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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
ThatGuy_JZ
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DIY: Coupe Window Regulator Replacement

I just got done replacing my broken window regulator today after it had been showing signs it was on it's way out for the last year. It would make a pop noise when it would start to roll down and the cable was creaking noticeably louder toward the end, like a guitar string binding on metal sound.

At first I was skeptical about doing this myself but started screwing with things and honestly this wasn't very hard at all, took me about an hour or so by myself. I want to thank BBB543 for his writeup here: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ndow+regulator

It was very helpful, I took some pics while I was doing it to expand on his writeup a little and clarify a few steps that confused me.

First take the door panel off. There are 5 Torx screws. 3 are under the armrest and are obvious. One is behind the door handle covered by a circle plug - I used the tip of a knife to pry the plug out then unscrewed it. The other is behind the 'Airbag' symbol - I used a flathead to carefully pry this off then unscrewed it. Once all the screws are out, pry the door panel outwards toward you. Start at the bottom and work up to the top. The whole thing pulls outward.



Once it's off, disconnect the speaker clips and unhook the door cable clip by the door handle. Set it aside. Then on the door unscrew the 2 Torx screws holding on the little black box for the mirror and unclip the 2 plugs that goto it (push down on the tab then move the lever back till it clicks). Start to carefully remove the vapor barrier, use a knife to help. Unscrew the 3 10mm bolts holding on the airbag. Hold it out of the way while you remove the rest of the vapor barrier. Once the barrier is removed, screw the airbag unit back in with just one of the 10mm bolts to support it while you work on the window.



Make sure the window is in the proper position where you can see the 2 E7 External Torx bolts you will need to remove/loosen to take the glass out. It needs to be about 25% from completely up.

Outer Edge, you can see the bolt thru the hole in the door frame.


Inner edge, it will be just above the motor


If your window is stuck mostly down like mine was, attempt to move it to the proper position by pushing up from the bottom of the glass while using the window switch to roll the window up like you normally would. This worked for me

Disconnect the plug from the window motor by using a flathead to pry up the tab on the bottom of the clip. Unscrew the window motor - 3 T30 Torx screws - then rotate it counter-clockwise and pull it out. Set it aside.

Remove the outer chrome or black window trim. Use a flathead wrapped in a towel. Start from the outside edge of the door and slowly work inward towards the side mirror prying upward. Be careful not to kink the trim or anything, work slow. Once its mostly up evenly pull up and toward the outside edge of the door to get it out from under the side mirror. Now remove the inner trim the same way. Undo the rubber part on the outer edge of the door. There's one part held on by a small clip, the rubber will stretch around the clip and come off without removing the clip. Then work toward the inner part of the door pulling upwards on the trim.

Now, to remove the glass, loosen the inner E7 bolt but do not completely remove it. These are reverse thread, so left is tighten and right is loosen. You'll know its good when you can wiggle the glass. Go to the outer E7 bolt and remove it, you may have to put your hand in the door and push it from the back a little and jiggle the glass to help it out. Set that bolt aside. Now you are ready to take the glass out. To do this just pull up and out. You may find that it's catching on the outer end of the door, so put your hand in the door and push in on the regulator until it lets go of the bracket on the glass. Once it's out, set it aside.

So you got the glass out, now for the regulator. 5 10mm nuts need to be removed. See pic.



Then push all the regulator studs into the door so you can move the regulator around without hanging on anything. "Then you are going to take the bottom of the outer rail and bring it to the middle while bringing the top part down so that instead of being vertical it is horizontal near the bottom of the door. You can then pull that section out of the door."



Then do similar for the inner part, "bring the bottom toward the middle and the top down so that it is horizontal and pull it out."



Here it is out



Now to put the new one in... make sure it is oriented correctly first so take notes on how your old one is in. Then lay it out the way it is supposed to go in prior to removing the old one. Put it in the door reverse of how you took the old one out, the big clumsy metal and gear side in first, then turn it up, then slide the other track side in then turn it up. Get the 5 studs back in the holes how they should be then put the nuts back on. I tighten everything hand tight then 1/4 turn with a rachet.

Now put the motor back on. Put the center gear in, you may have to wiggle it around a little to get it right, then once it pushes on turn it clockwise so the screw holes line up and screw it down. Plug it back in. Now check to make sure those E7 bolts on the window brackets are back where they should be so you can access them. Make sure the inner E7 bolt is loose so the glass will go in the bracket. You will have to re-use the outer E7 bolt you removed earlier. To get them back to the right position just roll the window up like normal with the switch till they're there.

Inner bracket - view from top


Outer bracket - view from top


Put the glass back in. Put the inner end in first making sure to line it up with the track on the side mirror, then slide it in and down making sure its on the inner bracket. Slowly lower it down until it seats properly. I had to put my hand in the door frame and move around the regulator until the outer bracket lined up with the glass properly and the glass dropped in place. Once it's in, thread in the outer bracket E7 bolt. Make sure its in right by pulling up on the glass, it shouldn't lift out. Tighten it down hand tight, then do the inner E7 bolt, once both are hand tight, give an extra 1/4 turn with a ratchet, don't forget it's glass.

Me pushing on the outer bracket


Test everything to make sure it's working.

