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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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  #26  
Old 10-27-2012, 11:58 AM
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Such an elegant solution, Bluebee! Well done!

Quote:
In summary, using MatWiz' wizardry and only after focusing on the black ribbed tensioning rod, I was E-A-S-I-L-Y able to get the cable onto the rollers.
The extreme cable tension was no problem at all because I simply added tension as the very last step, one spring roll at a time!

I wish I didn't have to ask so many questions and to learn so much in hindsight, but, here, for the next person, is the 'idealized' way to release tension:

To release tension:

Simply spin the large tensioning spring off (as you would a key in a keyring)
Each revolution of the spring will decrease the tension, until there is absolutely no tension whatsoever!
Then you can easily pull the (now loose) cables off the pulleys

To add tension:

First push the (now naked) ribbed tension rod inward (about 1/2 inch sticking out)
Then, string your (loose) cables around the four pulleys
Lastly, simply spin the large tensioning spring onto the ribbed tensioning rod (each turn adds tension!)
Voila!
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  #27  
Old 10-27-2012, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I do have one question of the Wiz, though:

I'm not sure WHERE to measure from, but, the position of the two 'barrels" seems to be 'off' by about a quarter of an inch.

Q: Where do I measure from, and, should they be closer than 1/4" symmetric?

Are you asking about the window glass attachments/carriers? I'm not 100% sure but if I remember correctly the bottom of the glass is not exactly horizontal, so it needs to be a little slanted. You'll see that they'd work ok after you lay the bottom of the window on them.

When you tighten them on the glass, don't over tighten so that you will not crack the glass window.
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  #28  
Old 10-27-2012, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
the bottom of the glass is not exactly horizontal
I thank you for sticking with me! And for understanding the dilemma!

The fact that the window clamps are 1/8" off is surprising because I took great pains to wind both ends of the cable onto the spool symmetrically:

Caption correction: There is only one cable (it has two ends, both of which end up on the takeup spool).

I don't think there is anything I can do about that 1/8" asymmetry other than to adjust the window stops accordingly.


UPDATE:
I installed the window regulator in the front door, and the hexagonal barrels were off by the amount shown:


Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Such an elegant solution!
I must say, with some self satisfaction, that this effortless tensioning/detensioning solution does appear to be elegant!
And, to my knowledge, this solution is unique ... or ... at least, it is not documented ANYWHERE on the Internet!
We solved this problem together! (Do you know any good patent attorneys?)

We make a good team!
Specifically,
a) YOU FIGURED OUT HOW THE RATCHET POST WORKS!
b) And, given that as a starter, I tested a novel way to add & remove the spring without taking anything apart.

So, the answer to the original question is:
Q: How do we decrease cable tension from taut to slack in order to restring the regulator?
A: Simply reverse the effortless sequence below (where I just now went from slack to taut).







Hindsight: It's probably easier to leave at least one loop of the spring around the ribbed post at all times.

REFERENCES:
Regulator rebuilding:
- This is MatWiz' 2007 regulator-rebuild DIY
- This is the trick to reducing the tremendous cable tension
Regulator replacement:
- Here is an unfinished DIY for removing the front driver side window regulator
- Here is an update to that unfinished DIY moving forward additional steps
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-27-2012 at 08:46 PM.
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  #29  
Old 10-27-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
I'm surprised by the pounding (you said mallet previously). Without the spring or without tension (when the cable is loose), you should be able to push and pull the black piece by hand.
I can emphatically confirm that this ribbed tensioning pin definitely takes a P-O-U-N-D-I-N-G to go down into the motor (even without the spring!).
It also takes a lot of force to come out of the motor - but it seems to take even more force to go back inward!

My kitchen table was reverberating from the effort this morning!


With the window regulator restrung, I will go back to the previous thread which documented my trials and tribulations reinstalling the front driver side window regulator:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Was Loctite - Now it's: How NOT to fix a BMW E39 window regulator
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-27-2012 at 07:24 PM.
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  #30  
Old 10-31-2012, 04:19 PM
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I'm doing this for the nth time because the cable keeps jumping off the top-left corner pulley.

I think there is a need for a reverse PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slower than everyone else).

EDIT: I'm starting to damage the white plastic transmission case because of the multiple winding and unwinding of the spring catches on the edges, especially when I wind it on wrong (it goes on easily in some cases, and not in others, so I'll have to notice the difference later).

