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Old 01-23-2017, 10:23 AM   #1
Eurobahn BMW
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BMW E46 3-Series DIY window regulator

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...25#51337020659
The window regulator is the mechanical track and guide for lifting the door window glass. The front door of your vehicle has a window regulator with two rails, while the rear door only has one rail. They each have an electric motor and function similarly. The electric window motor can be serviced separately; however they do not fail that often. You will need to swap the electric motor over to the new window regulator you are replacing. The electric motor can be installed in any position as it does not have a mechanical stop. Do not worry about the installation orientation when reinstalling. When replacing a window regulator, it is important to inspect the window guide and seal. The seal can wear and this increases friction on the window when going up and down, which stresses the window regulator. This can lead to premature wear of your window regulator and repeat failures. If needed, replace this component also.

The procedure in this tech article only applies to four-door vehicles. If you own a two-door (coupe or convertible) version of the E46, the door glass has no frame but instead fits in the rubber door trim when the door is closed and the window is up. When you open the door, the glass drops a slight amount (about 1/4 inch) to allow the door to open unobstructed. The placement of the window regulator inside the door cavity makes this slight window movement possible. It is important that when the door is closed the window jams firmly but not too forcibly into the rubber door trim in order to prevent water leaks and wind whistles in the vehicle interior. To precisely adjust the window regulator, you have to remove the door molding and reach inside the door cavity. In any case, adjusting the window regulator on a two-door model is not covered here.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The window regulator is the mechanical track and guide for lifting the door window glass. The front door of your vehicle has a window regulator with two rails, while the rear door only has one rail. They each have an electric motor and function similarly. The electric window motor can be serviced separately; however they do not fail that often. You will need to swap the electric motor over to the new window regulator you are replacing. The electric motor can be installed in any position as it does not have a mechanical stop. Do not worry about the installation orientation when reinstalling. When replacing a window regulator, it is important to inspect the window guide and seal. The seal can wear and this increases friction on the window when going up and down, which stresses the window regulator. This can lead to premature wear of your window regulator and repeat failures. If needed, replace this component also.
The procedure in this tech article only applies to four-door vehicles. If you own a two-door (coupe or convertible) version of the E46, the door glass has no frame but instead fits in the rubber door trim when the door is closed and the window is up. When you open the door, the glass drops a slight amount (about 1/4 inch) to allow the door to open unobstructed. The placement of the window regulator inside the door cavity makes this slight window movement possible. It is important that when the door is closed the window jams firmly but not too forcibly into the rubber door trim in order to prevent water leaks and wind whistles in the vehicle interior. To precisely adjust the window regulator, you have to remove the door molding and reach inside the door cavity. In any case, adjusting the window regulator on a two-door model is not covered here.
Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.
Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.
Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

1. Lower the window until it is about 5 1/2 inches up when measured near lock pull (green arrow)\

a. Disconnect the battery negative cable. See our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Replacing Your Battery for more information.

2. Remove the three 10mm airbag fasteners (green arrows) and move the airbag away from the door.

a. Then disconnect the side airbag electrical connector (green arrow) and remove the airbag from the door. The connector pulls straight out of the airbag. If it does not come out easily, you can pry it out with a small flathead screwdriver, just be careful not to damage connector. Once removed, store the airbag in safe place.


b. Slowly peel the vapor barrier (green arrow) off door. Be careful not to tear it when removing. There are two methods for getting the window glass out of the way when removing the regulator. One is to completely remove the glass. The other is to secure the glass at the top of the door frame while working on regulator. Both methods are described below.
3. Large Image | Extra-Large Image

4. Working inside door cavity at window regulator, remove the two 8mm window fasteners (green arrows).

a. To Remove the Glass:

5. Push the expanding nut (green arrow) out of the plastic retainer.


a. I like to push the expanding nut out using a 1/4" drive extension. Once the nut has been removed, release the plastic clip retaining the tabs from the backside and remove from the window. Do this for both plastic clips on the window glass.

b. Pull the door glass out of the door - rear corner first, moving it up and sliding it out of door. Store the door glass in a safe place.

c. Working with the Glass in the Door:

6. Alternately, you can replace regulator without removing window glass. Once the window has been unbolted from regulator, push glass to top of sill and tape in place. This method requires very good tape and a clean window. If the window falls it can break. So be careful.

a. Disconnect the window motor electrical connector by squeezing the release tabs and pulling off (green arrow).


b. Next, remove the five 10mm window regulator nuts (green arrows).



c. Cut the tie strap at the upper regulator cable (green arrow).

d. Remove the window regulator from the rear rail first (green arrow) then the motor side of the regulator. Be careful not to snag the wiring harnesses or scratch the door paint when removing.

e. Remove the window motor fasteners and rotate the window motor counterclockwise to remove from the window regulator.


f. Install the window motor on the new regulator, and then rotate it clockwise until the bolt holes are aligned and install the fasteners. Install the window regulator into the door, rear side first then install the regulator fasteners. Then reattach the regulator cable with the new tie strap as it was before. Slide the window glass, front edge first, into the door cavity. Then install the window glass fasteners.

g. Install the new window glass plastic retainers. Snap the plastic clip (green arrow) into place, then push the nut (yellow arrow) all the way in. Properly route the wiring harness as they were before and be sure vapor barrier is properly sealed. You may have to align and adjust the window glass when replacing a regulator, if so I suggest picking up a repair manual as there are many specific steps involved in doing so.
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Last edited by Eurobahn BMW; 01-23-2017 at 10:25 AM. Reason: update pic
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
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The Bavauto video on Youtube is the one I've used, seeing is always better than reading.
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