DIY: Rear window regulator fix. [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: DIY: Rear window regulator fix.

04-21-2006, 04:52 PM
My rear driver's side window regulator was bad on the BMW 528i I just purchased. I knew this was a weakpoint of the E39s, no biggie. I was shocked at the replacement part price! All of the local dealers (or stealers or known as "satan" by the DSM community) wanted $225+ for the part. To date, Pacific BMW ( has the best part price at about $149.00 plus shipping. Well, I decided before I dropped that much on a part, I would try to fix it myself.

I stumbled across this reply by SchagenWagen on the ( forum in which SchagenWagen posted pictures of using a wire to fix the window regulator. This intrigued me and I decided to try it myself. Now, I was not sure exactly what he did, nor did he post formal instructions, so I will complete the rest. The attached photographs are the pictures posted by SchagenWagen. I would have taken my own, but my garage was extremely dark and I wanted to get this done quickly.

This will work with the earlier version of the rear window regulator that is pre 2/99.

Step 1. Read and follow these directions (""[/url), carefully, on how to remove the door panel. You do not need to remove the window regulator for this fix.

Step 2. Check to make sure the drive cable is still on the lower pulley. It can be difficult to get back on if it is off. Now, if the pulley is extremely damaged and the drive cable slips off, it is time to buy a new window regulator.

Step 3. Carefully reclip the metal cylinder that is on the drive cable into the backside of the metal bracket holding the window. You might need to play with the power window switch, so keep it connected. See below:

Step 4. Use a small 1/8" drill bit and make a small hole. See below:

Step 5. Use 16 gauge solid wire and feed it through the hole, loop around the cable at least twice, and twist it together. See below:

Step 6. Test your window! It should go up and down as normal.

SchagenWagen stated this fix had lasted him 2 months and was still going strong per his last account. I will run it and see how it goes. I should note, I do hear some "grumbling" noise when I roll the window down, but not up. I checked and make sure nothing was catching. I believe the noise is attributed to some of the damage sustained to the lower pulley. It still keeps the drive cable on track, so no worries (not like I roll the rear windows down often anyways). I only was fixing the rear window to eliminate wind noise. Everytime I would hit a bump, the window would slide down just enough to let some air in and annoy me! The window never dropped enough to let water leak in.

If there is any necessary corrections, please let me know. I hope this is somewhat helpful. I do not know if this works for the front windows. Total time took me about 1 hour and 20 minutes which includes running to Sears Hardware for the 16 gauge wire.


04-22-2006, 03:36 PM
Looks like a good DIY. Im going to have to try this one out before I shell out the cash to replace the regulator.

Let us know how it holds up! :thumbup:

08-08-2007, 11:36 AM
i came up with this a long time ago. it doesnt last long. there is a bit of play that occurs which causes the regulator to stop and go. the wire if too tight will just break the regulator and pulley even more if too tight... and the window will begin to be looser if left a little loose. its hard to explain, but its a temp fix at best. i never use the window really anyway so i just vise gripped the window up and disconnected the switch. ill fix before i sell it.

08-08-2007, 01:13 PM
I replaced the front passenger regulator on my 2003 530i at 72k mi, and three regulators on the 1999 323i at 90k mi. These regulators don't last forever. There's an excellent DIY write up at
The procedures in replacing the regulators in the 3 and 5 series are very similar.