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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 07-24-2011, 07:35 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY: 1998 528I REAR Window Regulator Repair

DIY: 1998 528I REAR Window Regulator Repair

My REAR Regulator went out, as it turned out, I did NOT have the classic crack at the "Cable Metal Bracket", somehow the cables jumped the track. Maybe my kids slammed the door too hard!

Anyway, it was a FREE Fix. I saved $250! Here is the DIY.


Good Links:

http://www.bimmernut.com/forum/body-...l-removal.html






NOTE:
- Get a box with different compartments to store nuts and bolts, it is very easy to lose them!
- Later models (? 1999 2003) have airbag in Rear door, so disconnect battery before removing airbag!
- The Bentley Video above is a Must-watch video!

TOOLS:
- Screw drivers
- Torx Set (T20 and T30)
- Reverse Torx E Sockets (E12)
- 10-mm wrench
- Butyl Rope to re-seal the Vapor Barrier; $1/ft at local Auto glass repair shop. Butyl Rope is used in older Ford/Chevy models. Sold in 15-ft roll. Ask for the "pencil size" butyl rope.
- Loctite (not shown)





PROCEDURE:


1. Open Rear Door. In my case the battery is still connected, so hit the Dome Switch to turn Interior Lights off (so you don't drain the battery).


2. To remove Door Panel:
- Gently pry Round Cover off (small screw driver)
- Remove Phillips Screws
- Lift Window Switch upward (flat screw driver)
- Using a Flat Screw Driver wrapped in cloth, pry the bottom of the Door Panel: 9 clips total.
- Lift the Door Panel upward to remove it; but disconnect all 3 electrical connectors first.
- Set the door panel in a safe place! I set it on the other side of rear seat.









3. To remove Vapor Barrier: I used an old hotel plastic card to separate the Butyl Rope.
(During re-install, use new Butyl Rope).
Using a Flat Screw Driver wrapped in cloth, gently pry the "Horizontal Trim" Upward. Note the Trim's "Flat Tabs" go in the door frame's "Flat Slits". See Picture later.





4. Now remove vertical trim to expose 3 screws holding "Outer Trim". Remove "Outer Trim" by lifting Upward! Slide the Rubber Seal sideway to prepare for the Widow Glass to come out.






5. Now with window glass lowered (if stuck them manually lower the window glass). Remove T30 bolt.
Now lift glass up and remove it from outside (See Bentley video) and set it in a safe place (I set it on the other rear side). The Window Regulator is held by:
- E12 bolt above
- 10-mm bolt at bottom
- The electric motor itself: four (4) T20 screws





6. Remove Window Regulator from car for inspection. I was lucky because the cables simply jumped off tracks! Place them back into proper grooves as shown. There are 2 grooves (2 separate pulleys sandwiched together but spinning freely from each other). Note also the cable sheathing needs to be in proper places.
I lubed all pulleys with some grease.





7. You can see that my "Cable Metal Bracket" is still OK. If yours is cracked, then search forum for "Repair Kit" (sold on ebay/online for $25 by "Lance").






RE-INSTALLATION NOTE:

- When re-installing "outer trim", make sure the window glass fits INSIDE this trim properly! Also make sure the Rubber Seals sits properly with the glass.
- Remove old Butyl Rope and apply new Butyl Rope. Once the Door Panel is install, press with thumb to ensure a tight seal (where the Butyl Rope is).
- The Window Switch as an UP and DOWN side, make sure you install properly (look at other window switches for clues).
- The "Horizontal Trim": Note the Trim's "Flat Tabs" go in the door frame's "Flat Slits". Work from Front side toward the Rear corner. Total = seven (7) clips.
- I use a small dab of Loctite on the bolts and screws to prevent them from working loose.


That is all folks, don't forget to clean your glass with Windex and have a cold beer later!


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Last edited by cn90; 07-24-2011 at 10:59 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:11 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Gotta love cn90 patented free fixes & your fantastically helpful DIYs!

For the cross record, my 'free fix' happened when my clamps loosened up on the bottom of the window:
- One user's experience with diagnosing the front left driver door window regulator (1)

To help others in the future, I'll add this DIY to the rather jumbled mess of window-regulator DIYs in the bestlinks.

