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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:35 PM   #1
surveyranger
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 33
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i Sedan
DIY: Changing front door wiring harness

I created this after my original post about replacing a wiring harness. I found the process to be somewhat involved, or maybe I made it that way.

Parts needed:
Wiring harness-verify using the 6913xxx on vehicle harness tag above window regulator motor
Zip tie
Marking tape (non-black)
BMW Interior Trim Moulding Clip - 07149158194 (Qty: 4) <--Usually break when taking the trim off
Speaker terminations (if speakers are not OEM)

Tools needed:
Trim piece removal kit
Wire cutters
T20 torx bit (door panel)
T30 torx bit (window regulator motor)
8mm socket, 1/4-in drive (window clips & wiring harness connector)
10mm socket, 1/4-in drive (negative battery terminal & airbag)
Ratchet, 1/4-in drive
Extension, 1/4-in drive (at least 2 inches)
Small flat head screwdriver (to lift airbag connector locking tab)
B800 BMW SRS Airbag Scan & Reset Tool (if needed to reset SRS light)

I made a video that captures most of this, but wanted to throw in some more detail.


I needed to replace my wiring harness because I broke the connector for the airbag when I replaced the front, right window regulator. The SRS light came on after I finished, and I bought a B800 BMW SRS Airbag Scan & Reset Tool (at Newegg for $30). It gave me a fault on Table 10, Code 06 for the front, right airbag (no surprise there). The English in the instruction manual is comical, but it is good enough to get the point across. The connector has two VERY fragile tabs that separate the shorting pins. The connector is part of the wiring harness and many forums recommended trying to splice a new connector on it because it would alter the resistance.

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I looked on the existing wiring harness to make sure I found the correct harness. It is located by the split in the vapor barrier where the inside door handle comes out.

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Once the harness arrived, I had to replace the speaker connectors because I changed out the OEM speakers (shown here). Then, I followed the directions, mostly, to remove the door panel and window regulator motor (elbee has a good one or search any one of the videos on YouTube. DO NOT TAKE OFF WINDOW GUIDE BOLTS. I disconnected the battery (10mm socket) after I lowered the window down so I could loosen the window clip bolts (8mm socket with extension).

**WARNING: My airbag was already disconnected so I did not have to worry about whether or not it was disconnected with the power on. If your airbag & connector are fine, then do not have them disconnected while the battery is connected. Only disconnect the airbag when the battery is disconnected.**

I marked the window level with tape, raised it out of the clips, and secured it with tape at the top of the door. Then, I removed the window regulator motor so I could feed the wiring harness through the hole. This took off a lot of tension on the T30 torx screws on the motor.

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I pushed the clips holding the wiring harness from the inside and marked each hole with blue tape. Then, I disconnected the door lock cylinder, and the rest of the connectors. There's a zip tie holding the wiring harness to the opening at the window motor.

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I pushed the harness through the opening from the window regulator motor with my left hand and pulled it through by reaching my right hand in the bottom opening. Then, I pushed the rubber grommet part of the harness from the inside which allowed me to fully pull the harness out of the door.

**There was one more wiring harness clip on the inside of the door that's to the lower, left of the window motor. My new harness did not come with this clip so I had to re-use it.

I used an 8mm socket to remove the bolt connecting the door harness to the car. delmarco captured the process to remove this connection in one of his threads. Then, I pried off the outer rubber cover using a trim tool. Next, I had to pull out on the top half of the connector (pivot point on the bottom) before I slid the connector up. This exposes the actual connection of the door and car wiring harnesses. The connection is very similar to the radio connection. I pulled the top cap of the connection up which caused the harnesses to separate (again, delmarco has some really nice pictures of this).

Reinstallation is pretty much the opposite. The only tricky part was the door lock actuator. It's easier to connect it before attaching the last 2 wiring harness clips. Double-check all the connections (door lock, mirror, motor, etc) and all the clips before removing the tape and putting a new zip tie that was cut earlier. Lower the window back into the clips (should be the same level as marked with the tape) and connect the window regulator motor. Put the vapor barrier on and CAREFULLY connect the airbag so the tabs are not broken when the locking tab is raised. Secure the airbag to the care with the 10 mm bolts, connect the battery and test everything. If you had a SRS fault light (like I did), then follow the directions on the SRS tool to reset it. Finish closing up the door after everything tests fine.

I'm in a rush to get this posted, I hope I didn't forget anything.
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2003 BMW 325i Sedan
Manual, RWD
Hit 100k in Sep 2012
Kenwood KDC-X696

Last edited by surveyranger; 01-05-2015 at 08:56 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:01 PM   #2
hitbyastick
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: DC
Posts: 1,215
My Ride: 2002 325i
I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend that people be more careful and not break the connector in the first place so that they don't have to do this at all, because breaking these is not a commonly reported occurrence. Specialized connectors like that have to be disconnected very carefully and you must know how it unplugs before you begin. Furthermore the connector itself should have a part number, altering the resistance should not be a problem if the replacement is done properly. The wire pins usually will come out of the connector and snap into the new one. All you would be doing is replacing the plastic connector. They make pin puller kits specifically for this type of work.

I look at the long parts and tools list and the time spent and I say people, don't do whatever OP did in the first place, and if you do just replace the connector. Doesn't have to be an ordeal.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:48 PM   #3
surveyranger
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 33
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by hitbyastick View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend that people be more careful and not break the connector in the first place so that they don't have to do this at all, because breaking these is not a commonly reported occurrence. Specialized connectors like that have to be disconnected very carefully and you must know how it unplugs before you begin. Furthermore the connector itself should have a part number, altering the resistance should not be a problem if the replacement is done properly. The wire pins usually will come out of the connector and snap into the new one. All you would be doing is replacing the plastic connector. They make pin puller kits specifically for this type of work.

I look at the long parts and tools list and the time spent and I say people, don't do whatever OP did in the first place, and if you do just replace the connector. Doesn't have to be an ordeal.
Thanks for reading. If you have (or can find) the part number for the airbag connector, then by all means please share it. I didn't see it on RealOEM, any threads here, or elsewhere on the internet.

I 100% agree that care must be given when disconnecting connectors, but it happens. I watched how to do it and was careful, but the shorting tabs are VERY thin and before you know it...SNAP! There's a lot of good info about the connector on a thread by patdosa.
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Manual, RWD
Hit 100k in Sep 2012
Kenwood KDC-X696
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