BMW E36 Passenger seat tilt fix.
Hopefully this guide will help others who have problems with their passenger seat tilt function.
When I was looking into this problem I realised quickly that there was generally 2 problems associated with the tilt function. One is a complete failure (i.e. you should still feel tension on the cable as it's still in place and connected to the spring on the base of the seat - but nothing happens) and the other which is where the lever is completely disconnected (i.e. no tension in it whatsoever). This guide is intended to illustrate how to fix the second issue only i.e. where the lever is completely disconnected - although the pictures maybe of help to others attempting the cable replacement (which also looks fairly straight forward!)
I would imagine that you could probably do this with the seats in situ (working from the back seat) - but I had the luxury of already having my seats out!
- Torx screwdriver (T20)
- Flat blade screwdriver
BMW PARTS NEEDED:
- CLIP (part no: 52108183276)
Remove headrest  (pull sharply up in the direction shown in the diagram below - it needs a proper tug!!)
Remove levers either side of seat  these pull off
Remove lever covers either side of seat  these are clipped in place top and bottom and have guides on the side. These are very fragile so take your time and be careful. I found it best to slide a thin/flat blade screwdriver in the top and then at the bottom to disengage the clip and it was then easy to slide off.
Remove the 2 x T20 screws  from the base of the seat and the pull the back of the seat  slightly away from the base/bottom and upwards towards the headrest and it should come free
You can see from the below picture that the clip on the threaded metal rod is completely detached from the lever:
I had a look over this for a while and could not understand how this could have became detached as there was no evidence of any cracks/splits or breakage.. I could only presume that under pressure/strain at some point it had became disengaged. At this point I could have simply put it back together and pushed the pin through - but I had already ordered a new part from BMW so decided to swap them over.
When I had a closer look at the new part - it is visibly different from the existing part on the seat (despite having the same part number) - it looks as though at some point BMW saw fit to strengthen it around the connector hole.
Old clip on left and new clip on right:
Remove the old clip by unscrewing it from the threaded rod.
Install your new clip. I did this by first connecting it to the lever and pushing the pin through the hole with my pliers. I then fed the threaded rod through the base of the new clip and made sure it was taught. I then pressed the clip into place with my pliers.
Now is a good time to test your tilt lever works (on both sides!) - once you're happy that the mechanism works as it should - reassemble the back of the seat in the reverse order of STEP 1 above.
Job done!! - stand back and give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work!