Here's what's currently found when I do a /window regulator F3 in the bestlinks:
- BMW window regulator & motor DIY for the E39 (bimmerboard E39) (325is) (E36) (E46 fanatics) (E46) (E46 coupe) (another E46 coupe) & E39 Window Regulator Repair Kit & parts
- Front Window Regulator replacement (by jamescd4, 1998 540i E39)
- Rear Window Regulator replacement (bmwtips, June 2003 - Jae Lee, vehicle unknown)
- Window Regulator repair (Lance M repair kit on bmwrepairkit.com)
- Window Regulator programming (Auto raise/lower) DIY
- POWER WINDOWS SUDDENLY STOP WORKING: low-quality unreliable window regulator mechanisms (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) and a repair kit (1) (2) and for other models (1) (2) (3) (4)
- Window Glass & Regulator DIYs:
- Window regulator and door panel removal DIY pics by Agent99
- E39 rear window regulator repair kit available
- Tips and tricks for replacing passenger side window glass in 2002 E39
- Replacing your rear window regulator
-Front Window Regulator DIY on a 2000 528iA Sport (with airbags)
-
Front window regulator replacement on a 2001 540it
- Window Regulator And Motor Replacement DIY on a 1993 325is
- DIY:: Window Regulator and Wind/rattle Noise Fix on Highway on a E46 323Ci
- Front window regulator DIY on a 2001 325I
- BMW 1999-2000 3-Series Rear Window Regulator Replacement Instructions
- DIY: Coupe Window Regulator Replacementon a 2002 325Ci -
- Driver's side door panel removal question
- Window regulator repair (bimmerboard, roderick, 1998 528i, rear passenger side)
-
Window regulator replacement
- Window regulators, FCP Groton
- Window regulators, Regulator USA
- How to fabricate your own power window regulator repair kit (1)
- How to remove the front or rear door window glass (to remove the window regulator) (1) (2)
- What can cause an SRS airbag light (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & what tools reset the fault (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what happens when mechanics disconnect the airbag before the battery or they connect the battery before disconnecting the airbag in seat and window regulator repairs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & where to buy an airbag occupancy sensor bypass unit (1) (2).

EDIT: I need to compress all those links, plus cn90's new one here, into a single keyword rich paragraph, useful to others. It will take effort because of the variety so I'll simply make it a future edit of this post.

Last edited by bluebee; 07-24-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2011, 01:36 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Another great DIY from Cam! Thanx!
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2011, 11:21 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For those who have cracked "Metal Clip", instead of doing the repair kit, I just saw this ebay for $13 + $7 shipping = $20!

The seller (ebay "yourwindowregulator") is from Turkey, and the part appears genuine. I cannot believe that one can find this part. Usually one has to buy a new Window Regulator and not individual parts of the WR.


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bmw-E...#ht_1607wt_918


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  #5  
Old 07-24-2011, 11:21 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For those who have cracked "Metal Clip", instead of doing the repair kit, I just saw this on ebay for $13 + $7 shipping = $20!

The seller (ebay "yourwindowregulator") is from Turkey, and the part appears genuine. I cannot believe that one can find this part. Usually one has to buy a new Window Regulator and not individual parts of the WR.


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bmw-E...#ht_1607wt_918


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  #6  
Old 07-25-2011, 07:11 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
For those who have cracked "Metal Clip", instead of doing the repair kit, I just saw this on ebay for $13 + $7 shipping = $20!
That's a great find!

Let's ask the next person with a cracked metal clip to provide a thorough review!

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  #7  
Old 11-05-2011, 10:07 AM
BeavesBimmer BeavesBimmer is offline
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This is a great DIY. I am in the middle of this job on the exact door; however, I am stuck removing the door panel. I have all 9 clips unsnapped, but cannot get the panel off. I have the window shades on my 540/6. I saw that the small rear shade was screwed into the door panel so I removed it and exposed the frame thinking this would release the door panel. To no avail. If anyone has any tips to getting the panel off I would appreciate it.
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2012, 07:28 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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UPDATE: My repair fails again. Cable probably jumped off track. I will need to fix this soon.
For now, I use bluebee trick: Push the glass all the way up and tape it with Scotch Tape.

BMW lists this PN 51358159835 (LEFT REAR Regulator + Motor) for $280!
Ebay has a whole bunch of sellers selling aftermarket LEFT REAR Regulator without Motor for $40-$100.

My further research on ebay shows me that lots of LEFT REAR Regulators were sold on ebay, while RIGHT REAR Regulator failure is rare.

Then it occurs to me the root cause (at least this is what I think) is in the driver master switch design!

Sit in the driver seat and you will realize that every time you press the DOWN button on the driver window, it is very easy to hit the UP button of the Left Rear Switch because these are very close together.
If you keep pushing on the UP button of the Left Rear Switch so many times (forcing it to go up when it is already up), the regulator will fail with time.

