E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > DIY: Do It Yourself

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 44 votes, 4.98 average. Display Modes
Old 09-22-2010, 04:00 PM   #461
OrientBlau
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,454
My Ride: 2003 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZen330 View Post
Just the other day I was rolling down the window and heard a click/crack. After that it still seems to work totally normally though ( I tried it up/down several times).

I mmediately thought "window regulator!" after reading about them all the time on here, haha! It seems that side failure may be imminent (unless it was something else that caused the noise). My car is very low mileage so it seems a pity to fail like that if it indeed does.
Here's how it happened to me.

One day I rolled down the drivers window and heard a loud crack as it went down. I was like WTF? From then on the window seemed to work normally but made a slight click going up or down at a mid point. Eventually the window would not guide striaght up, but was slanted and I HAD to help guide it up. Here's where it gets silly. I was lazy about fixing it and felt (dont know why) that if I rolled it down all the way, there was a chance it would notroll back up, even with a good window motor. So, I just rolled it down almost to the bottom for several months. Not long after, my sunroof shade slider began to bind and make noises and the sun shade would not slide back. I had to carefully straighten it and do it manually before activating the sunroof. I dorve ghetto like this for severla months and finally did "elbee's DIY" for the regulator and found antoehr DIY for the sunshade.

Moral of the story... youre gonna have to address this soon. Its an easy dIY and you can get a BMW OEM regulator from one of the dealership sponsors for less than $100. The job should take no more than 2 hours.
OrientBlau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2010, 03:55 AM   #462
ZZen330
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,141
My Ride: 2002 330Ci
Hmm, it seems my passenger side does now indeed make a click sound everytime it goes down (at about the halfway point). Guess I better prepare to fix this sometime soon. Anyone else use those regulator repair pieces someone link to on ebay? Coupe door procedure the same as sedan front door?


I even noticed the driver side makes a very faint click sound at the same point, but that must've ben there for awhile and I just never noticed, there's no way it just started at the same time.
ZZen330 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2010, 07:50 PM   #463
dcaron999
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Mirabel, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 186
My Ride: 2002 330xi
What an excellent DIY. I had done this before on 2004 X3, but nevertheless, the details from the OP were extremely useful. I had this thread up on my computer next to my car.


I would like to add my 2 cents to this thread, to avoid undue stress to the regulator and plastic parts, I recommend getting a high quality, long lasting spray lubricant (the ones that come in a spray can with a tiny plastic straw), and spray the vertical window guides, where the window slides up and down the door. Once you do that to all your windows (2 vertical sides on each window), you will actually see, and hear a difference. The window has less resistance, moves a little faster, and less force is imposed on the regulator.

Last edited by dcaron999; 10-23-2010 at 03:28 PM.
dcaron999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2010, 01:46 AM   #464
jammin
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2
My Ride: 323i Wagon stckshft
Bailing wire worked better than zip-ties for me.
jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2010, 09:53 AM   #465
OrientBlau
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,454
My Ride: 2003 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcaron999 View Post
I would like to add my 2 cents to this thread, to avoid undue stress to the regulator and plastic parts, I recommend getting a high quality, long lasting spray lubricant (the ones that come in a spray can with a tiny plastic straw), and spray the vertical window guides, where the window slides up and down the door. Once you do that to all your windows (2 vertical sides on each window), you will actually see, and hear a difference. The window has less resistance, moves a little faster, and less force is imposed on the regulator.
When I put in my new OEM regulator, I greased every possible piece that moved, hoping to stave off another failure. Some parts come pre-lubricated, but I made sure there was much much more.
OrientBlau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2010, 06:18 PM   #466
Omardottcom
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 12
My Ride: Bmw 325Xi
I just fixed mine yesterday, except that instead of using plastic zip ties, I went to harbor freight and bought some stainless steel zip ties (cable ties). A little difficult to get them as tight as you'd like but they work extremely wel and I know they're not ever going to break or stretch. Regulator is good as new. I also noticed the BMW doors are painted on the inside and they aren't sharp like all the other cuts. I was suprized I didn't have a single cut on my arm!

