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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 05-02-2012, 06:59 PM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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Pillars coming loose again....sun roof issues again

I knows few months back I saw a thread on someone asking about how to fix their headliner. Such as: glue, adhesive, ect. My question is after having a loaner car I realized the new bmws don't have clothed wrapped pillars. Yet they aren't plastic looking either..... Anyone know what I'm talking about?

I ask because my pillars( believe that's what the are ) the cloth has started to come loose and now that is hot again it's falling off quicker. I glued the back liner and dislike it. Anyone know if the new pillars on the newer models would work? Where can you get them? Anyone tried this? Or any other ideas, does the pillars just pop off, even the strip that says air bag is coming loose. Would like to get this fixed... Thanks for your ideas and thoughts.



As for the sunroof, it use to go back and then start to come forward almost close then shoot back. After a few times of spending 45 mins trying to close it I finally stopped opening since I could still pop up the back... This kept me content till last week when I opened just the back and the darn thing would close for an hour. Button works, almost like something grabs it on its way to complete close... Broken clip? Anyone have any ideas and a possible DIY?

Would like to not take it to the dealer for sunroof, looks like the Mercedes will be losing the garage while I fix this issue.


Thanks guys!
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:24 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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The pillars are easy to replace - you just need to know what pillars you need. For example, the pillars that connect from the roof of the car and run down the sides of the front windshield all the way to the dash board are "A" pillars. I assume those are what you're talking about based on the sun causing the fabric to come unglued. You can buy them new for around $50 each. Go to bavauto.com and search for "pillar".

Other BMW pillars WILL NOT work in place of the E46 pillars. I also advise against purchasing used pillars simply because you will likely have the same problem of the glue coming undone in the sun. Finally, after you replace the pillars I suggest buying a sunshade for the front windshield - I recently bought one for the exact same reason you are having to replace your pillars.

As for the sunroof, the motor seems to be going out. I have no experience in this department but the sunroof motor is located in the very center of the roof, right behind the sunroof itself. You'll have to buy a used motor - I just search for a new motor and could not find one. On eBay there are a few for around $80-$90 each. You can also find DIY instructions with a Google search. I can't imagine it would be very hard to fix on your own as it is easy to get to and not a very large item to work with.

Last edited by halltristan; 05-03-2012 at 04:31 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2012, 08:03 AM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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I found the pillars, A is the ones I'm looking for but do they come pre-wrapped? Very hard to tell by the pictures. Also how do they come off, do I need to disconnect my battery? Also recommends buying clips is this needed? Any DIY


As for the sunroof motor works fine. It's hitting something and flying back.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2012, 09:32 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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The pillars come pre-wrapped, you won't need any clips and you don't have to remove your battery. Installation is very simple. Tell me if you are replacing just one pillar or both and I'll take some pictures accordingly and give you instructions.
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:10 AM
eroc144 eroc144 is offline
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I'd love to see installation pics for the rear pillars. Mine need to be reglued...

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  #6  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:12 AM
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If I can find pillar a and the rear pillars ( ones by back window)I'm just going to do all four. The air bag won't deploy when removing the front ones? And they just click in correct? Don't want to screw anything up. Thanks
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:32 AM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeamer View Post
If I can find pillar a and the rear pillars ( ones by back window)I'm just going to do all four. The air bag won't deploy when removing the front ones? And they just click in correct? Don't want to screw anything up. Thanks
The airbags will not deploy when removing / replacing the front "A" pillars. I know first hand. And there isn't really anything to click in place except the airbag cover. Other than that there are a few screws and the only tools really needed is a phillips head and flat head screwdriver.

The rear window pillars are "C" pillars. I've never had to mess with them but by the looks of it, they are likely held in place with clips. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry them out.

Last edited by halltristan; 05-03-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2012, 11:45 AM
KSims1868 KSims1868 is offline
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Nice to know they come pre-wrapped. I need to replace mine for the same reasons. The liner is peeling off at all 4 corners at the bottom...from sun exposure. It was a garage kept car before I bought it except when at work (heat of the day) until now...now it is garaged at all times even at my office.
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2012, 01:40 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
The airbags will not deploy when removing / replacing the front "A" pillars. I know first hand. And there isn't really anything to click in place except the airbag cover. Other than that there are a few screws and the only tools really needed is a phillips head and flat head screwdriver.

