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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-03-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
curleeman
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Seat problems !!!

Hi im new to this forum hopefully you guys can help . I have recently purchased an e46 convert and have issues with the electric seats . The seats(passengers and driversto be clear ) will move backwards and forwards from the control switch on the upright part of the seat . But on the base the seats will do every other type of movement except forwards and backwards which is very frustrating , hopefully someone can shine some light on the matter , thanks
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:17 PM   #2
doyoulikebutter
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If you prop up the seats, look underneath from behind. The wiring may have literally snapped or broken off from years of use.. BMW did not give the wiring enough slack from the factory I suppose. If not, maybe you can inspect the gears for worn teeth, before buying a new motor.. Best of luck!
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
djnekkon
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How can they both fail? I would check the connections right away and wait on the motor...Good luck
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:19 PM   #4
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That both seats aren't moving forward and backwards makes me think that probably PO was a slob and dropped pennies and crap into the seat runners. Since they were a different size, the seats were where they both needed to be for PO...but gunk has locked them into position.

Me? I'd start with good flashlight...raise the seats up and start inspecting the bottom runners for obstructions.

Then I'd search Bentley or spaghettidecoder wds for a common power feed for just that connection to motor...but don't think you'll find it.

It would be odd if each seat each broke the motor...or that each had the same failed connection...but I'd check that just to be safe anyway...if my 'obstruction' idea doesn't work.

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Old 07-07-2012, 02:18 PM   #5
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Hey,
I don't know if you already had this problem taken cared of, but its crazy that I've had the same issue on my e46 xi for the past 1.5 years. I decided that enough was enough and that this was the last summer I would go without being able to move the passenger seat base backward or forward...

You can rest assured that the motors in the switch control at the side of the seats are still in good condition if you can still achieve all other motion of the seats besides the base moving back and forth. (Trust me! I took this entire thing apart today, all the copper contact points in the control were still making contact with their respective connection points)... In addition to verifying what the guys above mentioned, you want to check the solenoid connections at the base of the seat. (Be sure to raise the seat base as high up as possible.)

There are 2 of them.. the top one is for the seat back, the bottom one is for the seat base.

20120707_134932.jpg

The one at the bottom was the culprit obviously. the connector is a weird one. You have to make sure that its attached tightly to the solenoid. If its not, you will immediately be able to tell, as it will wiggle or feel loose in your hand, if its even connected at all. Just pop it out if it is still loosely connected. Take a look at the special grooves in the connector. Next you will slide it back into place from right to left (using the second image as a reference) until it fits tightly onto the solenoid prongs.

20120707_134924.jpg

Your work should be done here. The seat should be able to move forward and backward easily.

FYI, i think that the problem could have been caused by a combination of insufficiently long wires as well as people sitting in the back seat pushing their feet beneath the seat and over time loosening the connector due to haphazard movement.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:04 PM   #6
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I am experiencing the same problem. This thread helped me, but I need to know how to remedy this.

I can see some wire exposed in the attached photo. Sorry if you need to zoom to see it, but it's near the red and white wires. Is this what creates the problem? If yes how can I get this fixed as a diy
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo118 View Post
I am experiencing the same problem. This thread helped me, but I need to know how to remedy this.

I can see some wire exposed in the attached photo. Sorry if you need to zoom to see it, but it's near the red and white wires. Is this what creates the problem? If yes how can I get this fixed as a diy
Forgot the pic. Click image for larger version

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Old 01-12-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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If that wire is brown, it's a ground. You can fix it pretty easily.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
If that wire is brown, it's a ground. You can fix it pretty easily.
It looked black to me, would that be ground as well? If yes, what do I do?
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:43 PM   #10
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If you have a broken wire, start by just connecting a section of wire between the two ends...then moving seat forward and backward to remove the seat bolts...then tilt seat so you can properly inline splice/solder/shrink tube connections...then put seat back.

After unbolting and tilting seat for access, be sure to unhook battery 5 mins. before talking off the seat connectors, if you do...otherwise you'll get an airbag code that you'll need computer or money to turn off.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:51 PM   #11
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DMax to the rescue. Thanks. I will have my cousin help me with this. He has some knowledge of splicing/soldering and so on, and I will make sure that battery is unplugged.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
If you have a broken wire, start by just connecting a section of wire between the two ends...then moving seat forward and backward to remove the seat bolts...then tilt seat so you can properly inline splice/solder/shrink tube connections...then put seat back.

After unbolting and tilting seat for access, be sure to unhook battery 5 mins. before talking off the seat connectors, if you do...otherwise you'll get an airbag code that you'll need computer or money to turn off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo118 View Post
Forgot the pic. Attachment 542355


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dmax, can you just advise if I am looking at the correct wire to solder? My cousin says he can do it easily, and to just make sure it is the wire in the photo.

He says he can try to access it by just tilting up the seat (its a coupe) but do I really need to unbolt the seat?

Edit: Went under and it looks like the wire is severed. There is a good quarter inch of wire that needs to be soldered in. Does anybody know if this is 5 gauge wire that I need?

Last edited by Solo118; 01-12-2014 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:33 AM   #13
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trim off a small section of it and match the gauge...or check Bentley for the wiring diagram and it'll give the gauge (in metric). I converted metric to gauges in my 'elephant trunk' thread somewhere.

And, the issue is that if your seat doesn't move forward and back, you can't remove all four bolts to tilt the seat...thus why I said you need to temporarily rig it best you can to get the movement you need to remove the bolts. You'll find diys on seat removal if you want to remove the seat from the car...I keep forgetting which way you start and finish. I think you begin with seat back and remove front bolts, then move seat all the way forward and remove rear bolts (and seat belt bracket)...and tilt seat back...back...so it can be removed from the car.

To temporarily rig it...or maybe, to actually do the inline splice with solder...maybe just lift the seat all the way up and you might get lucky and have enough working space. (Remember to put the shrink tubing on the wire first...and move it back far from soldering site, otherwise it'll shrink from the heat of soldering and you won't be able to then move it over splice...or use crimp couplings, but I don't think of those as 'as' reliable.)
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:46 AM   #14
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Thank you again for your help. I will let you know how it goes.
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