I know I have small fingers and careful when using window switches, but I am the 4th owner, so the P.O.'s probably had big fingers pushing on these poorly designed switches.

Oh well, time to do some more home work of OEM ($280) vs aftermarket ($40).



I borrowed this pic from bluebee post to show you that when you lower the driver glass (RED Arrow), it is very easy to hit the LR Switch UP button (BLUE Arrow):







...
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Last edited by cn90; 04-03-2012 at 07:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2012, 07:37 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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If you look at this listing of the aftermarket regulator ($32 +shipping), there were 112 sold!!!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/97-98-99-BMW...-/180757972911


Has anyone used this aftermarket regulator and can give me long-term feedback?
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:25 AM
daytradeoil daytradeoil is offline
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I actually just purchased this for the rear right. They shipped it out this morning. You can order or wait on me to install

if I get it by this weekend ill do it on saturday. The picture looked different then the actual but figured id get the right part

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Last edited by daytradeoil; 04-03-2012 at 11:27 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 AM
Ninety-8 E3nine Ninety-8 E3nine is offline
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Cam, I could not open the link from my phone but I'm assuming thats the same one where I got mine from since the price are the same. I bought both sides though and ill be installing this weekend. I'll post a feedback once done.

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  #12  
Old 04-03-2012, 12:23 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Thanks guys.

The issue is not the install, I am sure it fits.
My concern is: how long does this last?

From some forums, I gather that reliability "may" be an issue (just a guess).
Some aftermarket regulators fail in 1 year or so.
I am going from memory, I might be wrong.
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  #13  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:00 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daytradeoil View Post
I actually just purchased this for the rear right. They shipped it out this morning. You can order or wait on me to install...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninety-8 E3nine View Post
...I'm assuming thats the same one where I got mine from since the price are the same. I bought both sides though and ill be installing this weekend. I'll post a feedback once done...
Gentlemen,

From my research, the ebay link above lists a part "most likely" made by MTC (a Chinese company). Basically a direct fit, just install it.
It works but:
1. It is noisy.
2. Long-term reliability may be an issue.

After a little more research, I found out that many BMW owners use the repair kit that basically restores the regulator back to original.
The ebay seller "ensarian" sells many repair kits for different cars. He is from Istanbul, Turkey.
It is a very simple procedure if you watch this video:






Here is what I ordered, it will take some 3 weeks to get here but it will be a "factory restoration" repair. I will post an update later...Stay tuned!


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Last edited by cn90; 04-04-2012 at 06:03 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:47 AM
vtraudt vtraudt is offline
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E39 regulator parts - stock - MI

Out of need (refuse to pay big $$$ for complete regulator), I sourced the clips myself from Europe, then ordered more from the manufacturer and now stock them for a growing number of cars.

Does the metal rear clip break a lot? Is so, I would add it to the list of stock parts.

My website is being 'rebuilt' (will take a while; college son won't get to it until semester is over ), but the more common clips are also listed on my ebay stores:


http://stores.ebay.com/Car-Stuff-Regulator-Parts-Turbos

http://stores.ebay.com/RegulatorFix?_rdc=1

Post, PM or email if you need clips (also keep a few cables, pulleys, etc.) on hand).

info(at)regulatorfix(dot)com

-regulatorfix
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:01 AM
vtraudt vtraudt is offline
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Update: actually have a handful of the metal clips actually in stock.
Will get some more in, and also get the clip in plastic (obviously: less expensive).




Quote:
Originally Posted by vtraudt View Post
Out of need (refuse to pay big $$$ for complete regulator), I sourced the clips myself from Europe, then ordered more from the manufacturer and now stock them for a growing number of cars.

Does the metal rear clip break a lot? Is so, I would add it to the list of stock parts.

My website is being 'rebuilt' (will take a while; college son won't get to it until semester is over ), but the more common clips are also listed on my ebay stores:


http://stores.ebay.com/Car-Stuff-Regulator-Parts-Turbos

http://stores.ebay.com/RegulatorFix?_rdc=1

Post, PM or email if you need clips (also keep a few cables, pulleys, etc.) on hand).

info(at)regulatorfix(dot)com

-regulatorfix
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  #16  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:07 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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UPDATE to my post #13 above.

Received the Repair kit from "ensarian" (Istanbul, Turkey).
- BRACKET is good.
- Pulley is somewhat off (holes drilled in wrong places), I re-used the factory pulley (still good).
- New cable seems OK but cannot be used with factory pulley (different heads etc.)
- So I re-used factory pulley.


1. You can see in Fig. 1a that I used Packing Tape while waiting for the repair LOL.
Fig. 1b shows the new repair kit.
I ended using ONLY the Bracket + Plastic Washer.