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Last edited by bluebee; 11-04-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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  #31  
Old 10-31-2012, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
But we're all learning from your experience which will make it much easier when it is our turn! And we appreciate it!
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  #32  
Old 10-31-2012, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
Spinning off the chipped wheel? Can that be the problem?
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  #33  
Old 10-31-2012, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
make it much easier when it is our turn!!
Well, this is one time when I wish others had gone before me to report all the gotchas I've made mistakes on.

Today, for example, I realized I need to twist the cable clockwise (looking at the end down toward the cable) two turns when winding it on the coil counterclockwise two turns. Otherwise, this happens when you put the whole thing together:


Of course, it's a bit difficult to keep all that CCW and CW winding together with a single set of hands:


Note: I bought a T27 Torx driver - but it isn't needed. The only Torx needed is T25 to remove/replace the regulator and a T20 to remove/replace the white plastic take-up-spool assembly from the metal bracket - and T20 to adjust the window stop wings on the window clamps (which are T25 for the clamp bolts).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Spinning off the chipped wheel?
The chip 'might' be the problem - but - there are so many 'other' mistakes I've made that I need to just put it together once without making a fatal mistake to be sure.

For example, besides the spinning of the cable, I realized that I was LUCKY last time in that I lucked out by spinning the spring on the 'right' way. Today, I spun it on the wrong way ... and I realized, too late, that it makes a difference which way you do it.

This is the wrong way. I should have reversed the coil spring. Lesson learned.

To the next person who tries this, MARK THE COIL before you take it off so you know the orientation to spin it back on!

Quote:
EDIT: It turns out, upon closer inspection, the coil spring is symmetric, so, it won't matter which side you spin on first. What matters GREATLY is to spin it on AT AN ANGLE and do not pre-wind the spring parallel to the cable. My first time I was at about a 45° angle, and it worked fine. The second time I prespun it on the cable, parallel to the cable, and it was a disaster. The third time I came at about a 45° angle again, and it worked fine. So, technique is important here.
Quote:


Also, today I put the take up spool in the wrong direction, and had to start over again. So, MARK the TOP of the take up spool also!
- BOTTOM gets the cable end with the longer spring
- TOP gets the cable end with the shorter spring

Note: There is no need to unwind the shorter cable - but - if you did, you'd probably gain a little slack.


Of course, the grease is a good idea, except when you have to take it apart a few times. Sigh. So my advice is to put the grease on last!

Likewise, you don't want to press the ribbed rod too many times out and in (I must have done it a dozen times by now); as the fatigue will cause 'this' to happen:


At least we now know what the teeth grabbing the ribs looks like!
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-03-2012 at 11:01 AM.
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  #34  
Old 11-01-2012, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
I don't remember twisting the cable but reading your next post I figured why, and how you can do this without twisting and in an easier way.

Start with one cable end. Insert into the wheel and turn the wheel in your hand to wrap the cable all the way to the end of the wheel. Meaning, wrap all the grooves of the wheel with one side of the cable. Now, insert the other end into its hole, and start turning the wheel in the reverse direction, to wrap this end of the cable onto the wheel. What will happen is that the new side of the cable will go into the groove that will now become emptied by the other end.

You see, now you don't need to pre-twist because you are not twisting the cable to go OVER the wheel.

Think of your garden hose, if your hose is all the way out, and you are collecting it by turning the wheel, you will not have twisting. But if you stand on the side of the wheel, and wrap THE CABLE onto the wheel, you will get endless twisting.
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Last edited by MatWiz; 11-01-2012 at 09:02 AM.
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  #35  
Old 11-01-2012, 09:10 AM
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Turn the wheel with the two ends wrapped to have about the same wraps of each side on the wheel (about two from each side?). Then insert the wheel and press to lock it in. Done. Now place the cable on the rollers if they are not already on them, and insert the spring. Finished.
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  #36  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
wrap the cable all the way to the end of the wheel
This is a GREAT idea ... which ... I only belatedly saw just now as I was retiring for the evening. In effect, it looks like there are three ways to wrap the cable in order to take into account the cable twist from the three counterclockwise wraps on the take-up spool.
  1. Wrap, as you mentioned, the larger-springed cable end six wraps counterclockwise onto the bottom half of the take up spool (taking up all six grooves of the takeup spool) ... then ... wrap the smaller-springed end into the top three grooves of the take up spool
  2. Twist the larger-springed end clockwise three turns, and then wrap three counterclockwise loops on the bottom of the takeup spool; likweise, twist the smaller-springed end clockwise three times and wrap three counterclockwise loops on the top of the take up spool
  3. Wrap the larger-springed end three loops on the bottom of the takeup spool; then allow the entire remaining regulator cable to spin freely in the air to compensate for the twisting; then twist the remaining end three times clockwise and then wrap it around the top end of the takeup spool.
The approach I took today was #3 above - but I like your approach #1 above because it requires no difficult twisting (especially since my cable end had frayed a bit, it was biting into my skin as I attempted to twist the cable ends).

