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Thread: E30 sport seats in e21

  1. #1
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    E30 sport seats in e21

    Hey guys, wondering how hard it is to swap e30 sport seats into a 83 320i.
    1983 BMW 320i IS mods, polished lips on 13" BBS, e34 ellipsoids, H&Rs front cut (well worth it), CAI, Bilstien Sports, 257000 miles on the clock and running strong!

  2. #2
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    I'm pretty sure Tom D did this and if i remember correctly its a great upgrade. not only are they more comfortable then recaro's they are 10 times cheaper. In order to fit them in you need to cut the seat perches out of the car and bolt the e30 seats directly to the floor. might need some minor fab work but i dont think anything too bad. will be doing this sooner or later.
    '83 320i in the works

  3. #3
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    very easy, but they sit higher up unless you cut & weld the rails inside the car down.

  4. #4
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    That seems like it ruins the idea of keeping it stock-ish. Do you mean that he took the perches completely out and bolted to the floor and had a nut foing through the floor? Does it leak?
    1983 BMW 320i IS mods, polished lips on 13" BBS, e34 ellipsoids, H&Rs front cut (well worth it), CAI, Bilstien Sports, 257000 miles on the clock and running strong!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sourlemon View Post

    That seems like it ruins the idea of keeping it stock-ish.
    listen when E21 recaros cost $600 for the seats and another 500 to match your interior, then E30 sport seats are stock-ish enough.

    the seat perches are spot welded in place and are easy to remove. the E21's floor is not perfectly level so you have to 1) stack a bunch of washers to the proper height, 2) weld some bars from the door sill to the trans tunnel, or do as i did and 3) scribe a piece of C-channel to the shape of the floor and then bolt the whole assembly through the floor using large plate washers underneath.

    these cost me $35 each. for that price i could buy 20 of them.




    here is charbel's car, you can see that he did option #2.

    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
    02 r1150rs
    all of them gray
    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

  6. #6
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    im wondering because we have a set lying around. its not as bad as i thought.
    1983 BMW 320i IS mods, polished lips on 13" BBS, e34 ellipsoids, H&Rs front cut (well worth it), CAI, Bilstien Sports, 257000 miles on the clock and running strong!

  7. #7
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    Since its an 83 there is also option 4) weld leveled steel strips between the two seat perches. Its similar to charbel's setup but with WAY less work. I have this in my race car and the bucket just bolts straight into the steel.

    Myself, I would be concerned with bolting the seat straight to the floor pan. Its not the thickest of steel and is probably not that rigid after 28 years. Even with thick steel washers it might rip out.

    Have you looked into putting the e30 seats on the E21 rails? I am in the process of doing this with some Konig seats(similar to recaro).
    I'd rather be driving...

  8. #8
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    the fact that the E30 sports have reclining backs makes the strength of the belly pan mute.
    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
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    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom D View Post
    the fact that the E30 sports have reclining backs makes the strength of the belly pan mute.
    A very true point. You are correct, they would come apart before ripping out anyways.
    I'd rather be driving...

  10. #10
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    Do it, much more comfortable then the e21 seats....
    Picture of my 83 seat conversion.


    And the build thread with more description on the seat install:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1584670
    WOT

  11. #11
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    Tagged for later- my driver's Recaro is ripped to shit

  12. #12
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    hsv - just to clarify, instead of removing the mounts at the transmission tunnel, you just raised the mounts near the door sill?

  13. #13
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    you really don't want to keep the original perches, they place the E30 seats way too high.
    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
    02 r1150rs
    all of them gray
    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

  14. #14
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    so it's better to just remove both perches and replace them? or lower the one next to the trans tunnel?

    or do what charbel did?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullswing View Post
    hsv - just to clarify, instead of removing the mounts at the transmission tunnel, you just raised the mounts near the door sill?
    I kept the inbound mount as is for one reason, safety, as your seat belt ancor point is replicate between the e21 & e30 seats. The aluminum bar and spacers shown in the pic were designed to replicate the same angle/height of the inside perch. Then the e30 seat bolted to the aluminum bar. Granted, it will lift the seat higher in the car, so if your 6' plus this may be an issue.

