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From digest.v7.n14 Mon Jul 28 15:48:02 1997
From: Rick Paulin <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 97 7:44:31 PDT
Subject: Fixing E28 headrests

"" at Jul 26, 97 1:20 pm Mailer: Elm [revision: 70.85]


Yesterday, it being a beautiful day and all, I decided to fix the electric headrests on my 87 535i. I had printed the directions from the web somewhere, and got started. First of all it was a success, however, it didn't go as stated. A number of people wrote that you have to make a small cut on the leather to get at the mounting for the motor, which I found not to be the case.
Here's how I did it....

  1. Remove the two screws on the bottom of the back seat covering. Lift and

    remove from seat.

  2. The motor for the headrest was mounted half way up on the left side of the

    seat. There is a bracket that holds the motor to the seat. You would need to cut a hole in the leather if you want to take the bracket off. I found it more appealing to remove the 2 screws holding the motor to the bracket, rather than cut any leather.

  3. Once the 2 screws have been removed and the motor is now free, the cable

    and sheathing then comes off from the motor side.

  4. It is suggested that you cut a .25" piece of hanger wire and drop it into

    the square hole in the motor where the cable goes into. This is supposed to keep the cable from sliding down from the headrest and disengaging. Unfortunately, the previous owner had already done this on both sides, and they were no longer working. I don't know how they could have ever worked, as the real problem is that the cable is still too short. Or the sheathing around the cable is too long.

  5. Since the obvious fix wasn't working my thoughts were, do I try and

    lengthen the cable, or try to shorten the sheathing. I decided to try the later. I first removed the cable from the sheathing and plugged the hole. I then used a Dremel tool and cut have the end of the sheathing (the part that fits down into the motor), about .25" off. This allowed the sheathing to go further down into the motor. By doing so, the cable went into the square hole in the motor further.

  6. The end of the sheathing has 2 different diameters. The wider end that fits

    into the motor, and a smaller diameter that encases the black sheathing. I then wrapped a metal tape (like used with heating, not duct tape) about the same amount I cut off .25". around the smaller diameter next to the wide end. This prevents the sheathing from sliding back out of the bracket that the motor mounts to.

  7. Put the two screws back in and attach it to the bracket, close the back of

    seat up, and your done.

  8. By the way, I left the .25" piece of hanger in place just to play it safe.

I hope this information is useful to someone.

Best Regards,
Rick Paulin

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