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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #51  
Old 01-02-2012, 12:22 PM
emPoWaH emPoWaH is offline
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This thread is great. One question for those who have performed this repair...

My passenger side front window won't even roll down; it's stuck in a "fully closed" position. (I don't need tape or anything to keep it shut.) This means I'll have trouble reaching the glass retaining clips, since they will be near the ledge of the window, where there's a bunch of metal in the way.

I'll need access to those two clips and torx screws, either to diagnose the problem (hopefully, it's just loose clips, not the regulator itself...) or to remove the glass to replace the regulator.

Any ideas? Can I push the glass down by force, or yank down on the cables as if I'm opening some old school dining room curtains?
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  #52  
Old 01-02-2012, 01:11 PM
E39 touring E39 touring is offline
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More window stuff

Bluebee I found the vapour barrier not too hard to get off without ripping,by accident I found it restuck back on easily because the sun had warmed up the black adhesive.
Not sure about the front window assembly (i've just done a rear repair )but you have to be very careful when testing the unit out the door as the window guide can overun which causes the soft alloy guide to bend.
I had to carefully straighten my guide as this happened to me I think because it runs very fast without the load of the glass on the guide.
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  #53  
Old 01-03-2012, 06:08 AM
Dilligaf-IA Dilligaf-IA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emPoWaH View Post
This thread is great. One question for those who have performed this repair...

My passenger side front window won't even roll down; it's stuck in a "fully closed" position. (I don't need tape or anything to keep it shut.) This means I'll have trouble reaching the glass retaining clips, since they will be near the ledge of the window, where there's a bunch of metal in the way.

I'll need access to those two clips and torx screws, either to diagnose the problem (hopefully, it's just loose clips, not the regulator itself...) or to remove the glass to replace the regulator.

Any ideas? Can I push the glass down by force, or yank down on the cables as if I'm opening some old school dining room curtains?
If the regulator is still in working order then you would have to run it down and then use your hands on both sides of the window to guide it down to a working level. You will see it all when you get the door apart. I was able to remove my door panel and remove enough of the vapor barrier to work without having to disconnect the air bag. I had initially disconnected the battery but then hooked it back up so that I could plug my switches in and run the regulator down to the proper area to work on it.

BTW, my dining room curtains still have the 'old school' pulley system for opening and closing...
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  #54  
Old 01-03-2012, 07:54 AM
Bwood1 Bwood1 is offline
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My shop has recommended and I have used a hair dryer to warm the adhesive holding the vapor barrier and it works fantastic - both removing and reinstalling.

The manual says to remove your battery negative lead so you dont accidentally set off your airbag
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  #55  
Old 01-06-2012, 06:29 PM
emPoWaH emPoWaH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilligaf-IA View Post
If the regulator is still in working order then you would have to run it down and then use your hands on both sides of the window to guide it down to a working level. You will see it all when you get the door apart. I was able to remove my door panel and remove enough of the vapor barrier to work without having to disconnect the air bag. I had initially disconnected the battery but then hooked it back up so that I could plug my switches in and run the regulator down to the proper area to work on it.

BTW, my dining room curtains still have the 'old school' pulley system for opening and closing...
Thanks! I wasn't able to completely disconnect the airbag anyway; I feared if I pulled any harder, I'd break a wire or two.

I managed to motor down those clips halfway before the regulator snagged. I picked up a new regulator today, but I can't get the darn thing off!

In one of the tutorials, it showed a Phillips screw attaching the clamp onto the door beam. I have a Torx screw instead, which won't budge at all. Instead, I've nearly stripped the Torx screw into a hexagon. Argh. Need more torque or something!

Any ideas from those who have successfully removed their regulator?
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  #56  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:18 AM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emPoWaH View Post
I've nearly stripped the Torx screw into a hexagon. Argh. Need more torque or something!
Somebody may have put locktite on the threads prior to you?

Your options are the same whenever anyone has a screw that's almost stripped only you have door glass to contend with.

Impact driver. Vise grips. Drill bits.
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  #57  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:09 PM
emPoWaH emPoWaH is offline
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Ah ha! I used vice grips to remove the screw, but upon closer inspection, the regulator was fine after all. Turns out it was a clip problem.

I thought the regulator was bent out of shape, but when I inspected my new one, there was an identical curve to the rail as well. The clip kept jamming against the door impact beam while going up and down, but once the window was lightly attached, all was well.

Now I have an unused regulator for sale... http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=6548089
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  #58  
Old 01-18-2012, 10:33 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emPoWaH View Post
Turns out it was a clip problem
It looks like the clips are giving out, more and more, over time.
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Window motor or regulator...or both?

EDIT:
Since so many people aren't using enough garlic in the right places, I just opened up a new thread asking for the cheapest SRS scanner resetter tool on the net:
- What's the cheapest usable BMW E39 SRS airbag scan/reset tool we can find on the net?

