DIY - Door handle failure / bowden cable replacement (common failure) - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:16 PM
Keif Keif is offline
Master Tinkerer
Location: Houston, TX
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,213
Mein Auto: 2007 Alpina B7
DIY - Door handle failure / bowden cable replacement (common failure)

Symptoms: (any or some)
  • Door handle inside of car is limp / loose, and no longer opens door.
  • Door handle outside of car no longer opens door.
  • Door soft-close motor sounds like it is running too long (combined with one of the above symptoms).
  • Door will no longer latch closed and remains open.

If neither the interior nor exterior door handle will open the door, roll down the window and try pulling both at the same time (in my case, this gave enough resistance on the latch to successfully pop the door open). However, only do this once you are ready to work on the car -- since the door may not latch shut again until the cable is replaced.

Bowden cable running from the interior door handle to the door latch connection (near the door latch at the back of the door) has broken. The plastic grommet where the Bowden cable meets the interior door handle breaks especially easily when old or cold.

Get new Bowden cable for door.
Basic steps:
  • Unscrew 3 trim screws
  • Pull off door panel starting at bottom
  • Lift door panel so door lock can fall through
  • Unplug white plug leading to window switches, ground lighting
  • Pay attention to routing of Bowden cable around various tubes
  • Unclip Bowden cable from interior door handle and inspect
  • Put door panel down on something soft, not on the concrete like I did
  • Unclip Bowden cable from door latch connection (near door latch)
  • Put new cable in, put everything back together, and shut your fully functioning door.

Pictures / videos --> here.

I welcome all feedback, both positive and negative.
Black 2007 Alpina B7
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:00 PM
Wilassasin's Avatar
Wilassasin Wilassasin is offline
Location: New Jersey
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,613
Mein Auto: 2013 S550 amg sport pack/
this is great info, where's the moderator we need to put this thread in a safe place.....

Previous: 335i xdrive coupe(sold),745(sold),750 sport(sold).
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