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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 05-12-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
Raymond42262
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Repairing window regulator /front passenger

OK............

Here is your opportunity to do a good deed, and put a check in the karma block if you can help me out a bit.

Last weekend, my window regulator (right front passenger door ) went out on me. I put the window down and it won't come up. I can hear the motor hum, but nothing moves. Oh yeah, the window is ALL the way down in the door, so I can't pull it up......great.

I have not received my new regulator , but want to try the temporary fix with the plastic electrical ties.

Just a few questions for anyone who has already done the job.

1. How long will the ties last , or is it basically indefinite ?

2. Do I have to remove the battery cable or can I leave the airbag plugged in and hanging as long as I am careful ?

3. Will the plastic ties allow it to move up and down or does it just keep the window secure and prevent it from falling down ?

4. Can the ties be inserted without removing the regulator, or do I need to remove it like the video illustrates.

5. Is there anyone else think that this should be a recall item ? My car only has 78k miles and I bet the window has not been up and down 100 times. I don't think it should be failing this early. But it seems to be a common occurrence.

6. If I removed the door panel and stuck my hand behind it, would I be able to push the window up and leave it until I get the regulator ? I want the window up. I currently have plastic on the window. It looks tacky, the car is not secure and it is suppose to rain next week. And it is difficult to see thru the plastic.

I found the youtube video and these 2 links. Does anyone else have another link I should reference before I start ?

I like to plan ahead with all the information before I start.
Many thanks...

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ndow+regulator

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ndow+regulator

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Last edited by Raymond42262; 05-12-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
darklegacy540
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I know I normally don't post very often, but I saw this and had to reply because two of my regulators have died within the last couple months so it's still fresh in my mind. I can't give you much feedback on the ziptie thing. However, from reading the DIY on the zip tie procedure, I know the regulator must still be working in order to do it. When all four of my regulators have died (two died last year, and the other two in the last couple months) they were completely unusable. The cables were completely detached from the regulator and very tangled. You may want to tear your door apart now to see what you're dealing with. If you can remove your window regulator, you can at least push your window back up. I had to do this as well because it was raining. This way, you can at least tape the window up. It's going to look super ghetto, but at least you'll be safe if it rains. Make sure you order a new red/orange clip. Some members have reported their window detached after a couple days because they didn't replace the clip. Others have reported that they didn't replace the clip and its worked fine for them. I didn't want to deal with tearing everything apart twice so I purchased the clips as well. What else? What else? Oh, make sure you have a razor blade because it will help you IMMENSELY with removing the door liner/insulation stuff behind the door panel. If you have other questions, everything is laid out pretty well in the DIY.

Those youtube links that you posted are very good references.

EDIT: You did well if you made it 78k. My front two had to be replaced at 55k and the rear two at 80k.

Last edited by darklegacy540; 05-12-2012 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:41 AM   #3
Raymond42262
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Thanks for the reply.
I don't like to do a job, get half way through and then have to stop and go to Home Depot etc...

I realize our cars are getting old, but these fail so often, it should be a recall item.
I have a 2005 and I am the original owner. I bet the window has not been up and down 100 times since I owned it.
There is no reasonable reason why it should have failed.
I am almost too paranoid to lower the passenger side window and the sunroof.

Many thanks for your help.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:54 AM   #4
fatboyx9
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I replaced regulators on both our E46. I tried a Dorman on the 325Ci, that was a mistake. The Dorman never worked properly. I never disconnected the battery. When i removed air bag, after removing the screws and the vapor barrier/door insululation i put the air bag back in place and started 2 screws to hold it in place. Myself i'll never use anything but OEM.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:53 AM   #5
Raymond42262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatboyx9 View Post
I replaced regulators on both our E46. I tried a Dorman on the 325Ci, that was a mistake. The Dorman never worked properly. I never disconnected the battery. When i removed air bag, after removing the screws and the vapor barrier/door insululation i put the air bag back in place and started 2 screws to hold it in place. Myself i'll never use anything but OEM.
Thanks for the input.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
tbear325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatboyx9 View Post
I replaced regulators on both our E46. I tried a Dorman on the 325Ci, that was a mistake. The Dorman never worked properly. I never disconnected the battery. When i removed air bag, after removing the screws and the vapor barrier/door insululation i put the air bag back in place and started 2 screws to hold it in place. Myself i'll never use anything but OEM.
Good to know about the Dorman. Was thinking about buying one but decided to go OEM and the price difference was only $25.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:00 AM   #7
Raymond42262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklegacy540 View Post
I know I normally don't post very often, but I saw this and had to reply because two of my regulators have died within the last couple months so it's still fresh in my mind. I can't give you much feedback on the ziptie thing. However, from reading the DIY on the zip tie procedure, I know the regulator must still be working in order to do it. This way, you can at least tape the window up. It's going to look super ghetto, but at least you'll be safe if it rains. Make sure you order a new red/orange clip. Some members have reported their window detached after a couple days because they didn't replace the clip. Others have reported that they didn't replace the clip and its worked fine for them.

