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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 51
My Ride: BMW 325 xi
Rear seat back release sticking

I tried to put my seatbacks down recently to put some boxes on the back seat, but the drivers side latch wouldnt release the seat back. I have done it before with no problem. Now I can pull on the release and it moves fully, but no action from the seatback.

Anyone have a fix for this, without going to the dealer and leaving the car and several credit cards?? The passenger side works fine.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington (the state)
Posts: 1,689
My Ride: 2003 325xi
The latch release sounds like it failed internally. Perhaps the link arm has broken and now feels sloppy? You need to find a way to manually trip it which may be near lock-smith skill to fish around blind?

With the other "test" seat down try tripping the latch on it manually and examine how it works. If there is a way to lift the latch (from behind), maybe with a slim metal ruler or coat hanger, you could slip it behind your stuck seat and pop her - once. That sounds slightly tricky. There may be a way to slide a tool down through the outside release and jimmy it? Lastly, you could look for latch mount point screws from inside the trunk. Removing a couple screws may allow her to drop and you can get to the broken release.

I don't have folding seats just thinking of ways to cheat that dratted dealer. Have you tried pulling back on the seat while operating the release? Also whacking the release area with Bruce Lee palm shots may do some magic from impact. That one is a little strange but cams and springs can often get hung where a whacking releases 'em.

Anything made can be made Better

Last edited by White_Knuckles; 11-03-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 51
My Ride: BMW 325 xi
Pass through latch for seatback

I think you're right. I believe that something has gotten disconnected (or broken). I sat in the back seat bouncing against the seat back to see if I could free it up, but no luck. (Luckily no one was walking by!! I looked pretty strange)
I'll try some of the other strategies you suggested.
I was hoping someone would say, "There's a little wire that is hidden under the watchamacallit, just tug on it and it will release the latch."

Thanks! At least I have one seat that lays down!
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