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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

View Poll Results: Would you buy a bolt on kit to replace your current plastic regulator pulleys?
Yes 16 80.00%
No 4 20.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:52 PM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Feeler: E39 window regulator upgrades

Hey everyone, my name is Aaron I'm a mechanical engineer in AZ. I've recently had my front passenger regulator go out as one of the plastic pulleys cracked and broke. After doing some research, I am new to the BMW community, seems like this is a common problem and though not to expensive, I am a firm believer in do things once and done. So, I have designed and built my first 303 Stainless pulley set for both the front and rear doors on my 540i. I used a bronze oil impregated bushing for the pulley to ride on for longevity. I plan on doing a write up this week and posting pics of my project.

Ive made the pulley groove slightly deeper for the cable to ride in and I've designed this as a bolt on replacement kit.

I'm thinking of doing a group buy, to sell these as kits for minimal costs per car, all four doors. Right now I want to install my set and post a write up of it and see if anyone else may want to buy the same setup and never replace your window regulator again.

Any comments are welcome, let me know if you would be interested!
thank you!

Here are some pics of the parts on my regulator.



Back side hardware:





Here you can see my layout. A threaded flange on the backside runs through the regulator's existing hole. So you will have to drill out the hardware and existing plastic pulley, I was planning on including the needed drill bit in the kit. The bronze bushing threads onto the flange thus clamping onto the regulator. Then the pulley rides on this bronze bushing. Pretty simple and easy to install.


Last edited by 99540!; 07-05-2013 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Added pics
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:26 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Methinks you should go ahead with the project. As a fellow engineer, I know it will give you great satisfaction. I suspect there will be precious few out there who would be interested. Just my two cents as a retired high-tech marketeer.

OTOH, it could be a best-seller! Consider offering a service where you would do the retrofit for a reasonable amount of money, perhaps 2X the cost of a regulator assembly.

There are at least two suppliers for some arcane fix-its. Contact these two to help you evaluate your proposal.

http://www.meurosport.com/Aluminum_Bushings.php
http://www.bmwrepairkit.com/
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  #3  
Old 07-01-2013, 06:36 PM
99540! 99540! is offline
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So far my costs have been minimal to retrofit all four doors. This of course, includes cost for the machine shop to program and setup their cnc lathes and such. Now that the setups are done, that cost can go down. Either way I am happy to solve this problem for my car at least and thats the reason I am writing this, just to see if there is any others who would have an interests in this.
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  #4  
Old 07-01-2013, 07:48 PM
Bennt771 Bennt771 is offline
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When mine broke it was not the plastic pulley that broke. It was the red cap just before the top pulley.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:21 PM
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collardgreens collardgreens is offline
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Feeler: E39 window regulator upgrades

Just replaced my rear window regulator.
I found one for $25, eBay. He only sells window regulators for different cars.

It looked almost exactly the same as the one I took out minus the two mounting screw hole for the door.

Im Still interested in a set of yours when it's ready.

I


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  #6  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:52 PM
eohagan eohagan is offline
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in.
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  #7  
Old 07-02-2013, 04:34 AM
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Ermagerd Ermagerd is offline
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I might be interested, but you need to post some pics and additional information. No offense, but anyone could post up saying they are getting together a group buy for something awesome, then take everyone's money. I've seen it happen A LOT over the past decade or so. You could make people feel better by doing regular paypal transactions. (not gift)
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2013, 07:26 AM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ermagerd View Post
I might be interested, but you need to post some pics and additional information. No offense, but anyone could post up saying they are getting together a group buy for something awesome, then take everyone's money. I've seen it happen A LOT over the past decade or so. You could make people feel better by doing regular paypal transactions. (not gift)
I have lots of positive paypal feedback, I was on the subaru forums for years before I became a beemer enthusiast. But if any group buy happens, it will be through paypal. I also have ebay feedback I can give when the time comes.

The reason I would do a group buy is obviously to save money at my machine shop, they charge less for higher quantities.

On a side note, I got everything together on my regulator last night and then found out the cable is all tangled up on the motor pulley, so looks like I will need a new cable assy as well. I'm going to order that then I should be able to get better running results to post, and lots of pics for sure!

BTW, that red plastic piece could definitely be something to look at. Mine was also destroyed only cause everything got bound up at the motor.
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:03 AM
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Ermagerd Ermagerd is offline
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Sounds good to me; I'll buy a kit.
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:29 AM
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NoWayJose NoWayJose is offline
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i would buy
keep us updated
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  #11  
Old 07-02-2013, 07:19 PM
GreenTiger GreenTiger is offline
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Need to post pics and details before people will be serious about putting money down.

Another problem also, is that these regulators have multiple failure points, not just the pulleys breaking (never seen that actually).
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  #12  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:18 AM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenTiger View Post
Need to post pics and details before people will be serious about putting money down.

Another problem also, is that these regulators have multiple failure points, not just the pulleys breaking (never seen that actually).
I wouldnt expect anyone to put down money without more info and pics. I will try to get some pics tonight, work has been crazy so I haven't had a chance yet.