Note: This spool only has 5 wraps - but it actually requires six tight wraps (yet another lesson learned, the hard way).



EDIT:
BTW, this video shows even the pros have problems winding up the spring. It's easy, but, it's all technique. Wrong technique - and it's not so easy anymore. An extra set of hands would help.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=2Pe3cpYCfC0

Note: This video shows a DIFFERENT way to retension a cable regulator:
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-03-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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  #37  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Turn the wheel with the two ends wrapped to have about the same wraps of each side on the wheel (about two from each side?)
I wish when I had first taken the spool apart that I had counted the wraps - but I tried today with just two wraps on each side - and it was too loose, so it's three wraps on each side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Now place the cable on the rollers if they are not already on them, and insert the spring. Finished.
Inserting the spring is actually easy - if you approach it from the right angle - and very difficult if you don't.

For example, today I tried to wrap the spring back on by first wrapping it around the cable outside the black post - but that turned out to be folly:

Then, I belatedly realized the right way to approach the spring wrap is to come in at a slight angle and wrap around the black post, turning the spring clockwise to wind it on.


Unfortunately, I wound and unwound that spring so many times today that I ended up damaging it a bit.
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  #38  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:50 PM
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Bad news. Today I tried another three or four times to repair the regulator. I have the wrapping and stringing down to a science, so that's not the problem.

And, I put the window clamps on the rails BEFORE mounting it in the door (which was a lesson learned).

But, still, after about five or so test traversals of the window, the wire came off the top left roller (i.e., the one that was chipped).

Given that, I'm finally convinced (by the data) that my regulator is toast - mostly due to the chip in the wheel that occurred when the regulator jammed prior to removal.
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  #39  
Old 11-02-2012, 08:52 AM
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I will search for regulator suppliers ... so ... if you have experience with particular brands and suppliers ... please let me know.

- Supplier prices lookup comparison engine (1) & BMW salvage (junkyard) parts lookup engine (1) & BMWfans search by part number (bmwfans.info parts catalog) & Realoem nominal prices by part number (1) & EACTuning actual prices by part number (1) & BMW of South Atlanta actual prices by part number (1) & Maxmillian BMW dealer prices by part number (1) & the most often recommended parts suppliers (1) & what BMW E39 parts & supplies are best to buy OEM (1) & joining BMWCCA to lower parts costs (1) (2) & what parts to always get OEM (1) which BMW dealers match prices (1) & in situ pictures of common parts of the M54 engine (1)

EDIT: Seems like the following brands are available:
  • OE 51 33 8 252 393 (Kuster is the original brand name on mine) 51338252393
  • A1 Cardone 82-2134A
  • Action Crash 1032-04050415
  • Dorman #: 740-478 or #740478
  • Hollander #: 125-58598L
  • JL Germany (Bavauto seems to sell this)
  • Partslink #: BM1350103
  • Replacement B462922 (The Parts Bin & DriveWire & auto parts warehouse seem to sell this)
  • Üro Parts 51338252393 (BMA, AutoHauzAZ, Amazon, seem to sell this)
  • VDO/Siemens (Amazon seems to sell this)
  • World Source One W0133-1601605
  • ? what others ?
Note: The driver-side front regulator seems to go by two different part numbers: OLD: 51338236859 NEW: 51338252393
Note: Part #51338252393 is for the front left, driver side; while part #51338252394 is for the front right, passenger side.
Note: E39 models built before 9/1997 apparently used a slightly different mounting method than later models do (mine is a 2002).
Note: It's interesting that Turner Motorsports has multiple items of the exact same price & brand as "The Parts Bin" (URL not provided as it is asterisked out when I type it as a single word).