I have a new Driver's window regulator for sale that I obviously don't need since I fixed my old one. Anyone interested in buying it? It's an aftermarket Non-BMW and for a 4 door sedan. Bit it is identical to the BMW one $55. Let me know if you want it.
Omardottcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2010, 04:50 PM   #467
mrgregbmw
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: canada
Posts: 3
My Ride: 1999 bmw 328i
My first window regulator replacement-tips

y 1999 e46 328i sedan only 80k miles was making that bad grinding noise when using the front window.It only gets worse,so I read the site and did the troubleshooting-yes,when I took the panels off I was greeted with some errant cables and a busted clip.Some tips I learned-a new regulator was only $50(shipped)from ebay,put the window down(if possible) before disconnecting the battery approx 5.5 inches to access those pesky bolts,don't use a wrench/socket to remove the bolts-go to Sears and get the kit designed to remove stripped bolts(only $20) and use that first to save the bolt heads.I didn't do that first,and my bolt head was ruined by the time I got it out.[ took the old bolt to a bolt store (because somehow the nut fell out from the back and was never seen again) and replaced with a standard flanged nut and a flat conical bolt.It had an allen head fitting which made it easier to install than the socket method (I tried both).I feel like an expert and if I have to do another one-1 hour maximum.Thanks for all the tips and instructions.
mrgregbmw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2010, 03:11 PM   #468
Lowerfredrick
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Zieglerville PA
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2000 328i
Thank you so very much elbee. I only had my car a week when I heard the crunch, saw your post, and fixed the whole thing on a Saturday night. You saved me a pile of money. Two tie wraps and some sweat equity. Very satisfying fix.

The hair dryer was the trick for reapplying the vapor barrier. You should of seen my wife's face when I was trying to sneak her hair dryer to the garage. Priceless!

'Thanks' to good folks like you who take the time to help others fix their own cars.
Lowerfredrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 10:02 PM   #469
sebas2398
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1
My Ride: BMW 325i 2004
Thanks for this GREAT DIY. Saves me roughly 400$ at the stealer... I'd like to add that you can just remove both side and the bottom of the vapor barrier. You flip it and fix it with some masking tape. It works for me!
sebas2398 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2010, 02:24 PM   #470
sky222
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: atlanta
Posts: 22
My Ride: 325xi
Quote:
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 follow your step and replace a new regulator tested and its move up and down fine.. 3 days later i tested again it roll down and wont roll up..i open the door panel took the regulator out and saw the cable wire pop.. so i replace the new regulator again and its works for three days and same situation cable pop again...the only step i din't do is reconnect the zip tie the regulator wire to the door cuz i cant find that piece and dont know where to strapped.. is that the reason y the regulator cable pop or i missing something??? please give me some advice would really aprreciated
    thanx
    sky222 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-22-2010, 02:36 PM   #471
    OrientBlau
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Jul 2010
    Location: NYC
    Posts: 2,454
    My Ride: 2003 330i
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sky222 View Post
    hi.. i follow your step and replace a new regulator tested and its move up and down fine.. 3 days later i tested again it roll down and wont roll up..i open the door panel took the regulator out and saw the cable wire pop.. so i replace the new regulator again and its works for three days and same situation cable pop again...the only step i din't do is reconnect the zip tie the regulator wire to the door cuz i cant find that piece and dont know where to strapped.. is that the reason y the regulator cable pop or i missing something??? please give me some advice would really aprreciated
    thanx


    Im not sure if I understand you. You replaced your broken regulator with a NEW OEM one and it failed in three days. When you opened it up, the cable had come out of the spool, so you bought another NEW OEM regulator and it failed as well. Is this correct?

    Can you post photos. There must be a step you missed or did not install the window properly. When it DID work, was it smooth up and down with no noise or binding?
    OrientBlau is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-22-2010, 03:04 PM   #472
    Rickna
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: West Haven, CT, USA
    Posts: 1,979
    My Ride: '02 330xi AT
    Send a message via ICQ to Rickna Send a message via AIM to Rickna Send a message via MSN to Rickna Send a message via Yahoo to Rickna
    I've replaced two regulators (F&R Pass Side) with aftermarket parts (Saved $150 between the two). 1-1/2 years later so far so good.
    __________________

    238 years of democracy has died, and with thunderous applause

    My_Mods_&_Stuff
    Rickna is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-23-2010, 01:13 PM   #473
    sky222
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: atlanta
    Posts: 22
    My Ride: 325xi
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OrientBlau View Post
    Im not sure if I understand you. You replaced your broken regulator with a NEW OEM one and it failed in three days. When you opened it up, the cable had come out of the spool, so you bought another NEW OEM regulator and it failed as well. Is this correct?

    Can you post photos. There must be a step you missed or did not install the window properly. When it DID work, was it smooth up and down with no noise or binding?
    thats correct... and the window go down really smooth and a lil slower when it go up..and its a front passenger door.. ill try to post the pix up.
    thanx
    sky222 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-25-2010, 06:01 PM   #474
    mcurcio1989
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Sep 2010
    Location: Ohio
    Posts: 203
    My Ride: 2002 325xi
    Great write up! I did my passenger side about a month ago and the Driver side an hour ago. I was an idiot and only zip tied the bad part on the passenger side so hopefully I don't have to redo that.

    A couple things I noticed.

