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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 02-19-2009, 07:32 PM   #261
elbee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond1 View Post
uh oh i think im in some serious ****... When i removed the entire setup... ive come to find the problem with mine seems to be
the wires that wind around the white thing in the center of the regulator motor well they were all knotted up now ive untangled them but it seems some of them are bent out of shape an coming undwound a bit... how on earth can i possibly put it all wound up back together like that.... im afraid this is a confusing an potentially expensive repair... any info on what i need to buy to get new wires.. n if its gonna kill my wallet cuz im running low on funding...
Your regulator is beyond repair. Unfortunately you need a new one. The zip tie fix will not work for you.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #262
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elbee et al, thank you so much for this DIY. We paid the dealer over $650 to fix the driver-side regulator on the wife's 325i. Thanks to your DIY I was able to fix the passenger-side regulator for the cost of 5 nyties. Also I was able to grease and oil the regulator. There were no problems when following the instructions. When removing the moisture barrier I used an X-acto knife to cut the adhesive as I gently pulled the foam barrier away from the door. This made removal of the barrier very easy. Thanks again.

Dan and Marcia.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:56 PM   #263
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Originally Posted by cyclocross View Post
elbee et al, thank you so much for this DIY. We paid the dealer over $650 to fix the driver-side regulator on the wife's 325i. Thanks to your DIY I was able to fix the passenger-side regulator for the cost of 5 nyties. Also I was able to grease and oil the regulator. There were no problems when following the instructions. When removing the moisture barrier I used an X-acto knife to cut the adhesive as I gently pulled the foam barrier away from the door. This made removal of the barrier very easy. Thanks again.

Dan and Marcia.
Good to hear! You are very welcome!

BTW, I can't believe they are charging $650 for this now. Outrageous.

Last edited by elbee; 03-07-2009 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:06 PM   #264
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This has been a great thread. My wife's E46 suffered the failed regulator on Wednesday as we lowered the window for a customs check in Honduras. First the cracking/grinding/crunching; and then the window was slow to lower and raise. Finally it would not seal completely in the closed position. Looking at the pictures in these posts I could visualize where the plastic part had failed.

I took the door apart today (Saturday) carefully disconnecting the battery first and gently hanging the airbag out of the way. I found a small chunk of grey/black plastic at the bottom of the door (driver's door) that had come from the rear track on that regulator.

All the instructions that have been posted are clear and accurate. Removing the vapor barrier was tedious, but at least the glue doesn't stick to your fingers. The 8mm bolts that hold the window to the regulator were the most troublesome. I had the small socket and thin extension, but the bolt wants to fall out and down once free. Putting them back in, I used masking tape to secure them to the socket. Ahh, as many have mentioned, getting the window into position to access the bolt heads is critical. Of course, when the motor is off the window can be moved up and down. Someone mentioned putting it at 5-1/2 inches above the window sill, and I pre-positioned it like that before disconnecting the battery. It was in exactly the right place.

In the end, the cable-tie method worked great. Once the battery was reconnected I only had to reset the clock, and also reprogram the one-touch up and down for the window. That procedure is mentioned somewhere else in these threads.

I am more into my own E30, but as my wife's E46 ages I find myself doing work on it myself. This is the second or third time that I've got very good information from e46fanatics.com. Thanks to all who participate and contribute.

Brian McCall
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:09 AM   #265
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The oh so familiar snapping sound in my drivers door yesterday means I'll be fixing another regulator tonight

Bump for a great thread!
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:52 AM   #266
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^^^

Oh yes that dreaded sound. My RR pass side broke last week & was able to fix it, thx to this thread! I wonder which window is next
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:52 PM   #267
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This DIY worked great, Thank you so much!

Elbee & tommiexboi... thank you both for writing this up. The instructions were spot on, and I saved my self $400 x 2 = $800 for the front two windows that my dealership wanted to charge to fix.

I highly recommend testing the zip tie before putting everything back together. One of my Zipties was rubbing against the rail and causing a sound every time the regulator went past a certain spot. I trimmed the zip tie and twisted it around and the noise went away.

Thank You!!
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:56 PM   #268
XKxRome0ox
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i'm STUCK
trying to get the window back on the bracket on the window regulator

am i supposed to get the whole window "inside" of the bracket? or just the red tab?
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:45 PM   #269
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Thank you, I have a comment

elbee,
Thank you for the window regulator DIY, you saved me lots of $$$. I owe you a beer. I did have one comment on your original DIY instructions at the start of this thread.

Everything made sense to me and was easy to follow with one exception. In the section where you spoke of raising or lowering the window to access the two 8mm bolts, you said to loosen them and then lift the window up to the top of the window frame and tape it to prevent movement. I spent half an hour looking at the mechanism and trying to decipher how the Germans engineered that area. You said to loosen the bolts not remove them (as was required), that is what threw me off the tracks.

