Tuesday 19 September 2017

F10/F11: Seat Fitment Guide - Differences between 10-13 cars and later models.

In 2013 BMW changed the floor-pan layout of the F10 5 Series to accommodate X-Drive, Hyrbid-Drive and stuff, which in turn makes the fitment of the front seat mounts different for post-facelift cars. I see a number of F10 guys upgrading to M-sports and a few having this problem, offering seats for newer models to swap for the older type, so if you're about to do the same make sure the seats you get are for your corresponding pre or post-facelift F10. [I was upgrading my stock cloth interior to standard SE leather on the other hand, my car being the only example I've found so far with cloth from factory. A 530d as well, very rare.]

This is the same for M-Sport and Comfort/SE seats of all specs.

This is the same for LCI and non-LCI models.


These are NOT interchangeable between 2010 - 2013 cars and later 2013-2017 facelift cars.

This is the same for F10 and F11 Touring models.

M5 seats of correct model year variant will fit, but features like active corner-restraints are lost.

Front seats from E60 5-Ser and other model BMWs do NOT fit and would require adapting [see bottom].

The runners on pre-2013 seats are spaced significantly further apart than those from later cars, meaning a straight swap is impossible. It is possible to adapt the seats / floorpan to accept these seats, as I will discuss at the bottom of this page, but in reality forget it.

The wiring plug fits, but changes to the seats do not work with the safety-system. Active Head-restraints are removed on the post 2013 front seats and although this can be bypassed with the 2-ohm resistor trick to get rid of the error message, there may be another airbag related error coming up and it is unclear whether any of the safety systems in the seat will function properly. The seat-movement electrics all work as normal though.

If you don't know the model year of the seats you're buying then here is what to look for:

Control-levers - Pre-2013 seats have the classic handles built into the seat-surround trim with the white logos, whereas post-2013 seats have plain black handles sticking out from under the centre of the squab.

Head-rests - Pre-2013 seats have squarish split head-rests with a button on the side to extend half of it forward, whereas post-2013 seats have slimmer, one-piece head-rests with visible stitching on the front panel.

M-Sport - These are identifiable in the same way. However, the control-levers are similar to those from the E60 M-Sport seats, which will not fit. E60 seats have brackets on the runners that stick outwards and the head-rests are plain/round, as pictured, so make sure you don't end up buying a cheap set of those instead.


Straight swap. These are totally interchangeable on all F10 models from 2010-17.

F10 rear seats will NOT fit the F11 Touring, however, as they have the split/folding back. [The shape of the seat is the same though, so it would not take much to adapt them to fit and give the F10 split/folding rear seats! This is something I would really love to try out in future.]


The door cards are interchangeable between all F10 and F11 Touring models. Curtain-airbags are now in the seats, not the doors, so swapping the wire over is easy and does not differentiate between model specs, LCI etc. [NOTE: With F11 Touring, the rear door-cards do not have grilles for the door-speakers, so they will need swapping over from your original ones. This is something else I would love to try out - putting rear door speakers in there F10!]

Most of the dash and centre-console trim is a straight swap also. The only change to the post-2013 cars being the centre-console switch-panel - older ones having the ash-tray at the front and a poorly designed cup-holder in the centre by the E-brake. Later ones have a double cup-holder at the front and a smaller ash-tray / cubby-hole by the E-brake. These panels are interchangeable, as the console itself is the same, though I'm not sure why you would want to.


Adapting the floorpan or seats to fit the post-2013 seats is a possibility, though the level of effort required makes it a bit pointless. The first thing to consider is safety - will they stand up to a crash or even pass an MOT? The other things are the seat not quite being in the right position and the areas where the carpet doesn't match up will look ugly. If you're sick of waiting for the right seats to come along and the above things don't deter you then there are some possibilities, but I have not tried any of it out or would recommend it...

The bolt-hole spacing on the pre-13 seats is about 100mm wider left-to-right, but the spacing front-to-rear is the same on all models. This doesn't mean you can use the mounting points on one side and just adapt the other side to fit, as works with other BMWs, since the pre-13 bolt-holes are just too close to the sill / trans. tunnel. The difference in width is not central to the seat either [as in ~50mm equal either side], so adapting to fit is not going to be easy.