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Last edited by bluebee; 02-09-2012 at 10:22 AM.
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  #59  
Old 02-19-2012, 10:53 AM
KmanAZ KmanAZ is offline
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leftover red connector

WOW! Excellent thread!. I just took apart my drivers door last night to find out why my window was making a horrible screeching noise when it opened or closed and I was starting to get a scratch on the outside of the glass. I had been using the window but then the other day my inside door handle broke off, and I couldn't put it off any longer. Opening the rear drivers side window and reaching out the back window to open the front door from outside was getting old fast.

Turns out one of the regulator attachment screws had backed out and was rubbing against the glass. I got lucky on this one and got away with an easy, free fix by just tightening the screw. Had to take the glass out to get access though.

Problem is, now I'm putting the door back together and I have an extra electrical connector I don't know what to do with? Does anyone know where the red connector in the picture attaches? I don't remember unplugging it when I took the door apart, but I don't remember seeing an extra, un-used connector either.
You can see the red connector in the picture just above and to the right of the speaker. You can also see the connector in post 10 above, pictures 31-33. Is this red plug just extra? Or what does it plug into?

My car is a 2000 528i with basic non-DSP stereo.


As a side note, I had an extra, un-used white connector in front of the blue connector on the speaker box.
HELP!!
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
[*]At this point, you can fully access the insides of the door, if you wish to lay the door panel off to the side. Or you can continue to disconnect wires so as to totally free the door panel.

Last edited by KmanAZ; 02-19-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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  #60  
Old 10-17-2012, 12:02 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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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?

Quote:
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.http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...1&d=1350800862
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

EDIT:
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?
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2012 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Added pictures.
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  #61  
Old 11-19-2012, 11:11 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Here is a step by step pictorial DIY for how to swap out your old OEM Kuster window regulator for a new $50 "Replacement brand" window regulator starting with the original OEM window regulator in place assuming you've already removed the inside window trim:

With a T25 Torx, loosen the left window clamp bolt:

Then loosen the right window clamp T25 Torx bolt:

Pull the window glass up, rear end first, dipping the front end downward to pull it free from the door:

Now you can get to the 5 bolts and one harness connector that you need to remove:

Remove the top right T25 bolt that was previously behind the glass:

Then remove the top middle T25 bolt that was previously behind the glass:

Remove the top left T25 bolt:

Loosen the 10mm bottom front bolt (you do not need to remove it completely):

Loosen the 10mm bottom rear bolt (you do not need to remove it completely):

Loosen the T25 clip bolt holding the motor bracket to the door (you do not need to remove it completely):

Disconnect the motor harness from the window regulator motor by pressing on the side tabs:

Remove the five T20 screws holding the motor on the old window regulator and transfer those screws and the motor to the new window regulator:

Note that the new window regulator comes with everything EXCEPT the top three T25 bolts and the five T20 motor bolts and the motor itself:

Insert the new window regulator into the door by tilting it to the left, laying it on its left side and then straightening it up to the right:

Insert the top forward T25 bolt from the old window regulator mounting:

Insert the top middle T25 bolt from the old window regulator mounting:

Insert the top rear T25 bolt from the old window regulator mounting:

Make a note of the thick rubber o-ring sandwiched between the motor bracket and the clip holding the motor bracket to the door frame:

Attach the clip to the door frame with the T25 bolt:

Attach the motor wiring harness connector to the motor taking care to route the wires behind the bracket:

Tighten the 10mm bolt at the bottom front:

Tighten the 10mm bolt at the bottom rear:

Now it's time to adjust the window in the clamps so that it raises and lowers straight all the way:

Adjust the rear window clamp so that the window raises and lowers straight and all the way:

Adjust the front window clamp so that the window raises and lowers straight and all the way:

Here is a closeup of the adjustment bolt (notice it's a Phillips head bolt on the new window regulator):

Also notice that the window clamp center bolt is a hex-head bolt on the new window regulator:

Once you have everything adjusted so that the window goes up and down straight and all the way, you actually then REMOVE the center bolt to add Loctite blue:

Then, you tighten the center bolt for the final test before reassembling the door panels:

Once you have the window aligned to the door, you can replace the inside top window trim piece:

If the airbag was connected, disconnect the battery, and remove the airbag three 10mm bolts and harness connector.

Then place the vapor barrier back on the door, taking care to align all holes as needed.

Then reattach the speaker housing using the three Phillips head screws and then reattach all wires and attach the window trim as described previously:
(See photos above as for some reason, I don't have a picture of the speaker box being reattached.)