From this point installation is reverse of removal. Put the inner window trim piece back on, then the outer, then vapor barrier, airbag, black box for side mirror, plug all that in. Bring the door panel over and plug everything into it, then clip it back on into place making sure to line up the clips on the sides, top, and bottom. And your done. Sound like a lot but it was all very straight forward and saved me a lot of money.

Here's a picture of my old one where it failed.


It was binding here and you can see how the cable is all frayed, causing the metallic string noise i was hearing. Then it just finally jammed up completely.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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very nice write up. thanks
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:08 PM   #3
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really useful. thanks
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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great DIY. i thought it was going to be hard, but super easy stuff. i wasn't doing my regulator, but none the less, great diy.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:12 PM   #5
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thanks for the writeup ... the first part came in handy today when i needed to replace my speaker grill
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:12 PM   #6
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Any chance you could point out where the zip-tie method would come into play? I had issues searching around for a dyi with that when it came to coupes.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #7
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I believe the zip tie trick only applies to 4 doors. They have a different regulator design.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:09 PM   #8
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I believe the zip tie trick only applies to 4 doors. They have a different regulator design.
Well that is bad news for me...I appreciate the info though. Spent forever looking for zip-tie info on the forums and couldn't find a damn thing explaining it on a coupe. Now I know why
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
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Well that is bad news for me...I appreciate the info though. Spent forever looking for zip-tie info on the forums and couldn't find a damn thing explaining it on a coupe. Now I know why
I was looking for it myself also. Great writeup!!!! Too bad I was a few days late finding this, ended up paying my Indy to do it. Was in the down position and raining, hailing all week. I could have saved some $$$$$.

Thanks for posting the info, I am sure it will be used quite a bit since the regulators suck.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
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need help Please ????

Ok I have also a 330 ci ...01 and my Regulator is good ... I was just driving one time and I heard something popped like if somebody had just hit my window with a rock ....check car had nothing but then I lower my windows , then I tried to pulled my passenger window up and I just couldn’t...I decided to research and find out how to fix it ... but like I mention regulator is good .. is the cable that also got frayed , The reason I noticed Is because the white cylinder the has a spring on it has broken since is a plastic material I guess coz is hot in Texas ,… Now can someone tell me if they sell the cable by itself and that plastic cylinder.. Or what would be my next step to do or if somebody has some links of how to get it done I would appreciate it
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:07 AM   #11
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You must buy a whole new regulator from the dealer. You cannot get just the metal cable. If the cable is frayed and the white cylinder with the spring on it is broken, the your regulator is Not good, the unit is broken. Unfortunately these days you cannot just buy the part, you must buy the whole assembly.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:33 PM   #12
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man that really sucks i was happy the motor was working ... and how much on of those units will be .... ?
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:14 AM   #13
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Is there any part where you could potentially scratch your window tint easily if you're not handling something properly? Someone was cautioning about that in another thread. Does that happen when you're lifting out the window?
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:52 PM   #14
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nah don't worry, i think that's a 4 door thin or just related to the reg failing and window falling into the door. I didn't have a problem.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:23 PM   #15
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Just an update, I had to tear back in there today to adjust a few things. With weather getting cold I guess the rubber seals have been stiffer and I'd randomly had issue's with the glass sealing right against the rubber. I noticed when I tightened the glass in the regulator it was alittle further forward (towards the mirror) then it was originally. So I readjusted it. Using the drivers side as my guide, I moved the glass back closer to the rubber seal indicated by my thumb in the picture. This made it about in the same location as my drivers side mirror. Time will tell if this fixed the problem, but it should.



Also trying to diagnose a new rattle that randomly occurs (only since it's been cold), I took the door panel off and noticed I damaged a clip pushing it back in, I removed the broken clip and replaced it with double sided tape for now. I also noticed that the insulation around the door latch cable was further back then I believe it should be, so I moved it forward. You can see in the pic below what I mean.

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:54 PM   #16
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i just replaced mine yesterday, i cant believe people pay to have this done. someone at one time told me the dealer had to replace it because the motor had to be programed correctly so the window opens and closes the correct amount when the door is opened and shut. im glad i decided not to listen to them. great write up
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:44 AM   #17
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Thanks for the wright up, took mine apart today and cant see anything wrong with the cable, no frays or anything but did notice cable is a little rusty at one end maybe the cable is struggling to slide through its sleeve.
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:12 PM   #18
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Thanks for the DIY. Very helpful! Did mine today, supposed to rain tomorrow! It was easier than I expected :O In mine, the end of the cable actually jumped out of the housing and was entirely knotted up in the gear area. crazy!
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:58 PM   #19
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2002 330Ci Window Regulator DIY

Did my passenger side regulator a couple of weekends ago. Thanks to ThatGuy_JZ awesome write up! Figured that I would add a few photos and my experiences to the post.

My regulator issues almost ended up as a regulator and a motor issue! When I cracked open the door and looked inside I noticed a broken plastic white wheel. On top of that there was a plastic part with a spring attached that fed the wire into the motor area and that was broken off as well. Once I got the motor off, I noticed that the wire had wrapped around the motor gear and almost stripped it completely! Moral of this story is, when you start to have issues with your window, dive into a DIY and check it out before you destroy both your regulator and the motor! Funny thing is the clips held together just fine LOL!
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:04 PM   #20
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More Pix

Here are a few more pictures of the job! If you know how to use a screw driver, you should be able to pull this one off. Just take your time and be easy with the vapor barrier.
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