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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 11-29-2012, 09:45 AM   #1
Patton323I
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Post Window Regulator DIY

As we all know, the long list of Preventative Maintenance (PM) items for our cars is long, and at times, expensive. The window regulator is yet another aspect of our cars that, with time, will ultimately fail. However as I can tell, there is no official DIY addressing this issue. This will be my first DIY

*Note*
As of right now, I don't have any pictures of myself doing this repair. What I am simply providing at this point, is reference material to source parts and conduct a successful DIY repair. When I do my next window regulator, I will update with pictures and detailed step by step instructions.

The Problem:
Failure of the window regulator, or related components, resulting in inoperable window function.

Common solutions, and talking points:
A lot of people have had this issue. As such, a lot of solutions have been presented. Some people opt for replacing the clips that hold the window itself in place. My issue with this is, if you are already in the door to replace one plastic component, it is very likely that the rest of the plastic components are not far from failing. These parts are cheep and not hard to replace.

Many people on this forum will argue that any part purchased on Ebay is cheep, unreliable, parts made in china. In my experience with doing 3 window regulators in BMW's, this is not the case. These parts can be sourced for all doors, for usually under $30 with free shipping and a 1 year warranty. The same genuine BMW part is well over $120 not including shipping costs. Even if the Ebay part fails every year, it would take 4 years to equal the cost of the genuine BMW part.

All that being said, it is far more cost effective and reliable to simply replace the entire window regulator assembly. From a PM standpoint, it may be beneficial, to mitigate failure, to replace the component every 2 years, depending on usage. These figures will of course vary per individual usage.

Where to source parts:
Ebay as previously stated. Enter search term "E46 window" or follow links.

Driver side (front left):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-BMW-E46-...55adc2&vxp=mtr

Passenger side (front right):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-BMW-E46-...89062b&vxp=mtr

Rear drivers side (rear left):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-Wind...e02d7f&vxp=mtr

Rear passenger side (rear right):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-Wind...55229b&vxp=mtr

Equipment needed:
Standard torques bit set
Standard mechanics socket set in metric.
Number 2 flat tip screw driver or applicable trim removal tool.
1 Roll of duct tape, or similar adhesive material.
Applicable window regulator assembly


Procedure:
As stated above, I don't have pictures of my self doing this procedure yet.
However I do have a nice video DIY for everyone to follow! Front window regulator Is similar install. Video by edzgarage.

Window Regulator Installation BMW 325i e46:


Here is also a link to another thread that addresses this issue! The more information the better!
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=356847

I hope this Helps some people out. I will update this when I do my next regulator. Any positive/constructive feedback, please leave comments. Any negative feedback, please file it in shredder.
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Last edited by Patton323I; 04-18-2013 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Auto-save 1366297536
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
cyberlando
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goooddd shitt broo my driver side one has a messeded up clip!
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:53 AM   #3
akita328
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This DIY is great! Thanks for taking the time to do this! I'm just about to do this myself...
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:59 AM   #4
Bimmer4Lyfe
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Not to take anything away... Nice write up & video

Hard to believe you didn't see this


Actually your post and this post compliment each other nicely

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=356847
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #5
Patton323I
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I didn't know there was another write up. But if I can add anything to the cause, then that's better than not helping at all in my opinion.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:25 PM   #6
akita328
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patton323I View Post
I didn't know there was another write up. But if I can add anything to the cause, then that's better than not helping at all in my opinion.
The other write-up is for the front window regulator, which is a bit different. Yours is for the rear, and it's EXCELLENT for that.

Thus, both combined complements each other very very nicely

from what I've read, given my rear regulator broke, I can expect the other 3 to go bad soon... so will need both DIY very handy.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:47 AM   #7
jayb328i
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What, no air bag. I have done all of my window regulators at least once, and the video is a good start for someone who has never done this. It does not address the Air Bag and how to handle that--which is easy. But I would never work side-by-side with a live Air Bag before disconnecting the battery, which changes the video slightly. It also does not suggest changing the red grommet that holds one window screw, they sometimes go bad, and for a part that cost less than a dollar, good to change it. Lastly, I learned the hard way (after the first 2 window regulators) that replacing the plastic rain guard using the existing black sealer will not work in my E46's following your directions. That will, based on my experience, result in 100% chance of a water leak (puddle) inside your car, and 100% guarantee you will be re-opening the door to redo that. Special attention needs to be paid to how you reseal the plastic guard. Just following this video does not do that. I use a hair dryer to reactivate the black sealer so it attaches properly.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:52 AM   #8
Patton323I
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I haven't had an Issue with water entering the car. But I was quite ginger when removing the vapor barrier. The video is intended to be a guide. I wouldn't consider it a technical step by step as something you might get out of the TIS for example.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:22 AM   #9
jayb328i
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As i said, good start. Just wanted those who undertake window regulator replacement to know that this is a easy thing to learn and do. Use this video provided as a good background, but need to look at some of the other postings, and from my own experience and write-ups of others, do not ignore how important the black re-seal is in the process. Thanks for the good video.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #10
fonzie
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I know for the front window regulators you have to disconnect the battery due to the airbags. Does that need to be done for the rear windows as well?
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:40 PM   #11
John in VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonzie View Post
I know for the front window regulators you have to disconnect the battery due to the airbags. Does that need to be done for the rear windows as well?
Some cars came with rear side airbags; in that case, yes.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:52 PM   #12
fonzie
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I don't think my 2001 330i has rear side airbags. Where would they be, in the C pillar?
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:16 AM   #13
jayb328i
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonzie View Post
I don't think my 2001 330i has rear side airbags. Where would they be, in the C pillar?
They would be in the door, similar to the front door. When you remove the panel you will see it there. The panel should have a blow-out section for the airbag to inflate, just like the front--and is probably marked (like the front) with airbag.
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