F80 M3 Competition Seats in Pre-LCI E90 335 - Front and Rear

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
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07 335i 6MT e90
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:disappointed:

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EDIT: Since linking to other forums is OK, I wanted to give due credit to the 2 guys that gave me the encouragement to do this.

Adam from Reboot Engineering did it to his E90 M3 2 years ago! https://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1559034

MPROVED (Jayden) from West Auckland had a great thread that was extremely helpful as well: http://bimmersport.co.nz/topic/60853-f80-m3-seats-into-e92-m3/

I also got helpful info from Stone Automotive's Youtube video on it:

I posted mine to try to be a bit more encompassing of all of them, with the specifics on the rewiring, and also to show that it works in a Non-M vehicle as well.


Since my car is pretty done as far as power mods go (no plans for single turbo, or supplemental fueling) , I figured I’d give the interior some love. I had considered Braum seats, but their just Chinese seats like any other non/off-branded stuff, they just have good marketing. Recaros are out of the question due to price, especially trying to keep power seats, side airbags, etc.

So I started hunting for some F80 M3 seats. I had seen a Youtube video where a guy put them in his E92 M3, and Adam from RebootEng put a set in his E90 M3. I just wanted a pair of black front seats, nothing spectacular.

I found out that they offer a cloth insert called “Carbon structure.” It’s typically only ordered by those that plan to track the car as the cloth is "grippier" and holds you in the seat better.
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I found one at a junk yard for only $450! Unfortunately I only found ONE, and only the passenger side :disappointed:. I abandoned that idea due to the rarity of the cloth and unlikeliness of people to sell single seats, or just a drivers side and rear.

I kept an eye on F80 M3 seats for a while (on CL, FB, and Car-part) and saw a junkyard that had what looked to be a competition model (ZCP) driver’s seat for a crazy good price. Unfortunately it was Sakhir Orange, and they didn’t have the passenger seat listed.

I took a chance and called them up - they had the passenger seat, but it had a blown airbag and bent frame. After some initial issues and a misunderstanding, Sam from Benzeen Auto (definitely check them out if you need any BMW parts) took fantastic care of me and got me both front seats, the seat belts, and the rear seats, except for the bottom cushion which was missing. I figured I could just use a regular F30 rear seat that was red, or dye a different color one - they are cheap.


Driver’s seat
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I ordered a driver’s side E90 LCI seat module as neither an F80/30 or Pre-LCI E90 module will work.
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I also ordered a passenger airbag from an F30 (F80 and F30 are the same) The passenger seat frame was bent, so I ordered a base frame from an F30 (again, same as the F80.) I discovered that the F80 base has an aluminum seat, while the F30 is steel, so I swapped them. (Yay for weight savings)

F80 Aluminum seat on frame
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F30 frame with steel seat plate.
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Seat belts

The absolute WORST part of the swap is the seat belts. The belt has a different mount to the seat and thus you have to use the F80 seat belts, but you need to move it to the E90 retractor.

Once removed from the car, you need to pull the belt all the way out of the retractor, and then pull the end forward to get a metal pin out, so it can be removed. This is fun because you need to keep the retractor from recoiling, especially when installing the F80 belt. If it freespins, it will ruin the retractor and you’ll need a new one.


E90 retractor

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Making sure the belt is aligned right. You don’t want to have to re-do this if you put in upside down! (Note: I only used these belts because Benzeen threw them in - I was trying to avoid M specific stuff since people have such a conniption about it, but then I figured I have an M3 rep bumper, so who cares.)
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The belt needs to come forward, so the pin can be removed and then it can be pulled back through the retractor.

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I had read that I needed to use the E9x passenger seat module, but my seat didn’t even have a control module. Not sure if it’s because I didn’t have fancy heated seats or something, but there was no module. I left the module that was on the F80 seat with no issue.

Passenger seat repair

Airbag seam
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I had a local upholstery shop stitch up the leather. He did a great job and was dirt cheap. He does a lot of donks and custom interiors in general. https://stitchbyslick.com/gallery

Repaired
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Repinning the seats

To connect the seats, you must swap the yellow housing and connectors from the E90 seat to the F80 seat.

There are 3 connectors:
  1. Black 13 pin connector that has seat controls and power
  2. Gray airbag connector
  3. Seatbelt pre-tensioner

The seat belt pre-tensioner is the easiest one. No repinning! - just swap the seat belt buckle from the E90 seat to the F80 seat :D

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The airbag connector is easy to do. Simply remove the blue connector off of the F80 seat and put the pins into the gray E90 connectort.

F80 Airbag connector
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E90 airbag connector
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Pay attention to the colors as they are swapped.


The E90 black housing connector has 13 pins, but only 6 are populated (on my harness at least.)
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Driver’s side Pinouts

2 - Green/Orange - CAN H - data line
3 - Green - CAN L - data line
4 - Red (large pin) - steady Plus (seat module/seat heater) (I think steady plus means constant positive)
7 - Red/black - steady plus / lumbar/side bolsters
8 - Brown (large pin) - ground - seat module/seat heating
13 - Brown (large pin) - ground - lumbar/side bolsters

E90 black connector
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The F80/F30 I couldn’t find a wiring diagram online, but a guy in New Zealand had a thread on this topic, and he had the wires listed in his thread.