EDIT: You did well if you made it 78k. My front two had to be replaced at 55k and the rear two at 80k.
BTW, the zip ties go where the red orange clips go, is that correct ?
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:44 AM   #8
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I've never replaced the "red orange" clip. No problems yet.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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I changed the regulators 6 times on 328i/2000. Zip ties cannot work if the cable is tangled ---and that was the case in each one of my regulators. Personally, even if it was not, I still would not do the zip ties since I can see wear on the rollers and other moving parts, and do not want to reopen the door again sooner than I have to--or the window break while 100 miles from home. Just get a new regulator. The after market regulator was about $65, made in China, and hold it side by side to the BMW OEM it is identical in all respects. The Chinese do a great copy job--OR maybe BMW is buying it from them. Since the BMW regulators are twice the price, and are failure, I would use after market--but expect to pay about $70. Should have, but never changed the red clips--and never had a problem--but again, I recommend doing that. The red clips I know are the ones that snap through the glass and have a screw attach. And no, the red clips is not where the zip tie goes. The zip tie, which I do not recommend, goes at the end of the cable where it anchors into to tiny cylinder. The tie hold the cable in the cylinder, the most common failure point. But--you will not have this as a consideration--you most likely have a cable that is tangled around the pulley and other parts--and damaged. Open the panel, and you should be able to raise the window carefully by hand. I always get a tub of 3 M Super Weather Strip Adhesive 08001 to reseal the door. It dries semi hard, same as the original sealer. Also spend allot of time with a hair dryer heating up the old sealer to melt it to form a good seal. I beg you that the first time someone changes regulators, 90% of the time they will leak water onto the floor because it is not sealed properly. There is about a 100% chance that water will leak into the car if you do not seal the rain guard properly.
Lastly, I hear that some people do not disconnect the battery. I would suggest that this is a mistake. You are working too close to it and if you bang it accidentally and it goes off--it can take you head off. It only takes a minute to disconnect the battery--and need to wait at least 10 minutes after that since the air retains power for about 10 minutes after the battery is disconnected. But I do connect the battery to test the new regulator before closing everything. Also, do not disconnect the airbag--but get some rope and sling it over the door frame out of your way while working--I have heard of some people have problems with warning lights if you disconnect, and there is not need to. While in there, make sure that the drain holes in the bottom of the door are clear.
I have heard some people can do the whole job in an hour--I normally take about 2 hours--but I am slow and careful. Finally, when you take out your bad regulator, make sure it is perfect image to the new one. It has to be exact for alignment bolts.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:14 PM   #10
fatboyx9
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Why does everyone think you need to disconnect the battery everytime you touch a car now days. I've taken seats out of crown vics that had airbags in them without disconnecting the battery,as well as remove the dash mounted air bags. Sure buy more china parts, they need more of our US dollars.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:18 PM   #11
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I have seen an airbag accidentally deployed because the battery wasn't disconnected. Luckily no one was hurt but those things literally explode. If you enjoy playing with live explosives then by all means knock yourself out, it only takes once to make you realize that maybe there are safety precautions in place for a reason.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:23 PM   #12
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To each is their own
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:33 AM   #13
jayb328i
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Lets assume that there is a 90% chance, or even a 95% chance that if you do not disconnect the battery the airbag will not deploy. That's pretty good odds. But why would you want to take the risk (or 5% or 10%) when it takes a few minutes to disconnect the battery. The air bad is inches from your head while working on the regular and will deploy at about 200 miles and hour--literally take your head off or do some very serious bodily damage. Just like my neighbor a few years ago, he uses a floor jack to lift his car up and crawls under it to do work for hours--with NO stands. He will tell you that there is not problem doing that--he has never had a negative experience. It is a matter of how much risk you want to take. ( some would call one stupid for doing this). Me, it takes me a few minutes to put a Stand under the car when working on it, not trusting a floor jack regardless of make, size, warranties.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
Raymond42262
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OK.

It is a nice day, I have time and the patience to get this done.
I started earlier this morning and I have gotten to a point where I am stuck.

I have removed everything off the door and removed the screws to the motor and the regulator.

I loosened the two screws in the 'windows' and pushed the window all the way up.

I am at the point where I have to twist the right rear regulator from the door.

I can remove the bolt from the hole at the bottom and attempt to twist it to the left/front and remove the regulator from the door just like the instruction and the youtube video suggest. However, mine seems to be hung up on something at the top in the upper right corner under the window. It feels like it is sitting in a rail or something. I can't see up there.