The rear window pillars are "C" pillars. I've never had to mess with them but by the looks of it, they are likely held in place with clips. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry them out.
Yes, the C-pillar covers clip into place.

When I work on my car's interior, I use only plastic pry tools to reduce the risk of marring something. Just about all of the major vendors of BMW stuff carry inexpensive sets of plastic tools. They're invaluable.

As for the A-pillar covers, I seem to recall using a Torx driver to remove the long screws beneath the trim strip that runs the length of the cover.

Curiosity question: Has anyone found a match for the woven fabric that BMW now uses on pillar covers?
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:43 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
As for the A-pillar covers, I seem to recall using a Torx driver to remove the long screws beneath the trim strip that runs the length of the cover.
You probably do need a torx driver to remove the screws. Its either phillips or torx one. It's been a while since I replaced mine.
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2012, 06:38 PM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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Okay ordered parts. Will take pictures off both sets so other folks can see how to do it.... Thanks guys. I'll be back if I have issues later this week once I get my parts.
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:06 PM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
You probably do need a torx driver to remove the screws. Its either phillips or torx one. It's been a while since I replaced mine.
It's a torx wrench. I can't remember the size. Best to get an inexpensive set of right angle torx wrenches, you'll need the angle for clearance near the windshield, and because those bolts are self tapping and are in there pretty hard.

Check the sunroof tracks for bits of the plastic sunshade clips or other debris causing it to jam. The clips are known to break. Also, sometimes you can reset the sunroof by simply pressing up on the button as if you're just raising the back. Hold the button up and after about a half minute or so, you'll hear a click. Then try to operate the sunroof as normal.

If the glass doesn't move evenly and gets twisted in the track, then you need to replace the entire cassette which requires headliner removal.
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Last edited by jonathan2263; 05-03-2012 at 07:12 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2012, 10:28 AM
bens02e46 bens02e46 is offline
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On the A pillars, the narrow trim piece that has the airbag label in the center pops off with a flathead screwdriver. I went from top to bottom on the inside of the trim piece. If you are reusing your pillars you need to be very careful and patient doing this because you can easily snap this plastic piece. After that there is 3 torx screws that need to be removed in order to pop the pillar out. Pretty sure its a T20.

As for the sunroof, when the motor is engaged, there are 2 tabs on the sliding mechanism of the track that push the two corresponding tabs on the shade. The tabs on your shade are likely broken and locking up in the track, causing motor strain, potential burnout, and your sunroof locking up. When I removed my sunroof I was able to fix the tabs by rigging them up with some JB weld and tape, although I do not recommend this. It is relatively inexpensive to go buy new clips for these parts at your local dealership. They never issued a recall for this. However, the new part that they sell for the sunroof tabs are better than the originals and should not break. I can almost guarantee it's your tabs that are getting messed up. Once you disassemble your sunroof you will see exactly what I'm talking about. Both sets of tabs are on the driver side (4 total). To get the sunroof off, you need to move the shade all the way back and vent the sunroof, then you can access the frontmost bolts, which are also torx screws (T15 or T20). There are 3 on each side. Once these are of you can slide the glass up and out. You may want to use to people just so you don't break your really expensive glass.

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Last edited by bens02e46; 05-06-2012 at 12:56 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2012, 05:36 PM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bens02e46 View Post
On the A pillars, the narrow trim piece that has the airbag label in the center pops off with a flathead screwdriver. I went from top to bottom on the inside of the trim piece. If you are reusing your pillars you need to be very careful and patient doing this because you can easily snap this plastic piece. After that there is 3 torx screws that need to be removed in order to pop the pillar out. Pretty sure its a T20.

