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      05-30-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
Dirk Van Driver
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1M seat position too high ? Here's my fix.

I've posted this in a thread over on PistonHeads as the seat height issue was mentioned in athread comparing the 1M with the E46 M3 CSL and the Z4M.
As this forum is more model specific, I thought I'd post my findings on here too.

Please note the seat height/adjustment issue does seem to be a very personal thing. From my perspective it pretty much ruined the experience of driving what is otherwise a fantastic car.
It tainted the experience to such a degree I seriously contemplated selling the car. Not only did it compromise my enjoyment of the car, it made driving it physically painful too.

Here are my findings and the fix for those that might want to tackle the job of lowering their drivers seat



The seats are taken straight from the 3 series coupe, witness the label with "E92 Sport" highlighted in blue.

The seat mounts via the four pivoting points highlighted in yellow, these determine just how low the seat can be mounted. They need to be able to articulate if you wish to retain all the seats adjustment functions (except fore and aft)

Note that none of the modifications made are irreversible, be they to the the seat, the seat base or the cars floorpan.

The process took some seven hours due to the experimental nature of the work involved. A large proportion of that time was used up making up a new seat belt stalk bracket. This was needed as the original wasn't compatible with the Sparco side mounts I'd purchased, and additionally, I didn't want to modify the existing part. The seat belt stalk features a pretensioner (in the form of a pyrotechnic charge highlighted in red)

As this was a safety critical component (as was the mounting of the seat itself) it took a long time to design and fabricate a neat and strong solution to enable the fitment of the pretensioner and the stalk to the Sparco side mounts.

The seat mounts were purchased from Demon Tweeks :

http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk/motors...eat-mount-pair

They were chosen after careful measurement and for the fact that the only section needed was the "rail" to mount to the floor, no "side mount" sections were needed as the intention was to lower the seat to the absolute maximum.



The finished article is functional and not up to BMW OE standards aesthetically. As can be seen from the photo, the modification lowers the seat approximately just over two inches) I intend to use these items as the template for some neater and far more bespoke items. If enough interest is shown I'll have several set made up, but please be aware, the seat no longer has ANY fore and aft adjustment apart from that gained by using the height adjustment function (which also moves the seat forwards and backwards as it pivots up and down, but also defeats the object of lowering the seat in the first place . . .)

These two images show the finished install and also indicate that the seat is mounted as low as is physically possible in the car.





The results make for a far superior driving position and in turn make you feel much more "at one" with the car.

Whilst buying the seat mounting brackets from DT, I checked out the Recaro Sportster CS they had in the showroom. Whilst it's a superb seat, I'm not convinced it's actually mounted any lower than the OE seats in the 1M, if anything I suspect they may be higher.

From my admittedly limited research, it would appear that Recaro don't/won't supply 1 series Sportster CS seat mounting brackets/adaptors. Seemingly BMW have an exclusive deal to supply them. My BMW dealer said the brackets were not available separately without the seats either. . . . . .

If I decide to keep the car, I will, as mentioned previously, most likely invest in a pair of Recaro Pole Positions and have them trimmed in black leather and alcantara with orange stitching.

Hope this helps those of you NOT sitting comfortably in your 1Ms !

Last edited by Dirk Van Driver; 03-03-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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      05-30-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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awesome write-up and instructions!! that's one thing i wish this forum had a little more of...step-by-step how-to's. they are so beneficial. good job, and thanks for the input!
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      05-30-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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oh btw...would it be considered "legal" afterwards?

nevermind...UK is probably a little different than the US (we have some harsh restrictions for what is considered "legal").
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      05-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Why wouldn't you just but the BMW Performance seats?

So you put a 3er seat in your 1M ???
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      05-30-2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Why wouldn't you just but the BMW Performance seats?

So you put a 3er seat in your 1M ???
Firstly as I mentioned, the Performance seats don't appear to be mounted any lower than the factory fit OE seats, they most likely give more support during cornering, but they don't address the primary issue I was experiencing, that being the seat height even in its lowest position. In addition to which the Performance seats cost IRO £3500 in the UK.

No, I didn't put a 3er seat in my 1M, the factory fits 3er seats as standard

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      05-30-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1k0d3n View Post
oh btw...would it be considered "legal" afterwards?

nevermind...UK is probably a little different than the US (we have some harsh restrictions for what is considered "legal").
No USA dealer would touch this request for liability reasons ...I no i tried to have my seat re-positioned in one of my Honda's and they would not even consider it....and the service manager is a friend of mine...I have no issue with the height of my 135i seat at all as i do not like to sit so low anyway as it disrupts my visability as well as blocking what gear i am in when i am in manual mode paddle shifting....But i would have to agree with DAckel...BMW Performance Recar's would of been my choice.
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      05-30-2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

You might just be my absolute hero!
I would absolutely kill for 1 or 2 inches of additional headroom for helmet clearance! This seems to be the ticket!!