    -First when taking out the top of the panel just pull kind of up and out at an angle. That seemed to work well for me. The flat clips along the window are a little trickier to undo then the round ones.

    - secondly use some tape on the outside of the window to mark exactly where your window is before you take the motor out. That way you won't have to re set the auto up function. If you do end up having to there are two ways to do it. I think one way is all the way down and then all the way up and hold for 10 seconds. Something like that. The other way has more steps and when I did the passenger side I had to resort to that as the simpler method wouldn't work. use the search function on here.

    -lastly when you restart the car you will have the dsc and brake light on (due to disconnecting the battery) but it will go away once you move the car. Most people will know that from working on other stuff but if this is your first time doing anything on your car don't be alarmed.
    mcurcio1989 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-25-2010, 06:19 PM   #475
    dcaron999
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Location: Mirabel, Quebec, Canada
    Posts: 186
    My Ride: 2002 330xi
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcurcio1989 View Post
    when you restart the car you will have the dsc and brake light on (due to disconnecting the battery) but it will go away once you move the car. Most people will know that from working on other stuff but if this is your first time doing anything on your car don't be alarmed.
    I had that happened to me this week-end when I replaced my front passenger regulator. I panicked for a while, but as soon as I drove the car, the lights went back off instantly.

    Last edited by dcaron999; 10-25-2010 at 06:24 PM.
    dcaron999 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-25-2010, 06:20 PM   #476
    AJV
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts: 245
    My Ride: 164 Quadrifoglio
    Lightbulb Another Method

    Nice write up and pictures! It helped me take the door apart as I undertook my first surgical operation on the BMW. I tried the cable ties and they broke (twice in the driver's door and once in the passenger door). Crappy Auto Zone cable ties...

    So my workaround was to drip molten solder around the rectangular bead and then use the hot iron to melt the plastic and reform it around the solder. If you are careful, you get get solder to run down into the bracket. After doing this, melting the plastic over it makes a good solid joint. My window has been fine since doing this.

    I also tried purchasing a replacement regulator on eBay since the zip tie method wasn't working... bad idea. They have sent me two bad/wrong Hamburg Technic regulators (which I have heard are garbage) so I would recommend trying to fix it or get the regulator at a local parts store.
    AJV is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-27-2010, 11:02 AM   #477
    abrcrombtg
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Posts: 12
    My Ride: e46 330i
    Haven't read every single post on this thread but was wondering if the "zip tie" trick will work for my driver side window. It just started last week making a cracking noise the whole way down and also on its way up. The window will not go all the way down, it leaves about 3 inches of the window exposed before it gets hung up. Will the "zip tie" fix work or will i need to purchase a new regulator? Has anyone had this same problem?
    abrcrombtg is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #478
    elbee
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Dec 2004
    Location: Los Angeles
    Posts: 318
    My Ride: 2001 325I Sedan
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by abrcrombtg View Post
    Haven't read every single post on this thread but was wondering if the "zip tie" trick will work for my driver side window. It just started last week making a cracking noise the whole way down and also on its way up. The window will not go all the way down, it leaves about 3 inches of the window exposed before it gets hung up. Will the "zip tie" fix work or will i need to purchase a new regulator? Has anyone had this same problem?
    You most likely will have to look at the regulator first to know if it will work for you. If the wire looks like a rats nest, then you will need a new regulator. If the wire is still intact the zip tie method will probably work. The fact that you still have some movement in the window most likely indicates that the wire is still intact (at least that has been my experience). If the window doesn't move at all the wire usually looks like a rats nest (hence the need for a whole new unit). But, no way to know for sure without opening up the door and taking a look. Good luck!
    elbee is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-28-2010, 11:25 PM   #479
    pez319
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: SoCal
    Posts: 83
    My Ride: 2001 BMW 325i TiAg
    I don't understand why after 10 years they're still making these regulators with that plastic piece. I mean they had to have realized that something is wrong. A simple all metal bracket will solve this. I'm just mad because my rear one just broke and I'm thinking of changing them all out now. I think I'm going to install a metal brace over the plastic to maybe relieve some load on the plastic.
    pez319 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Old 10-29-2010, 11:48 PM   #480
    pez319
    Registered User
     
    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: SoCal
    Posts: 83
    My Ride: 2001 BMW 325i TiAg
    I was wondering if anyone has tried greasing the 2 window edges that come in contact with the door. I was thinking maybe with all the dust and wear there is increased friction on the window and thats leading to the plastic bracket failure.
    pez319 is offline   Reply With Quote
    Reply

    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search
    Display Modes Rate This Thread
    Rate This Thread:

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is On
    HTML code is On
    Censor is ON





    All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:57 PM.


    Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
    (c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use