As for the sunroof, when the motor is engaged, there are 2 tabs on the sliding mechanism of the track that push the two corresponding tabs on the shade. The tabs on your shade are likely broken and locking up in the track, causing motor strain, potential burnout, and your sunroof locking up. When I removed my sunroof I was able to fix the tabs by rigging them up with some JB weld and tape, although I do not recommend this. It is relatively inexpensive to go buy new clips for these parts at your local dealership. They never issued a recall for this. However, the new part that they sell for the sunroof tabs are better than the originals and should not break. I can almost guarantee it's your tabs that are getting messed up. Once you disassemble your sunroof you will see exactly what I'm talking about. Both sets of tabs are on the driver side (4 total). To get the sunroof off, you need to move the shade all the way back and vent the sunroof, then you can access the frontmost bolts, which are also torx screws (T15 or T20). There are 3 on each side. Once these are of you can slide the glass up and out. You may want to use to people just so you don't break your really expensive glass.

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To bad you don't live close, I'd easily pay someone to fix my sunroof if they knew what they were doing. I do think its the clips after reading many reviews. Kinda seems like a pain in the ass to fix but it's got to be done summers here. Luckily I already have a T20 from when I did my sparks, so that's covered. I did buy all new pillars so that I didn't have to worry about the clips, they were 44 a piece. Should I get my windows tinted before I replace the pillars this time? Thanks will post back once I install new pillars and tint.
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:33 PM
bens02e46 bens02e46 is offline
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There is no need to do the window tint before you do the pillars or while they're off. It won't make a difference since the pillar is part of the interior trim and the windows are on the door. If you are thinking of tinting your windshield then perhaps you may want to do that while your old pillars off. Someone mentioned an angled torx wrench since the clearance is very low between the screws and the windshield. I ended up putting a cloth between the socket drive and the windshield since I kept tapping the windshield glass. I will double check the wrench size tomorrow for you on the pillars for sure, possibly the sunroof glass as well.

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  #16  
Old 05-07-2012, 04:56 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeamer View Post
To bad you don't live close, I'd easily pay someone to fix my sunroof if they knew what they were doing. I do think its the clips after reading many reviews. Kinda seems like a pain in the ass to fix but it's got to be done summers here. Luckily I already have a T20 from when I did my sparks, so that's covered. I did buy all new pillars so that I didn't have to worry about the clips, they were 44 a piece. Should I get my windows tinted before I replace the pillars this time? Thanks will post back once I install new pillars and tint.
If your sunroof problem is the broken sunshade clips, it's an easy fix. I've had my sunroof out at least twice to troubleshoot its problem (bad cassette-need to remove entire headliner to replace-major pita) and it only takes about 15 mins to remove and replace. It's only 3 bolts per side and they're easily accessible
Btw- check the wiki. There's info on sunroof troubles there.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:56 PM
bens02e46 bens02e46 is offline
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Here are a couple pictures. Pillars and sunroof both use the T20. I use a flathead to get between the headliner and pillar to pop up that first tab.
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2012, 02:32 PM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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Can anyone send me a part number for the sunroof clips? And maybe point in in the right way of a DIY or video? Thanks
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2012, 04:50 PM
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mrmaico mrmaico is offline
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Originally Posted by kbeamer View Post
Can anyone send me a part number for the sunroof clips? And maybe point in in the right way of a DIY or video? Thanks
Here's a good diy.....

http://www.lincomatic.com/e46sunroof/e46sunroof.html

Parts 16 and 17 are the clips you'll probably need....

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...05&hg=54&fg=05
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:59 AM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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Finally got my pillars in, if it wasn't 90 degrees out I'd be installing them today. I'll post pictures as I go. I bought pillar A if everything goes well I'm doing pillar C next. As for the sunroof I'm have scared to attempt this myself, worried if i don't put it together correctly it will leak.


I also went ahead and order doc chip road rash paint for my front fender, will post before and after as well for anyone else who's looking to fix road rash.


Thanks everyone.
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  #21  
Old 05-29-2012, 03:31 PM
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Has anyone tried replacing the B-pillars? The heat seems to be making the passenger side B-pillar cloth buckle and coming loose. I've also noticed that over time the heat/fatigue (from FL) seems to kill the plastic clips that hold the alarm dome in (center of headliner) and the sunroof controls (front center of headliner).
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  #22  
Old 05-29-2012, 06:55 PM
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kbeamer kbeamer is offline
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I have not but I went to install my A pillars today to find out they are the wrong color. Clearly I'm color blind
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