Adapting the Seats:
Making a one-piece adapter from thick sheet-steel would be best, similar to the ones that Sparco etc. make for other cars, that bolts to the floorpan and has more holes further inboard to bolt the seat to. These would be difficult to make without proper equipment, though an engineering firm will probably knock two up for cheap and with some black paint they would look OK.
Making one out of slim strips of box-section steel would also work, welded into a square or even just a left-to-right strip across the bolts front and rear. Either way, all the above methods will raise the seats slightly higher than usual, though lowering the seat fully might account for this.

Modifying the Floorpan:
New holes can be drilled at the correct positions in the floorpan and new nuts welded in their place to accept the seats. By the look of it, the floorpan has just enough room to accommodate this, but if not, the raised sections of floorpan with the captive-nuts for the seats could be cut out and welded back into place slightly further inboard. This sounds hairy, but would not actually be a huge undertaking, though you would seriously have to know what you were doing to get it right! 

Friday 15 September 2017

F10: Clutch Pedal-Pin Repair / Replacement [E60, E90, E92, F01 etc.]

  • Clutch pedal appears to collapse / become loose / twist to one side suddenly when depressed.
  • Clutch pedal feels loose / collapsed and will not depress properly.
  • Engine will not start and dash displays 'Depress Clutch to Start Engine' message while clutch is depressed.
  • Gears will not engage or only partially engage while clutch pedal is depressed.
Heavy clutch use / clutch-wear causes undue stress to the pedal-box [2 in diagram] and causes the plastic pedal-pin [8 in diagram] to snap / work its way loose. There are slim plastic clips at the end that stop the pin sliding out, but once these start to break off the constant motion makes the pin slide out very easily. When the pin is loose the clutch-pedal wont depress properly, which means the car cannot be put into gear or even press the clutch-switch to start the engine.


1. Remove the trim-panel above the driver's footwell by undoing the T-20 Torx screws holding it in place. If you do not have tools to do this the trim can be forced off firmly and gently without breaking the plastic. The screw heads should pop out of the oblong holes in the panel, which can be bent back into place later and refitted.

2. Locate the end of the clutch pedal-pin where it has come out of the pedal-box, just to the right of the metal bar that attaches to the top end of the clutch-pedal.

3. Manoeuvre the clutch pedal back into position by hand, so the metal bar at the top of the clutch-pedal is straight with the eyelet either side of it in the pedal box and slide the pedal-pin to the left until it is fully into the far eyelet.

** This will get the car moving again to drive home, but the pedal-pin will soon slide back out. Reaching under the trim and locating the end of the pedal-pin will mean you can make sure it stays fully in place while stopped at traffic lights, so you technically run the car like this indefinitely. Still this is by no means a long-term solution. **


** You will need 'Clutch Pedal Pin' BMW Part no. 35306761029. **

1. Remove the trim panel above the driver's footwell that surrounds the pedals using a T-20 Torx socket.

2. Remove the coin-tray / stow-box to the right of the steering-wheel by undoing the two screws in the upper corners with a T-20 Torx socket and lifting it out top edge first.

3. Remove the single screw holding the electronics module to the right of the pedal-box using a T-25 Torx socket, remove the module from its housing and rest it somewhere out of the way.

4. Slide the pedal-pin to the right until it is out of the pedal-box.

5. Remove the push-circlip from the lower side of the clutch return-spring using a small flathead screwdriver [the one at the end of the stud that attaches the spring to the pedal itself], slide off the plastic spring-mount and fully remove both springs. [**DO NOT attempt to replace the plastic pedal-pin with the spring still in place as it will likely damage the plastic pin!**]

6. Grease the new pedal-pin.

7. Manoeuvre the clutch pedal back into position by hand, so the metal bar at the top of the clutch-pedal is straight with the eyelet either side of it in the pedal box and slide the new pedal-pin in from right to left until it is fully clipped into the far eyelet.

8. Hold the spring assembly in position against the upper spring-mount and compress it by hand until the lower mount can be pushed back over the stud on the pedal. Replace the circlip.

9. Reverse steps 1-3.

If you can't get hold of a new pedal-pin, or if the new one snaps too [which is likely to happen in the end as the pedal-box wears], then a long-term solution can be fettled with a long bolt.

CAUTION: The original pedal-pin is plastic and therefore designed to snap before the pedal-box does. Strengthening it with a metal bolt MAY cause further damage to the pedal-box over time, particularly if the eyelets are worn or the clutch-wear problem is not addressed.