Note: Here is a typical supplier's picture of the OEM brand (Kuster).
  • Notice I flipped all the pictures so as to always show the true orientation (most suppliers show it upside down)
  • Notice the white plastic take-up spool assembly is tie wrapped to the metal motor plate so I presume we need to re-use both the old motor and the five screws which held the old take-up-spool mechanism to the metal motor plate
  • We probably need to re-use the three T25 bolts at top which don't show in this picture
  • The two bottom 10mm bolts seem to come with the window regulator
  • The two window clamps seem to come with the regulator (each clamp has a T25 bolt, rubber "edge protector", T20 bolt, and the plastic window stop)
  • The regulator appears to come with the T20 bolt and clip at the center (which clips the bottom portion of the motor plate to the door)
  • The small rubber stopper on the motor plate seems to come with the regulator (this is a separate part number in realoem diagrams)
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-07-2012 at 10:14 AM.
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  #40  
Old 11-02-2012, 09:58 PM
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Isn't there someone who sells (sold?) rollers replacements?
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  #41  
Old 11-03-2012, 05:34 AM
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BB:
I agree with your assessment regarding possible reuse of your regulator. That chipped wheel looked like that was the cause of your problem. Since I have not done this repair, I have no firsthand experience regarding these specific parts. I can't imagine anyone selling just the roller wheel. The window regulator appears to be a fairly complex system with multiple components involved. A quick parts search indicates the window regulator is only available as a system. This is what I would recommend:

1. Reuse your old motor. It seems like that was not part of the original problem and still has service life left. The cost of replacement makes it not worth replacing at this point. If it breaks in the future, you have the skills to replace it. And since it doen't provide a critical function, it does not require preepmtive replacement, unlike the cooling system.

2. You clearly should replace the entire window regulator system. This will also eliminate any concerns over some of the system components (cable, spring, etc.) you may have abused during this repair. Buy the cheaper Uro window regulator from the cheapest source as it is nearly half the price of OE. Given the age and mileage on your car, it will likely last the remaining lifetime of the car. Even if it fails, and you must replace it again, you're about even in net cost (since this is a DIY).

My rationale is that the window regulator has no performance or driving related impact other than making your window go up or down. Hence, it does not deserve getting the premium OE parts, like for your engine or suspension. By now, you are an "expert" at this repair. Hence, doing it again would be relatively easy (but still a PITA). So labor is not a cost concern. At the end, the net cost is about $60 and your labor (which was considerable). But since you have added to our collective knowledge on this issue, the ROI of you investment will be high. So thanx for documenting your experience.
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  #42  
Old 11-03-2012, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
....
I can't imagine anyone selling just the roller wheel. The window regulator appears to be a fairly complex system with multiple components involved. A quick parts search indicates the window regulator is only available as a system.
Years ago, when I did mine, there was a guy who machine made aluminum roller replacements and sold them privately. To my best recollection.

But then at that time we didn't have such a large variety of sources to buy regulators from. And the price was high. I think it was over $180 for the regulator, without the motor.

Looking at these prices, I wouldn't even bother and I can see why this guy would not even make those any more. I would buy the least expensive replacement and install it. Keep the old one just in case you'd need parts in the future.

Al least you learned a lot. Now we can brag that we are the only two people on the face of the planet who know how to DIY reassemble that thing.
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  #43  
Old 11-03-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Isn't there someone who sells (sold?) rollers replacements?
I just ran a quick search, and it's easy to find people who sell the take-up spools at prices of €7.50 for 10 pulleys (roughly about $1.25 USD or so for each pulley) but I haven't found the rollers for sale yet:


And, on Ebay, you can get single take-up spools for about five dollars:


I asked over here how moots managed to replace his roller: - another window regulator question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
That chipped wheel looked like that was the cause of your problem.
At this point, I can't disagree.

What happened was the window clamp jammed against the wheel, causing the chip:


EDIT:
In hindsight, the 'cheapest' ideal-DIY solution would have been:
a) Remove the tension spring (simply by spinning it off)
b) Unjam the window clamp from being stuck against the pulley (should be easy without cable tension)
c) Replace the chipped pulley (this needs some research)
d) Reassemble by spinning the tension spring back on

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
A quick parts search indicates the window regulator is only available as a system
It's hard to tell from the supplier descriptions and pictures, but ... the regulator seems to come with 'most' (but not all) the parts you need.
  1. The four pulleys, two cable guides & the cable & the white take-up-spool & the metal bracket seem to 'be' the window regulator:
    • The two bottom 10mm bolts seem to come with the regulator - and the T25 bolt and clip in the bottom of the metal motor bracket seems to come with the regulator - but the three top T25 bolts don't seem to come with the regulator
    • The two window clamps (and T25 & T20 bolts & rubber "#7 Edge Protector") seem to come with the regulator - as does the small rubber "#6 Absorber" in the metal bracket.
  2. As you noted, the MOTOR does not seem to be part of the standard window regulator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Reuse your old motor. It seems like that was not part of the original problem and still has service life left.
Let's hope I didn't damage it when I took the motor apart in my misguided attempt to loosen the original cable tension!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Buy the cheaper Uro window regulator from the cheapest source
I understand your logic.

