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General E46 Forum
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:41 AM   #1
slimcobra
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Power seat switch part number

At work yesterday we had a mobile detail guy come by and I decided to have my 02 325xi detailed. When I went to leave work yesterday the seat was in the fully forward position. When I tried to move it back nothing. I thought maybe it was just stuck so I tried a quick forward and back and still nothing. I'm not a small guy so I looked like Magilla Gorilla driving home. After doing some searching it appears the most common failure is the switch panel and since the seat is all the way forward it's darn near impossible to get under it to test the motor. I was looking at picking up switch panel off of ebay and I'm noticing all the part numbers are slightly different then mine and none of them on ebay have the same number. How worried should I be about the part number? Anyone have any input. My main concern is time. I don't want to buy one only to find it's the wrong one.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
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Re: Power seat switch part number

I believe you can test whether or not its the switch. Take it apart and im sure all you need to engage the rear motion is for a certain metal contact to make contact with another. Worst casino scenario, I wonder if removing the one on the passenger side and connecting it to driver side would work

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Old 06-15-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
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Seat motor failures are more common that switch failures from what I've observed over the years on this forum. Do the up/down and seat back still work? Raise your seat all the way up and pull the horizontal movement motor from the front. This should allow you to at least slide the seat back and forth, although without the motor it won't be restricted to any one place. You can pull the motor from the front of the seat with it all the way up.

I'm not saying that the switch isn't the problem, I just don't think it's as likely as the motor. Usually when switches fail they become intermittent before full on fail mode. When these motors quit working, they just quit.

Use realoem.com to find your seat motor and seat switch part numbers. Easiest way to find your vehicle specific part numbers is to use the last 7 of your VIN to begin the search.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: Power seat switch part number

Sounds logical.

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Old 06-15-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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STOP THE PRESSES. HOLD EVERYTHING! WAIT.

since the seats stopped working while the car was being cleaned, let's check the plugs to be sure the seat is even plugged in. Let's also look at the fuses, in the E36, the two fuses are F5 and F40, left and right respectively. I don't have an E46 book handy. If the seats move vertically and tilt the backs, then the fuses are okay, by the way.

Do the stuff that the detail guy might have messed up first, then start looking for burnt out motors and such.

Also, look in the track for coins. If the detail guy pushed the seat forward to clean, and a penney or dime fell into the track, then the seat is stuck. Coins are commonly found in the seat track, but anything that gets in the track will halt movement.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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^ I agree with the above. Wiggle and/or check the seat connector under the seat. In full forward position it can make the connection intermittent. Had that small issue with mine from time to time. kneel outside open door, one hand holding switch to move back, other wiggle wires under seat. see if this works. it makes sense that this issue having happened with seat moved forward AND likely vacuumed underneath the connections under seat are what was moved.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. The seat does move in all other directions. I will try wiggling the connectors and looking for coins next. I have the switch out and was thinking of taking it apart and trying to jump the switch to see what happens. When I look under the seat which motor is it that controls the front and back movement? Better yet does anyone know the pin out of the plug and I can just try to jump it through the plug.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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The motors are very robust, I seriously doubt one decided at this moment to take a dive. I do not have my E46 Bentley manual available, else I would look up the pin-outs for you.

As I recall from my E36, there are two motors together, one raises and lowers the seat and provides the tilt of the seat bottom, the other one tilts the seatback. There is a third motor that is by itself, this is the one that moves the seat fore and aft.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:34 PM   #9
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I had the switch out just haven't had the time do do any testing until now. With the switch apart I can hear the relay clicking. I checked what I could of the tack and didn't see any thing. Not sure which motor is for front and back but I tried wiggling the harnesses as much as possible so I guess maybe it is a motor. I can see the 2 bolts at the rear of the seat frame but how on earth am I ever going to get on the front ones if I can't even see them. Then again I'm not 100% sure where the front seat bolts are. Does anyone have a pic and or an idea of how to get them out.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #10
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You can find the front bolts on the driver seat by moving the passenger seat to the rear. The driver seat is mounted the same way as the passenger seat. The motors are arranged the same way too.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:22 PM   #11
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I'm kind of screwed. There is no way I am going to be able to get on those front two bolts that hold the track down with it stuck fully forward.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
The motors are very robust, I seriously doubt one decided at this moment to take a dive. I do not have my E46 Bentley manual available, else I would look up the pin-outs for you.

As I recall from my E36, there are two motors together, one raises and lowers the seat and provides the tilt of the seat bottom, the other one tilts the seatback. There is a third motor that is by itself, this is the one that moves the seat fore and aft.
UNTRUE - that is exactly how mine failed. I've been through this before in excruciating detail.

The first thing I did was search for fuses. There isn't a separate fuse for the forward/backward direction there is just one fuse for the seat adjustment so since the other directions work this isn't it. Then I checked the connector this could be the case but doubtful since the rest of the seat works and this connector is and integral unit. Then I pulled up the wiring diagrams from BMW planet - (complete WDS schematic set no pages missing unlike spaghetti coder). I worked on the connector and checked the switch diagram. I searched on here. What I found is that quite a few people have had the horizontal motor fail but I was praying it was the switch becuase it's a lot less money used. I ordered one from ebay, installed it and, no-go.

The motor can and does just quit. It just quits working the next time you go to use it. I replaced the motor and it works fine again. I would like to point out that you should replace the motor with a new unit because if you get a used one chances are it has a lot of use on it and will fail sooner than you'd like.

In E46's there are three seat adjustment motors, vertical, horizontal and seat back.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:30 PM   #13
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I'm kind of screwed. There is no way I am going to be able to get on those front two bolts that hold the track down with it stuck fully forward.
You'll have to raise the seat up all the way, use a mirror and light to locate the bolts. Once you get the bolts located you'll have to pull you head back out and go by feel alone. You can slowly work them out. Mine was uncomfortably forward when my motor died also.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advise. I'll let u all know tomorrow it I got it out in one piece.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:49 PM   #15
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Just wanted to up date you all on what has transpired. By raising the seat all the way up I was able to unbolt the seat motor. Once I got it out I tested and the motor was dead. I then tried unbolting the gearbox to move the seat back and that was a no go. I then took the shaft out of the motor and put it in a drill and was able to get the seat back. When going back together I was thinking of writing a DIY for how to replace a seat motor when the seat is stuck fully forward.
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