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  1. #1
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    Heated seat issue once again

    Back in 2005 I had a problem with my drivers seat. When I turned on the heated seats I noticed a burning odor which I later found to be an overheating seat heater. It got so hot it burned a hole through the leather seat, burned a hole in my jean pocket and melted a spot on my drivers license in my wallet. The dealer replaced the leather seat covering and were kind enough to cover the $800 cost as a goodwill repair. Today it was a bit chilly in the Chicago area and I turned on the seat heater for the first time of the season and started smelling the familiar burning odor. Sure enough, almost five years since the seat was repaired it is doing the same thing as before. I love this car but man, the little things that go wrong or were poorly designed make me wonder what the engineers were thinking when they designed this car. Plastic radiators, plastic door handles, plastic headlight adjusters, and on and on.

    jet black 2000 528iA
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  2. #2
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    Yes | No

    Yes, cut corners 2save a few cents on a $50K+ car






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  3. #3
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    and all these things work on a 30k usd japanese

    car. they also worked on the older bmw's too.

    My 840 is a blessing compared to the the E39. I spent more money on the '99 528iT with 85k miles E39 in 2 months then I did on my 63k miles '97 840ci in 4 years ! The 840 gets driven less then normal but sometimes it gets driven quite long ! I did a few SC-FL trips and some 100+ mph drives as well.

    its a miracle how these cars can go from being solid and reliable to soft and plastic. It feels that they really tested each part to last the warranty + 20% and not much more.

    I wonder if the E46 is the same or not... that my next choice of car (convertible) and I'm already afraid to buy it.

    I think I will stick to my 840 for a while...

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  4. #4
    BG
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    They ARE being designed to not last too long

    A fellow at a dealership that will remain unnamed said he went to a seminar where they were urged to not take in BMWs too old for repair because it cheapened the look of the shop. The new cars are 4 or 5-year products, after which the owner is supposed to buy a new one. I wonder if BMW management has connected this to rapid depreciation (which means leases cost more). Will there really be enough exclusive monied customers in USA to maintain this type of product philosophy?

  5. #5
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    thats the plan anyway. The reason they keep

    bringing more and more different cars/trucks to keep the customer entertained. One thing is exciting today but tomorrow it will be the other item on the hot topic list.

    I would really be afraid to own a newish BMW out of warranty and/or after 6 years/60k miles.

    The cars are engineered to warranty time + 25% and with this they making sure people will buy a new one.

    The lease buyout is so high in many cases and still the leases are going up. A 7 series worth about 40% after 3-4 years and that means at least 45k usd loss in that 3-4 years or 10-12k usd per year. No wonder they have to keep raising the leases.

    I know I can not afford to keep any newer BMW even though I can afford to buy it. A 2006 M5 with 78k miles was sold recently local for 29k with no warranty.
    I can get 30 grand for a car specially an M5. But I don't have 1,200usd for a minor service. At 100k miles it needs a bunch of "little" service

    1997 BMW 840CiA
    1990 BMW Z1
    1999 BMW 528iT (Hauler mobile)
    2002 Astro Van AWD
    2003 Nissan 350Z Enthusiast Package
    1987 BMW 535i with 5spd manual (for sale)
    1992 BMW 735iL (needs head and interior)
    1977 BMW 320i (project racecar)
    2007 Mazda CX9 AWD (Wife mobile)
    1998 Yamaha Blaster+Breeze

    1995 850CSI CD00177 (SOLD)

  6. #6
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    Re: Heated seat issue once again

    I remember your original post, but I don't think I've read any others specific like yours.

    I hate to suggest it and I know it isn't helpful, but it's possible that something about your situation is causing it and that's why it was an identical repeat a second time after exactly the same amount of time (5 years each time).

    I have never read any "they all do that" problem with all E39s developing seat torches right under wherever you, personally, happen to wear your wallet. Your wallet, weight, angle of seating etc... could be causing the problem on your car. My seat heat is fine after 13 years although I had the "they all do that" seat occupancy sensor problem. My dad's 2002 540 has had every problem in the book and his is also fine.

    Just sayin'...


  7. #7
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    Yes | No

    Good point, but I can find no reason why this

    happens. I'm just over 5'10" and weigh about 185lbs. I have my seat adjusted in a normal driving position. I remember the last time this happened in 2005 I found a NHTSA campaign for the 2004 model E60, but nothing for the E39 even though the problem is the same. Since my dealer has already made a goodwill repair last time I don't think they'll go for another one.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Good point, but I can find no reason why this

    I didn't mean to imply you were heavy or oddly shaped :)

    Different people sit differently. Do you find that your wallet wears your back pocket, for instance? You may lean to the wallet side and the corner of your wallet jabs the seat continuously in the same spot for years and years. Regardless of brand of car, you may create/have an issue which is not the fault of the manufacturer. Perhaps another brand may not have elements in the exact area where your wallet resides and you might declare it "fixed" but it may just be an issue of individuality.


  9. #9
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    Yes | No

    It never hurts to ask.


  10. #10
    Mike S
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    While we're on a rant.........

    I've lost count of the number of posts re brake rotors "welded" onto the hub after a few years, I've had the same issue.

    I was doing a brake job on my wife's Saturn Aura (yes a SATURN) and the rotors came straight off - why? A thin film of anti-sieze on the back of each rotor. If GM (of all companies) can take the extra step why not our famous "high-end" manufacturer?

  11. #11
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    Haha. Actually, after reading your response I did

    in fact think of "heavier" people actually causing this issue. That I could understand if their movements put extra strain on the bolsters or something. In the case of BMW though, it seems that they would rather tell us that we are sitting incorrectly, instead of taking responsibility for poor design or quality. I'm going to take CMBG's advice though, and call them and see what they say.

    jet black 2000 528iA
    sport premium package
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    two Alpine amps
    MTX subwoofer
    AudioControl equalizer
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  12. #12
    Crusader
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    Yes | No

    I think BMW is going for a different clientele ...

    Once upon a time, they were very much the enthusiasts' car and appealed to the kind of folks that go to Oktoberfest, meticulously maintained the car, almost had a "love affair" with the things.

    Now the company has discovered (correctly, I think) there's more sales in appealing to those whose involvement in the car is the monthly drop-off at the detail shop. The customer isn't buying into a 10+ year ownership but a 3 year lease.


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