M3 Interior Swap

Post will be updated as I continue to get new parts in

  • Speed cloth powered front seats 10/21/18
  • Schroth Quick Fit Pro 10/21/18
  • Black armrest 10/29/18
  • Black Leather Door Cards 11/24/18
  • Headlight Condensation & Dry Out
  • Cloth Interior 1/9/19

The only thing I didn’t quite care for on the M3 that I purchased was the interior color. The palladium silver is fine, brightening an otherwise dim cabin, but without heated seats, the leather felt like ice on cold days. On top of that, I strongly prefer cloth seats in general, I think the material is grippier and less temperature sensitive. While I will do the front & rear in cloth, I think I will do the rest of the interior with the regular black leather, as it is higher quality.

The front seats of the M3 take T50 torx bits. There are 2 in the front, 2 in the back. I recommend undoing the front, then pushing the seat forward and undoing the rear. Reverse to install, but align all bolts before tightening down. There is a clip under the seat that holds the airbag harness, power, and seatbelt harness altogether. The black portion of the clip releases the clip, use a flat head to pull the black portion outward, and clip will pop out. Make sure when reinstalling that all pins are aligned – mine was not, causing fitment issues and smushing the pins flat – I had to use a flathead and pliers to straighten the pins back out. I used the Carista app to clear the codes, and it worked very well. Also used it to make minor adjustments in the car.

For reference, the cloth powered, non-heated seats weigh about 63 pounds. My leather, powered & non-heated seats weighed about 65 pounds, and that was with the seatbelt harness. The weight difference is marginal if not identical with that included, so shouldn’t receive any complaints on FS legality there.

The harness was a similar process – the same quickfit as my Mini’s. It adds to connection points, and uses the stock seatbelt harness for the other two. It connects with a button like the Evo’s and is pretty solid quality. Pull up on the rear seat cushion to access the mounting point for the belt, and the seat belt holding mechanism on the driver’s side to add the bolt for the other clip.

The armrest was swapped on 10/28/18. It’s a little tricky but not too bad. This video shows what the process entails better than I could describe:

11/24/18 – I installed the new black door cards to go better with the black interior. I have the rear door cards to install, and the rear seats are the only things left to purchase now. The door cards were pretty straightforward, as I’ve done this on the Prius now as well. The M3 is even simpler – pop off the door trim, and there are 4 T20 torx screws holding the door on. After those are removed, you can pop off the door, and unclip all the electronics. On the passenger’s side, there are 5 T20’s, one hiding behind the arm grab.

Before – the silver doesn’t look bad at all, but to match the interior & seats I chose to flip these to black as well:

11/25/18 – Condensation built up in the driver’s side headlight HEAVILY after taking the car through the wash. It’s hard to even really call it “condensation,” it practically straight up had water in it. I’m not sure what wasn’t sealed properly, but I popped off the cap, removed the H8 LED bulb, and hit it with a blow dryer for about 45 minutes, which seemed to the trick. I may get new caps for the tops of the headlights at least.

1/9/19 – Cloth rear seats have finally been sourced. These are the “V1” cloth seats, which have a leather upper backing portion to them. I didn’t particularly care either way, and am happy to have found these, as they are extremely difficult to source. With this, I now have all the pieces needed to complete the interior swap. I just need to swap in the rear door cards and rear seats/seat backs, and I have a fully converted black cloth M3!


2 thoughts on “M3 Interior Swap

  1. Pingback: Winter Projects 2018 | Racing Blog

  2. Pingback: 2019 Mid Season Updates | QL Motorsport & Car Journal

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