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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 05-28-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
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BMW 325I E46 Window Regulator Repair /Lessons Learned

This is not a step by step instruction on repairing your regulator.
Just a list of suggestions and ideas for you to avoid making the same mistakes I encountered.


Make sure you have all the tools you need before starting.
T25 and T27 torx screws. I read that a T30 is necessary, but the largest I had was a T27 and it worked just fine. Duct tape, zip ties (electrical ties), a blade or razor to cut the zip ties, 8mm and 10mm sockets, flat tip screwdriver, needle nose pliers and lots of Patience.

Remove the screws and plastic covers. Put them aside and in a pile separate from the others. Keep all the screws separated so you don't have to guess where the screws go when you replace them.

Using a screwdriver, pry the door panel off from the bottom right. When I did this, a styrofoam block fell out. It was insulation or a tool to keep the door panel from being crushed. It was not a big deal but I read several other threads and this was not mentioned. It was just a surprise when it fell out.

Work your way around. Be careful, the plastic grommets are fragile. When you work your way to the top, be careful and pull straight up. Pay attention to the door lock. Don't break it by twisting the panel too much to the side.

When you remove the plastic door lock hinge on the inside, flip it up. Do not let the door panel go. There is not enough wire to allow the panel to be set on the ground. Remove the two clips for the speakers. They have clips that squeeze in and you pull out. They are small. It might be helpful to use needle nose pliers.

Remove the foam vapor barrier. Remove it slowly so it is not damaged. It is very sticky. Store the foam barrier and the door panel in a safe, clean place. Store the vapor barrier sticky side up and keep everything off it.

Many threads suggest removing the battery cables and unplugging the air bag. I did not do this. I figured that my car was 7 years old, has 78k miles on the odometer, traveled over miles and miles of bumps and abrasions, through all kinds of conditions. If it did not explode under those circumstances, I figured it would not explode sitting in my driveway at rest. Do whatever you are comfortable with. Anyhow, I removed the screws from the airbag and tied it to the top of the door with a zip tie.

Many threads and the youtube video tell you to remove remote side mirror control module. Mine did not have this.

When you lower the window to see the red plastic things thru the regulator holes, you need to loosen the screws according to some instructions, You need to remove the screws to remove the regulator.

Anyhow, the red plastic things are a protective device placed at the bottom of the glass window. They act as washer to prevent the screw from damaging the glass. Behind the plastic thing is a nut. The nut is recessed into the plastic thing if it is situated properly. One of the nuts worked as planned and the second would not seat properly. Before the screws are removed, tape the back of the nuts to the window and the plastic thing so it will not fall out. It is easier to do this than lose a nut and have to fish around for it.

When you remove the regulator, remove the motor first. There are only three screws. It is easier to remove the regulator without the motor. It gives you more room to maneuver with. Just let it hang free.

The speaker wires are taped and secured in 3 places, remove them.

The regulator cable is kept in place behind the frame by a half moon/semi circle clip. On mine, you can see a white plastic grommet protruding thru the center of the door. That's it. Reach behind and push the wire from the clip. Too easy.

When you remove the regulator, do the one on the right side first. Push them back away from you, and twist them slightly to the side, towards the center.

The reason my regulator failed, is because there is a gray plastic piece on the metal slide that decayed. There is a metal ball on the wire that must remain in the middle of the plastic piece. The ball carries the weight of the window. When the ball slips through the plastic, it does not move the window. Use the pictures of the zip ties included in the links here to see how they should be emplaced. They need to be tight..not loose or the ball will move thru the loose ties. If this happens then they need to be removed and redone. Make sure you do not miss the wire when you loop it around or you have to do it over. Four ties are needed, but I used 11 before I got it all right. I used 14 total before the job was complete.

When the ties are looped, hook it up to the motor and test it. You don't need to mount it in the door, just lay it in your lap.

Reinstall the regulator. Keep the regulator towards you and downward, so it does not interfere with the window above it.

Reinstall the motor. You may have to pry up the metal clips on the door so the motor frame slips underneath. Mine needed a little persuasion. Just a hair, not much.

Line up the red plastic tabs on the window so they can be seen thru the regulator. Insert the screws, but hold the back of the window so the nuts do not fall out. This happened to me once and the screw got stuck in the middle of the regulator. I had to unscrew everything and remove the regulator again to remove the screw. Then reinstall everything, again. So, I inserted some duct tape into the bottom of the socket to prevent the screw from falling out. I wish I had done that first. After screwing in the first screw, you may have to bump the window button to line up the second one. Not much, perhaps a quarter inch or so.

Reattach the regulator cable to the half moon clip.

Retape the loose speaker wires with duct tape.

Test the window again.

Tighten all nuts and screws again.

Replace air bag.

Replace foam moisture barrier. Start slowly from the top and press down firmly. Make sure you pull the plastic door release cord thru the top and the speaker wire thru the middle. Push firmly around the edges. I taped down some edges I thought might need some help with duct tape. Many say that the moisture barrier leaks after it is removed. We'll see.

Replace the door panel from the top first. Gently push down and work you way around. Line up the plastic grommets first, be careful they break easily.

Toss the styrofoam block back in the right bottom corner.

Check the perimeter, and push down firmly.

Replace the screws on the door panel. I was missing one. Use the duct tape again so they don't slip out.

Check window again, as well as door locks.

Done !

It would have been easier to just replace the regulator with a new one.
But I considered it a challenge to fix the one I had. If it happens again, I 'll get a new regulator.

I hope this helps you out with your project. The instructions are not complete, just a helpful list of problems I ran into so you can avoid them.

Good Luck !

These are the links I used for reference......







Last edited by Guest100615; 05-30-2012 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Awesome Information
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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Thanks !

I was trying to help someone avoid the same mistakes I made.

I hope someone finds it useful.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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Great info! Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:51 AM   #5
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I am having major issues with below quote, as no matter how hard i tighten the nuts in the red plastic tabs the window slips out of the tabs .... pic shows red tab, ideas anyone much appreciated

"Line up the red plastic tabs on the window so they can be seen thru the regulator. Insert the screws, but hold the back of the window so the nuts do not fall out"
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