    If I had a welder at home, I may have cut them out as TomD is indicating and welded me up some good mounts, lower on the floor.
    WOT

  16. #16
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    so what about the rear seat from an e30 with sport seats. Will it fit? And...the bolsters are all good on these at the yard...just the bottom cushion is rotted out.Wonder if I could use my comfort seat material?


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dups View Post
    so what about the rear seat from an e30 with sport seats. Will it fit? And...the bolsters are all good on these at the yard...just the bottom cushion is rotted out.Wonder if I could use my comfort seat material?
    It's too wide, you can make it fit but it didn't look right to me.



    ^ real owner of my cars

  18. #18
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    I have on hand a pair of Mercedes SLK seats which are 16" apart at the rails but I have yet to weld in cross support beams as seen in option 2. While the original Recaro seat rails are spaced exactly 17" apart, the cross-welded support bar wouod allow for the additional drilling of holes.
    I could put the stock Recaros back if I ever were to get around to reupholstering them.
    I'm confident that having holes just 1" apart won't compromise the integrity of the beam due to its thick steel construction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom D View Post
    you really don't want to keep the original perches, they place the E30 seats way too high.
    Can you elaborate on why high seat perches--and the increased visibility that comes along with them--would be a drawback?
    I could understand if it were a clearance issue, such as the case with the Cadillac CTS-V. I'm 5'11" and my head hits the ceiling of the V even when the seat is at its lowest position. That would justify a lowering of its seat perches, but I'm not clear on why it would be desirable to lower the seat perches in an e21.
    Last edited by Allenwilson33; 01-20-2015 at 06:32 PM.

  19. #19
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    Because E30 seats are height adjustable and even in the lowest position on top of the factory perches you'll probably be hitting your head. You can take my word for it or you can try for yourself, but I have done it and so you just need to take my word about it.

    Incidentally, mine are not directly on the floor, but rather sitting on a 1.25" u channel that's been scribed to the floor
    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
    02 r1150rs
    all of them gray
    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom D View Post
    Because E30 seats...you'll probably be hitting your head.
    Thanks for clarifying. my suspicion was accurate, for once lol.
    Might you have a pic of the 1.25" u channel that's been 'scribed' to the floor?

  21. #21
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    For me it's not the ceiling but your knees hitting the steering wheel...well almost. It looks like I could do it straight up with no mods ( except for sliding a washer underneath the perches). I'm 5'6"...seems like it will work. I'm going to try it first then decide. I don't understand the wood. What's the deAl there?


  22. #22
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    there's no wood in the factory perches, does yours have wood?
    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
    02 r1150rs
    all of them gray
    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

  23. #23
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    NT

    I used a 90* angle steel plate and bolted it to the inside of the exisitng frame rails and set the height to where I wanted.
    If you are handy you'll come up with a way to mount them. You can always cut off the little riser welded on the e30 rails bottom too for and added drop.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    I realize this is an older thread, but am wondering dups if you decided to use the original perches, and raise up the lower one. I am about your same height, and am wondering how it turned out. My recaros are trashed, and now the IGGY seat covers need replacing after 5 years. I like the E30 sport seats better anyway. Think my wife would miss her newly recovered sport seats in her E30 convertible? Haha...

    Also, blacky77, do you have a pic of the underside showing those plates? That seems like a great idea which will keep the original perches intact. Thanks in advance for your responses

    Tim

  25. #25
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    tim, there's no way around it, the original seat perches have to go.
    Tom D

    77 e21 - m42
    88 e30m3
    04 330 dinan3
    84 r1000rt
    02 r1150rs
    all of them gray
    14 f800gsa - red headed stepchild!

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