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      04-14-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
RecycledTeen
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Q on Swapping Seats

Calling All Seat Experts!

{EDIT} Changing OP to help others find this info in one place down the road.

Came across a couple of on-topic threads...

http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=518425

http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=478852

http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewto...p?f=26&t=10825

http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=806683

http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=684077

...but couldn't really find a definitive answer so here's my questions. Picking up a set of 2006 non-sport, non-M, power and heated seats to install in my early production 2003 Z4 roadster with power/heated seats (going from red to black).

1. I understand that this is a direct bolt-on swap, but a little confused on the whole seat sensor thing - will this just be a plug and play or not?

2. Also, what about belt tensioners? (donor vehicle was in an accident) How does one tell if they're good or not?

- Dave

Last edited by RecycledTeen; 04-14-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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      04-14-2013, 12:51 PM   #2
WestCDA
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The 2006 seats use the later occupancy sensor which does not have an additional 'box' under the seat, in line with the sensor wire that goes from the yellow plug into the seat cushion. The 2003 will have the earlier setup, and the two types are not compatible. Changing the sensor pad is not an easy task.

If you do swap seats, make sure you disconnect the battery, and don't reconnect it until the new seats are installed and wired correctly - otherwise you will likely trigger the airbag light and need to have it reset.

Check the length on the seat tensioners, from the attachment bolt to the end of the belt receptacle. If one (or both) have fired, they will be significantly shorter than the ones you have on the car now. If fired, it needs to be replaced - not only a safety issue but this will also trigger your airbag warning light.

You can change the pre-tensioners over from your previous seats, it's just a single bolt holding them on. If you do, make sure you tell the purchaser about them if you sell the old seats on. Cost is about 80 dollars each from online sources like Tischer for new ones, if I recall correctly.

Last edited by WestCDA; 04-14-2013 at 12:59 PM.
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      04-14-2013, 01:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I've read several of your posts on this topic ({edit} and just recently one where you talk about this serious incompatibility) and so what would you recommend the most appropriate direction to take to get this swap to work properly? Attempt to swap sensors, use the "bypass" option that's out there, swap seat back & bottom out (is that even an option?), or, start over and find a year match that's plug & play?

Last edited by RecycledTeen; 04-14-2013 at 02:03 PM.
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      04-14-2013, 03:41 PM   #4
WestCDA
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The simplest solution would be to find a set of seats with a compatible occupancy sensor, in the color you want and with the options you want - but that might not be that easy to do. I'm a fan of the sports seats, so if I was making a change anyway I'd look for a set of those - but not everyone likes the snug fit, and they are even harder to find used.

Swapping the sensors means taking apart both seat bases and removing the leather cover to get at the sensor mat. As I believe the design and shape of the seats didn't change, and as the seats you are looking at are optioned the same, you could probably just swap the leather covers on the bases to achieve the color change you want. If you don't feel comfortable with upholstery work, an upholstery shop could probably do it for you relatively inexpensively - especially if you brought them the already disassembled seat bases.

I've never been a fan of the occupancy mat bypass option, as I don't like the idea of tinkering with the factory safety systems. Good luck with the project ...
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      04-15-2013, 08:41 AM   #5
RecycledTeen
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Ok, thanks - do appreciate that info and feedback.

Seems there's not many "regular" non-black seats that pop up for sale as much as say, black or sports. I'm going to give them a try and if they're satisfying enough for a permanent solution, go the proper route. If not, then I'll just pass them on.
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      04-16-2013, 06:54 AM   #6
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There's nothing difficult in swapping an occupancy sensor if you are capable of removing and refitting a leather upholstery on the seat.
I bought my M-seats from RHD z4 and had to swap a sensor from left to right seat - a company that specializes in leather upholstering did it for almost no charge (they charged me around 30 bucks, but as labour is cheap in Poland I think it will cost around 100-150$ in the US)
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      04-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
RecycledTeen
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^ That's encouraging, thanks much! I'm certainly not shy to tackle difficult projects (i.e., R&R power top motor and actuator = yikes!) so I may tackle this if it comes to that...
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