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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-18-2012, 02:20 PM
Ogerized1 Ogerized1 is offline
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Location: cali
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 35
Mein Auto: 330ci
Lessons Learned to share - DYI Door regulator Replacement

My window (Driver side on a 2002CI sport 2 door, 93K miles) was making a grinding/crushing sound when i would lower it, it started low and after time it got loud and the window would only come down but an inch. It sounded like sand grinidng through a set of gears.

It turned out to be the window regulator, more specifically, the cable that became frayed and tangled in the pully system of the regulator.

I youtubed, "how to replace a window regulator on a 330ci" and got this video .

This video is really good because it guides you step by step from removing the door panel to puting it back on.

I got my window regulator from the dealership (I had a coupon that brought it down to internet aftermarket prices).

So heres what i learned from replacing my window regulator, hopefully it helps someone out there not to make the same mistakes and save some time.

Lesson 1 -

I made the mistake of plugging the battery back in to adjust the window, WITHOUT reconnecting the side air bag, this caused the Airbag light to come on my dash, now i have to pay to reset it. So i would say make sure you plug the airbag back in before you reconnect the battery back to make adjustments.

Lesson 2 -
In the video, when it instructs on how to take off the old window regulator, it mentiones to reconnect the battery (lesson 1), lower the window until the bolts that connect the regulator to the window are visible. In the video, it shows these bolts as 10mm bolts. However, on my stock regulator, these bolts looked like a torx bit. Meaning it looked like an actual torx bit, not a bolt what you would need a torx bit to take out. This caused me an hour of time to figure out. I dont know if theres a special reverse torx socket or anything but i tried everything from pliers to viz-grips, no luck. Finally, i started getting mad (as rain was coming soon) and tried something new.

I tried a 6 sided hex socket, a 5.5mm to be more specific, and it fit but jsut a bit loose. So i got a 5mm and pushed it in to get a better grip. It did the trick, BUT THERE IS ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE. I tried to get it loose and it just would not work ad first , it turs out these bolts are reverse thread, meaning left is tighten, and right is loosen. This was the fact for my old regulator and my new regulator, so im assuming its for all of them. Very frustrating to figure out, again, just want to emphasize this was the case for my old regulator and the dealership regulator, i dont know if aftermarket ones are different etc...

Knowing this, i think it would have taken me 2 hrs to replace instead of the 3. If i were to do it again, i think it would take 1 to 1.5 now.

Just thought i would share these two items, as they can save time and money.

good luck.
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:44 AM
Hutchman Hutchman is offline
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Location: Houston
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 246
Mein Auto: 2011 328i, 01 325I
I just replaced mine (3rd regulator). I used the zip tie method and it worked for a couple months. Just put a new one in (aftermarket $50).

One tip would be to remove the motor BEFORE pulling out the regulator. This way you will not have to plug the battery back in and roll the window up or down. It just slides up and down with hand pressure.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:56 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Location: Panhandle of Florida
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 919
Mein Auto: 328i, 330ci, R1200C
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutchman View Post
I just replaced mine (3rd regulator). I used the zip tie method and it worked for a couple months. Just put a new one in (aftermarket $50).

One tip would be to remove the motor BEFORE pulling out the regulator. This way you will not have to plug the battery back in and roll the window up or down. It just slides up and down with hand pressure.
zip tie repair does not work on coupes...been there....looked at that. they are much better design than the sedans. I replaced all four regs on my 323i....went into door panel to repair speakers and do zip tie mod to my 330ci and I was glad to see a different design that would not break- that way anyway.
both of mine are still fine.
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