Questions:
1. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about the seat belt buckle mounting and I can't tell from the pictures. Did you have to do any custom fab work to get the buckle mounted?

2. Other than the Sparco seat mounts, do I need anything else?

3. Do the Sparco mounts have to be modified for this to work?

4. Why do you think this doesn't look factory?

I have a 135i, but I assume the seat mounts are essentially the same.
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      05-30-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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Thumbs up

Btw. this bracket does not seem to be available from Sparco anymore. Placed my order with demon-tweeks in the UK. Hope they don't run out

At the risk of loosing a few mm of just gained headroom, maybe this is a good solution for the seat belt buckle:
http://www.europeanautosource.com/pr...t-floor-mounts

Still waiting to see what Dirk's solution is though...

Did I mention this is exciting?!

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      05-31-2012, 03:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IZAGLO View Post
No USA dealer would touch this request for liability reasons ...I no i tried to have my seat re-positioned in one of my Honda's and they would not even consider it....and the service manager is a friend of mine...I have no issue with the height of my 135i seat at all as i do not like to sit so low anyway as it disrupts my visability as well as blocking what gear i am in when i am in manual mode paddle shifting....But i would have to agree with DAckel...BMW Performance Recar's would of been my choice.
Hi IZAGLO, whilst the Performance seats look great and match the interior of the 1M perfectly, I don't think they address the problem of the seat height. My install was not carried out for looks or to impress others, it was done solely to improve the driving position. It did so and improves how the car drives/feels massively. I don't use my car for cruising or posing, so it gets driven hard.

Take a look at any competition car and you'll find it's driver sitting lower not higher. This is done partially to lower the centre of gravity, but also it tends to align the drivers natural roll center with the cars.

This mod cost FAR less than the Performance seats (which I think are overpriced) AND retains the original look with regards to the seats and their functionality (and I wanted to retain the heated seats for winter !)
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      05-31-2012, 03:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by int2str View Post
Btw. this bracket does not seem to be available from Sparco anymore. Placed my order with demon-tweeks in the UK. Hope they don't run out

At the risk of loosing a few mm of just gained headroom, maybe this is a good solution for the seat belt buckle:
http://www.europeanautosource.com/pr...t-floor-mounts

Still waiting to see what Dirk's solution is though...

Did I mention this is exciting?!

He in2str, I think you'll be able to utilise the Schnell seat belt mounting bracket, the seat belt stalk and pretensioner requires two mounting points, primarily to stop the pretensioner device rotating in the event of an accident.

Get a good fabrication shop to make this up for you if you're not confident of doing it yourself as this really is a safety critical issue, hence we spent a lot of time ensuring the part we fabricated was as strong as (and if I'm honest I suspect stronger) than the original factory part.

Unfortunately I don't have photos of the mount we made up beacausewe did our final instal and it worked perfectly, as it had been a long day and was getting late, we chose not to remove the seat again (we'd taken the seat out of the car and refitted it for test purposes at least ten times during the day ! ! and trust me, it's heavy ! !)
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      05-31-2012, 12:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Van Driver View Post
Hi IZAGLO, whilst the Performance seats look great and match the interior of the 1M perfectly, I don't think they address the problem of the seat height. My install was not carried out for looks or to impress others, it was done solely to improve the driving position. It did so and improves how the car drives/feels massively. I don't use my car for cruising or posing, so it gets driven hard.

Take a look at any competition car and you'll find it's driver sitting lower not higher. This is done partially to lower the centre of gravity, but also it tends to align the drivers natural roll center with the cars.