2. Before you remove anything, take pictures of the existing setup so you can re-install the cable properly.
NOTE:
"OUTER" Pulley = toward the Outside of the car
"INNER" Pulley = toward the Inside of the car.

* The Pulley (where it mates with the motor) has 2 sides. One of the sides is more CONCAVE.
Make sure the CONCAVE side faces the electric motor during install.
Rewind the cable as in the youtube.

* If you replace ONLY the BRACKET, then skip this Step #2.





3. You MUST use the new Plastic Washer as shown when re-installing the glass:






4. The new BRACKET is all metal (factory bracket has some plastic to allow smooth sliding).
The new Bracket is machined a bit tight.
So when you finish installing the glass, STOP.
a. Apply some grease to railing
b. Temporarily attach the Window Switch
c. Turn key in Ignition to Position II.
d. Operate the Switch to move Window UP and DOWN.
Use your (L) hand to help the glass UP and DOWN so the motor does not overheat.
Do Not force the motor!
The new Bracket will grind a bit with the railing (see pic). This is because the railing, when installed in the car has a slight curve.
The ebay Bracket is all metal so it grinds a little bit but eventually it will be fine. You will see small amount of metal shavings from these runs.
After 6-7 runs, it should be smooth.
It will be a bit slower than factory, but I do not care because I virtually never use the (L) Rear Regulator.






5. Now I know why I HAD this problem in the first place.
Fig. 1a: shows The Bracket collision with the Pulley at its LOWEST position.
Factory design fault! After repeat collisions, it knocks the Cable off the pulleys!
Fig. 1b: shows you where you can place some cushion to prevent collision.
Fig. 1c: I cut a square piece of rubber (sidewall of an old light truck tire), add some butyl rope so it sticks to the surface.
Bingo, it is nice and quiet, no collision!






6. Now is time to make sure drain holes (total =2) are clear.
One drain hole in each corner of the door.
I used a bamboo BBQ skewer because it is stiff but flexible so it does not mar paint work.






7. Now re-attach Vapor Barrier, taking care to seal it properly.
Reattach the rest (electrical connectors, inner door handle etc.).
Test the window again.
Then label the switch "avoid using this window" LOL.
Actually this ebay bracket works, it is a bit more friction so it is slow, but for $20 I cannot complain.


PS: The whole new regulator (incl. motor) from BMW is $300! So this fix was cheap for me!
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Last edited by cn90; 04-22-2012 at 08:27 PM.
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  #17  
Old 05-21-2012, 07:11 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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My further research on ebay shows me that lots of LEFT REAR Regulators were sold on ebay, while RIGHT REAR Regulator failure is rare. Then it occurs to me the root cause (at least this is what I think) is in the driver master switch design! Sit in the driver seat and you will realize that every time you press the DOWN button on the driver window, it is very easy to hit the UP button of the Left Rear Switch because these are very close together. If you keep pushing on the UP button of the Left Rear Switch so many times (forcing it to go up when it is already up), the regulator will fail with time.


Nice thinking, and I can back up your hypothesis! When you accidentally press UP on the wrong window (already up)....100's of times over the span of a few years, this eventually snaps the tab and yanks the entire cable housing itself into the pulley. The net result of this offset cable is that the window won't raise up all the way when the cable is fully retracted.


Here's a photo of my broken rear left regulator (which stopped working this week)
The picture on the left is how is should be positioned...
On the right, look how the cable housing/sheath was yanked up into the pulley.
Notice that it bent the metal tab that keeps the housing in place.




FYI, my regulator is a "1-piece", with attached motor.
My original motor works fine once detached from the broken cables, and I will install it on the replacement regulator.
This is easily a $500+ repair at the stealership, as they will replace everything.
Using my parts searcher website, you'll find that BMA sells the regulator/motor combo for $229.
But, it also sells just the regulator alone for $69. (URO)
Since it was just the cables/regulator that failed, I went with the latter.
I will install mine in a few days and report back.



Last edited by EconoBox; 05-22-2012 at 11:32 AM.
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  #18  
Old 05-22-2012, 09:20 AM
daytradeoil daytradeoil is offline
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My rear right has gone out twice. I crack all my windows when I drive. But it didn't help having a grown man act like a 4yr old playing with the window in the back seat. Effin idiot. Either up or down. Quit effin with it!!!

So far no issues with the mtc replacement. Thats probably because I no longer allow him in my car.

