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Old 07-05-2013, 02:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Fresno
Posts: 22
My Ride: 1999 323i Sedan
Broken door handle, '99 323i sedan, pre 9/2000

I spent 3-4 hours wading through posts on door opening issues, but almost all dealt with the "cable" fix, or the so called "adjuster nut" fix. A couple did deal with the broken handle hook end of the early 323i (before 9/2000 production). This piece is some kind of molded plastic and it is bound to fail at some point. I'm impressed that it took 14 years to fail on mine. I'm simply introducing some search words into the topic line so that the next peep doesn't have to wade through a gazillion posts, nor dig into his door looking for a cable that does not exist.

The diagram for this door mechanism isn't correct on REALOEM.COM. What comes up for this model is the secondary cable version used on 9/2000 on. They do not list any parts for the pre 9/2000, and that is bad news. If I had to guess though, the dealer has them available.

The good news, and yes it is very good, is that the front and rear door handles are identical. The other very good news is that it takes 10 minutes at most to swap the handles, and there is no need to get inside the door. The third good news is that these OEM handles are available on ebay at good prices, $15-$20 for some that are pre-painted, new handles. I think I'll stock up on a couple just in case the market dries up.

It simply takes a removal of the rear portion of the handle containing the door lock (5 mm allen wrench on the allen bolt inside the oval adjuster hatch on the front door). Once the allen bolt is spinning freely, the lock and rear portion of the handle can be teased out using a flat blade screw driver, with the oval hole serving as a fulcrum point.

This may be a controversial statement, but there is NO WAY that allen bolt does any adjustment on the door handle for this cable-less version. There are a couple centering tabs on the outside piece, and the whole unit has only one place to go. Further, the handle is totally independent of this unit. Cranking down on the nut is only going to smash the gasket or strip out the lock.


Last edited by jwedd; 07-05-2013 at 02:28 PM.
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