1. Remove the plastic pedal-pin, as above.

2. Find a long M8 or M10 bolt and nyloc-nut. The bolt will need to be about 6 inches long. Any longer and it will foul things under the steering-column, but it needs to be long enough to reach through both sides of the pedal-box and get the nut on at least half a turn into the nylon. A 'shank' bolt [smooth down the shaft and only threaded at the end] is the best type to use. A flat washer on either side is also recommended, thin nylon washers being even better.

3. Take the plastic pedal-pin and drill the hole down the centre out: 8mm for M8 bolt, 10mm for M10.

4. Grease and re-insert the plastic pedal-pin to the pedal-box.

5. Grease the bolt and slide it in from the left side of the pedal-box, so the bolt is entering the far end of the pedal-pin, until the threaded end exits the right side of the pedal-pin.

6. Fit the nyloc-nut, ensuring the thread is into the nylon by at least a half-turn, as the constant pedal motion will work it loose otherwise. DO NOT over-tighten or put stress on the pedal-box!

Monday 11 September 2017

F10 530d: Front Shock Strut / Spring / Top-mount Replacement [GUIDE]

My front shocks were certainly past their prime up front and over the last few months have really started to bottom out on certain speed bumps. I was also told one of the front top-mounts was starting to go on the last MOT and would probably be an issue next time round, so it was time to give the F10 a mini front-suspension overhaul.

I got hold of a pair of complete front struts taken from a 45k-mile car (I am told, but they are very clean) for just £240. All the parts new and spurious (including my through-work discount) would have been nigh on £400 and lots more from BMW. The used items are of course genuine, so quite a lot of money saved and the struts have turned out to be pretty good so it was a chance worth taking.

The guide I used is by hamanncheese on 5post.com and is pretty spot on, so props to him - I will reference his photos and try to elaborate a little on his instructions. [Original guide here: http://f10.5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628336].


1. Lift the car and remove the corresponding wheel.

2. Remove the nut holding the top of the anti-roll bar link to the shock-strut using an 18mm wrench. [The nut should come off without twisting the ball-joint, but you may need to insert a T40-Torx socket into the end of the stop it turning with the nut.] [If the stud is difficult to remove from the shock-strut, then using a second jack to lift the hub and prying the anti-roll bar downwards will certainly help.]

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
3. Remove the lower strut bolt using an 18mm (bolt-head) and 21mm (nut) wrench.

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
4. Remove the 3 bolts holding the top-mount to the shock-turret using a 13mm wrench.

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
5. Push the hub down and lift the shock-strut until it clears the bottom-arm and can be removed. [Lift it over the bottom-arm towards the rear of the car. There is plenty of room to manoeuvre it out of the wheel well.] [As hamanncheese says, this step is easier with a helping hand, but can be done solo without much difficulty.]

6. Insert the new strut using the same technique as Step 5.

7. Refit the lower strut bolt first and screw the nut on a few turns. [A screwdriver or other long tool may be necessary to align the strut to the lower-arm.]

8. Refit the 3 top-mount bolts and tighten.

9. Fully tighten the lower strut-bolt.

10. Refit the anti-roll bar link to the strut.


If the top-mount holes do not line up with the shock-turret, [i.e. if they have been removed / replaced and not fitted in the correct alignment], then they will need rotating to the correct position. Spring-compressors are required.

1. Place the strut on its side with the ring-bracket resting on the floor [as in pic]. This is so it can be lined up against the one it is replacing.

2. Compress the spring on both sides, being careful to mount the spring-compressors so they do not foul the strut resting on the ring-bracket [as in below pic].

3. Loosen off the top mount nut using a deep 18mm socket, leaving it on a few threads.

4. Rotate the lower spring-pan by tapping it round using the notches [in pic]. A hammer and blunt chisel or large flat-head screwdriver will do nicely.

5. Re-tighten the top mount nut and de-compress the spring.


1. Compress the spring on both sides using spring-compressors.

2. Remove the top-mount nut using a deep 18mm socket. [Stand to the side when the nut is fully removed as, even with the springs compressed, the top-mount may still come off with some force.]

*If you are only replacing the top-mount then skip Step 3.*

3. If you are replacing the spring, remove the old one from the strut and remove the spring compressors. Compress the new spring, place it over the strut and seat it in the lower spring-pan.

4. Fit the new top-mount, ensuring the spring is located in the upper spring-pan, replace the 18mm top-nut and fully tighten.

5. Remove the spring-compressors.