Add to that the point that even the original OEM (Kuster) regulator stinks, and, I wonder how bad the aftermarket brands can be, given the OEM is lousy to start with. Plus, I hate to reward either BMW or the OEM manufacturer - they should be punished instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
Years ago, when I did mine, there was a guy who machine made aluminum roller replacements and sold them privately
I wonder how one would re-mount a pulley, once removed?

Searching, I find this Bimmerfest OP didn't elaborate on how he removed his pulley, but clearly you can see it removed in his picture (I circled the parts in red).


Here's a closeup of the rivet, pulley, and mounting hole from the photo above:




Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
I would buy the least expensive replacement and install it.
So far, the cheapest I can find for new parts is about $44 for the regulator and about $35 for the motor (plus about 10% CA tax & shipping, if applicable).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
At least you learned a lot. Now we can brag that we are the only two people on the face of the planet who know how to DIY reassemble that thing.
Without you and your astute insistence that I focus on the spring being THE tension mechanism, I would never have been able to figure out how to loosen and reapply tension so effortlessly!

In fact, before I found your 2007 DIY for the take-up spool, I had already removed the motor because the window clamp had jammed against the upper pulley (causing the chip). The prior mistake there was that I had removed the window, and then, at some point, accidentally hit the "up" switch on the powerful window motor. I shouldn't have done that! Lesson learned: Don't remove the window - and - if you do - don't hit the UP switch! (The number of mistakes I made in this repair, so far, are astounding!)


Of course, removing the motor and spinning it by hand, would have been the right thing to do to unjam the clamp from the upper pulley ... if that was the only problem - but the jam chipped the pulley - which became the real problem at hand.
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-03-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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  #44  
Old 11-03-2012, 04:15 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I found this BMW E39 front window regulator repair kit, but, it has two fatal flaws:
  1. It doesn't come with any rollers
  2. It costs as much as a new aftermarket regulator
I can't imagine them selling a single one of these.


And, I found this "BMW window regulator corner roller, with pin" but it's for the E46:
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-03-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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  #45  
Old 11-19-2012, 10:28 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Just for the record, I finally gave up (I should have given up sooner) and bought the least expensive window regulator I could find (it was about $50 plus shipping).

I was worried it might not fit - but - upon close inspection, it seems to be an EXACT replacement. Here are some pictures to show what it looks like.



About the only difference was that the new regulator used hex and Phillips head bolts instead of Torx bolts.


One idea I noticed was that we can grease the existing window regulators when we work on them by shoving grease into this hole in the back of the winding spool.


It's interesting to note that the new regulator came with the two cable ends asymmetrically wrapped in the spool such that the window clamps were near the BOTTOM of the rails instead of in the middle where I expected them to be were the wires wrapped symmetrically.


I was also surprised at the amount of grease inside the take up spool.


The transmission case was tie wrapped to the motor bracket so I had to transfer over my old motor and five T20 screws.


Interestingly, the new regulator came with the bottom 10mm hex-head bolts and the T25 Torx clip for the motor plate connection to the door frame - but the new window regulator did NOT come with the three T20 bolts for the top connection (nor the five T20 screws holding the motor on).


But, other than the different bolts used in the clamp itself, the $50 window regulator appeared identical to the original window regulator.


The one lesson to take from this is to note how they wound the spool ...

So that the clamps would be at the BOTTOM (instead of in the middle):
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-19-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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  #46  
Old 11-19-2012, 10:40 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I don't know how I made this sophomoric mistake, but, in putting it all back together, I must have adjusted the stops on the rear clamp wrong - such that the window now doesn't go down all the way in the back half.

I'm really tired of working on this door and don't want to open it all up again.

Do you think this dumb mistake will cause any problems if I just leave it be?


