like the teeth on the motor have been stripped off.
That may be so, however, why wouldn't the seatback move from the fully reclined position. All motors and gear boxes removed, there seems to be nothing stopping it unless it is hidden under the upholstry. Thanks.
Did you remove the gearbox cover plate where the two motors attach? My 98 convertible has a plastic gear attached to a worm gear inside and it was broken. The pieces were keeping it from moving. I cleaned the fragments out and inserted the worm gear without the plastic gear and at least it is in a usable position now. Looking for a gear.
I had similar problem...my daughter was sick and put the passanger seat way back. The plactic worm gear broke also. The only way I was able to get the seat to move after the gears were pulled out...I found that if the seat was not in the locked position, it would not move. Once I figured that out I had my son sit in the seat to help me put it in a normal position until I find parts. So the lever on the side of the seat used to move the seat forward when a passenger is going to the rear seat must be in the normal locked position. It took me bit to figure that one out. You will be able to see if the mechanism is locked by following the cable to the latch. Good luck with that and the parts.
In our case it was a book which pressed back on the recline button as my wife got out of the car. Seven hours later we found the seat back mashed against the bulkhead in the Z4 and the electric motor spinning free.
After taking the seat out (make sure that you don't turn the key on while the seat is disconnected from the wiring harness or you'll trigger a fault in the airbag system which requires a code reader/resetter or a trip to the dealer to clear) and trying all kinds of things to get the seat back to move, I had to pry the seat base apart to get the reduction gears for the seat back out of it. This gearcase is not meant to be taken apart, but vicegrips are amazing! I found out that one of the plastic gears had broken. The reason that the seat back wouldn't move is the amount of reduction that's going on, you just can't make the gears turn the other way. (think about putting your bicycle in its top gear and trying to start from a stop)
Now comes the bad part. For the Z4 (and I'd assume the same for other BMWs) the seat base is one part number (with the exception of the electric motors). In Canada that part for the '03 Z4 is $1400.00. In the US is was somewhat better at $850.00. I found a used seat base at a wrecker for $350.00. I had to take the reduction gearcase out of the seat base I bought and put it into my seat. It wasn't an easy process - lots of cursing and a skinned knuckle.
Sorry for the bad news, but it is something that you can tackle on your own. If not, you'll likely have to find an independant who'd be willing to tie up a tech for a couple of hours to do the work. I'm sure that a BMW dealership would want to just replace the whole seat base.
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.