What's the NEXT step for removing the door panel to diagnose broken window regulators
I'm kinda stuck out of fear (deer in the headlights) so I ask what's the NEXT step in the removal of the 2002 BMW 525i driver's side door panel.
All I'm trying to do is DIAGNOSE what to fix/make/buy to repair my drivers side door.
I read many DIYs (and summarized the steps here & even corrected the steps here) ... but now I'm stuck.
I'm shocked that none of the drivers side door regulator DIYs (that I read) showed the next step once the panel is removed.
It "might" be as simple as tearing off the black vapor barrier; but it could be more complex than than (e.g., do I need to remove the air bag?). I guess, since I can't find a drivers side door panel DIY that explains the next step, that it must either be shockingly easy (like just tear the vapor barrier off) or they're all missing a step. Sigh. (My DIYs never skip a single step!).
Starting after the 33 steps from here ... what is the next step to just "see" what is wrong with my drivers side window (it just fell down and is currently taped up)?
I'm still searching (for a few hours) for the answer.
Unfortunately, when the last E39 guy asked the exact same question:
But, guess what?
NONE of the front driver's door regulator DIYs have this information (as far as I can see).
I'm not sure what the next step is.
- Remove the airbag?
- Remove the speakers?
- Peel away the entire vapor barrier?
To replace the door handle I've removed the air bag after disconnecting the battery, but I don't think you need to for the windoe regulator. I'd disconnect the battery anyway and keep my head away from there.
I've disconnected the speaker long black thing before to get at the regulator but I don't remember if it was necessary. Start by carefully peeling back the black foam down low to check out the regulator?
I see some hints (although not a DIY by any means) in this E46 thread from about a year ago:
- Driver Window Goes Off track
But I'm not sure if the E46 is the same as the E39. Anyway, as I keep digging for the answer, I'll post what I find until the answer is known.
In summary, here's what not to do (at least on the E46):
- Do not disconnect the airbag
- Slowly remove the vapor barrier
It says nothing of the speaker, which the previous poster (for the E39) did have to remove.
Here's the exact quote:
Our posts crossed. Thanks for helping (I was wondering why the world was so silent on this.)
When you say start by peeling the foam "down low", what do you mean by 'down low'?
Do you mean for me to start from the middle of the bottom and peel upward?
Disconnect the battery if you have not yet. Then remove the airbag and carefully tear the vapor barrier. I would work from the top half and leave the bottom part alone (if the bottom seal is still tight). When you put back the vapor barrier, make sure to seal it up nice and tight. I used the 3M Windo-weld with a hairdryer while pressing down with the metal flat end of a trim removal tool.
Here's another partial explanation (who knows if it's right or wrong though):
Who knows, though, if the speakers or airbag or other components were removed prior in that particular post (they don't say).
The E46 driver's door window regulator DIY, which I read while you and I were cross posting moments ago, also says to remove the airbag and a "thing" that's held on by torx bolts - but of course, the entire E46 is different than the E39 so that's why I can't just follow that DIY verbatim.
This is a picture of the removed airbag in the E46:
And this is a picture of the removed "thing" in the E46:
To summarize above:
Remove speaker box
Peel vapor barrier.
The E39 is parked outside with the door wide open, and it's going to have to stay that way outside 'cuz it's cold (California cold, that is, at 41°F). But, more importantly, it's dark. I can't take pictures for you guys, for the DIY in the dark.
For the record, I culled from as many DIYs as I could, the following instructions (and modified them as I did it):
The problem with these instructions, so far, is that they either conflict with others, or they stop at the point I'm stuck at!
Or, they assume you already have the door panel and vapor barrier off - and they just discuss the regulators.
My specific BMW E39 2002 525i front drivers side door exterior panel removal instructions:
- Fabricate a repair kit yourself, by the beloved cn90.
- 528i driver side window regulator, by RookieBMW
- Drivers Door Window Regulator, by jglover
- E39 Front Window Regulator - Re-Assembly Instructions by MatWiz
- E46 Front window regulator DIY by elbee
- E39 Door Panel Removal - Steps, By Kelly B.
- E39 Front door panel removal instructions, by ArbysNight http://www.bimmerboard.com/images/bm...ny_roundel.jpg
- E39 Window Lifter Broke...sigh
- E39 rear window regulator repair kit available
- Tips and tricks for replacing passenger side window glass in 2002 E39
- Replacing your rear window regulator
-Front Window Regulator DIY on a 2000 528iA Sport (with airbags)
- Front window regulator replacement on a 2001 540it
- Window Regulator And Motor Replacement DIY on a 1993 325is
- DIY:: Window Regulator and Wind/rattle Noise Fix on Highway on a E46 323Ci
- Front window regulator DIY on a 2001 325I
- BMW 1999-2000 3-Series Rear Window Regulator Replacement Instructions
- DIY: Coupe Window Regulator Replacementon a 2002 325Ci
For the vapor barrier replacement glue:
- Vapor Barrier - What's the specific/ideal adhesive for repair?
- Where to get vapor barrier adhesive Butyl Tape / Rope by ill_kuma
- What sizes to buy for vapor barrier adhesive (1)
Door panel removal videos:
EDIT: Added later by cegeste:
- Bavauto video on removing E46 passenger side window regulators
- Nice E39 PDF on passenger side window regulator DIY
On page 512-11 of my 2002 E39 Bentley manual, there's a continuation (of sorts) of the previous door-trim removal instructions.
Front window regulator removing and installing (512-11):
I guess, in the daylight, I will remove the airbag.
