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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 07-13-2007, 01:30 AM   #1
jay123
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Coupe door handle

From search i've done this seems a common problem. Cable has come off passenger door and i can only open from the inside.

Have taken all trim of and found cable does not look damaged, but i can not feel where its supposed to attach too.

Any pics and or clues on how to connect will be gratefully recieved or i'm going to have to take to garage.

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:04 AM   #2
dwj100uni
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Hey guys...


I had the problem that my door handle felt loose and did not feel like it was pulling anything from the outside, and therefore not opening the door, but on the inside it worked fine, not stiff or anything.

My DIY for this is (for a coupe- not sure if its the same for a 4 door):

Tools needed: LONG flathead screwdriver (i mean over 12")
Torx (not sure what size- used for door panel screws)

Remove the interior door panel. there are 5 torx screws (3 under arm rest, 1 behind SRS "button" and one behind black plug behind interior handle).
The rest of the trim is held on by poppers. Just pull hard around the edge.

On the side of the door where the rubber from the window trim comes round there is a "flap" of rubber that clips on the side. Pull this off (it is held on by a popper). You will be able to see inside the door through a small hole at the top now.

Remove any moisture lining on the door (the foamy stuff stuck on by black gum).

This is the tricky bit. You will be able to see the cable that leads to the door handle and this will have popped out of its holder. The holder keeps the cable taught. If it falls out the cable goes slack and hence you are not able to pull it to release the door catch.

To make sure that is what it is wind your window up enough so that you can grab the cable. Pull it HARD towards the front of the car and try the door handle. It should feel back to normal.

To get this to stay in the holder you will need your long flathead screwdriver. This is where that gap at the top becomes crucial. Slide the screwdriver in the gap at the top of the window. It needs to go on the side of the glass between the glass and the door, rather than between the glass and the interior.

You will notice some holes premade in the skin of the metal of the door. these are your peep holes. Look through these and Whilst pulling the cable as hard as you can towards the front of the car you need to clip the small piece of plastic into its holder, using the screwdriver head. It is very iddly, but once you get it you will see that it is very easy.

To make sure it didnt happen again I got some super gel glue and put it on the end of the screwdriver and spread it all over the plasitc clip so it stays in there. I don't understand why BMW made it so it could come out as its not like it ever needs to!!

I know its hard to imagine without pics, and ill try and get some up soon when I can, but the weather over here is really bad ATM.

Hope this helps, and and questions please ask.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:04 AM   #3
dwj100uni
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Where in the UK are you from mate?
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:18 AM   #4
jay123
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Hi, i live in Portsmouth.

Got as far as removing all the trim as you said its the next bit thats the problem. Will try this at the weekend.

Thanks
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:35 AM   #5
dwj100uni
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Let me know if u have any probs mate. Ill try and help out were I can.

Regards,
Dave
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:15 AM   #6
xcelr8dbmw
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I just fixed mine about 3 weeks ago, and a Bmw tech told me its hard to replace without taking out the window and motor and stuff but if you take apart the door handle it gives you some light and peep holes to look trough and get your hands inside. It took me about 3 hours to do and a few scratches on my hand but i did it. Its real hard to explain how it goes together. good luck.
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:34 AM   #7
325seeeye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcelr8dbmw View Post
Its real hard to explain how it goes together. good luck.
Yep. I have a bunch of pictures I posted on my fix in ~2005. Since then, my image host went from free to paying and has all my pictures ransomed. I had all the pictures stored on an old computer. When I get home I will try to remeber to dig them up and post for the OP.

But - I figured out how the door mechanism worked by buying the door carrier from the dealer. Once I studying how the thing worked, I could feel around the inside of the door and get the cable back where it needed to go, and to get a zip-tie in place to secure it - thus fixing mine without replacing it. Then I returned the carrier to the dealer. Like xcel said, it is a b!tch to get to and you will be going off complete feel (because you can't see anything when you hands are up there in the door). Took me about 3 hours to get it - but the dealer had quoted my $660 to replace it (which does require the complete removal of the window).

More to come tonight.
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Old 07-13-2007, 01:10 PM   #8
jay123
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Thanks for the advice, have spent the last hour feeling around inside. Cant work out were the cable supposed to connect to on the handle. Hopefully if its nice tomorrow i will give it another go.

