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7 Series - E65 / E66 (2002 - 2008)
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  #1  
Old 02-26-2013, 08:47 AM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Interesting fix for soft close door issue

Hello, I am fairly new to posting here, but I had an interesting thing happen yesterday that I felt would help at least one person out here if I shared it. I recently acquired a 2005 745li, with comfort access and soft close doors. Last week, the drivers door started having intermittent latching issues. it would work fine 7/8 of the time, then that one time I would close it and it would bounce off of the frame like there was no latch on it. throwing the pawl for the lock with my finger did not result in activation of the soft close feature and it would not latch at all. I figured I was going to have to pay the $600 to get a new latch, as I have read about this being a common point of failure in these cars.

Being a mechanically inclined person, I did my best to figure out exactly what was causing this to happen in an attempt to troubleshoot the issue (before spending a ton on the wrong parts). I found that the issue only arose when the car was running, if there was no one sitting in the drivers seat. If those conditions were met, closing the door would activate the comfort access latch, but when I opened the door again, it made a sound as if there was a couple of gears not meshing instead of the usual short hum that the soft close motor makes when it is being cycled. The door latch would then become non-responsive, and the only way to fix it was to shut the car off and, ensuring the key was out of the vehicle, cycling the latch by hand (stick my finger or a pen or a screwdriver in the latch and push it closed, then pull a handle to unlatch it.

This was a repeatable issue, and it would reliably fail every time these conditions were met. Because of this, I didn't think it was the latch failing. It would work 100% of the time with both the inside and outside door handle if someone was sitting in the drivers seat and the car was running. If the car was not running (and it did not detect a key inside the cabin) it would work 100% of the time as well, both inside and out. It was only if I closed the door with no one in the vehicle while it was running that the mechanism would fail.

Last night, I took my local mechanic's advise and disconnected the negative battery terminal and let it sit for an hour or so disconnected to see if that would somehow reset the software managing the door latches. I know there is a recall for these, but evidently mine has the latest software updates (the doors close like regular doors if they're closed too hard, if they're gently closed, the soft close feature kicks in). Leaving the battery disconnected did not work. I hooked up the battery after an hour and 15 minutes, started the car, and got out. I closed the door and it worked, but when I opened it again, I got that familiar grinding sound and the door bounced off the frame like it used to.

I visually inspected the door again starting from top to bottom, getting upset at the fact that I couldn't figure this out, when I noticed that the latch had shifted its position on the door. When looking at the two screws on the outside edge of the door, above and below the latch, holding the latching mechanism to the door, the top one looked as if it was pushed towards the inside of the cabin by about a sixteenth of an inch. I don't know how that happened, but I decided that since I was troubleshooting a latch issue, no fix was too small. I pulled out my torx driver, loosened both screws, and aligned them on the circles made in the paint where they were originally installed.

Lo and behold, my door issues went away. I couldn't believe it, but something as simple as a sixteenth of an inch adjustment could be the difference between those soft close latches work properly and my door not closing at all. Now, they work 100% of the time, no issues at all. Happy with myself, I went inside to figure out why something like that would be an issue, and the only explanations that I could come up with were that the Bowden cable to the outer door handle is sensitive to proper alignment of the latch (if the latch sits in the wrong position, it works intermittently, or not at all), and that there is a sensor in the latch that must not have been detecting proper closure because it was minutely out of adjustment.

If I am wrong about anything here, keep in mind that I have never owned an import of any kind in my life before this car, and I don't know BMWs that well in general. That being said, let me know what you think, or if you have experienced anything similar. Thanks for reading, I hope it helps someone.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2013, 12:18 PM
219BMW's Avatar
219BMW 219BMW is offline
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Or you can call BMW or go on the official site and plug in the last 7 of your vin and see if your on the free software update list. But good find tho.

And welcome to the board!

Sent from my EVO using Bimmer App
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2013, 12:26 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Location: Phoenix AZ
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 219BMW View Post
Or you can call BMW or go on the official site and plug in the last 7 of your vin and see if your on the free software update list. But good find tho.

And welcome to the board!

Sent from my EVO using Bimmer App
Thank you for the suggestion, but I did that as soon as I started having the problem. I am not on the list for the recall, even though I meet the criteria. Evidently it's only certain cars within a set time frame that were affected. Sadly, mine is not one of them...
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2013, 02:34 PM
mws mws is offline
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nicely done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serial70 View Post
Hello, I am fairly new to posting here, but I had an interesting thing happen yesterday that I felt would help at least one person out here if I shared it. I recently acquired a 2005 745li, with comfort access and soft close doors. Last week, the drivers door started having intermittent latching issues. it would work fine 7/8 of the time, then that one time I would close it and it would bounce off of the frame like there was no latch on it. throwing the pawl for the lock with my finger did not result in activation of the soft close feature and it would not latch at all. I figured I was going to have to pay the $600 to get a new latch, as I have read about this being a common point of failure in these cars.

