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      10-02-2009, 08:04 PM   #1
jkp1187
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Adding lumbar support

Wondering if anyone has had any experience/success in adding lumbar support to a 1er that doesn't have it. Just took an extended trip with my car, and while I still love how it drives, I found myself having aches in my back after 4-5 hours. I didn't want to pay for the $3500 premium package just to get lumbar (it really should've come with the power seats, which I did get,) but I'm now thinking I'm willing to pay *something* to get this.

Any suggestions on aftermarket kits? Think this is something that a dealership would be willing to do with OEM parts?
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      10-07-2009, 11:04 AM   #2
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Wow. Just came across this forum and figured I would post this question myself. I just got a 1 year old 128ci, it has sport package with manual seats, and NO LUMBAR support.

My wife and I took a 2 hour trip, and she wants me to return the car! I love how it drives, but the small of my back, and hers are killing us. She put a small pillow behind her and it helps, but that won't work for me.

Does anyone have any suggestions besides purchasing a new seat? Thanks.
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      10-07-2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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      10-07-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
Wow. Just came across this forum and figured I would post this question myself. I just got a 1 year old 128ci, it has sport package with manual seats, and NO LUMBAR support.

My wife and I took a 2 hour trip, and she wants me to return the car! I love how it drives, but the small of my back, and hers are killing us. She put a small pillow behind her and it helps, but that won't work for me.

Does anyone have any suggestions besides purchasing a new seat? Thanks.
The parts alone will cost ~ $600-650 for one seat, I found, and would likely have to be special ordered from Germany. (I posted the link to the parts number list above in the first post.)

I purchased these from a store called Relax the Back:

http://www.relaxtheback.com/seat-cus...tegory-6389775

They have a brick-and-mortar store right down the street from my house, and the saleslady let me take a bunch of cushions out of the store and in to my car to test out.

I had actually injured my back while on vacation 2 weeks ago, and currently am on pain meds. Today was the first day I drove to work this week (30 min one-way commute) and these cushions felt very comfortable. And no, I had not taken that pain med until I got to work.

The thigh/seat cushion is amazingly comfortable; the lumbar/back is good, but they have other options, and I may yet return it to try something else. The nice thing about this cushion, though, is that the lumbar support firmness is adjustable via a knob on the side. This seemed like a better alternative than possibly $1,000 for installation of the OEM lumbar adjustment.

I do know that someone on Bimmerfest successfully retrofitted an OEM lumbar kit to an E46 3-series (search around there.) He did say that while it was a success, it definitely wasn't a DIY for the faint of heart.

EDIT: A plague on BMWUSA's house for not including lumbar with the power seat option, or just making it a standalone option.
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      10-07-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
jkp1187
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Here's that E46 lumbar retrofit DIY:

Discussion thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46989

DIY: http://www.tmk.com/lumbar/
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      10-07-2009, 03:52 PM   #6
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jkp. thanks for the link on the external add.

I don't have power seats at all, so I am not sure about doing this E46 retrofit. Also, I wonder what this costs vs. if it were even possible to purchase an power seat. Wondering if a junkyard might have one?
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      10-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
jkp. thanks for the link on the external add.

I don't have power seats at all, so I am not sure about doing this E46 retrofit. Also, I wonder what this costs vs. if it were even possible to purchase an power seat. Wondering if a junkyard might have one?
The range I've heard for a brand-new seat from BMW is ~ $3,000 each.

Junkyard might be an idea, but something tells me there will be pretty slim pickings in yards for 1er seats for at least a few years. I'm not sure how the wiring would work, though, since you don't have power seats to begin with. Plus, who knows what kind of body control module stuff you might have to play around with to get the car to 'recognize' that there's a power seat with lumbar.

