How to Install BMW Seat Adjusters

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There’s nothing worse than having a sleek BMW convertible (or coupe or sedan) and not being able to drive it because the seat no longer adjusts. Fortunately, you can easily fix the seat adjusters yourself with some new BMW shocks and a couple of standard tools. Follow these simple steps for BMW shocks and struts replacement and you’ll be back in the driver’s seat in no time!

Removing the Seats

To gain access to the shocks that are located in the seat-adjustment compartment and replace them, you will first need to take the seats out of the car. This is easier than it sounds! 

  1. Turn off the seat belt sensor.

  2. Move the seat forward and back to locate the two 17mm nuts at the front of the seat and the two 17mm bolts at the back of the seat. These may be covered by plastic caps if the seat has never been taken out of the car before.

  3. Undo the bolts and nuts and slide the seat off the rails.

  4. Place the seat in an area that you don’t mind getting dirty, such as on top of a few pieces of cardboard in the garage or on the grass in the backyard if the weather is dry.

Buying the Right BMW Shocks

If you haven’t already, now is the time to buy the shocks for your BMW shocks and struts replacement. No matter which make and model of BMW you have, you will need one kind of shock for the vertical height adjustment and another kind for the backrest. For the backrest, there are different shocks for sports seats and standard seats. Please contact us if you are not sure which lift supports (shocks) to buy for your specific BMW model. Whichever shock is right for your car, you will need to buy two vertical-height adjustment BMW shocks and two backrest BMW shocks per seat that you want to adjust.

Installing Vertical-Height Seat Adjusters

What You’ll Need

  • Parts

    • 2 vertical-height BMW shocks with a 500N load rating (buy it here)

    • 2 or 4 circlips (depending how many are used in your car)

  • Tools

    • A flathead screwdriver

    • A pair of cutters

    • A 100-pound weight or a friend

    • Very large C-clamp or large channel locks

Instructions

  1. Removing the Cover

On either side of the seat where the backrest is joined to the base, you will see a smooth plastic cover. Take the flathead screwdriver and remove one of the covers at a time, taking out the thumbscrew when you see it. 

  1. Taking out the Current Shocks

Locate the shock and observe the way that it is being held in place. Some BMW shocks are attached with a retaining washer at the top and the bottom, and others have a retaining washer at the top and a metal peg at the bottom. To remove the old shocks, take the cutters and cut the retaining washer(s). Be aware that the shock may release suddenly if it still has pressure in it—so you need to be careful. Spent shocks should pop out very easily.

  1. Testing the Shocks

To work out if your shocks are still any good, place each shock on a flat, hard surface and press down firmly with both hands. If the shock compresses easily or the piston doesn’t return, the shock has worn out and is no good. 

  1. Fitting the New Shocks

Now that you’ve determined that your old BMW shocks are no longer functioning, it’s time for your BMW shocks and struts replacement. Lay the back of the seat out flat and weigh the front of the seat bottom down by having someone sit on it or placing a 100-pound object there so that you can put all of your body weight on the shock without the seat tipping back.

Using the channel locks or C-clamp, compress the shock about 2 inches and install it by first fitting the base of the shock in the bottom slot and then compressing the shock further to fit the upper end onto the top slot in the compartment. This takes a lot of force and could result in injuries to your hands if you don’t use the clamp or channel locks to help you.

As soon as each new BMW shock is in, install the retaining washer immediately so that the shock doesn’t jump out of the slots. Repeat steps 1-4 for the other side of the seat.

Installing Backrest Seat Adjusters

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Now that the vertical-height shocks are in, it’s time to repeat the process for the shocks located in the backrest compartment. The steps are very similar to the vertical-height shocks except for the method you will use to gain access to the shocks in the backrest.

What You’ll Need

  • Parts

  • Tools

    • A flathead screwdriver

    • A Phillips-head screwdriver

    • A pair of cutters

    • Very large C-clamp or large channel locks

Instructions

  1. Removing the Cover

Lay the seat down flat with the back of the backrest facing up. At the base of the backrest, you will see a screw on either side. Remove these screws with the Phillips-head screwdriver and pull the plastic tab on the side of the backrest to carefully remove the slot cover.

  1. Removing the Shock

As with the BMW shocks on the vertical-height part of the seat, you will need to use the cutters to take off the retaining washers that are securing the shocks for your BMW shocks and struts replacement. If the shocks pop out easily, then they’re no good. If there is any pressure left in the shocks, you can use the flathead screwdriver to work them loose.

  1. Replacing the Shock

Compress the new shocks about half an inch with the C-clamp or channel locks to fit the bottom and top slots into place. Install the retaining washers as soon as the shock is in to prevent it from popping out again. Replace the slot cover and tighten the screws with the Phillips-head screwdriver. Slide the seat back onto the rails in the car and secure it with the original nuts and bolts.

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Congrats—You’re Done!

Now that your new BMW shocks are installed, you should be able to adjust the seat to your preferred position once again. Throw those worn-out shocks away and enjoy driving your slick, high-end ride.

If you have any questions about which parts to use or how to install your new shocks, don’t hesitate to contact us online or read our FAQs page. At Lift Supports Depot, we have over 20 years of industry experience and can walk you through the process of lift support installation to help you achieve a fantastic result. Shop our BMW shocks and parts today and enjoy a safer and more comfortable drive.

Much of our information came from this helpful article, which you can check out for further information.