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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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  #1  
Old 08-19-2007, 03:21 PM
TIPenta TIPenta is offline
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External door handle replacement

Hi gang,

My external door handle broke a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago the external driver handle broke and now it's the rear drivers side.

I bought a used handle from ebay and am wondering if anyone has come across any instructions on how to install it. I am getting my car ready for sale and don't want to spend too much money on it if this is a job I can do on my own.

I just have basic skills and am not a mechanic. How would you rate this job in terms of difficulty?

Thank you!

TIP
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2007, 05:01 PM
R540 R540 is offline
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I had to replace my front passenger handle not too long ago. Not too difficult. I'm not sure if the rear door makes it any different than the front. Once you get the door panel off and you can get to the back of the handle, there is a little metal "slide" to allow the handle to be removed. good luck.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2007, 06:48 PM
TIPenta TIPenta is offline
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Thanks.

How hard is it to take the door panel off?
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2007, 08:21 PM
R540 R540 is offline
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it's not that hard. i know that there are write ups on how to take it off. i think the whole replacement took less than 1 hour.
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2007, 09:09 PM
TIPenta TIPenta is offline
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Great. Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2007, 10:38 AM
pjfox23 pjfox23 is offline
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Update?

How long did this wind up taking you?

Any more information on taking door apart?

Any more information on cost of handle or ebay seller?

Let me know.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2007, 10:44 AM
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BigCo540i BigCo540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TIPenta View Post
Hi gang,

My external door handle broke a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago the external driver handle broke and now it's the rear drivers side.

I bought a used handle from ebay and am wondering if anyone has come across any instructions on how to install it. I am getting my car ready for sale and don't want to spend too much money on it if this is a job I can do on my own.

I just have basic skills and am not a mechanic. How would you rate this job in terms of difficulty?

Thank you!

TIP
Why do you keep ripping door handles off?
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2007, 11:32 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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You need to read a few things:

1. Removal interior panel:
http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/door/doorhandle.htm
or
http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/door/panel.htm

2. Understand the "slide" concept, see this from e36:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=232798

I don't know about airbag, check to be sure you have to disable it first (disconnect battery 1h prior etc.).

Ask dealer mechanics, sometimes they will help you.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2007, 11:58 AM
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lild lild is offline
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what year and moldel do you have.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2011, 11:32 AM
harris2p harris2p is offline
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External door handle replacement

I had to replace the external rear door handle on passenger side. I'm attaching a few pictures for the details that I could not find in this forum for the E39.

I think it's best done if the door lock/latch assembly is removed for easy access. Shortcuts are possible but maybe harder and more risky. Here are the steps I did:

1. Remove the inner door panel, including the inner door opener handle
2. Open part of the door vapor barrier at the corner of the door lock assembly
3. Remove the door lock assembly
4. Look for something that can slide. Raise/clear the stopper lever on one end of the slide bar
5. Spray some lube to decrease friction. Now you can slide it with joy ... Slide toward the front of the car to remove the ext. door handle.
6. Remove the outside door handle
7. Reassembly is the opposite

My ext door handle broke last winter. I was lucky to find one with matching color on eBay.

~harris
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Last edited by harris2p; 04-14-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2011, 11:58 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harris2p View Post
I had to replace the external rear door handle
I just did a /door handle(F3) in the bestlinks and only found these:
So that every thread builds upon our knowledge base, I'll add the following to the best links which now includes your thread and pics above:

- How to replace the exterior door handle in the BMW E39 (1) (2) (3)
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2011, 12:47 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harris2p View Post
I had to replace the external rear door handle on passenger side. I'm attaching a few pictures for the details that I could not find in this forum for the E39.
Thanks. This is one I haven't seen before, either.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2011, 03:32 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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It is possible to do it via the access hole on the side of the door. Open the door and near the door lock, you will see a black plastic cover. Open it up, and you will see the slider. Take a 90 degree pick tool, and put it inside the slider so it site right inside the hole. Hit the pick tool so the slider moves in, and the handle should come right out. It should not take more than 10 minutes.
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  #14  
Old 12-01-2011, 03:10 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the cross-linked record, this recent door-handle thread today has some useful pointers and tech tips:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > e39 Door Handle Problem Driver Side!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lav6880 View Post
I've been having problems with my door handle for a while and it's getting worse but don't know which part to replace. I have to pull the handle really hard for the door to open. I'm assuming that it's worn out but is it the parts inside the door? Which parts do I need to replace? Any help is appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ken View Post
http://www.bmwtips.com/
look under Tips and Tricks/General/ #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by vank View Post
Outer handle and inner handle are not tied together. I was having trouble opening my door from the inside after I had taken the door panel off to replace a regulator, but I had no problems opening the car from the outside. Turns out that i just didn't have the cable in the guide so after putting the cable back into the guide (which you can do without taking the door panel off again) I had no problems opening the door.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takechan View Post
Yeah mine broke off last winter. At the end it felt like I had to pull the handle quite far up until it opened. One day it just came clean off lol.

Here is a picture:


I used this guide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
Funny coincidence, I just walked in from changing my driver door inner handle after it snapped off yesterday. With the new handle I noticed that I now have to pull the handle almost all the way to the stop to open the lock and it doesn't fully return. I'll check that cable guide; I probably knocked it loose installing the new handle.

Steve D
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtm888 View Post
OP, don't know if this will help, but I ran accross it when I was looking for something else.
go on YouTube and search for "adjust e46 door handle" first video you see might be of help.

I know its an e46, but I think the concept could be the same. I would send you the link, but I'm on my mobile right now and can't copy n paste it over.