In summary, unfortunately, if the Bentley instructions are correct, we need to remove the airbag (but not the speaker); then the vapor barrier; and then we need to unclip the window glass (but not actually remove the glass from the door).
That's if the Bentleys are right (and I've seen 'em wrong many times!).
- Are the Bentleys nearly as useless to you as they are for me?
The Bentleys have the airbag listed, but in reverse order (i.e., they remove the airbag and then disconnect the airbag).
Also, there is NOTHING in the Bentleys about removing the "speaker box".
By the way, is the "speaker box" the same as the "speaker" that I see in the middle of my picture below?
I also did a thorough review of both (sending it privately to cegeste), showing where they were similar but also where they differed from my situation.
I am a firm believer in a 1:1 ratio of my effort to DIY (meaning, if I have to fix something, I should strive to write a DIY). Or at least advance the knowledge. To my knowledge, the stuff I'm running into is not in one spot (it's scattered all over Timbuktu); so I'll try to assemble it here, as I go along.
To that end, I worked past midnight on writing the pictorial DIY (it's amazing how just uploading annotated pictures & writing a DIY takes sooooo much time) and I added everything I could from the Bentleys.
Now that it's light out (and warm), I'm gonna tackle this again. I haven't detached the master switch or figured out how that diabolical tweeter connector disengages ... so I had left it the way it was when nightfall overtook me yesterday.
(I haven't checked, but my door is still wide open so I hope the GPS and camera are still there.)
Well, after a nice hike today in the sunny weather (wanna see pics of the Silicon Valley from a few thousand feet above it on a bright sunny day like today?) ... I started working again on the still-open door to free the panel from the wires.
Maybe these things are intuitive to you, but I stared at the tweeter connection and the three diabolical connectors on the master switch for fifteen minutes like a mouse eying cheese on a mousetrap ... trying to figure out how to disconnect them.
The bees were all around me as I finally figured it all out; but the door panel is now unconnected ... and the hot California sun is heating up the vapor barriers.
BTW, looking at the door, I'm not sure I have to remove either the air bag or the midrange box ... as the vapor barrier seems to "flow" around both of them ... but I'll soon find out.
The screws/bolts for airbag and speakers go right through vapor barrier. There is vapor barrier material behind these items.
To get a look you may not have to remove, but should you have to replace the regulator, you will have to remove.
Try this DIY for front regulator (on a 528), it has much of what you already have done:
And some other info:
Hope this helps.
At that point, pulling off the front drivers door vapor barrier was 'almost' a breeze. That fustugeneh center clip was the only thing holding it back on!
After trying a half-dozen differently shaped pliers, I was able to get the center clip plastic off ... and then the vapor barrier was off!
So, in summary, to remove the vapor barrier, you must:
HINDSIGHT: I should have marked the direction of the plastic on that center clip with nail polish! Too late now (luckily I have hundreds of pictures).
I was referring time to time to that passenger-side PDF ... and I had the DanWiz window regulator DIY ... but Dan started with the regulator on the table so he's way ahead of me!
Anyway, I placed a few cloves of garlic on the battery & airbag to ward off voodoo SRS demons ... and reconnected the airbag and the three connectors to the master switch (HINDSIGHT ALERT: I spent five minutes trying to figure out why the white connector wouldn't go back into the master switch until I realized it's a black connector ... next time I'm MARKING all the connectors before taking them out!).
I have no clue what I'm looking for ... but I can see things going up and down (just not the window following them) ... when I press the switches.
Here's a pic ... I'll take a video also (if I can remember how I posted to youtube last time I did a video). Nothing seems to be broken but the window is definitely not attached to whatever it's supposed to be attached to though ...
I'm still looking for what's wrong.
I don't see anything broken, per se. But, it's all Greek to me as I can't imagine HOW this thing works! :(
What does THIS look like to you as to a diagnosis of the problem?
Is the window holder supposed to have a hitch like that when it is 85% of the way up? It looks like the holder is catching something on the track. That does not appear to be right. This appears to be a mechnical vice electrical issue.
After watching it second time, I notice that the holder stops at a different point along the track on the first and second time up. Something is amiss. But it is hard to tell from a video.
After watching it a few more times, the sound it makes as it nears the top of the track is not normal. I suspect that something is catching the holder on the track. The fact that it twists a little bit also does not seem right. The holder should slide up the track with no unusal sound or side to side motion.
I watched it over and over and over again - like a kid watching a cartoon. Then, I realized, the "hitch" was simply due to the window "clamps" wiggling because there was no window in them.
It took a bit of trial and error - but basically once the window went in place (and the wires were aligned with their guides) - the thing worked.
Fustugeneh BMW design. All that apparently happened was that both window clamps let go of the bottom of the window!
All I did was put the window back into the clamps where it originally was!
One question though:
Q: Do people put locktite on those T20 torx screws?
Here's a video of the working door:
DIY to follow (I hope).
Blue, I have a buddy of mine who is in auto glass. I will hopefully be replacing my driver front regulator next week and he owes me some work. I will set up my cam and record the procedure from start to finish. I may have to lay some music over the original audio do to language :)
I always try (but often fail) to write a DIY after every repair job (so that others wouldn't have to go through what I did figuring things out).
Personally, I'll wager there are (at least) two types of people:
- People who only need rudimentary DIYs (even those for other vehicles)
- People (like me) who need detailed DIYs (preferably for exactly our problem)
In "my" DIY (if I ever write it), I'll add all my lessons learned (of which they were legion). Over time, if we strive to create the DIYs, then all our work will be more efficient.
BTW, here's a video of the complete E39 regulator job, but it's for the rear (not the front). :(
Here is my door today ... with the window in the holding clamps this time (before I put it back together):
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