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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 05-10-2008, 02:06 AM
528inOttawa 528inOttawa is offline
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E39 Hood Release Broken, how do I release?

My hood release cable has broken on my 2000 528i. I didn't realize what a challenge this can be. I'm trying to find a way to release the hood so I can fix the cable and tackle my chronic ABS module problems. I've found the cable under the release lever in driver footwell it is loose and will not retract, suggests a break under the hood somewhere. There are no frayed ends anywhere to grab and pull with pliers. I've scoured this board and haven't found anything.

Is anyone aware of an emergency hood release procedure? I'm struggling with this one.

thanks

Bruce

Last edited by 528inOttawa; 05-10-2008 at 02:50 AM. Reason: added detail.
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2008, 07:14 AM
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2008, 11:12 AM
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Vadim540i Vadim540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 528inOttawa View Post
My hood release cable has broken on my 2000 528i. I didn't realize what a challenge this can be. I'm trying to find a way to release the hood so I can fix the cable and tackle my chronic ABS module problems. I've found the cable under the release lever in driver footwell it is loose and will not retract, suggests a break under the hood somewhere. There are no frayed ends anywhere to grab and pull with pliers. I've scoured this board and haven't found anything.

Is anyone aware of an emergency hood release procedure? I'm struggling with this one.

thanks

Bruce
Take metal saw and make a hole where's ABS module.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2010, 11:30 PM
SarahAarr SarahAarr is offline
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I'm having the same problem! I pull the release handle from inside the car and nothing happens. Is there anyway to open the hood?? I can't even grab the little release handle behind the grill. What do I do???????????!!!!!!!!!! HELP
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:48 AM
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Wow. This would suck. Anxious to see a fix.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:00 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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Pop out the two grills, that will give you the room to work on the latches.
Find and locate where the bowden cable ends connect to each side of the latches. that is the area you're going to use a screwdriver or a pair of needle nose pliers to lever against to release the latches.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:00 PM
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Guys, way easier than you make it out to be. Take a hex key of any size, say 4mm, or a bent piece of wire. Feed it into the grill and hook the arm on the latch mechanism and pull out releasing the hood. No need to remove the grills. Job done!
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2010, 08:38 PM
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or you can take the kick panel off and pull the cable with plyiers to open. mine broke yesterday, gots to get a new one.
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2010, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunk View Post
Guys, way easier than you make it out to be. Take a hex key of any size, say 4mm, or a bent piece of wire. Feed it into the grill and hook the arm on the latch mechanism and pull out releasing the hood. No need to remove the grills. Job done!
I really don't believe that will work, as there are TWO release latches, one on the left, one on the right...neither are easily accessable from the grill area....try it some time, just for kicks...I tried and tried on mine, gave up....took it to dealer, their 15 years of experience master tech tried that way, and finally (with much effort) pried the grill out. Broke some tabs, but it was still totally usable...but I went ahead and replaced both of them.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 08-05-2010 at 08:08 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2010, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
or you can take the kick panel off and pull the cable with plyiers to open. mine broke yesterday, gots to get a new one.
Yes, that is the way to go if the first cable, nearest the release latch breaks. It is probably where 90% of them break. But if it is the center or last cable...all bets are off.
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:43 PM
GOFAST951 GOFAST951 is offline
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Hello,