Good luck
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztitans1 View Post
Great post guys. I replaced my drivers side outer door handle last night. It was actually not that difficult removing the panel and the airbag then pulling back the left top corner of the black soundproofing material to expose the inside of the door. I used a small screwdriver to pry back the tab and a large flat head screwdriver to push the slide towards the front of the car. The tab is on the left of the slide (looking towards the inside of the door from the driver's seat. Once the tab is pulled back to free the slide it moved with very little effort. Installing the new door handle was very simple and the slide simply goes back in place and the tab locks it into position. 30 minutes tops. I ordered the door handle from an online wrecking yard for $35 including tax and shipping.

I shopped a local parts place that quoted me $200. Found a new one (unpainted) for $105. A used purple one on ebay for $73. Then ultimately the $35 one that is already the right color. I feel very fortunate. Thank you for the information on how to put that in.
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  #15  
Old 12-01-2011, 07:45 PM
MrTrouble MrTrouble is offline
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picked up both front and rear driver's side handles at a junk yard. $17 for both. Replaced them both in about 30 minutes and most of that time was taking off and replacing the door panels.
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  #16  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:34 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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There is a good set of DIYs posted recently by Fudman and others for replacing door lock actuators, with and without the door actually being open that I am cross referencing here so that others benefit:

- How to replace the exterior door handle in the BMW E39 (1) (2) (3) & how to open a single stuck shut locked front or rear closed E39 door from a broken door latch/lock (1) (2) & how to properly maintain a door lock (1) & a DIY for how to replace the front lock door actuator (1) & how to disable automatic door locks (1) (2)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2012, 12:55 PM
Geezee Geezee is offline
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My door handle broke, and the door wont open, does anyone has any knowledge of , how to open the door to change the handle?
Thanks
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  #18  
Old 11-12-2012, 05:05 AM
fbad fbad is offline
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Hi.
I've replaced my passenger outer door handle on e39 528i. No problems.
The rear one seems to be giving me hard time.
Does anyone know if the door lock should be removed in order to get to the clip that needs to be pulled up in order to release the slider.
Please help. It is the rear passenger door.
Thank you.
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  #19  
Old 01-31-2013, 04:43 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For cross reference, this thread was opened today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by YourOPeein View Post
I've replaced the broken driver door handle on my 2001 E39. but that's not the fix. I took the door apart, tugged on the cable and the door still opened. When I reconnected the door handle - even screwing it place, the new handle won't open the door.

Is it safe to say the cable should be replaced?
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #20  
Old 04-06-2013, 11:00 AM
VA525FREAK VA525FREAK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbad View Post
Hi.
I've replaced my passenger outer door handle on e39 528i. No problems.
The rear one seems to be giving me hard time.
Does anyone know if the door lock should be removed in order to get to the clip that needs to be pulled up in order to release the slider.
Please help. It is the rear passenger door.
Thank you.
I know!!!! I cannot get to the clip you have to push up to get slider to come all the way forward. It is driving me insane I am thinking of moving the latch assembly because nobody seems to want to comment on the rear doors.

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  #21  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:09 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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This information was posted today, which may be useful to others:
Quote:
Originally Posted by moots View Post
this is the photo of the rear LH door handle mount (this is inside the door)


this is the door lock


notice that the cable is the one that connects the door handle to the door lock.the white plastic thingy is to the handle and the red to the door lock assembly....
See also:
- How to replace the exterior door handle in the BMW E39 (1) (2) (3) & how to open a single stuck shut locked front or rear closed E39 door from a broken door latch/lock (1) (2) & how to properly maintain a door lock (1) & a DIY for how to replace the front lock door actuator (1) & how to disable automatic door locks (1) (2)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #22  
Old 01-06-2014, 05:40 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, this was posted today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Door handle help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Doeback View Post
So a few weeks ago I snapped the driver door handle off opening the door. I didn't realize I was that strong lol. But it's been partly cracked for a while and it finally gave way. So I ordered a new one painted from a website and it arrived today. I compared the two and the one that broke was solid metal. I'm guessing it weighed a few pounds. The thing is HEAVY. The new one is plastic and ways about 6 ounces. I'd say the old one weighs 3 or 4 times more than the new one. The website claimed it was Oem and it has all the same markings but in different locations and it's plastic!! Maybe they changed the doorhandle design in the later years? Car is an 02/2000 540ia sport. Thanks guys!

Weight of entire new handle

This is just the part that snapped off. The rest would max out my little scale
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #23  
Old 01-19-2014, 09:07 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, this was updated today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Drivers side front door handle replacement

See also:
- How to replace the exterior door handle in the BMW E39 (1) (2) (3) & how to open a single stuck shut locked front or rear closed E39 door from a broken door latch/lock (1) (2) & how to properly maintain a door lock (1) & a DIY for how to replace the front lock door actuator (1) & how to disable automatic door locks (1) (2)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2014, 10:28 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, this was opened today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Replacing DOOR HANDLE BOWDEN CABLE 51218215617
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #25  
Old 05-03-2014, 10:56 AM
MattyL MattyL is offline
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I just took out my exterior passenger-side handle this a.m.

Easiest method for me was to take the door panel off (airbag included)and peel back the vapor/moisture barrier from the door. I then pried off the tab on the side of the door for access to the slide mechanism. I bent the locking tab up on the mechanism to clear the ridge that prevents the slide from moving, and pushed the slide mechanism through the side of the door where I pried the tab before; this will allow for the handle to be lifted out and the job completed.

One nuance to my project though: lock the door your working on (w/door open obviously) before trying to pull the handle out. I spent about 10-15 minutes cursing and frustrating myself because the handle seemed like it was caught on something and would NOT come out, but I then had the idea to push the lock down, and the handle came right out.

Just thought i'd share my experience.
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