"In this Special Series about the OE+ Recaro Pole Position custom seat program, I document the process to converting a standard Pole Position to an OE+ seat for my E46 M3.
Installing buck seats is often more complicated we assume. On this entry, I expand on the seat bracket options and the one I selected for my E46 M3.
Hopefully this helps you in your selection!"
The OEM configuration.
BMW M's stock seats are many things: comfort, safety, aesthetics, ergonomics and performance. Finding the bullseye is difficult when selecting your aftermarket mounting solution and your desired configuration.
Many components get re-used from the OEM seats. Dismount and uninstall time is needed.
They have small, powerful electric motors that push our bodies of varying weights forwards, backwards, higher, lower - and squeezes us in.
The motors are the grey cylinders underneath the seats. There are quite a few, only 1x is used to power the sliders.
The others are there for other electrical functions on the seats themselves that aren't re-used when fitting aftermarket bucket seats.
Our bucket seats don't tilt, nor do they have adjustable bolsters and lumbar support.
The OEM seats have heat pads stitched into leather overs. The seat buckle is a safety component of the seats and is connected to the seat's harness.
The heat pads cannot be re-used for the Pole Position ABEs due to dimensions differences.
I don't recommend using 20 year old heating elements. They will fail sooner than later.
Wired for safety.
The OEM passenger seat cover incorporates the airbag sensor into the OEM harness.
You have a three options here: run without it and have a code, run without it but integrate a bypass loop, or buy a new one and fit it to your new covers. We opted for the OEM solution and bought a new Genuine BMW airbag sensor.
We glued it on the lower section of the shell. It does go slightly over with the velcro, but better safe than sorry.
The sensor's connector gets plugged into this module that we re-used from the OEM seat. We use double sided tape to glue it to the shell.
Start with your criteria.
The Phoenix is driven by people of varying height. I wanted my bucket seats to remain sliding, and if possible, retain the forward & backward powered slider function.
The first configuration below is what I personally picked for my E46 M3.
The Recaro Pole Position ABEs use Brey Krause's R-9222 (Driver side) and R9223 (Passenger side) mounts. The BK side mounts are engineered and designed to work with the OEM sliders.
They come with all the required mounting hardware along with washers for adjustments to the seats angle.
They are height adjustable using slotted sections, allowing you to adjust the seats height, and tilt according to your preferences and your M car's flooring.
The E46 M3 has the front of the mounts sitting higher than the rear on the flooring. Keep that in mind when adjusting your seat outside the car!
Optional electric power.
They provide the wiring and brackets. In order to activate the powered OEM sliders, you need to re-wire and pin the OEM seat harness.
The picture below shows the OEM electrical motor and rod having been transferred to the new Brey Krause side mounts.
The harness is connected to E30 Accessory buttons (SKU 61311367373) as pictured below. You will need 1x per seat.
The powered sliders add complexity and costs to the installation that is not worth while with bucket seats. I would have picked manual sliders if I had to do it again.
Recaro side mounts.
If you'll be tracking your car extensively, desire a super low seating position and want to do it all with style: this is for you.
To run this configuration, you're ditching most of the OEM seat. You're keeping the seat belt buckle and the harness.
The Recaro side mounts are made from steel and feature the famed RECARO logo.
New Floor Mounts.
First things first, you need new floor mounts. These replace your OEM sliders and are bolted directly into the OEM mounting points into the floor.
This is an example of new machined floor mounts. The various threaded holes are used to position and bolt down the seats to the floor mounts.
You can optionally run universal Sparco or Recaro sliders. I find that solution pointless considering the BreyKrause solution presented above, unless you really want the shiny Recaro side mounts.
Brey Krause Fixed Mounts
BR arguably makes the lowest fixed mounts for M cars. No sliders, nothing. It's a pair of mounts directly bolted into the chassis and your seats.
It's also arguably the safest solution out there. They are DOT and SAE approved for most BMW M applications.
We bolted the seats into the car and rejoiced.
I did play with height adjustments for a bit more rearward tilt and that was it.
We're getting closer to launching the custom seat program for Recaro Pole Position ABEs.