It would be greatly helpful if you modified the DIY to say that not only do you loosen the two bolts but that you need to remove them to separate the glass from the window rail bracket. You might also mention that when you reinstall this 8mm bolt, the receiving nut goes in in a certain orientation inside of the plastic red nut holder.

I also figured out a trick to hold the 8mm bolt when reinstalling. I used a very small piece of the black gummy vapor barrier glue on the 8mm socket. That held the bolt to the socket quite well.

Other than that, all went well. Thanks again!!!
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:06 PM   #270
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I have a 330ci coupe, I am having similar window problems where the cable has some slack going in the down direction. Window doesn't drop the full 1/4 of an inch on door open due to this slack and I found these 2 pieces in my door shell sitting at the bottom.

Could this be my culprit? What are these 2 pieces here?



Thanks.
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Old 05-09-2009, 02:30 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by elbee View Post
This write up is basically tommiexboi's write up and all the people that contributed to tommiexboi's write up, but with a few more pictures. This is a very doable DIY. It is not a quick DIY, but it is not a hard DIY. I am a female who has never worked on a car before (I have never changed a light bulb) and I have now done two of these repairs (driver's side window and front passenger's side window). There are so many reasons why you should do this repair yourself. First, is the cost. A repair shop will charge you anywhere from $250 to $400. Second, if you read through all the window regulator posts you will read enough horror stories that should convince you to do this yourself. Things do not get reconnected properly, vapor barriers are carelessly torn, etc. Having said all this, let me also say that if you follow this DIY and mess something up, I cannot be held responsible.

Let me start by saying, don't run out and buy a new regulator. Save yourself the $75. The first time I did the driver's side window, I bought the new part and then I came across this website and realized that I didn't need to. A simple zip tie modification would have made my old regulator as good as new:

http://www.skene.org/bmw/window/

The caveat to this is that the zip tie modification is not going to work for everyone and the problem is that you will not know if it will work for you until you open up the door, pull out the regulator and look at it. On the regulator there is a small metal cylinder that is connected to metal wire. This cylinder sits in a metal and plastic bracket. Over time, the plastic starts to chip away and the cylinder will pop out. Once this happens, your window will either move up or down very slowly or not move at all. In addition to the slow moving window, you will hear very scary grinding and clicking. There are several places where the regulator can fail. But, if I had to guess, I would say the most of regulators fail around the small metal cylinder. In my situation, both my regulators were failing in this spot. If the failure occurs around the small metal cylinder, then the zip tie modification will work for you. Here is what one of my metal and plastic brackets looked like. The cylinder sits in the space that I labeled "cylinder". You can see where the plastic broke off exposing the metal underneath:



Now onto the actual repair. Before you start this is what you will need. Do not attempt to start this repair without having these tools:

  • 1/4" drive ratchet
  • 1/4" drive ratchet extension (there is one step where you will need a very narrow 8mm socket. A 3/8" drive size will not allow the 8mm socket to fit through the hole.)
  • Torx t-20
  • Torx t-30
  • 8mm socket
  • 10mm socket
  • Screwdriver
  • At least one ziptie, possibly more


  • Now let's begin:

    1. If you can, roll down the window half way. If the window doesn't move at all don't worry about it. No matter where it is, it will inevitably need to be moved later on.

    2. Use your 10mm socket to disconnect the negative battery terminal. On my car the battery is in the trunk on the right side:



    3. Use a screw driver to gently pry away the wood trim. Put the trim in a safe spot:



    4. Underneath the armrest are 2 plastic caps. Pull them out and put them in a safe spot:



    5. On the armrest you will either have a window control, a side mirror control, or a blank plug. (On my passenger side I have a blank plug). This will need to be removed. On the driver's side I was able to use a screwdriver with a very thin tip to remove it without any problems. On the passenger side, this blank plug was very deep in the hole and the screwdriver was not working. I could see that if I really forced the screwdriver in there it would have damaged the leather. Not really knowing what to do, I started looking around the house for something I could use to get this plug out. I tried this Wustoff carrot peeler and it worked great! No damage to the leather. I think any peeler in this basic shape should do the trick. You might also want to try removing the plug at the other end if you are having trouble. Sometimes removing the plug on the side that is higher up the arm is a little easier. If you have a window control or a mirror control in this spot, once you get it out disconnect the wires that are attached to it. Put the control in a safe spot:



    6. Remove the 5 torx t-20 screws that are circled in red:



    7. You are now ready to pry off the door panel. There are these white plastic protrusions on the door panel that snap into the door. You can't see them at this point, but these protrusions are holding the door panel to the door. They are spaced all around the door panel except for the top of the door. There are also a few around the large speaker. The best place to start prying is where the screwdriver is pictured. Gently wedge your fingers or a screwdriver into this spot and gently pry that corner of the door panel away from the door. If you can use your fingers it will be better than using a screwdriver because it is less likely that you will damage the leather. Once you hear the first pop, stop prying so that you can readjust your fingers. If you used a screwdriver to start prying off the door panel, put it down, you will not need it anymore. At this point you have created enough space for your fingers to pry the rest of the door off. I found the best way to finish prying the door panel off the door is to move clockwise down the door:



    8. Once you get the door panel off, hold onto it and keep it relatively close to the door. Don't let it drop to the floor. There are wires and things attached to the door panel that you will need to disconnect. You will need to disconnect the 3 items circled below. The white piece that is circled is already disconnected in the picture. It is part of door handle and needs to be unhooked. The other two circled items are speaker wires that need to be unplugged. The arrows point to these small plastic pieces that hold the wires and plug into the door panel. Gently pull them out to free the wires from the door panel. Once everything is unplugged, let the wires hang and put the door panel in a clean safe spot:



    9. It's now time to remove the airbag. Use the 10mm socket to remove the 3 bolts:



    10. Hang the airbag up and out of the way. The best thing to use is a ziptie, but I didn't have one that was long enough, so I just used some strong twine:


    Hi!

    I couldn't remove the door panel. Why? Removed the 5 torx and

    please help me!
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    Old 05-09-2009, 02:39 AM   #272
    issacsierra06
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    did u remove the bolt by the armrest
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    Old 05-09-2009, 02:58 AM   #273
    zent
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by issacsierra06 View Post
    did u remove the bolt by the armrest
    Yes I did. Should I push on door panel down or up?

    Last edited by zent; 05-09-2009 at 06:43 AM.
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    Old 05-09-2009, 10:51 PM   #274
    issacsierra06
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    ^up
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    Old 05-10-2009, 02:52 AM   #275
    zent
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by issacsierra06 View Post
    ^up

    Ok. I will try again
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    Old 05-13-2009, 12:22 PM   #276
    elbee
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thekubiaks View Post
    elbee,
    Thank you for the window regulator DIY, you saved me lots of $$$. I owe you a beer. I did have one comment on your original DIY instructions at the start of this thread.

    Everything made sense to me and was easy to follow with one exception. In the section where you spoke of raising or lowering the window to access the two 8mm bolts, you said to loosen them and then lift the window up to the top of the window frame and tape it to prevent movement. I spent half an hour looking at the mechanism and trying to decipher how the Germans engineered that area. You said to loosen the bolts not remove them (as was required), that is what threw me off the tracks.

    It would be greatly helpful if you modified the DIY to say that not only do you loosen the two bolts but that you need to remove them to separate the glass from the window rail bracket. You might also mention that when you reinstall this 8mm bolt, the receiving nut goes in in a certain orientation inside of the plastic red nut holder.

    I also figured out a trick to hold the 8mm bolt when reinstalling. I used a very small piece of the black gummy vapor barrier glue on the 8mm socket. That held the bolt to the socket quite well.

    Other than that, all went well. Thanks again!!!
    Glad to have helped! It's been quite a long time since I did this repair. In fact, the regulators haven't failed since I did this writeup. My memory of this step might be totally off, but at least on my car, I don't think I had to completely remove the bolts in order to raise the glass out of the brackets. I think just loosening them was enough. But, I could be wrong. My apologies for the confusion. If I ever have to do this again, I will pay more attention to this step in order to verify.

    Thanks!
    Elbee
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    Old 05-13-2009, 12:26 PM   #277
    elbee
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zent View Post
    Yes I did. Should I push on door panel down or up?
    You should pry the door panel away from the door. Not really up or down. So, if you are facing the door panel you should be pulling towards you. Think horizontal, not vertical. I hope that helps.
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    Old 05-17-2009, 02:52 AM   #278
    zent
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    Well done! Thanks.
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    Old 05-19-2009, 09:35 AM   #279
    Kevhoward
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    Hey thanks for the idiot proof write up.I had to replace my regulator but managed to get one in great condition from a scrapyard. It only set me back 70 euro. I brought it to the mechanic first and he was gonna charge me about 400 euro. You Rock!
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    Old 05-19-2009, 04:55 PM   #280
    elbee
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kevhoward View Post
    Hey thanks for the idiot proof write up.I had to replace my regulator but managed to get one in great condition from a scrapyard. It only set me back 70 euro. I brought it to the mechanic first and he was gonna charge me about 400 euro. You Rock!
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