EDIT:
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?
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2012 at 02:20 PM.
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  #47  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:33 AM
Flightmedic Flightmedic is offline
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Just did this to one of mine yesterday; So here goes. Remove the motor, remove the nearest sided cable from the spool. Lace everything up. Wind the remaining (Lower cable) on to the spool watching that it lays into the grooves naturally. As it gets near the end I used Needle nose Pliers tips in the indentations as a handle to wind the spool counterclockwise which compresses the springs just in time to allow you to drop the cable end into its hole and lay the cable in the slot. Release it and wind it a turn clockwise and the sprins take the slack up.
Now I did this with the sliders removed ( also really easy to unhook them) and with the cables outside the retaining fingers. Replace the motor and use that black piece to remove slack. (Mine are aftermarket so have to manually advance a ball retainer toward the gearbox/Spool/ Motor once installed.
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  #48  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:35 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flightmedic View Post
Just did this to one of mine yesterday; So here goes. Remove the motor, remove the nearest sided cable from the spool. Lace everything up. Wind the remaining (Lower cable) on to the spool watching that it lays into the grooves naturally. As it gets near the end I used Needle nose Pliers tips in the indentations as a handle to wind the spool counterclockwise which compresses the springs just in time to allow you to drop the cable end into its hole and lay the cable in the slot. Release it and wind it a turn clockwise and the sprins take the slack up.
Now I did this with the sliders removed ( also really easy to unhook them) and with the cables outside the retaining fingers. Replace the motor and use that black piece to remove slack. (Mine are aftermarket so have to manually advance a ball retainer toward the gearbox/Spool/ Motor once installed.
This quote above explains perhaps a better process than what I used to get the cables back onto the rollers once they fall off.

As always to help others, I made my best attempt to organize the instructions above, by rewriting them below, keeping as much of the original instructions as possible.

If you can kindly clarify where there are still open questions - that would help the next person who has a need to loosen cable tension enough to get the cables back onto the four rollers.

0. With the sliders (window clamps) removed and with the cables outside the retaining fingers (i.e., with the red plastic tube ends pulled away from their steel slots) ...
1. Remove the window regulator motor (by unscrewing the five T20 screws and flip the entire window regulator apparatus so that the spool side is facing upward)
2. Remove the nearest sided cable from the spool (this is the cable end that is closest to you on the top of the spool - which is the cable end with the smaller spring)
3. Lace everything up (this probably means you lace the cables onto the four white nylon wheels - but you probably don't put the red plastic tophats at the cable jacket ends back into the steel fingered slots just yet?)
4. Wind the remaining (lower cable) on to the spool watching that it lies in the grooves naturally (this would be the cable end which has the larger spring)
5. As it (the spool winding process) gets near the end, put the tips of needlenose pliers in the indentations (of the spool) as a handle to (continue to) wind the spool counterclockwise which compresses the springs (just enough) to allow you to drop the cable end into its hole and lay the cable in the slot. (I think you're saying to lay the red plastic tophats at the cable jacket ends into the steel fingers as the last step)
6. Release it (I'm not sure what exactly is being released in this step?)
7. And wind it (the spool) a turn clockwise (presumably with the needlenose pliers still in place) and the springs take the slack up.
8. Replace the motor
9. And use that black piece to remove slack (by pulling the ratcheted stopper outward as far as it will go so that the cable is tensioned as tightly as you can get it)
10. Mine are aftermarket so have to manually advance a ball retainer toward the gearbox/Spool/ Motor once installed (I'm not quite sure what that sentence means.)

This seems like a well formed procedure for restringing cables which have fallen off their rollers, so a clarification will be useful to the next person who needs this capability.
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Last edited by bluebee; 11-23-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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  #49  
Old 12-03-2012, 09:26 AM
ez2456 ez2456 is offline
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how do we loosen tension on a BMW E39 front window regulator anyway? . .. .

Hello. I am relatively new to this and am not sure how to respond to or on the actual forum "string". I hope this does not inconvenience you.
My tale of woe: 2002 525i, manual. The cable jumps off the wheel in upper left hand corner of the door (by the door handle). I tried repeatedly to snap it back on, no luck. Then took the whole thing out. Found the postings by the two of you where you figured out that the tension on the cable could be released by "unscrewing" the spring around the black ribbed tensioner. I followed along and was having success until I tried to "push" the ribbed tensioner back in (to release the cable so I could wind it into place) by pounding on it. Of course, with my luck, the black ribbed tensioner cracked in half! Do you (or anyone else on this forum) know whether I can get a replacement part -- just the black ribbed part, not the entire regulator)??? I see from that post that one can get the cable, or the wheels separately, but not the tensioner itself. Am I going to end up having to replace the entire thing?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Tony.
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  #50  
Old 12-03-2012, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ez2456 View Post
Do you (or anyone else on this forum) know whether I can get a replacement part -- just the black ribbed part, not the entire regulator)?
I gave up looking for replacement parts and bought the entire regulator (sans motor) for $47.50 from Dependable Autoparts' web site in Pennsylvania (plus shipping).
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