Being a mechanically inclined person, I did my best to figure out exactly what was causing this to happen in an attempt to troubleshoot the issue (before spending a ton on the wrong parts). I found that the issue only arose when the car was running, if there was no one sitting in the drivers seat. If those conditions were met, closing the door would activate the comfort access latch, but when I opened the door again, it made a sound as if there was a couple of gears not meshing instead of the usual short hum that the soft close motor makes when it is being cycled. The door latch would then become non-responsive, and the only way to fix it was to shut the car off and, ensuring the key was out of the vehicle, cycling the latch by hand (stick my finger or a pen or a screwdriver in the latch and push it closed, then pull a handle to unlatch it.

This was a repeatable issue, and it would reliably fail every time these conditions were met. Because of this, I didn't think it was the latch failing. It would work 100% of the time with both the inside and outside door handle if someone was sitting in the drivers seat and the car was running. If the car was not running (and it did not detect a key inside the cabin) it would work 100% of the time as well, both inside and out. It was only if I closed the door with no one in the vehicle while it was running that the mechanism would fail.

Last night, I took my local mechanic's advise and disconnected the negative battery terminal and let it sit for an hour or so disconnected to see if that would somehow reset the software managing the door latches. I know there is a recall for these, but evidently mine has the latest software updates (the doors close like regular doors if they're closed too hard, if they're gently closed, the soft close feature kicks in). Leaving the battery disconnected did not work. I hooked up the battery after an hour and 15 minutes, started the car, and got out. I closed the door and it worked, but when I opened it again, I got that familiar grinding sound and the door bounced off the frame like it used to.

I visually inspected the door again starting from top to bottom, getting upset at the fact that I couldn't figure this out, when I noticed that the latch had shifted its position on the door. When looking at the two screws on the outside edge of the door, above and below the latch, holding the latching mechanism to the door, the top one looked as if it was pushed towards the inside of the cabin by about a sixteenth of an inch. I don't know how that happened, but I decided that since I was troubleshooting a latch issue, no fix was too small. I pulled out my torx driver, loosened both screws, and aligned them on the circles made in the paint where they were originally installed.

Lo and behold, my door issues went away. I couldn't believe it, but something as simple as a sixteenth of an inch adjustment could be the difference between those soft close latches work properly and my door not closing at all. Now, they work 100% of the time, no issues at all. Happy with myself, I went inside to figure out why something like that would be an issue, and the only explanations that I could come up with were that the Bowden cable to the outer door handle is sensitive to proper alignment of the latch (if the latch sits in the wrong position, it works intermittently, or not at all), and that there is a sensor in the latch that must not have been detecting proper closure because it was minutely out of adjustment.

If I am wrong about anything here, keep in mind that I have never owned an import of any kind in my life before this car, and I don't know BMWs that well in general. That being said, let me know what you think, or if you have experienced anything similar. Thanks for reading, I hope it helps someone.

I love seeing stuff like this on this forum.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2013, 03:18 PM
canuckdon canuckdon is offline
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+1
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2013, 04:10 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mws View Post
I love seeing stuff like this on this forum.
Is this sarcasm? Being text, and being that I don't know you and you don't know me, it is hard to tell...
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2013, 04:51 PM
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First_745Li First_745Li is offline
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Honestly, I understood it as him giving you props. Your post was very informative, I too like to read stuff like that.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2013, 05:03 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First_745Li View Post
Honestly, I understood it as him giving you props. Your post was very informative, I too like to read stuff like that.
I appreciate it. I would hope that everyone thinks that way here, but I've been avoiding forums for so long because it usually turns into childish banter. I am an IT security manager and a technical writer by day, and even those forums turn into that sort of drivel, so I tend to avoid them. I've been building custom trucks for years, and those digress like that as well. It kind of sets a precedent that I come to expect when dealing with all forums. I meant no harm, it's just that this is my first post here and it's my first real impression of the site. Again, thank you for all of your compliments. I will be sure to post more as these scenarios arise (as I'm sure they will).
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2013, 05:19 PM
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First_745Li First_745Li is offline
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Welcome and I look forward to your findings and contributions as well. I'm hooked on the 7 so I read it all. This car use to intimidate me, but after reading what others have done I'm more confident to try it myself.
Post some pics of your ride.
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  #10  
Old 02-26-2013, 05:56 PM
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MOPAULY MOPAULY is offline
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Nice find. Good job!
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2013, 06:34 PM
mws mws is offline
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Mein Auto: 760Li, F250 V10, Ex 7.3L
aboslutely not giving you grief

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serial70 View Post
I appreciate it. I would hope that everyone thinks that way here, but I've been avoiding forums for so long because it usually turns into childish banter. I am an IT security manager and a technical writer by day, and even those forums turn into that sort of drivel, so I tend to avoid them. I've been building custom trucks for years, and those digress like that as well. It kind of sets a precedent that I come to expect when dealing with all forums. I meant no harm, it's just that this is my first post here and it's my first real impression of the site. Again, thank you for all of your compliments. I will be sure to post more as these scenarios arise (as I'm sure they will).
Usually forums are for asking questions and then getting answers. In your case, you found an issue, figured it out, and posted the results for future generations. I think that's good. I post some of my findings for solutions to problems....mostly, people are very friendly and seem genuinely interested.