This mod cost FAR less than the Performance seats (which I think are overpriced) AND retains the original look with regards to the seats and their functionality (and I wanted to retain the heated seats for winter !)
Just for the record, you can get the Performance Seats with heating. Plus, I guess it was Jezzer in his thread about the Performance Seat install warning everyone about installing them in "their lowest position" so maybe they are a bit lower than the standart seats? My car for instance is without power seat option (standart seats) and the seats are around 3 cm. lower than power seats but still not particularly low, I admit that, could be an issue for a taller guy.
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      05-31-2012, 01:09 PM   #12
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You might just be my absolute hero!
I would absolutely kill for 1 or 2 inches
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      05-31-2012, 01:17 PM   #13
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Sorry you had to go through all that. The seat height issue has been around for some time. I tried explaining to everyone that the manual seats are over an inch lower. Mine has the manual seats and no issues. Most people ordered their 1Ms loaded with power seats and are not aware that the manual seats have more height travel. So another option is to use factory 1M manual seats which would not cause a warranty or safety issue. Thanks for the write up too.
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      05-31-2012, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Sorry you had to go through all that. The seat height issue has been around for some time. I tried explaining to everyone that the manual seats are over an inch lower. Mine has the manual seats and no issues. Most people ordered their 1Ms loaded with power seats and are not aware that the manual seats have more height travel. So another option is to use factory 1M manual seats which would not cause a warranty or safety issue. Thanks for the write up too.
Thanks for your comments, I got "caught out" with the electric seat additional height in a E46 330 Ci some years ago. Once again I couldn't get them low enough to make them comfortable. A salesman pointed out to me that all the motors, gears etc made the seat higher. As proof he sat me in a car without electric memory seats. Sure enough, I could get comfortable without a problem.

My 1M has manual seats as a result (as does my 335D Sport A daily driver)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozinaldo View Post
Just for the record, you can get the Performance Seats with heating. Plus, I guess it was Jezzer in his thread about the Performance Seat install warning everyone about installing them in "their lowest position" so maybe they are a bit lower than the standart seats? My car for instance is without power seat option (standart seats) and the seats are around 3 cm. lower than power seats but still not particularly low, I admit that, could be an issue for a taller guy.
Interesting, my BMW dealer told me that heating elements weren't available with the Recaro Performance seats. I questioned him as I was sure I'd read (on here ?) that they were.

Take a look at this image :



That seat is mounted veeeeery high ! Not sure how much the "lower setting" drops them by (Jezzer ?) but I'm not convinced they'll be anything like as low as the seat in my car still, but I'm willing to be corrected.
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      05-31-2012, 03:20 PM   #15
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I don't understand with OP mode will seats stay 100% functional?
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      05-31-2012, 03:26 PM   #16
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I don't understand with OP mode will seats stay 100% functional?

All functions 100% except fore and aft movement.
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      05-31-2012, 03:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Van Driver View Post

That seat is mounted veeeeery high ! Not sure how much the "lower setting" drops them by (Jezzer ?) but I'm not convinced they'll be anything like as low as the seat in my car still, but I'm willing to be corrected.
Ive sat in the BMW perf seats and they are definitely lower than my sport seats.

That being said they unfortunately arent an option for most of us. This is a great write-up man. Thanks for putting all the work into it.



Might I suggest that you x-post this into general 1addicts? More people would be able to benefit from your troubles.
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      05-31-2012, 03:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Sorry you had to go through all that. The seat height issue has been around for some time. I tried explaining to everyone that the manual seats are over an inch lower. Mine has the manual seats and no issues.
My car has the manual seats. Still not low enough....
This is in a 135i though. Since the 1M doesn't have a sunroof, you gain probably at least 3-4cm of head room on top.
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      05-31-2012, 03:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
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All functions 100% except fore and aft movement.
which you will have to have when it does come time for it's MOT in a few yrs time, so I assume its reversible?
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      05-31-2012, 03:56 PM   #20
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Thumbs up

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Originally Posted by ///M1 View Post
Obviously quoting out of context, but I'm not gonna lie - I lol'd!
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      05-31-2012, 04:01 PM   #21
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The Performance seats on the highest setting sit higher than the manual OEM seats. The Performance seats can be lowered 20mm by positioning the bolts in the lower bolt holes. I don't think they would be any lower than the OEM seats though. I haven't put the Performance seats lower as I find the position comfortable and don't want to change and get backache again after every 30 mile plus journey.
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      05-31-2012, 04:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie_in_London View Post
which you will have to have when it does come time for it's MOT in a few yrs time, so I assume its reversible?
News to me !

This is what I understood the guidelines for MOT tests in th UK were/are :

The driver's and the front passenger's seats must be secure. Check

All seat backs must be securable in the upright position. Check

In any event, the passenger seat mounting is standard and thus retains ALL its functions. The drivers seat moves forward as a result of the way it functions when it is raised.
Not sure if the back section still tilts forward (I suspect not, but will test it tomorrow)

Either way, if/when I fit Pole Positions there may be some furrowed brows down at the test centre
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