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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-07-2006, 10:13 PM
termignoni termignoni is offline
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E36 DIY Rear Door Actuator Replacement

Remove Repair Replace Rear Door Lock Actuator DIY with photos
DIY below is on a 4Door E36 DIY without removing the rear window or window track.

Applicable to 4 Door and 2 Door BMW's.

Tools Necessary:
T-20 Torx Wrench
T-27 Torx Wrench
Flathead Screwdriver
Pliers

1. Remove door panel.

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2. Peel back vapor barrier.


3. Remove inside door handle (Use T-20 for this) Pull back and out to remove handle assembly. Unclip the black rod holder to the left with a set of pliers. Use the pliers behind the door and squeeze clip while pulling out on rod.

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4. Unscrew plunger hanger. Use a flathead screw driver and pliers for this. Its easier to apply pressure under the screw while twisting. Since its plastic, you can easily push it back in by accident.

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5. Remove Locking assembly by removing 3 torx screws using a T-27 Torx wrench.

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7. Once the lock assembly is loose you can drop in down a little and see where the actuator sits. Include on this picture is the inside view of the actuator on the lock assembly. See picture.

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Last edited by termignoni; 02-07-2006 at 10:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2006, 10:18 PM
termignoni termignoni is offline
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8. The actuator can be removed with the latch loose inside the door so dont worry about trying to take the lock assembly out. Take your flathead screwdriver and place is on the left side of the actuator. This will disengage the retainer clip (Black clip left of the actuator) on the side of the actuator. Pull up to release the actuator rocking upwards front to back.

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9. Here is the actuator still connected to the harness. Just push down on the slider clip to remove.

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10. Make sure you lubricate the latch assembly before reinstalling the new actuator.


11. As always, installing the new actuator is the reverse. Lining up the new actuator on the lock assembly is the hardest part. It only lines up one way so keep trying until you can push to the original position.


Here are some pictures of the actuator if you are curious of what it looks like.

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You can find new actuators on line starting $52 for a new or $25 for used. Keep in mind that the rear actuators have a different part number from the front.


This should take you about 15 to 30 minutes depending on your skill level. Use my knowledge but don't blame me if you break something.


Created by Almario

Last edited by termignoni; 02-07-2006 at 10:42 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2006, 04:47 PM
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mvallido mvallido is offline
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Can't see the pictures...
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2007, 09:08 AM
johnk854 johnk854 is offline
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Mein Auto: E36 323i 1997 (UK spec)
One of my rear doors has stopped locking/unlocking when using central locking, would it be the actuator thats gone wrong?

Also I've always had a problem with one of my car handle surround, any tips as to the knack for fitting them?
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:24 AM
spendog spendog is offline
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Hey thanks - this guide was a great help.... what a nightmare job though!!!!
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2008, 08:53 PM
swiftkraft swiftkraft is offline
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Hello i have a 1992 318i, and the right rear door is locked, and will not unlock. is there anyway to manually unlock it, so i can change the acutator etc.
thank you,
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2008, 04:27 PM
cville5423 cville5423 is offline
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hi saw ur post and u seam like u know what u are talking about
wondering if u can help me
i have a 318i i disconnected the battery for vacation and lock everything but last minute forgot something inside and unlock the passenger door with key
Next time a re connect battery driver side and all doors except passenger won't open with key it only turns to the lock position and the locked from inside does nothing it seams like is on a spring in the down or lock position trunk lock does not auto lock or open locks, any idea what could be wrong?
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2008, 04:28 PM
cville5423 cville5423 is offline
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318i e mail cville5423@aol.com
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2010, 10:04 AM
Hungaroring Hungaroring is offline
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Great write up and the photos really helped. Removing the screw and pivot for the manual door lock to let the rod flop down as well as removing the inside door latch from the rod to let it flop gave the door lock more space to move down to get at the actuator on top of the latch. Setting the new actuator on the forward most pin and rocking it rearward onto the rest of the mount turned out to be the ticket to get the new actuator back on. Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2010, 11:45 PM
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merlin310 merlin310 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnk854 View Post
One of my rear doors has stopped locking/unlocking when using central locking, would it be the actuator thats gone wrong?