EDIT: Even after all this, I ended up adjusting the window glass location wrong!
So I opened this thread in the hopes of finding out HOW to properly adjust the window glass before buttoning it all up!
- Do we have a step-by-step DIY for ADJUSTING window glass when replacing the regulator?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=RP-2wQx6Wfs
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2012 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Added detail.
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  #62  
Old 01-06-2013, 01:07 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
  • One connector coming out of the door (brown connector with two wires, red/white & blue/white) was not connected in my door.
Looks like I'm not the only one stumped by that lone connector:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Purpose of wire connector


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hmmm... when I labeled the wires, there were 10 connectors but only 9 places to connect them.
  1. door light (1 connector),
  2. memory module (1 connector),
  3. master switch (3 connectors),
  4. woofer & tweeter (3 connectors),
  5. air bag (1 connector).
  6. ? (1 connector)

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Last edited by bluebee; 01-06-2013 at 01:21 PM.
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  #63  
Old 01-11-2013, 07:34 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Looks like I'm not the only one also to have a problem with the window regulator only a month into the repair!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grzano View Post
The Drivers window regulator went bad and I replaced it a few months ago. Within one month the replacement stopped working. It seems that the wires controls are getting hung up on something. Has anyone had this problem? Also, note, before removing the airbag, you need to disconnect the battery otherwise it generates an airbag fault. No need to ask how I discovered this. lol.
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  #64  
Old 01-11-2013, 04:23 PM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Looks like I'm not the only one stumped by that lone connector:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Purpose of wire connector


I think that is the connector for electrochromic door mirrors.
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Last edited by Steve530; 01-11-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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  #65  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:00 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve530 View Post
I think that is the connector for electrochromic door mirrors.
Interesting. I didn't even know what that was until I looked it up:
> E60 (2004 - 2010) > Stumped by Electrochromic Mirrors

I didn't even know the E39 had them as an option but, why would a side-view mirror need to be auto dimming?

I would think the connector, if mirror related, would be for a heating element.
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  #66  
Old 01-12-2013, 02:57 AM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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AFAIK, they're all heated when the ignition switch is in position 2. See the owner's manual p. 57.

Check Bentley's vol 2 p. ELE-667 connector X257. WS/RT and WS/BL wires connect the electochromic rearview mirror to the driver's side electorchromic side mirror.
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  #67  
Old 01-12-2013, 11:26 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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I was going over the pics of the front door window regulator in another thread and noticed this (borrowed from Agent99's post.)

It looks that the purple connector BlueBee is referring to fits (maybe?) in into the black connection just left of the big white connectors. (the only one in the photo with nothing inserted in it.)
Is this where it goes?
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:31 PM
Steve530 Steve530 is offline
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Looks like it's the right shape.
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  #69  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:25 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
It looks that the purple connector BlueBee is referring to fits (maybe?) in into the black connection just left of the big white connectors. (the only one in the photo with nothing inserted in it.)
Is this where it goes?
I'm pretty sure that's not it.

I double and triple checked EVERY connector in the door (for an hour because I just couldn't believe I was so styupid as to not mark them when I removed them!).

Look at post #60 above, where I show what connects to that black connector on my front driver's side door. Here's step #34 from that post, reproduced below:


Note that the question of where this connector goes is also asked here:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Purpose of wire connector

If it's not for the chromatic mirrors, I wonder what the M5 folding mirror connector looks like?
- How to add M5 remote power folding mirrors to your E39 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

NOTE: I know nothing about the M5 folding mirror connector so I'm just asking if anyone knows the shape of 'that' connector?

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Last edited by bluebee; 01-18-2013 at 04:26 AM.
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  #70  
Old 03-28-2013, 08:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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See also:
- One user's effort to diagnose, rebuild, and replace a BMW E39 front driver side door window regulator (1) and how to remove a BMW E39 front passenger side door window regulator (1) (2) & the unintuitive trick to effortlessly loosen and tighten the astronomical cable tension without damaging the front door window regulator (1) & how to rebuild and restring your current E39 front door window regulator (1) & scores of pictures showing how NOT to remove & repair your front door window regulators (1) & how to replace just the rollers (1) (2)

- One user's effort to diagnose, rebuild, and replace a BMW E39 front driver side door window regulator (1) and how to remove a BMW E39 front passenger side door window regulator (1) (2) & the unintuitive trick to effortlessly loosen and tighten the astronomical cable tension without damaging the front door window regulator (1) & how to rebuild and restring your current E39 front door window regulator (1) & scores of pictures showing how NOT to remove & repair your front door window regulators (1) & how to replace just the rollers (1) (2)

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  #71  
Old 04-04-2013, 03:24 PM
T Henry T Henry is offline
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Thumbs up Bimmer window regulation

Thanks for the great posts on BMW 525i door panel removal and regulator repair. The regulator assembly looked fine, the glass was just out of it's clips.
However that is not the end of the story or the original symptom. All windows seem to go down ok but bog down on closing, regulator motor shuts off with window only partly closed.

The window is binding severely on the way up but there is no binding on the way down. Next steps?
Done for the night. My plan tomorrow is to lube or not to lube. That is my question. And what to lube with what product (s).

Thanks again,
Tom
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