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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: El Paso
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BMW Roundel power seat gears

I actually have a 95 M3 but figured more folks would read it here. My seat back doesn't recline (motor turns). I would guess(?) that
most E36's with power seats have the same recliner gearbox. The white plastic gear was broken. Since it's worm gears you can at least adjust the seat back to a good position "manually". There's also a pink plastic gear which is for another function (gearbox has two functions).
I can't believe BMW doesn't sell replacement gears. It seems like a fairly common problem. The gear looks like something LEGO would make. I can't bring myself to spend $80 for a machined one either.
Any ideas?
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Old 06-15-2004, 06:38 PM
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Mine went as well

When I first bought my 98 328is the passenger seat would not move, the motor hummed but no motion...At the time it was still a CPO car so they changed the ENTIRE drive system out under warranty...Maybe a junkyard would have a drive system???
Old 06-16-2004, 10:28 AM
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I hear you but I can't bring myself to do that. Plus the used one could be ready to fail as well. They may have designed the gear to be the part that fails, in which case they should make replacements available.
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Old 06-16-2004, 05:43 PM
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In the same area I recently removed my forward/backward gear and for 40 bucks bought a used seat and swapped them. It was from a 93 325i into a 93 325is. Works great now and was very easy to do. Taking the seat out took 5 minutes.
Old 06-21-2004, 07:42 PM
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I know this is an old thread, but there is now a company that makes a replacement for that little white plastic gear that breaks on these E36 power seat gear boxes. I just order one for my 328i. $40 Here is the link

http://www.odometergears.com/
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Old 11-07-2005, 10:00 AM
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power seat gear

I guess it's good that someone is supplementing for BMW's faults for not adequately supporting their technological marvels.
If the replacement gear was brass I'd consider spending the forty bucks. Obviously plastic didn't cut it the first time......
I think I'll go for a used manual seat.
These things are just getting too hard to work on in general and I'm losing interest.
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Old 11-07-2005, 03:20 PM
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I know $40 is a lot for a little plastic gear, but in my case the OEM plastic gear lasted 8 years before it broke so I'm not too worried about it.
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Old 11-07-2005, 03:54 PM
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He finally finished that gear. That is AWESOME!!!

Last I checked a few months ago he was still working on it.

Now the dilemma... I was gonna use the bad gear as an excuse for racing seats.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:17 AM
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I have installed my replacement gear and it works great. Jeff has great customer service.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:23 AM
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Hey Jeron, if you were going to switch to racing seats, do you know what mounts you would use? I have a pair of racing seats in my garage that have been sitting for about a year. Got them all ready, but never found mounts that I liked, and haven't got around to custom fabbing any either.
Old 11-16-2005, 12:40 PM
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I get Sparco seats at a big discount and they make a mount for the E36. I never considered that I might not like the mount. Hmmmm
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:01 PM
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I was going to model these that Wedge Engineering did for EuroCarMag's project car. http://www.europeancarweb.com/projectcars/0311ec_proj325i/ I've got it all modeled in ProE, and it should be a simple assembly... just flat stock cut and welded. I've got access to everything except the welder (I can weld MIG or TIG... I just need a machine to use). Once I've got all the pieces cut and welded, then I just need to bolt my sliders to the cross pieces. Custom fabbing allows you to dictate your seat height.

My big concern with the aftermarket mounts is where the seatbelt receiver mounts. Most are a relatively small mount hole in thin metal (compared to stock). I want to put in the racing seats, but don't want to lose any safety aspects.

You know, I've got a broken reclining gear in my passenger seat. Of the many, many times I've had passengers, and the many different passengers, do you know how many times someone has gone to adjust it since I've owned the car (which has been a couple years now)? Twice. And when I said it didn't work and they could adjust the height/tilt, they found a comfortable spot. I like things to work properly on all my stuff, but I have a hard time spending $40 for something that nearly insignificant. Plus I loathe power seats... 75 pounds a seat just so a person doesn't have to slide it front or back the very few times they adjust? I wish I had the manual adjusters, for BMW makes some pretty adjustable manual seats.
Old 11-16-2005, 02:17 PM
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I agree about manual seats. The BMW manual seats are very good. But for a two driver car, like my wifes 330, it is nice to have the seats adjust for you to the exact same setting each time.

I'll have to look into the seat belt attachment on the Sparco mount,
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:34 PM
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That's very true... switching between drivers gets to be a pain with manual seats... but if you've got power seats with memory, ahhh, that's nice ;-)
Old 11-16-2005, 09:09 PM
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Anyone know of a DIY to...

... either replace the gears or the whole gear mechanism. I'm thinking of swapping the motor from the passenger (works) with the drivers side (doesn't work). Does anyone know how to "manually" adjust the power backed seat? I'd be happy just to not have the drive the car like a lowrider and have no ability to move the seatback. Any help would be apprciated.
Old 03-11-2006, 11:23 AM
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You can pull the gear case apart and once you pop out the wormdrive gear you can easily adjust the seat back then replace the wormdrive gear and it will remain fixed in that position.

You need to measure from the seat cushion to the seat back before you take it apart get the right tilt. Or use the other seat as a guide.
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:13 AM
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Thanks Jeron. I did exactly as you suggested and everything worked out fine. So my seat back doesn't recline. That's okay with me. Interestingly enough, I found pieces of the plastic gear that fell apart that everyone speaks of. Looks really cheap, especially compared to all the other gears in there, which are metal. No wonder they fall apart over time.

Thanks again to the board. Saved me some money for sure.
Old 03-20-2006, 03:31 PM
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I'm glad it worked out for you.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:59 PM
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Hi Jeron,

Can you help me with the steps to remove the wormdrive gear. I have the same problem with my wife's 1998 328i. Motor works but wont come back from the recline spot.

Thanks
Old 05-01-2010, 10:23 AM
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Hi Liane, A little bit confused . Change what, the seat, car, motor? I remove the seat but can't seem to figure out how to get to the gears.
Old 05-04-2010, 04:33 PM
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