Also I've always had a problem with one of my car handle surround, any tips as to the knack for fitting them?
Most likely the actuator, but check the wires going to it. My trunk wouldn't lock/unlock the doors with the key, and it was just a disconnected wire.
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2010, 12:32 PM
Oscar1234 Oscar1234 is offline
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Mein Auto: E36
Red face Rear Door acutator on a E36 1999

Please help, I have taken off the Rear door actuator and checked that it works, OK,although would not work originally ? re seating it on the lock is a real problem. I do not seem to be able to get all the protrusions lined up. Any Help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2010, 01:06 PM
melumj melumj is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328is Coupe
Problems removing the actuator

I am attempting to remove and replace the actuator on the passenger side door following the instructions of this post. Once I undo the screws for the lock assembly it does not slide down as described. It appears that it is being held up by the outside door handle and I did not see this mentioned as a necessary step, which I believe would require removing the window, etc. I'm a rookie here and would like to still have a working door at the end of this regardless of weither I actually get the actuator replaced. Am I overlooking something? This is a problem because I have no access to release the retainer clip. Can you release the retainer from the engine side of the lock assembly? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2011, 05:05 PM
GoNz0 GoNz0 is offline
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i decided to attack mine with a multimeter to see what part had failed, as it turned out a microswith was dirty as it was not reading a fully closed circuit. i pulled off the rubber cover from the microswitch and blasted switch cleaner in there, working fine after that

saved buying a 2nd hand actuator.
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  #14  
Old 01-26-2012, 06:38 PM
Racing2Fast Racing2Fast is offline
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okay so with a guide on this thread looks like i can handle this already. Along with the images attach. So no questions for now i just wish i wont be messing up with this.

Last edited by Racing2Fast; 01-26-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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  #15  
Old 04-21-2012, 03:24 PM
1nsane 1nsane is offline
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great write-up! I've already replaced my passenger side front door actuator which I did without unscrewing the lock assembly but that wouldn't fly for the rear-door since you can't get your hand in there in a normal way.

thnx!
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  #16  
Old 01-02-2013, 04:22 PM
Autoist Autoist is offline
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Unhappy Perplexed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftkraft View Post
Hello i have a 1992 318i, and the right rear door is locked, and will not unlock. is there anyway to manually unlock it, so i can change the acutator etc.
thank you,
Great DIY presentation for those of you who can open the car door.

I'm with Swiftkraft. My rear door actuator is locked-up and will not release the door to access the other two door lock retaining screws,

Even tugging on the door lock bar will not manually unlock the door to open.

Is there a way to override the actuator long enough to manually unlock the door?

Will disconnecting the battery power off the actuator to manually unlock?

Perplexed....

Update:

No. I unplugged all three central door lock fuses and still could not manually unlock the door.

Diabolical !

Last edited by Autoist; 01-02-2013 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Update
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  #17  
Old 01-03-2013, 08:33 AM
va_m3 va_m3 is offline
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Excellent write-up termignoni. Thank you! The write-up made this R&R easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoist View Post
Update:

No. I unplugged all three central door lock fuses and still could not manually unlock the door.

Diabolical !
Mine started doing this as well. Luckily the door unlocked one more time so I could get the door open. I had to wait a few days before the actuator decided to work again.

I think you're somehow going to need to remove the actuator with the door closed, possibly by pulling the window and frame. Once the actuator is disconnected you can manually unlock the door.

Keep us updated on what you figure out!
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  #18  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:13 AM
Autoist Autoist is offline
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Gave up

Broke down and took it to a shop. The mechanic verified the actuator had locked the door mechanism and basically had to "break in" to the back door. Broke the actuator and striker to access.

We'll see what the cost damage is when I go to collect the ol' girl.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:52 AM
va_m3 va_m3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoist View Post
Broke down and took it to a shop. The mechanic verified the actuator had locked the door mechanism and basically had to "break in" to the back door. Broke the actuator and striker to access.

We'll see what the cost damage is when I go to collect the ol' girl.
Bummer. Well... keep us updated.
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  #20  
Old 01-04-2013, 01:02 PM
Autoist Autoist is offline
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BMW...Bring Money Willingly

Well, two hours labor $198 was the solution. Glad to have access to the back seat on the driver's side. It is amazing how often I throw stuff in the back and never realized it until I couldn't!

Now to tackle that pesky "air bag" warning light on the dash... it's always something.
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  #21  
Old 11-24-2013, 08:08 AM
BimmerBobster BimmerBobster is offline
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Thank you for this wonderful writeup.

I just finished the rear door lock actuator in my e36 318i and have the following to add.

The 3 torx bolts holding the latch to the door were very tight. I saw a post of someone grabbing them with vice grips, I chose to use my Makita 18v torque wrench and blasted them out in record time. So satisfying.

Also the little plastic screw that holds the plastic "L" shaped bracket that is the pivot for the lock button we pull up and down disintegrated when I tried to loosen it with a phillips head screwdriver. Just the head of this little screw fell apart. It just fills the space down the center of the pivot, not sure how else to explain it, and I simply drilled it out and then used a screw extractor to get it out. The cool thing is that I just took the extracted screw when I was reassembling the door and jammed it in its place and it is working fine.
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