Red - power - lumbar/bolsters
Purple - seat light (the M that lights up)
Twisted pair - CANBUS
red/brown - positive
Brown - ground

F80 yellow connector
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Passenger seat repinning

For the passenger side, it had different wires. The connector looks the same though:

4 - red brown (large pin) - steady
6 - white/yellow - not used - goes nowhere (I can’t figure out why the FSM says this, but I thought it was funny)
7 - red/black - steady plus
10 - purple/blue - occupancy sensor
11 - white/red - occupancy sensor
12 - brown/black - ground
13 - brown (large pin) ground lumbar/side bolsters


The F80 seat had only 5 pins, and they seemed pretty straightforward except for pin 8.

25 - red/blue (large pin)
26 - brown (large pin)
15 - red/blue (large pin)
16 - brown (large pin)
8 - seat light? (Need to give that power to see if the light illuminates)

I simply used one of the brown wires and one of the red/blue wires. I’ll probably tap both together as I presume one set of power is for the seat module and heater and the oher is for the side bolster/lumbar. My suspicions were confirmed as the lumbar on the seat is not working currently.

The occupancy sensor on the F80 seat is a different connector. I am tempted to re-pin it into the E90 harness to see if it works. Others have just coded out the occupancy sensor. I haven’t made a determination on that yet.

Rear seats

For the rears, I did not have fold down rear seats and the F80 seats are split, so this was a nice upgrade.

I removed the stock latches that holds the E90 seat back
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And replaced with the latches that have a release

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The mount points using the OEM brackets are too wide for the E90 chassis. Adam from Reboot Engineering has made a relocation kit that removes the brackets and uses an extruded sleeve to make it fit properly. He said they are going out for anodizing and then I should get mine. I currently have my seats just sitting in place with them latched at the top. No one ever sits in the back of my car and I only drive it 5,000 miles a year anyways so it won’t hurt anything as it is.

Relocation kit
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To dos:

  1. Wire up lumbar power on pass. seat
  2. Wire up the Seat lights (I have an extra set of lights that I plan to customize so they don’t say M)
  3. I’m a bit torn on the passenger seat right now. I can tell the upper frame is still bent a bit. I may just order the upper frame - its only $150 brand new, but it’s a debate of $150 for a seat that rarely gets used, and even sitting in it, you don’t feel it, just can see it. Anywho, we’ll see. Maybe FCP or ECS or Turner will have a coupon code I can use sometime :D (My wife said she couldn’t tell it was bent and she is very particular about that kind of stuff, so I’ll probably leave it.)
Extras

There are a number of companies that offer carbon fiber shells for the back of the front seats. They vary in price from $400 - $3,000 depending on if you get chinese no-name or some custom US company that is marking them up :p

I had some spare carbon fiber vinyl wrap lying around and figured I’d see how it looks, so I wrapped the driver’s seat back.

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Stock rear
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I like how it looks so I’ll probably take the seat out and re-do it. The 5D wrap is very thick and hard to manipulate, so I had some bad corner I want to re-do. This wrap also prefers to be tucked as the adhesive isn’t the greatest, so I have to figure out a solution for that, since there’s nothing to wrap around.

Note: At the beginning I mentioned that I didn’t get the rear seat. I happened across a local junkyard that had a full rear set of F80 seats in Sakhir Orange! They wouldn’t sell me just the bottom cushion, but they did give me a price on the full set that would have been what I would have paid for an F30 + dye. My rear seats were in better shape, so I used my rear seatbacks and bolsters and just used the bottom cushion. I’ll put the other seat backs and bolsters on ebay individually, they are still Merino leather after all and should recop a little.
 
Last edited:

aus335iguy

Colonel
Nov 18, 2017
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335i DCT 2009
Wow great upgrade ! Wouldn’t have thought the f series rear would fit... do you know if the same applies to e92s ?
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
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07 335i 6MT e90
Wow great upgrade ! Wouldn’t have thought the f series rear would fit... do you know if the same applies to e92s ?

The fronts definitely do, but you'd want from an M4 to have the ability to move the backrest forwrad. I'm not sure about the rear seats, but I'd suspect they'd be similar. There are some areas when the seats are folded down that it doesn't look fully trimmed out, but that's minor im m opinion.
 
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derekgates

Lieutenant
Feb 23, 2018
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NW FL
derekgates.us
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2011 335is
WHaaaaaaaaaat this is crazy! That looks so damn good! I've lusted over these seats for a while, shocked you can do this! Thank you for sharing this.
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,176
673
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
Thanks everyone. I wish I could take credit for everything but I used other people's info and just tried to make the wiring easier to follow, as well as try to take away some fear around removing and reinstalling seat leather.

I don't know what @doublespaces policy is for links to other forums, but I'll happily add their links of that is ok. None are on bummer boost if that matters.