08-25-2010, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Edmonton, Canada
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Replacement OEM Seat cover DIY for Seat bottom with pics
The OEM replacement cover comes complete with heated seat panel. The leatherette version cost about $260 at BavAuto. You will need to move 4 wire rods from the old cover.
Note for after 2014. I can't recommend doing this. I repeated this for my passenger side seat and the OEM leatherette seat cover was made of a thinner vinyl with less deep grain molded in. This vinyl puckers up where the zip-ties are. The pricing is much higher now. Best bet is to buy used seats that are comparable. That means you need to ask about heating and bolster options in the replacement seats.
The edge of the driver's seat bottom is a common wear point and also a look at the pulled out seat cover at the end of the job.
1. Remove head rest and put aside.
2. Move seat to a high height position remove the 4 16 mm fasteners holding the seat. You will need to move the seat back and forth to gain access. I used this DIY to guide seat removal and switch disassembly:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=657042 (I will use a few pics that I found esp helpful)
3. Move the seats forward, one last time before you disconnect the battery, then disconnect it. Remove 2 torque screws at the back of the seat. Remove 16 mm bolt for the seatbelt anchor.
4. Tilt the seat back, pry yellow slide with slot screwdriver and undo the main power to the seats.
5. Remove seat from car. Put a moving blanket over the door sill.
6. Cut zip tie holding the seat heater wire and undo the two harnesses. Pry a hold-down sleeve for the small one, and a wedge shaped lock to push the harness aside for the larger one.
Take a look at the new seat cover to get familiar with the wiring supplied and ignore this if you don't have heated seats.
7. There are 5 tabs of various sizes holding the control panel pry upward on all 5 at the same time (or use bits of cardboard to keep them from locking again)
Several tabs on the seat control panel:
1 under the curved section, 2 larger tabs as circled and 2 smaller tabs
You only need to pull the control panel away from the seat it is not necessary to disconnect.
8. Finally there is a base under the seat controls that is held to the seat by 4 torx screws. Remove these screws and pull this panel away.
9. Push away the U-shaped channel holding the seat cushion to the perimeter lip of the seat frame.
10. Once this is done all around the cushion, the back part will pull from under the seat back and the bottom cushion will pull out so you can do the hog ring removal at a bench.
Cut the hog rings and make sure all of these are thrown away - any traces of the metal can cut the new vinyl.
BMW requires you to recycle the wire rods. Push these through the sewn sleeve. You'll notice that there are no prepunched holes for the zip ties. I used my needle nosed pliers to poke a hole.
11. I positioned all my zipties into the foam cushion so I would be pulling outward.
Use needle nose pliers to cinch the wire rods into the cushion with the zipties. At the back there are 4 more holes in the cover that need to be ziptied. Work systematically so you don't cover up one of the zipties. Cut off excess as you work.
Near the back u-channel, there are 4 prepunched flaps that need to be ziptied to the cushion. I kept the hog ring as an anchor for 2. For the other 2 I pushed the ziptie through about an inch of foam to prevent pull through.
12. Pull the back flap under the seat back.
You then need to attach to the seat frame by folding the u-channel and reattaching the cover, all the way around the frame.
13. Reconnect electrical.
14. Screw base of panel back on and click tabs in place.
15. Put seat back. Reconnect main power and reattach belt anchor and 4 seat fasteners. Reconnect battery and test heated seats. Refasten seats.
The OEM replacement is worth the expense and effort. The vinyl is fresh and there is perfect color and grain match. Gives a factory look to the tear repair and also gives a new seat heating pad. Due to the battery disconnect , you get 3 ABS/ Brake lights that go away on driving. Note I did not do the seat back, only the bottom.
Last edited by xi_ter; 12-01-2015 at 04:02 PM.
Reason: Unacceptable OEM seat covers post 2014.
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