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Old 04-30-2003, 08:03 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
seatbacks in 1997 s500coupe

could anyone tell me what would cause these seatbacks to freeze so that they cannot be moved. an hour ago, with the engine off, the seat backs could be moved forward so that the back seat could be accessed.

now arriving home, the seat backs cannot be moved forward. by any means. this makes for an almost impossible egress.

i have tried everything. restarted the engine. driven around the block. turned off the engine. opened the doors. nada.

read the manual. can find nothing to address the existence of an emergency release. surely their must be one. if it had been an adult in the back seat, there would have been no hope of an exit.

any ideas as to what has suddenly happened here? and how to correct it?

all ears
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Old 05-01-2003, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,084
Check to see if here is a vacum or electric release, I think my SEC had some kind of setup like that
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Old 05-01-2003, 07:52 PM
KenP's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Posts: 418
Don't know if the same...

Al, on my '96 S500 Coupe, the seat backs lock into position anytime the car is running or the ignition is on. When the ignition is off, the seat back can be tilted forwarded.
To get in or out of the back seat when the car is running, there is a button release on the side of the seat backs. Its obvious and doubtful you could have missed it, so maybe it was a change in '97?
Because the default condition (engine off) is to release the seat back, you may have a relay stuck or something else that's locking the seats even when the engine is off and the key is out.
Sorry not of more help.
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Old 05-01-2003, 09:10 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
my guess is that there is a malfunctioning computer.

this morning, before starting the car...neither seat back could be tilted forward. both were locked. pushing the side button did nothing.

at my first stop, the post office, i tried to tilt the seatbacks when i arrived. and before i departed. they were locked and would not move.

i then went to my local garage to discuss the situation. after parking, i tried to move the seatbacks again. would not move.

after getting my mechanic, who has worked on my cars for years, i attempted to show him how the seatbacks could not be tilted. i started this display with the front passenger seat. as you might imagine, it worked perfectly.

the driver's seat remained locked, however.

throughout the day, during my rounds, i tried the seats everytime i parked the car. the passenger seat continued to work. the driver's side did not.

at the end of the day, before leaving my office, i tried the driver's side seatback again. worked perfectly.

and did so at my next 3 stops.

i once encountered similar perversity with my e320 cab that all of a sudden began to do nothing the same way twice.

so, i figure that the seatback locking mechanism is probably electro-mechanical and governed by a computer convenience module[as was the case with the e320] which will have to be replaced for routine, predictable operation to be achieved.

will this be a starmark-covered repair?
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