One time I did get a know-it all trying to break my balls for posting that I actually tried a solution the forum had previously discussed, and it worked well for me. I was just trying to have a conversation, and see if I missed anything. Nothing more than that. I sicked the admin on him and his responses were adjusted rather quickly. Just trying to encourage people to find solutions and post them, as well as ask for help.
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2013, 07:42 PM
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atrovarious atrovarious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serial70 View Post
Is this sarcasm? Being text, and being that I don't know you and you don't know me, it is hard to tell...
This is a great post or attempt. I spent the money and did the labor to replace mine and it of course works now. I'm going to eventually test your theory on my new unit unit. If I loosen it and move it medially the symptoms should return. However, having made this repair I can't see how 1/16th of an inch like you describe is the issue.

In the mean time, has anyone ever mentioned the term Asperger Syndrome?
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  #13  
Old 02-26-2013, 09:55 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrovarious View Post
This is a great post or attempt. I spent the money and did the labor to replace mine and it of course works now. I'm going to eventually test your theory on my new unit unit. If I loosen it and move it medially the symptoms should return. However, having made this repair I can't see how 1/16th of an inch like you describe is the issue.

In the mean time, has anyone ever mentioned the term Asperger Syndrome?
In all honesty I found this fix so ridiculously simple that I had to share the story. I expected a bunch of argument as to why it couldn't be true but I "fixed" it last night, and I used to run into the issue at least twice daily, but it's been a day and no problems. Lets see what happens in a week...

As for Asperger's, I don't think that autistic people are capable of self-diagnosis, so we're all kinda screwed...
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2013, 06:57 AM
Davidf Davidf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 219BMW View Post
Or you can call BMW or go on the official site and plug in the last 7 of your vin and see if your on the free software update list. But good find tho.

And welcome to the board!

Sent from my EVO using Bimmer App
Where on the BMW site can you enter VIN and receive indicated information? I would like to try this out.
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  #15  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:08 AM
canuckdon canuckdon is offline
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But I thought he WAS being sarcastic (now that's sarcasm)
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  #16  
Old 02-27-2013, 03:13 PM
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skybmray skybmray is offline
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great information packing post !
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  #17  
Old 02-27-2013, 03:43 PM
Weis750li Weis750li is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidf View Post
Where on the BMW site can you enter VIN and receive indicated information? I would like to try this out.
what he said
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  #18  
Old 02-27-2013, 03:48 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weis750li View Post
what he said
https://www.bmwusa.com/secured/content/forms/login.aspx

Create a log in and you can get updates/recalls for your car. I haven't found where to get specific info, but if you call a dealership, ask for the service dept. and ask the tech nicely, they should be able to give you all the info you need. Or you can check this site out, it will list all factory options that your car came with, just type in the last 7 digits of your VIN...

http://bmwvin.com/

(Google search "BMW VIN decode" and it's the first site to pop up. That Google, what will they think of next??? )
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  #19  
Old 02-27-2013, 03:50 PM
Weis750li Weis750li is offline
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HAHAHA

Thanks for the quick reply.

Google banned me because i used it to much
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  #20  
Old 02-27-2013, 07:21 PM
ppax ppax is offline
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Where did you find free software updates on BMW site ?
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  #21  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:50 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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You can't get the software from the website, but you can check whether or not you are eligible for the dealership to update it for you for free.
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  #22  
Old 02-27-2013, 11:06 PM
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sirstopher sirstopher is offline
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You guys using lock tight when you re align the screws?
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  #23  
Old 02-27-2013, 11:12 PM
Serial70 Serial70 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirstopher View Post
You guys using lock tight when you re align the screws?
Honestly, I didn't even remove them completely. I just backed both off until I could move the latch, lined the head of the bolt with the outline in the paint, and tightened them down. I really didn't expect this to work, but it's been two days and no problems. If I see it shift position again, I will probably locktite it, but usually hand tightening is enough with door latches (at least it has been with domestic trucks, I don't know why this thing would be much different in this aspect).
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  #24  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:23 PM
ppax ppax is offline
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Could someone please explain to me how the key remotes memorize your seat positions without having to depress the memory buttons? I drive a 2006 750li, Does anyone know? I can't figure it out. Thanks. PAX.

Last edited by ppax; 03-02-2013 at 03:31 PM.
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  #25  
Old 03-02-2013, 06:43 PM
my05_745li my05_745li is offline
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Here's my .02 on this issue. My vehicle also wasn't on the official recall list but was clearly exhibiting the behavior of the door not latching. But my persistence has paid off as evidenced in my latest post on this very issue at http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...18#post7415818. It's evident that BMW "missed" some vehicles in their recall.
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2005 BMW 745Li (Orient Blue Metallic|Nasca Beige Leather|Luxury Seating Pkg|Convenience Pkg|Premium Sound Pkg|Comfort Access|Sirius Radio|Bluetooth|19" Alloy Wheels).
2012 BMW X5 xDrive50i (Deep Sea Blue Metallic|Nappa Black Leather|3rd Row Seat|Cold Weather Pkg|Lane Departure Warning|Nappa Leather Console/Dashboard|Premium Pkg|Premium Sound Pkg|Sport Activity Pkg|Technology Pkg).
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