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(edited)

Hey Everyone,

So I thought I would share some information that may be helpful to others.  When I started the project I didnt intend on documenting it as a DIY as I was basically learning as I went.  For years my brother and I have wanted to learn more metal fab, especially welding.  I wanted new seats for my 2002 but because I often daily the car I wanted something comfortable but with bolsters so I went with e30 seats.  Because of this choice custom seat brackets were necessary.  After picking up the super cheap harbor freight welder on a special we started work.  And yes the harbor fright welder is not great... but it taught me why its not great while still being able to get basic jobs done.  You can get everything you need for this job at your local home depot.  After a few discussions we decided because of the height of the e30 seats we need to get them as low as possible. 

 

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Reupholstered e30 seats

 

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To install the e30 seats you must cut out the original 2002 seat brackets.  We did this using our grinder and cutting disc.  Be very careful not to cut threw your transmission tunnel.  Also beware of the factory welds are quite old and can actually pull threw the sheet metal if you attempt to just fatigue the welds (bending the tack welded sheet metal back and forth to snap the weld) instead of cutting them... how do I know?  Well it happened to us and we had to patch the hole using a copper spoon.  Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the cut brackets as I was not happy with the hole.

 

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Using 1" square steel and 1" angle steel we cut the rails using a grinder with a cutting disc.  We had good results clamping it to our work bench to make a ghetto ban saw.  We measured 3" in from each ends and welded in the steel. 

 

 

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Checking often for fitment and square angles. 

 

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The main issue with the e30 seats in the 2002 are the  two humps under the seats on the floor. Basically the seats are longer than the hump so you teeter on the hump with no easy way to mount.  Also for proper position you have to sit 50/50 on the hump.  So you must create a flat mount for the seats to the factory locations while still supporting it compensating for the hump and keeping it as low as possible.  This was our solution.
Bolt hole locations.  Watch for brake lines and Measure twice!

 

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Next we welded the 4x bolts and support rear legs.  So our bracket bolts to the hump with 4 large bolts welded to the angle steel.  The bracket drops threw the car and bolts underneath.  The rear support legs are roughly 3" long.  We played with ideas of welding this or bolting it in but felt it worked really well as is. Very important as these legs support a large amount of the weight.  Then a bit of black paint.

 

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The bracket attaches to the seat using the seat's factory 4 mounting holes and cutting holes at the ends of the bracket and attaching with bolts, a couple washers and nuts.

 

Attaching the bracket to the seat then dropping the seats threw the floor and bolting it all in.  All done!

 

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Baxter was a fan.

 

Overall the project was awesome and am very happy with the results.  The seats are super comfortable and great bolster.  The project was frustrating at times but I am so happy we went all the way and started to learn how to weld.  Our welds aren't great at all and the brackets aren't the prettiest but its a great first project as its not seen mostly.  The negatives of the project are that no matter what the e30 seats will not sit directly in-front of the pedals unless you modify the factory seat mounts on the e30.  Its slight but not lined up.  This didn't bother me much.  Also you could have issues with the hand pull for rear seat access hitting the door panel so its important to mount the seats as close to the transmission hump as possible.  Last issue is you will need to get new carpet for the center hump.  Unfortunately for me I decided on these seats after I just installed a new kit from Esty (D'oh!) .  And I think carpet I ordered is out of stock and may not ever be back so not 100% the direction I am going to go.  Its only seen when you look down to where the brackets where so it doesn't stick out.    Sorry that I didn't have better photos or measurements but I thought it could help someone that was in a similar spot as I. 

Edited by mellena

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Very nice work and a great outcome. I came across this post via Google as I was searching for adapters to allow me to install E21 Recaros on an E30. The cost of the adapters and sliders can come close to $400, or enough to make me think twice about investing in the tools and learning to weld. Great inspiration!

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Nice  job, OP.

 

Hynrgee. For Recaro seats into an e30 chassis, it is simpler than Sport seats in a 2002.

 

Simply separate your old OEM sliders from your BMW seat and mate them to Massive's Recaro adapters. It takes 15 minutes per seat to do a swap as it is a 100% bolt on.

 

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Hi Lee...thanks for the photos; they are helpful. If the installation time you noted includes steps 8 through 11 as included in the following link, yes this does look like the way to go.

 

http://www.e30tech.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82306

 

Expect a PM at some point today.

Steps 8 to 11 take less than 5 minutes. Two pins and two bolts. No big deal.

 

Lee

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