Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Losing things in the Air Duct Under Front Seats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    173
    My Cars
    E36 ///M3 1999

    Losing things in the Air Duct Under Front Seats

    Who designs things this way? When something, say your garage remote, slips out of your side pocket, it tends to fall back and into the rear seat foot wells. If you have to do some harder braking, those climate air vents are perfectly (and I mean PERFECTLY) positioned to ingest your device. I am sure it has an appetite for cell phones, keys, .45 cal rounds, etc... too as well.

    Extraction involves:


    * * * * *
    UPDATE
    Do the reverse and brake routine noted by https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/m...p?117499-NeilM here first as it is the most cost effective and intelligent method (and buy the endoscope anyways because it is just that cool a device):
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...9#post30528019
    * * * * *

    1. Use an endoscope (with no hook so you can see clearly). Got one from Amazon for about 70 bucks Canadian (about 5 bucks US ) KZ Yee KZ2000. It will come in handy for all sorts of other things (Note: Manufacturer specifically states that the device is not for medical purposes, so NO). Find out where the lost item is and mark the distance on the scope wire (so you have a good idea where it is when you reinsert.
    2. Attach the hook on the end of the scope (most scopes come with these). The hook will not be useful since the duct is curved and you will not be able to manipulate it into anything you can hook onto. I could get it into the loop on the end of the lost remote, but could not secure it. Waste of time. I used the hook to protect the camera lens. The hook is designed so you can see past it.
    3. Use a coat hanger to make a long probe with a small (say 1/2 inch) simple hook on the end. I just made a simple "check mark".
    4. Attach the endoscope about 3 inches behind the hook (I used masking tape, but hockey tape would probably be better as masking tape is a beee-atch to remove. I did try using a hook separately from the endoscope, but the hook will always knock the camera away (very frustrating).
    5. Go fishing.
    6. If the hook does not do it (you might not have the room to move the hook behind the device), then plan B is to use some sticky tape to adhere to the device. In the end, the hook was able to move the lost remote from 2 feet to just over a foot from the entrance (about where the duct curves up to surface above the floor). The stick tape did the rest.A flexible extractor would probably work too (but I did not have one handy). Got to go buy one.


    This operation should take about 20 minutes (your results may vary). It certainly is easier than removing the front seat and carpets (really, it is).

    Things that did not work (feel free to waste hours trying, I did):

    1. Shop Vac (you just cannot create enough airflow).
    2. Wire (you cannot push a rope).
    3. Voodoo (maybe it did, not sure).



    Next step. Fashion or purchase mesh vent covers so this does not happen again (The vent now has a taste of electronics, so a diet of Samsung S20 is not far in the future...) So a word to the wise: Get some mesh and avoid this exercise altogether.
    Last edited by WBS; 08-10-2020 at 11:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    90
    My Cars
    Too many to list
    The problem is way worse in my e93 than my e36, after losing countless items I ended up making little grills that cover the vents lol

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    15,860
    My Cars
    German E36 328i & M3 cab
    In some older models, BMW had some nice covers on them like the face vents, but I guess since you don't see them, it wasn't really cost effective.

    '98 BMW M3 3.2 SMG Cabrio • Alpinweiß III auf Schwarz • Deutschland-ausführung
    IG:
    https://www.instagram.com/iflok/



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    173
    My Cars
    E36 ///M3 1999
    Quote Originally Posted by MParallel View Post
    In some older models, BMW had some nice covers on them like the face vents, but I guess since you don't see them, it wasn't really cost effective.
    I am quite surprised that they did not continue with grills for these vents. Why do I think any complaint to BMW will get a response like, "You are banned from driving BMW's since all drivers must secure any potentially loose items before operating our fine autocars." LOL.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    6,306
    My Cars
    1995 M3 - 2017 Sonata
    Quote Originally Posted by WBS View Post
    I am quite surprised that they did not continue with grills for these vents. Why do I think any complaint to BMW will get a response like, "You are banned from driving BMW's since all drivers must secure any potentially loose items before operating our fine autocars." LOL.
    Ferrari might ban you, but not the level headed Germans. I am curious as to what I can find buried in those vents from previous owners.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    173
    My Cars
    E36 ///M3 1999
    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckDizzle View Post
    Ferrari might ban you, but not the level headed Germans. I am curious as to what I can find buried in those vents from previous owners.
    It was wondering what I would find down there too. All the camera revealed was the usual fine layer of dust and the missing remote. It was like a scene out of Prometheus. I did find $1.25 in change under the seat when I looked there first for the remote.

    If you have a car with history, a little expedition with an endoscope may well come up with an old handset or something.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    mid-atlantic
    Posts
    344
    My Cars
    70's p-cars
    C'mon now. You guys have never heard of burnouts? A nice, uphill pointing, in reverse, sidestep dump-the-clutch at 5K RPM will shoot any stuck crap outta those vents in a heartbeat.

  8. #8
    NeilM is offline Member BMW E36 M3 Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    4,802
    My Cars
    96 M3, 15 Golf R, 18 Q5
    Yeah, we had someone lose something important that way at one of our schools once. Solution: go as fast as possible in reverse, jump hard on the brakes. The lost object comes shooting right out of the duct. You can decelerate much harder with the brakes than you can accelerate with the engine.

    Neil

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    173
    My Cars
    E36 ///M3 1999
    Quote Originally Posted by NeilM View Post
    Yeah, we had someone lose something important that way at one of our schools once. Solution: go as fast as possible in reverse, jump hard on the brakes. The lost object comes shooting right out of the duct. You can decelerate much harder with the brakes than you can accelerate with the engine.

    Neil
    Yes, few cars can accelerate as quickly as braking. I did not try that, but it might have worked (I had been itching to buy an endoscope for some time). There was the chance that the remote was stuck in a way that it could simply fly out... and... it turned out that it did manage to get wedged in front of a pillar inside the duct (an attachment point between the top and bottom halves). The endoscope was the way to be sure it was in there at all. I'll do the reverse/brake routine next time (if there is a next time) first, as it is the easiest way.

  10. #10
    NeilM is offline Member BMW E36 M3 Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    4,802
    My Cars
    96 M3, 15 Golf R, 18 Q5
    Quote Originally Posted by WBS View Post
    Yes, few cars can accelerate as quickly as braking. I did not try that, but it might have worked (I had been itching to buy an endoscope for some time). There was the chance that the remote was stuck in a way that it could simply fly out... and... it turned out that it did manage to get wedged in front of a pillar inside the duct (an attachment point between the top and bottom halves). The endoscope was the way to be sure it was in there at all. I'll do the reverse/brake routine next time (if there is a next time) first, as it is the easiest way.
    Well when the opportunity to buy a cool new tool forces itself on you, you should definitely do it!

    Neil

Similar Threads

  1. E32 Under Front Seat First Aid Kit
    By CroughtonE32 in forum 1988 - 1994 (E32)
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 04-28-2014, 03:04 AM
  2. E46 FS - OEM BMW first aid boxes (for mounting under front seats)
    By smoulton0204 in forum Interior Lighting & Body Parts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-07-2012, 03:34 AM
  3. Air ducts in front of car left & right
    By DCBro in forum 1983 - 1991 (E30)
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-02-2009, 06:47 PM
  4. Thumping sound under front seats
    By Jikian in forum 1976 - 1989 (E24)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-15-2009, 01:02 PM
  5. 2 air ducts under seat?
    By NLR in forum 1992 - 1999 M3 (E36)
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-01-2003, 12:22 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •