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From digest.v7.n1139 Sun Feb 15 00:03:01 1998
From: Jim Cash <>
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 21:52:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Installation of Tether Strap (Child Seat)

Sally Walczak writes:

> We've recently purchased a toddler car seat which requires the use of a
> tether strap in addition to the lap/shoulder belt in the back seat of
> our 1995 325i. The BMW manual says there are three fastening points
> located on the rear shelf and that a BMW dealer can perform the
> necessary work to install the tether anchor and strap. Our dealer (in
> San Diego, CA) has never heard of this installation and has no
> information about this. I've also called another local dealer and no
> luck there either. I wanted to know if anyone had installed a tether
> anchor and strap on a BMW and could give me any info.
> If you have any information on this installation, please email me at
> Thanks!
> Sally Walczak


If you were in Canada you just have to go into a dealer and they will sell you, or in some cases give you, a little package with a bolt and tether hook. There are 3 fastening points on the rear package shelf - all you do is remove the plastic cover bolt from one of these points, and insert the tether hook bolt - done.

BUT - because I have been corresponding with another chap in the USA, who wants the same thing, I have found out a few things.

These tether points are on the Canadian spec cars because it is required by law in this country. Apparently it is not required in the USA, and, despite this being a simple thing, the US spec cars do not have them.

No problem, you might say, just cut the hole in the package shelf, order the little covers to make it look neat and get the tether bolts. Well that is what I am trying to help the other chap with - we both have E39's so I tried to tell him how to do it and what parts he required.

After he inspected his package shelf - several times - we determined that there are basic components missing on the US speckers.

On the lower metal part of my package shelf there are 3 holes where the fasteners go. Over each of these holes is welded a small metal plate that has a threaded bolt hole. His US car only has the open holes - no metal plates.

On the E39 there is also a space of about 1 1/2 inches between the lower metal package shelf, and the upper interior cover. The E39 uses a double angle bracket in that space. It is bolted to the lower shelf (in the threaded holes mentioned above) and then the tether bolt is inserted into the top of this bracket.
The triangular shaped plastic cover not only covers the upper bolt hole, but the entire angle bracket and it's fastener.

I can find the part numbers for the plastic covers for the E39 (in all the required colours) and tether bolts are also available. I even have a local dealer who was willing to sell/ship these parts to this guy in the USA - but it appears the angle brackets, and threaded mounting plate, are part of the Canadian spec package shelf - and not listed as separate parts.
Therefore we came to a temporary standstill - I think he is taking another look inside his package shelf to make sure he has the exact details.

He also spoke to his dealer, and to BMW NA - and got the same story - seems no one at BMW in the USA is aware of this item. Knowing that BMW are normally pretty keen on safety items I think they will have to address this very soon. Especially since it is related to child safety, and the parts are "very" inexpensive - when I asked my dealer if I could buy one hook - just in case I ever needed it - he just tossed me one - gratis.

I can only recommend that you write to BMW NA, requesting that you want them to provide the necessary parts and instructions to your dealer to have these installed. And don't quit if at first you get a negative response.

I would point out to them that this is a child safety issue that is provided in other countries, and is even described in your manual's.

I can not guess whether your package shelf has the threaded holes, or requires an internal bracket, but even if they are required, and not there, I know that it would be possible to get a bracket made, and bolt it to the shelf. Since the plastic covers, and tether bolts are available you should be able to get someone to rig this up for you.

It would be a shame to have to sell the Bimmer, but it is more important to have that child seat properly fastened. They may offer some alternatives, such as a different rear shoulder harness that is available in some of the Euro speck BMW's, designed specifically to hold child seats (perhaps only the child seats that BMW sells - I am not sure about this.

That's all I know for now. If I find anything further I will post more detail at that time. If you make any progress I am sure you will share that with the digest as well.


Jim Cash
London, Ontario, Canada
BMW CCA 102929
E39 97 540iA (with 3 tether points, and one trial tether hook in the centre position)

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