Thumbs up to cn90 for the diy though

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  #19  
Old 07-23-2012, 09:04 AM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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I have a 2000 528i. During the warranty period, the dealer had to replace the right rear window regulator THREE times. It would start making a "pop" or "snap" sound each time I closed the window. Naturally, it failed again shortly after the warranty expired, so I just stopped using the right rear window. But now I'm thinking I need to repair it myself.

The window has not actually failed - it still rolls up and down properly. So what is causing the "pop" sound when it reaches the fully closed position? Is that metal bracket broken or do I need something else?
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:52 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
I have a 2000 528i.... So what is causing the "pop" sound when it reaches the fully closed position? Is that metal bracket broken or do I need something else?
I think it is factory defect.

-Please read Post #16, Step #5 and Figure 1c.

- I added a small piece of tire rubber, glued down by a small piece of Butyl Rope.

- Knock on wood, no more "pop" noise, so I think I found the cause.

- Try it (all you have to do is to gently peel the Vapor Barrier at the bottom, place a short section cutout tire rubber about 1/2" square, and glue it down with a bit of Butyl Rope)
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2012, 10:09 AM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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Thanks - but does the popping sound mean that something is already broken or a cable has been dislodged form a pulley? The popping sound only occurs when the window reaches the fully closed position, not when it's at the bottom as shown in Figure 1c.

The rubber stop looks like a good idea, but if something has already been broken, I'm going to want to fix that while I have the door torn apart.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:00 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
The popping sound only occurs when the window reaches the fully closed position, not when it's at the bottom as shown in Figure 1c.
I just had that happen to me just now on the way to work. I was closing all my windows as I was getting on the freeway, and heard the RIGHT REAR pop when it reached the fully closed (I it almost fully closed.) It was loud enough I looked back to see if my window suddenly cracked. When I was on the freeway, it's obvious that it didn't fully close as I could hear a whistling noise from that window. Now the right rear window won't close all the way and stays open about 1/4 inch. I can muscle it closed, but it's not exactly secure. It also won't open more than two inches as well...

I plan to open it up to see what's going on after I get home from work tonight...

Thanks in advance for the DIY and all the info.

Last edited by nyclad; 09-07-2012 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:14 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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I took the right rear door apart when I got home to see what's going on. Apparently I have the one piece regulator and motor.

The fact that the cable is loose probably isn't a good sign. Plus look at the little loop of cable in the bottom pulley. That can't be good either.



When I removed the regulator/motor assembly, it's pretty apparent what the problem is:
My cable jumped the track/top pulley like EconoBox's did.



The bracket is bent and broken (just look to the left below the pulley.)



I can't figure out how to make the cable or pulley release enough tension so I can route the cable around the top pulley. When I raise or lower the window, it doesn't give me MORE cable to work with.

EconoBox, how did you get away with just installing a regulator? I can't figure out how to separate the motor from the regulator. Yes, I tried removing the 4 T-25 screws.

Last edited by nyclad; 09-07-2012 at 06:15 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-14-2012, 03:49 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Replaced lifter, now have another problem

I ordered the new right rear regulator for $71 (URO brand from BMA Parts, thanks Econobox.)

It took a little wrenching to separate the motor from the old regulator, but here's the "winch" on the old one. Really chewed up cable and some of the plastic parts had been ground down. Yes, that is a bunch of ground up metal cable and parts on the ground below the "winch."


Once fitted to the new regulator, and put back in the window, it works perfectly...except in REVERSE.
When you press on the window button (both on the door and the driver's door master console) the window goes the opposite way. Button down makes window go up and vice versa. I can remove and reinstall the right rear door button so it goes the correct way, but I can't do that to the driver's master console.

What happened to make it go in REVERSE? I'm thinking of either carefully removing the wires from the connector that goes to the lifter motor and reversing them (as the connector only fits into the motor one way,) or if I can't disconnect them, I'd be cutting the wires and connecting them in reverse. What do you guys think?

Last edited by nyclad; 09-14-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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  #25  
Old 09-14-2012, 07:14 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyclad View Post
...What happened to make it go in REVERSE? I'm thinking of either carefully removing the wires from the connector that goes to the lifter motor and reversing them (as the connector only fits into the motor one way,) or if I can't disconnect them, I'd be cutting the wires and connecting them in reverse. What do you guys think?
You have 2 options:

1. See the post my "crdiscoverer":

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...1593392&page=2

---> unscrew the motor metal motor housing and flip it 180 degrees.


2. Cut the wires and switch them, but you should not have to do this.
See #1 above.


PS: When all done, do not use the rear window any more, the Uro regulator can only work that long.

Last edited by cn90; 09-14-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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