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Tech Article

BMW E30 3-Series Seat Belt Parts Types

Last Updated: 06/10/2021
Parts Group: Seat belt
This article discusses the seat belts for the E30 with the main focus being on identifying the various basic building-blocks involved.

If you're not here for the technical analysis but would rather buy a used unit from us, guaranteed to work and fit, then please select the link below.
Much of the information herein is based on my own car, verified personally ... there might be exceptions such as on the M3 ... I'm not sure.

The rear seat belt setup for the E30 is the same regardless of the type of body. Each E30 will have a set of upper rear belts. Each side of the car gets retractable shoulder straps, which are idenitical parts sharing the same part number. The lowers are made up of two different parts. One side has two buckles, the other side has a buckle and a tongue which accomodates the middle seat passenger. The numbers on the identifcation tags on the belts do not go to a specific part in the schematics. The uppers are '86 on, the lowers are '87 on.

The front belts look identical but they are not. The left belt and right belt have different part numbers. The front belts are the nylon straps and metal tongue and they are separate part numbers from the front belt stalks, which are basically buckles on a stick.

The easiest way to tell the front seat belt stalks apart is by the wire coming out of the driver left side unit which is not present on the passenger right side. That wire works with the not annoying at all buzzer warning system which is a genius function designed, in this instance, by a group of brilliant and empathetic German engineers and mandated by the U.S. government, both of whom wished nothing more than to save your life (but not so much your passenger's).

The wire is not only the easiest but the superior way in which to tell orientation of the spindle because these parts don't follow the BWM convention of odd OEM part numbers being driver left side and even numbers belonging on the passenger right. We've observed odd numbered stalks with no wire and even numbered stalks with a wire.

To further complicate the situation, it is entirely possible to remove the plastic buckle housing with the molded-in part number and swap out the release button and other guts in an attempt to salvage a functional and aesthetically pleasing stalk out of multiple less than perfect units. That pristine used vintage stalk may be a Frankenstein, and there's really no way to tell at first glance, nor would the functionality of the part seemingly be compromised.

In conclusion, if you want a driver's left side stalk, you should probably get one with a wire running out of it. And if you want a stalk for the passenger right? Get one without a wire, or get one with a wire, it really doesn't matter, they're otherwise identical. Also, these stalks were identical to the ones used on the E23, E24, and E28, so the potential pool of used parts is immense yet pristine examples still bring a premium.
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