Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of cars and mechanics (sort of)

For the first time in a long time, I got the tools out in earnest and completed a much put-off job. My wife has a rather nice diesel estate car which has done us fantastic service zooming around France, but it has one niggling annoyance for her - the drivers seat. The car has leather upholstery, which is nice, but it's the basic model so the seats were only adjustable in a couple of dimensions.

Her previous vehicle had been a top-line company car, custom spec BMW 320d, with full electric seats, and she likes to drive with a lot of support under her legs, slightly pitched backwards. This was impossible with the stock seat.

I found an eBay listing a few weeks back for an 8-way electrically powered version of the same seat, so I secured it (and later, the switches, which the breakers yard had removed, the cheeky bastards - they got another 30 quid out of me for that and I still have to buy one of the switch tops) and it's been with us for about 3 weeks or so.

Last night I got home and decided there was enough light left to go for it, so I did a little investigation, established that the plug under the seat for the supplies had a full set of cables (there were 15 cables and the stock seat only had 3 plugs so I made the assumption that the car has a stock loom which will take all the optional extras), and went for it.

It was great to dig out the tools again, get my hands dirty, and figure out how to remove the seatbelt assembly (another piece the bastards at the breakers yard had taken off and neglected to mention in their listing!!!) and transfer it to the new seat - this went off without a hitch, each element under the seat actually had a physically notched removable plug so they couldn't be inserted into the wrong slot in the plug unit.

Best of all, the seat is in fact the right colour - so, although it needs a good clean and feed, I don't need to remove the upholstery and transfer it across.

The forward-backward motor sounds a little tired, I suspect the tracks need grease, but otherwise it's working fine and she now has the driving position she wanted.

I just have to find that switch knob. Grr.

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