According to the instructions it appears to be an easy thing to do. But mine is not working. I don't want to bend it too far and break the glass or anything else behind the door.

Is the window suppose to be all the way up ( I have mine taped ) ?

How come it is not coming out so easily like the youtube video/instructions suggests it should do ? It has to be something easy.

Any suggestions ?

Thanks...

These are the resources I am using....

http://www.skene.org/bmw/window/
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=356847
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Last edited by Raymond42262; 05-26-2012 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:00 PM   #15
Raymond42262
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Anyone ?

I 'm not messing with it anymore until I get some new ideas.

I don't feel like breaking it.

Besides, it is about 90 plus degrees outside and I miserable.

I'd like to know what I was doing before I went back out there.
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:13 PM   #16
jayb328i
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Not being there I am not sure what the hang up is. But having done this many times for every window on my car, it does come out. Pehaps you missed a screw.
Look that the new regulator and see what that corner that is hung up looks like. See if a screw come out or there is something that affects it. I do know that it is tight and the regulator arm needs to slide into place, not allot of clearance. Did you remove the bolt that goes through the window into the pick window socket. There is no twisting involved--more like sliding out. Also I seem to remember that the cable can be pushed on collapse the somwhat, and perhaps that is hung up. Play with it, but no twisting--just make sure all the screws are removed.
Just remembered that unless the window is at the right height in the door, you may not be able to see or get to that screw that goes through the window. need to manually play with up and down on window to align it so you can get the tool into to undo it. Wish I was there, it would take 2 minutes to show you.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:40 PM   #17
Raymond42262
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OK.
I found my problem. I did not remove the 8mm bolts from the window. I guess it is hard to remove the regulator if it is still bolted to the window. But the last message I saw from the video said to loosen them.

Another web site said to remove them.

While , I was messing with the regulator, the slide fell off..grrrrrrr

Am I suppose to put that metal bar/stop thing between the slide ?

And does the slide just flip back on ? I don't know how it fell off.......one second it was on, then it was in my lap.

Thanks....
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:10 PM   #18
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Ok, so I guess was right, that you did not unscrew the bolt to the window. Since you were twisting the regulator, I would make sure that you replace the red insert into the window. You do not want that to fail on you. I never did that, but most recommend to do it.
I have no idea what you are talking about the slide. If it is part of the regulator, not important, you are putting in a new regulator. If it is the window guide that you are talking about--it sounds like you might have removed screws that were not to be removed. What slide, what bar stop.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #19
Raymond42262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayb328i View Post
Ok, so I guess was right, that you did not unscrew the bolt to the window. Since you were twisting the regulator, I would make sure that you replace the red insert into the window. You do not want that to fail on you. I never did that, but most recommend to do it.
I have no idea what you are talking about the slide. If it is part of the regulator, not important, you are putting in a new regulator. If it is the window guide that you are talking about--it sounds like you might have removed screws that were not to be removed. What slide, what bar stop.
I did not get the red inserts...I guess I should have. However, I will continue the repair without it. Live and learn I guess. You know what a big mess it makes when the cover is removed, along with the vapor barrier, speaker, air bag etc......... If you think I am anxious to get this done..you are right !

Anyhow, the slide and metal ball thing I am talking about is represented well , in this link... it is better than the pic I took. See ? The metal ball is in the middle of the slide. The metal ball on mine is all the way to the end of the regulator and I can't move the wire to center it.

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

Anyhow, I can't move the green plastic rotating ball thing and the wire won't slide. I hope I don't have to hook everything back up just so I can move it electrically.

Any suggestions ?
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #20
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Are you replacing the regulator, or are you doing the fix on the existing one. I was assuming that you were installing a new one. If you are taking the old one and doing the tie routine, good luck. I have never done that. The end of the cable I believe has a bar on it that fits into the chamber. As the picture shows, the plastic tie goes on each end of the chamber to hold the cable in place and the bar locked in. But before you take this route of the tie, you MUST make sure the cable is not damaged anywhere, that it is connected properly around the pulley's and that the pulley's are not damaged (worn/ track nicked). If you were twisting the regulator to get it out--no way would I close it without buying a new red gourmet that goes through the window.
AND NOW for the biggest problems that all FIRST time people WILL have when they open the door. If the rain seal is not put back perfectly, you will have flooding of your carpet every time it rains. You must reseal the rain guard with the black sealer perfectly without any gaps along all edges. I would say that probably 80 % of the people who do this the first time get a leak (including myself) because they ignore the importance of this, or just want to get done. Last time I did this I used 3 M 08001 sealer weatherproofing, plus the old stuff was still good and spent 30 minutes with a hair dryer HEATING up the door edges to remelt the sealer into place. I you ripped the rain guard, need to get a new one--otherwise you will have flooding floor.
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