DIY - Replacing Window Reglator - 2003 745i - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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Old 04-09-2010, 02:32 PM
Call Me Daddy Call Me Daddy is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 745i Blk/Blk Sport
DIY - Replacing Window Reglator - 2003 745i

I searched and searched and could not find anything online about how to do this. So, since I just completed mine, I figured I would jot down some thoughts that should help the next guy.

That said - I am NOT a professional car guy. This is how I DID IT, not necessarily how you should. Don't blame me if something goes wrong. This is for my drivers side, front door.

Before you start - DISCONNECT THE BATTERY - don't want to throw an airbag code. To do this, remove the jack in the back, right compartment of the trunk, and pull out the plastic piece that the jack sits on and the battery is right there.

First - search for "door removal" there are a couple of threads on how to do this. For a front door, basically it is 4 torx-head bolts and one phillips.

After getting the outer door panel off, I removed the 3 silver nuts and the retaining plate securing the side airbag to the door panel and tied it up to the inner door panel with a zip tie. Remove the plug for the window switches (small white one, front of the door) and the plug for the airbag (black one, rear of the door). You could probably disconnect the airbag and leave it attached to the door panel, but I was not familiar with the type of plug and I did not want it exploding in my face, so I went the safe route. Remove the outer door panel completely and store nearby.

The inner door comes off with 1/4 turn screws - some are white and some are gray - you will need a narrow socket or a nut driver for these. You can't remove this panel (too much wiring), so just swing it around into the drivers door opening.

Ok, now you have the door open. Since my regulator was already broken, it was easy to maneuver the window up or down. My buddy held the glass while I removed the 2 bolts and he pulled the glass up and out by tilting the front downward, removing it wide side first, and stored it safely away.

Next remove the window motor by removing the black wiring plug and the 3 torx screws securing it to the regulator.

To remove the regulator, there are 4 bolts - 2 at the top, and 2 at the bottom. Use your nut driver or socket for the top ones (they are visible through the little holes), and on the bottom one, USE A NARROW 5MM SOCKET AND TURN THE NUT COUNTER CLOCKWISE. If you are picturing it from the back side, you would think that to loosen the nut would mean to turn clockwise, but it's not. You will just strip the threads and make the rest of the process much more difficult. (ask me how I know). To remove the forward one, I had to remove the bolt for the strut that holds the door open (just one bolt, not the one on the body of the car) and move it upward for access.

Removing the regulator is easy once the bolts are out, and getting the new one in place is easy too - just wiggle it around a little bit. Attach all 4 bolts loosely and check and see if the holes to secure the window are in a spot where you can get to them. Mine we not, so I had to plug in the airbag, plug in the window switches, connect the battery, and run the motor down a little bit. A real PITA. It would be smarter to check that before you mount the window motor and it will move freely! Duhh. But Be sure and attach the motor and it's plug before installing the glass.

We had to adjust the cleats that hold the window, there were 2 possible positions on the new unit. Just unscrew the small phillips screw on each one (mine were gold) and use the other hole. I knew it wasn't right because the holes for the window bolts would not line up initially when we put the glass in.

We got the window attached and put everything back together in the reverse order.

After we got it all back together, I lowered the window down slowly by pressing the button 3-4 times (it only goes a little bit at a time) and then had to "initialize" the window. There is a thread here about it. Ignore the 17 second banter, and just hold it down around 20 seconds.

It took me about 2 hours because I could not get the lower bolts out. I finally realized I must be turning them the wrong way, and sure enough, realizing that and finding a VERY narrow 5mm socket made it a piece of cake.

If you live in So Cal and want to buy pizza and beer, I can help you with yours and it will probably take an hour start to finish.

I bought my part on e-bay (for the drivers front) for $120 shipped. Dealer wanted almost $800 for the job, so I saved myself $680!!

Good luck!

Am I crazy or am I?
Old 07-26-2010, 01:27 PM
tim330i's Avatar
tim330i tim330i is offline Founder
Location: SF
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 15,592
Mein Auto: Ti Silver 03 M3
Here are a few hints from another member -

A 1/4" drive, 7/16" socket is the perfect size to rotate the inner door panel nuts.

The bottom screw posts on the regulators are 5mm, but a 1/4in drive, 3/16" socket fits as well. A 10mm socket will work to take out the upper regulator mounting screws.

I had to cut the cable wire on the old regulator to get it out of the door.
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