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From digest.v7.n1276 Tue Mar 10 15:13:42 1998
From: Phil Marx <>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 12:40:08 -0500
Subject: <E28> power seat maintenance/repair

As atonement for accidently sending something appearing to be a commercial post to the list (I actually intended to respond to someone's quest for an E34 5sp and managed to respond to the list using his address as the subject so he probably didn't get it anyway) I offer this tid-bit:

If the seat back on your E28 power seat (old 7/6er also) is loose, before it gets worse, take off the lower hinge-cover plastic (one phillips screw) but be careful as the cover may be all that's holding your seat recliner transmission together. You'll see the transmission held together and to the seat by four slotted screws, tighten these, if they're still there. Remove the upper plastic hinge cover (one phillips screw and pull to release the snap) and tighten the huge phillips head bolts which attach the hinge to the seat back. I use my hand impact with the largest phillips bit. If you have arm rests, try undoing the upper cover and swinging it out of the way to avoid removing the armrest. To access the inside (armrest side) covers you may need to unbolt the seat from the floor. These items were so loose on a recent '86 E28 trade that the seat back was crooked as one transmission case had come apart and the drive wasn't operating on that side. While you're there you might as well pull the seat-back off and fix the headrest drive cable with the hanger/welding rod trick to shove the drive back up the cable housing. 4mm of rod is usually enough.

If you've got sport seats (535is, M5, 6er) then the drive mechanisms are much larger boxes with two drive gears but are held on with only two phillips head screws which are also usually about to fall out. On these seats the backrests are attached to the hinge mechanism with phillips bolts which require seat back removal to access. They are also notoriously loose.

Tightening up these two spots, 4 per seat, makes a world of difference on a older car. Just call it a "butt-dyno" tune-up. I'm so impressed I may even check out the bolts on my wife's e28 w/ 215,000 miles. Just consider it normal maintenance mid-way through the life of an E28.

  • -Phil Marx BMWCCA #6021 Bavarian Motor Warehouse, Inc. Charlottesville, VA.
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