I had to sign up and post the solution to the broken E39 hood release cable. Not I repeat not a broken plastic release handle in the car. Recently we had this problem on a traded in E39. We had a Hell of a time trying to open the hood ourselves. It pretty easy once we figured out how. First pull the drivers side kidney out of the Hood, use a small mirror about 2'' or 3 ' ' If you look and use your fingers to feel the upper right corner of the kidney opening you just made you can locate where the cable comes into and out of the driver side latch. It's very hard to see but it is there. Now once you locate the latch place the mirror inside against the condenser-You'll have to find a place the mirror will rest without falling off while you work.I found the perfect perch on the plastic fan bracket. Angle the mirror so you can get a good look at how the cables connect to the back side of the latch. This part is impossible to see without the mirror. I used a flash light in one hand to angle off the mirror, that's when you'll see the plastic arm that has the cable ends connecting the release cable and the passenger side latch. I used a heavy duty pick tool with a 90 degree bend on the end in the other hand. I sharpened the end on a grinder to a good sharp point. It will take a few tries because it backward you know looking through the mirror. I found if you press the sharp point against the arm just between here the holes are where the cable ends connect and push towards the drivers fender-It will take a little effort- but push it over about .5'' and pop she'll open right up. It was so easy that i had to redo it for some of the nonbelievers around the shop who said it couldn't be that easy. I can now do this job in under a minute. Hope this helps who ever finds themselves facing this problem.
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2010, 06:17 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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And to pull the kidney grill, use some solid copper electrical wire (the same wire used in household wiring) passing behind the kidney and back out to the front.
A few wires will do it.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2010, 09:19 AM
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These last two posts are keepers! Thanks, guys!
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2011, 09:48 AM
ckapranos ckapranos is offline
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Release Hood

I recently was in a collition with damage to my front end which created a similar problem where I couldn't open hood. When I would pull on the hood release lever in the car nothing would happen. What worked to get hood open was to have someone else pull the lever inside the car and the other person pull hard up until the hood "popped" open. My hood latch was also broken so I had to take off my grills and reach in with my hand to pull the hood release out to open hood fully. Hope this works for you to.
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2011, 07:55 PM
CarpenterSF CarpenterSF is offline
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GOFAST951's technique worked on my wife's 2000 528i wagon. The battery died, and we couldn't get into the car to pop the hood, get access to the battery, or get access to anywhere to get voltage into the system just to work the door locks. First time it happened, AAA and then the BMW dealer both failed to get into the car in our driveway (no, the key wouldn't even open it) and the dealer ended up towing it to their shop. Second time around, I said no way, and I set to popping the hood. The driver's side grill pops out very easily. It's only held in by tiny plastic latches. You might not break one, but if you do, it's no big deal; the grill fits in snugly and you can figure out a way to jam it back in securely. So just give it a firm yank on one side then wiggle it out. And the cable attachment for the hood latch is indeed right inside, just above the right upper edge of the hole where the grill was. For those who don't know this already (I didn't) the two cables - one from the interior by the driver's knee, and the secondary latch from the left front grill (on the 528i) - both attach at the top of the latch assembly. The driver's side cable pulls the latch to one side, which releases the hood to the secondary latch. The secondary cable then rocks the assembly back to the other side, and the hood opens. I only needed to use a little mirror (one of the $5 dental mirrors from the local hardware store) to get a look at the assembly. After that, I could tell by feel where the assembly was, and I used a larger Allen wrench (something like 8MM) to push the assembly firmly to my right (the driver's left), and the hood popped. For me, that was easier than propping a mirror in place and trying to operate visually. In my case, the secondary cable was still attached and working, so I could open the hood the rest of the way. I applied some juice to the starting points under the hood, and after a couple seconds the key worked to open the doors and rear hatch, for access to the battery. The main point is that GOFAST951's technique worked well. In the case of our car, and with my skills, I don't think I could have made Bunk's method work.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:20 AM
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BigCo540i BigCo540i is offline
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Wonder what ever happened to Vadim540i, he was always good for some flaming on the board.
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  #17  
Old 11-26-2011, 11:29 AM
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For the crosslinked record, we just updated the bestlinks to this:
- How to maintain (1) and repair your hood release bowden cable (1) (2) (3) & how to replace the hood cable the easy way (1) & how to open the hood when the hood cable snaps (1) (2) & how to open the hood manually when you have a dead 12v car battery (1) [or trunk (1) (2)].
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2011, 06:54 PM
MKpoto MKpoto is offline
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Anyone else try godspeed. I'm trying to imagine it and not sure what he is pointing out. Please help have something stuck n my hood and cannot open my hood.
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  #19  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:42 AM
TheSpoila TheSpoila is offline
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Hood release tool

I had the dreaded hood release failure last weekend while I was at the track. Of course this happened just as I was about to get my track inspection. Fortunately the guys were really cool about it and let me participate without inspecting under my hood.