One of the pulleys on my regulator physically broke, so that is when I started working on this. I understand there are multiple weak points and if anyone wants another piece part designed/made, please let me know and I will see what I can do. If fact I could even just add it into this kit thus we could have a "full upgrade." I have already been thinking of the red plastic pieces that hold the cable assy in place, that would be cheap and helpful.
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  #13  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:06 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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So you learned how to use a lathe ? And why 303...? Would have gone with a 308 or 316 , actually I would have went with a 6160

For what it's worth

What's the dimension and size ? Right up a print
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Last edited by Burning2nd; 07-03-2013 at 08:07 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-03-2013, 10:38 AM
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doru doru is offline
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If it's good quality, you would probably have e39 buyers - it should cover the whole e39 spectrum.
Also, I would research the other BMW models, because all suffer the same. Maybe the pullies are the same diameter? As an example, for the e53, the door regulators fail the same. the design is slightly different. There is a guy in Turkey who is fabricating aftermarket parts, but they are plastic - he sells them on E-bay. Nontheless, he sells lots of those kits, which also fail, but they are at a fraction of an OEM regulator.
Myself, I would buy a sturdy piece of replacement so I won't have to take off the door panel every few years. On this forum LanceM a member started to fabricate some rear window regulator kits and started to sell them on E-bay as well. they are well made out of metal, and they don't bend resulting in cracks and ultimately in a failed regulator. I believe he sold quite a few units, and probably still sells them. Here's the post.
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2013, 09:45 AM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
So you learned how to use a lathe ? And why 303...? Would have gone with a 308 or 316 , actually I would have went with a 6160

For what it's worth

What's the dimension and size ? Right up a print
I know how to use a mill pretty well, but not to familiar with a lathe. Where I work we have a machine shop, so they are the ones who made these parts for me. I just did the design work.

I choose 303 because its cheaper and easier to machine than 316 or similar. Also, it is a better fit in conjunction with the bronze bushing it rides on, this way we dont need any lubricant, as the bronze acts as the bearing. Aluminum like 6061, would tend to bind up when rubbing on this bronze. I also didnt want aluminum as over a long period of time it may start to oval out and become wobblely.

As far as dimensions, I matched my current pulley sizes. The hardware and pulleys were all the same dimensions for front and rear doors. The only difference is the lower pulley's hardware is tapped for a M6 thread, while the uppers are just a M6 thru hole.

Last edited by 99540!; 07-05-2013 at 09:50 AM.
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2013, 09:47 AM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
If it's good quality, you would probably have e39 buyers - it should cover the whole e39 spectrum.
Also, I would research the other BMW models, because all suffer the same. Maybe the pullies are the same diameter? As an example, for the e53, the door regulators fail the same. the design is slightly different. There is a guy in Turkey who is fabricating aftermarket parts, but they are plastic - he sells them on E-bay. Nontheless, he sells lots of those kits, which also fail, but they are at a fraction of an OEM regulator.
Myself, I would buy a sturdy piece of replacement so I won't have to take off the door panel every few years. On this forum LanceM a member started to fabricate some rear window regulator kits and started to sell them on E-bay as well. they are well made out of metal, and they don't bend resulting in cracks and ultimately in a failed regulator. I believe he sold quite a few units, and probably still sells them. Here's the post.
I looked at that link, very cool. For the record, i am very open to any suggestions/modifications as well as adding more modified parts and cars. The e39 is what I have so that was the only thing I could design for. If you or someone else wants a part designed or made for another car, I would be more than happy to do that.
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  #17  
Old 07-09-2013, 04:08 PM
99540! 99540! is offline
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So my new regulator is supposed to be here tomorrow. Once I get everything installed back in the car and verify that it works well, then I will get final pricing from the machine shop. This pricing is key, since the more kits and thus greater quantities, the cheaper the cost will be.
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  #18  
Old 07-09-2013, 07:50 PM
occhis occhis is offline
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I've replaced 2 regulators and repaired one. None of them had bad pulleys.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:09 PM
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hh3uunp hh3uunp is offline
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no offense but I wouldn't buy it unless mine broke. I have owned 3 e39s, one went to 290k miles and never have experienced this problem
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:21 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Ive also not had them brake ever..

But I guess If he could give the specs and dimensions... I would turn one down quick and keep it in my box... assuming that, thats whats going to brake
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:02 AM
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Sorry I can't help myself. It's break not brake. They are 2 different words
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  #22  
Old 07-10-2013, 08:21 AM
99540! 99540! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by occhis View Post
I've replaced 2 regulators and repaired one. None of them had bad pulleys.
This has been my experience, the pulley. I am new to the e39 scene however. So tell me what are the problems you are seeing? I'm open to suggestions.

I am working now a simple design to replace the red plastic pieces that hold the cable assy in place.

Last edited by 99540!; 07-10-2013 at 10:12 AM.
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  #23  
Old 07-10-2013, 02:10 PM
559eddie559 559eddie559 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99540! View Post
This has been my experience, the pulley. I am new to the e39 scene however. So tell me what are the problems you are seeing? I'm open to suggestions.

I am working now a simple design to replace the red plastic pieces that hold the cable assy in place.

If you could make a metal sleeve to replace the red caps, it would be great. I have bought 3 regulators from ebay and they all have the same flaw. So if you could create a sleeve that will slip on that would be nice.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:03 PM
99540! 99540! is offline
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I think I have the design down, just need to get a quote from my machine shop and then test it out. I plan on including that with the pulleys as a complete kit.
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  #25  
Old 07-10-2013, 10:49 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Hey, 99540! try the Xoutpost and see what fails on the regulators there (X5). I believe they will be interested. Not sure about the pulley, but there's that metal part at the bottom of the regulator, that first bends, then breaks apart. That part someone from Turkey sells on e-bay, but it's plastic and does not last long. My e39 has 11 years, and knock on wood, I didn't change regulators yet. I know it's coming though. On ALL BMW models, these fail, but I'm not very certain which is (or are) the suspect part(s). If there are 2 or 3 parts, I would build a kit, so you can keep the motor and most of the regulator, changing only the offending part(s). That would be a killer. And a bit of work.
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