How did you take the door handle off?
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:08 AM   #9
jay123
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Have finally worked out were everything goes, now for the difficult bit.

I have managed to locate the plastic retaining piece in place but its getting the actual cable into the handle. Don't want to take the window out, seems so much involed in that.

Will just keep trying, without loosing temper.

Dave your write up was really helpful, at least if i end up taking to garage i know that cable is not broken and just needs connecting up.
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:55 AM   #10
jay123
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Ended up taking to garage where i get her serviced, he managed to fi it in ten minutes.

Bloody typical.

Anyway all working fine now thanks for everyones help.
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:10 AM   #11
325seeeye
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Jay, I dug up the photos. But since you got it fixed, I will repost what I wrote in 2005 for others to read.......


I fixed it this morning . I am fortunate in that nothing was broken, but a simple clip that restrains the cable (and makes the handle work) came undone from the fixture. I was able to replace everything without unbolting any part of the window or door handle assemblies (although, it is extremely tight in there). The way I solved it was to buy the outside door handle carrier. Once I saw how the assembly worked, I was able to understand what was disfunctional on my assembly and make the necesary repairs. My assembly was not broken, but if yours is and you have to replace it, I wish you well - I bet you will have to take out the window and window track.

There are no action photos of this repair because you really can't see anything inside the door. I have detailed the mechanism below and I will answer questions if I can. If your door will open from the inside and not the outside, it is a safe bet that you have the same problem I did.

1st, find a DIY for removeing the door panel and complete it. Next, there is a layer of foam that is tarred to the door frame. It can be pryed off easily. Don't worry, it will re-stick to the frame with no problem (but try not to tear the foam if possible - go slow). I left the side airbag bolted to the door - just pull the foam back to the airbag and tape it out of your way. The space is tight and there is no light, but you can manipulate the cable with some tenacious effort.

This picture shows the orientation of the outside door carrier.




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Old 07-31-2007, 12:18 PM   #12
Electech
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Hi
I have found all of your Posts regarding this problem very helpful
and although I can see and feel where the fault is, I cannot get at it
properly, and I therefore need to take out the drivers window in my E36 Coupe

Does anybody know how to do this easily

Thanks
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:10 PM   #13
Electech
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Op,s the previous message should have read E46 not E36
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:25 PM   #14
Electech
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I would like to say a very big thank you to 325seeeye because without his excellent photographs and description I would not have been able
to sort out my door lock again many thanks
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:30 PM   #15
PreludeGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electech View Post
I would like to say a very big thank you to 325seeeye because without his excellent photographs and description I would not have been able
to sort out my door lock again many thanks
Werd!

Fixing mine right now.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:21 PM   #16
m3lulude
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Thanks 325seeeye for the wonderful tip and pictures. You are the man! I found that taken off the door handle completely and loosen the hex bolt that hold the handle in place will make your work much easier. I was able to clip it back in place and tie a zip tie around it on both side of my doors. The whole project took about five hours. Once again BIG THANK YOU to 325seeeye and e46fanatics.com.
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:47 AM   #17
zerogravityE46
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awesome, this is going to be my weekend project for this major problem i had for the last 2 weeks!
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:58 PM   #18
zerogravityE46
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completed it was easy DIY
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:39 AM   #19
simonspain
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I changed my 325i a week or so ago and this was a known problem before I swapped.

I was expecting this to be an absolute nightmare job, but I completed the job in 1 hour.

My observations :

def' need to remove the airbag - simple only 3 bolts, doesnt need to be disconnected.

careful when taking off the door panel, if it slips it coud pull some cables off. I took the indoor door release off and it just snapped back in on the refit.

i've got quite large hands, but I still managed to get my right hand (whilst standing at an odd angle) to the position where you can push this clip in.

Make sure the clip is FULLY in. I needed my thumb with a fair amount of pressure to get it right in properly.

there's a little peephole which is almost perfectly liined up for looking at this right up close.

study the pictures from 325seeeeye as this really really helps to see whats happening.

the cable on mine was pushed behind a vertical metal bar. this made it difficult to re-seat the clip. I took it out from behind this bar and it was easy after that.

Thanks to the guys with the replies above, this really is a simple DIY and i'm certainly no mechanic ;-)

Simon
PS I have a 2001 y plate 325i with 4 doors, so I can confirm its the 4 door fix too - not just coops.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:14 AM   #20
naraM
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This..
i hate
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