Today I finally got around to opening the hood. First I used plastic interior tools to pry out the driver's side kidney. I just gradually applied outward pulls to ease it out gripping the kidneys. No copper cables. Easy enough without doing any damage to the kidney (which is only a few months old) or my hood's paint. Once getting the kidney out I used my mechanic's mirror to locate the issue.

Cable number two was the issue. It had slipped off from the driver's side lock mechanism. I used my mirror to guide me and a flashlight. I found a small 4 inch paint roller handle and straightened it out then put a 90 degree at the end. I used my angle grinder to sharpen the tip a little to make sure it would fit in the hole.

It worked perfectly, cost $0 and I didn't have to break anything getting the hood open. I hope this helps others with the same issue.
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  #20  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:37 PM
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adjmcloon adjmcloon is offline
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Ditto on that. I just had the same thing happen. You can hook the cable and give it a yank and release the latches.
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  #21  
Old 01-04-2013, 09:11 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Cn90 kindly posted this today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
These threads have been beating to death haha!

OK, if you turn the key manually and the door does not open, then your door tumbler is frozen from years of non-use.

Anyway, the quickest way to solve the problem is:
- Jack the Left Front up (no need to remove the wheel), support with jackstand for safety.
Or rest the wheel down on a wood ramps etc.
- Under the car is the starter motor. Look for the RED cable feeding the starter motor.
- Connect Red to Red (from donor battery)
- Ground is ground.
- Then hit the remote. You will likely need an assistant for this job.

The location of the Red terminal is at the same area as the aft part of the tire. Locate the aft part of the tire and move inward, you will see it:

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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will 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 02-15-2013, 05:59 AM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
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I tried to slowly pry kidney out and dented my hood (used cushion too). Won't do that again. It looks like someone previously popped out passenger side because that came out with just a slight tug and I could see most all clips were already broken off. But from what Ive read here, passenger side won't do me any good. I yanked (and pried) very hard on driver's kidney and unless I want to break off the black vertical vents, it's not coming out. I even tried to pry from the opening on the left kidney--nothing. I'm trying not to think about the 3 or 4 dings I just put in the hood, and worry about getting the hood open--so I can add anti-freeze (coolant low alert). Never cut a break with this beast. It worked find all week while I worked on replacing all the tensioners, idler pulley and belts. Added some coolant and figured I'd fill/bleed in morning (today). But no, get out there and dead hood releaes. grrrrr.
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  #23  
Old 02-17-2013, 10:35 PM
TheSpoila TheSpoila is offline
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Were you able to fix your issue?

I have the plastic interior tool kit and I used a few of the flatter ones to wedge in between the hood and the kidney. After slowly working the tool(s) into position I grabbed a good hand full of kidney with both hands and gave it steady pull until it slipped out.

That worked for me on more than one occassion but I'm not promising that will work for everyone who tries it. I had just bought new kidneys and for my model's options they were more expensive than the standard issue set so I was relieved not to have broken anything.
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  #24  
Old 02-18-2013, 10:14 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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I understand the part about removing the kidney,
but can someone take a photo of their working hood latch to show what exactly is being pulled to the right?

Also, anyone know all the points where I can apply grease to help prevent a broken cable ?

Last edited by EconoBox; 02-18-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2014, 09:26 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Here's another hood won't open where they used a vice grip:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Hood won't open!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brother090909 View Post
Hey guys I can't get the hood open to my 2001 530i! I just recently lost the ability to open the hood, my hood latch handle inside the cab seem to be much more loose now, snapped cable perhaps? I didn't know if anyone knew a way to open the hood without being able to use the good release inside
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Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will 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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