Better question - I wonder if the E90 3-series seats would plug-and-play into a 1er? That would at least expand the possibilities.
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      11-05-2012, 06:54 AM   #8
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I realise this is an old thread, but I've only just become the second owner of a 2007 120i E87. Lovely car.
This one has the "sports" seat with adjustable thigh support and and a little compressor pump in the seat (switch on outside of seatbase). However, acticating the pump pushes the SIDE/lateral supports in tight against my body without providing any movement in the lumbar region.
Looking at the diagram at RealOEM shows a pneumatic lumbar cushion but none in the lateral "Lordosis" pads.
Could this be a malfunction of the lumbar cushion - or was there an option for just lateral cushions?
I have a bad back and it starts aching after a very short time without any lumbar support at all....
Cheers,
Joe
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      11-05-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhovel View Post
I realise this is an old thread, but I've only just become the second owner of a 2007 120i E87. Lovely car.
This one has the "sports" seat with adjustable thigh support and and a little compressor pump in the seat (switch on outside of seatbase). However, acticating the pump pushes the SIDE/lateral supports in tight against my body without providing any movement in the lumbar region.
Looking at the diagram at RealOEM shows a pneumatic lumbar cushion but none in the lateral "Lordosis" pads.
Could this be a malfunction of the lumbar cushion - or was there an option for just lateral cushions?
I have a bad back and it starts aching after a very short time without any lumbar support at all....
Cheers,
Joe

I would go to an automotive upholstery shop and see what solution they might have. You can't be the first person to have this problem.
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      11-09-2012, 08:04 AM   #10
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Thanks Dackelone.
I will do that. It may even be possible to fit an original lumbar air cushion into the seat and then mabe fit an air valve that lets me change over from the side cusions to the lumbar cushion and still use the current electric pump to adjust them.
I'll investigate and if I find a suitable solution, I'll document the DIY procedure here.
Cheers,
Joe
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      11-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #11
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i recall seeing in e46 forums that a porsche or smth lumbar chamber can be fitted. Its custom but perhaps much less than expensive BMW kit ( which I think is actually one size fits all BMW since e36)
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      12-21-2012, 05:01 AM   #12
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Sorry this is an old thread. My back gets sore very quickly. Love the car, hate the manual sports seats! I gotta find a solution or I am going to go mad. I tried the lumbar support in a car with them built-in (at the dealer) but it didn't hit me in the right places.... Not for me unfortunately. I thought the lumbar support was too hard. I went to an auto upholstery specialist and had some cushioning put in the lumbar region, but unfortunately I was not present when the work was being done and consequently its still not right. In hind sight I should have had the whole thing custom fitted while the the covers were off. So gotta go back and have the seat cover removed again ouch!!! The problem is the seat back is actually curved in a c shaped way - the shoulder area curves forward causing contact across my shoulder blades. I guess there are ok for short small framed people who might sit a little lower in the seats. I really need to completely start from scratch and get the right curve and support. I really like the seats in the Z4. They are nicely angled and supportive.
Any suggestions?
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      12-21-2012, 09:54 AM   #13
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Ouch. Sorry to hear that. Hope that you have some success when you have it done again.

In the end, I abandoned the idea of retrofitting something when I purchased a very well-made durable air cushion from Relax the Back. (I didn't like the color mis-match, so I had a black pillowcase sewn around it to match the color of the seats.) It works quite well on long-distance trips.

http://www.relaxtheback.com/back-lum...rectangle.html

Lesson learned: if I buy another BMW, I am just going to suck it up and pay the extra cost for whatever package has the lumbar supports.
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      12-27-2012, 06:32 AM   #14
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DIY solutions!

Well, I finally found the complete solution to my seat back (my back actually) problem from other forums. I followed hints and links in the German http://www.e90-forum.de forum:

E92 lumbar support retrofit

E90 version (English)

E90 version (German part 1)and Part 2

E46 version

Now I'll have a go at converting my sports seats.
Cheers,
Joe
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      01-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #15
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Nothing worse than driving with a sore back, have you considered buying a seat from a wreck with lumbar support?
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      01-28-2013, 09:53 PM   #16
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Anyone know any shops in NJ or NYC who will do this?
And about how much it would cost if you have the sport seats with the bolster support?
If any one knows please PM me thank you!
And yes though the seats are nice...anything over 2 hours and they are not comfy at all!
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      04-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #17
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Anyone here done the lumbar DIY??
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