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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 08-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
adaseb
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DIY: Window Regulator Repair for the Cheap, Poor, and Money Conscious

I know there are a few threads already on how to change the window regulators. This topic is slightly different.

As the E46 gets older and older, the younger generation is picking up these cars who aren't exactly lawyers or doctors who can't afford brand new OEM window regulators everytime one snaps. Sure spending $150 on one regulator is not overkill, but usually there is always 2-3 that are snapped and need to be replaced.

This DIY is geared towards REPAIRING your existing window regulator instead of REPLACING it with a new one.

If you don't mind doing slightly extra work or you want to repair your regulator because you want to sell your vehicle this thread is for you.

When the window regulator snaps, usually its the clip that needs to be replaced. The linkage and pulley are usually reuseable.

The solution is the buy a repair kit. These kits are ULTRA cheap usually around $10-20. There is a picture of the kit below. Usually its consists of the springs, pulley, clip, and the linkage. You can buy these from multiple sellers on eBay. Many sellers are even located in the USA, some are overseas such as in Turkey. Just google or go on eBay and search for "E46 window regulator repair kit".



What you want to do is replace just the part that broke. Leave everything else as OEM. If the linkage doesn't have a kink in the line, then reuse it. If the pulley inside track isn't chopped up, reuse it then. The linkages are different lengths, make sure you replace it with the correct length.

Use this thread as a reference to take apart the window regulator.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=356847
If your rear regulator broke, instructions are EXACTLY the same except you don't have to disconnect the battery because there is no rear side airbags.

If your FRONT Window regulator broke, you can either repair it using the zip tie method discussed many times on this forum or you can simply attach a piece of wood to hold the window in place while your waiting for your repair kit. See http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=781667

If you REAR window regulator broke, there is no zip tie method, just attach a piece of wood to temporarily hold your window in place while your waiting for your repair kit to arrive. See thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=781667

Don't Tape your window up, it will look like CRAP and someone can easily get into your vehicle.



When your repair kit arrives. You need the follow the instructions and steps in the Youtube video below so you don't struggle reconnecting all the linkages. TRUST ME. Follow the video and the install will be smooth. You don't have to use much force either. Many avoid these repairs kits because they had a hard time looping the linkages around the pulley and give up. But if you follow the directions in the video, you won't have any issues at all. After your done, make sure to grease everything.



I avoided repairing all my regulators because it was NEAR impossible relooping the linkages around the pulley on the side, following that video made it a breeze. The replacement window clip is all plastic, and many of you think it won't be as strong however, the OEM clip is plastic also around the area that hold the linkages in place.

I think the reason why these regulators fail is because after many uses the grease on the linkages burns off in some areas and there is more friction that places strain on the plastic clips holding it together. If you inspect the regulator you will see that it simply makes metal on metal contact that has alot more friction when there is no grease.

If you have any questions or problems, please PM me or reply in this thread.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
adaseb
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I also just replaced the front drivers window regulator with the repair it and the install was also simply.

Will add photos soon.

Last edited by adaseb; 11-15-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:42 PM   #3
Mflara20
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Mine drivers side works but when it's going up, goes up slowly?
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #4
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just wanted to add that the ziptie method does work on the rear windows. you can only use one and the holes for it isn't as obvious as the fronts. that's what i did for awhile (like 6-7 months). then i had to buy a new regulator because the cable (not the zipties lol) eventually snapped.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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The problem with the repair kit is it doesn't have new rollers/pulleys on the sides which I have had break on my old regulators (due to cable binding and snapping a piece of plastic off). If the repair kit came with all new rollers that would be ideal. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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What do you mean by new rollers/pulleys on the sides?
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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he means the pulleys that hold/allow the cable to move. if those white ones break for any reason, your solution doesn't work since the repair kit doesn't provide them.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #8
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Can anyone tell me if the piece that breaks is plastic or metal?
Thanks
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchee View Post
Can anyone tell me if the piece that breaks is plastic or metal?
Thanks
plastic
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:53 PM   #10
Frenchee
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plastic
Haha wow, of course. No wonder.
Was going to weld it up and never have to think about it again.

Just got my zhp yesterday, told my little brother to quit playing with the window and... BAM breaks.

I'll try the zip tie method.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:28 AM   #11
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just put in a new reg, wtf

cheap bastards
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #12
Frenchee
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Originally Posted by wasp9166 View Post
just put in a new reg, wtf

cheap bastards
That's what I was thinking at first but if you think about it it will break again.
So since I plan to own the car for a while I would rather fix it so that it's actually better than the oem build which means I'll never have to touch it again. Why would anyone want to replace something that is bound to break again right?
So I will be thinking of a way to do this tomorrow at work.
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