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Old 10-17-2012, 12:02 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Here is an update to the DIY above, with new pictures, taken today, of the steps that I did not initially perform on the original DIY.
There are a total of five nine electrical harness connectors.
  • door light (1 connector), memory module (1 connector), master switch (3 connectors), woofer & tweeter (3 connectors), air bag (1 connector).
  • It is a good idea to tape and/or paint a line on EACH electrical connector BEFORE you disconnect it (this was a lesson learned the hard way).
  • One connector coming out of the door (brown connector with two wires, red/white & blue/white) was not connected in my door.
18. Place your left hand on the black plastic (not the grill) at the top right of the front door panel.

19. Place your right hand on the plastic on the top vertical portion of the front door panel.

20. With your hands, pull the door panel straight out to pop loose that top right corner of the front door panel.

Note: Be careful not to bend the doorlock post.

29. With your hands, twist the entire door panel slightly counter clockwise and then clockwise and then up and then out to release that last metal center clip.

30. Note that the center clip may not come out with the panel, and may remain attached to the door metal (all my clips stayed with the door panel).

34. Since it's the shortest set of wires, unplug the black 2-wire mid-range speaker harness connector after marking its position.

40. The first thing you will want to notice once the door panel is off the door is whether the center black plastic clip (behind the middle of the arm rest) stayed on the door or if it came out with the door panel.

41. If that center metal clip remained on the door itself, then first MARK the plastic (so you know how it goes back on) and then remove it from the metal clip itself which will remain on the door.

Note: Nobody tells you HOW to remove that black plastic center clip. I used short square-nosed pliers to press down on the two bent metal locking tabs on the metal center clip and then I pulled the black plastic clip directly outward, away from the door.

Now it's time to remove the airbag:
  • Double check that the battery is disconnected!
  • Note the routing of the airbag wires (so you can replace them in the same routing pattern).
  • Remove the three 10mm front door airbag mounting bolts.
  • First mark, and then unlip the yellow airbag harness connector.
  • You may also wish to slide the harness connector off the attachment tab that holds one end securely to the door. Press the little yellow nob to the side in order to slide the yellow connector off the attachment tab.
  • Place the now-removed airbag in a safe place.
43. Now remove the speaker tube:
  • Remove the three P2 Phillips head screws holding the speaker box to the door
  • After marking, pull the u-shaped lever and disconnect the 2-wire white harness wire clip to the speaker
  • After marking, pull straight out to disconnect the blue harness wire clip to the speaker enclosure
44. With the center plastic clip, the airbag, and the speaker tube removed, it's now time to remove the vapor barrier.

45. Starting from one corner, begin to gently pull back on the vapor barrier to release its grip on the door.

  • Note: Some people prefer to leave one edge of the vapor barrier in place so that re-alignment is perfect upon re-installation.

Here's what the vapor barrier looks like on the side facing the driver.

And here's the side facing the outside of the vehicle:

Note: You will likely need to run the window regulator as a test, while the door panel is off; so follow the procedure to disconnect the battery, reconnect the airbag, mount it by at least one bolt, and then reconnect the master switch so that you can operate the window controls.

For the record, here's yet another window regulator fix posted today which didn't require parts:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Window not rolling down - motor or regulator?

Originally Posted by midnitemyst View Post
Okay so it was beautiful yesterday so I opened up my door and found the issue. It was the regulator but not in the way I was expecting. One of the cable guides got bent and so the cable went over the guide preventing the piece from rolling down the track. You'll see what I mean in the picture. Because of that, the grip that holds onto the window came loose. Realigned the cable guide, sanded it down just a bit to take the rough edges off, put some grease on the tracks, reattached grip onto the window and everything is working fine again.
The only issue I have now is the window slows down at a certain point and takes longer to go up in general than all my other windows. Could either be misalignment or motor, not sure. Either way, its working again without having to replace any parts.
EDIT: Notice the same thing happened in this thread (where the glass came out of the clamps).
See also BMW TIS:
- BMW TIS - 51 41 000 Removing and installing left or right front door trim panel
- BMW TIS - 51 33 000 Removing and installing electric window regulator in left or right front door

1) This was the original bmw 2002 525i E39 front driver side window regulator repair DIY
2) This was an update that added the window regulator a year later
3) This is yet another update that attempts to detension the window regulator

Note: The Germans use similar regulators on other vehicles, e.g., this Volvo thread has fantastic diagrams of how the regulator works
- DIY - Replacing the front door window regulator clips and/or door lock module

And, this M5 thread has nice closeups of the door glass stop settings:
- Driver's window clunk/regulator problem - new regulator time?
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2012 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Added pictures.
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