E46 2001 Door Won't Open - Fix How-To - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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E46 (1999 - 2006)
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:46 AM
lightsoutlenny lightsoutlenny is offline
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Location: UK
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: E46 320i
E46 2001 Door Won't Open - Fix How-To

Driver side door won’t open from the outside.

E46 2001 320ci M54 auto coupe' UK right hand drive

My symptoms were, I could lock/unlock and open the car the driver’s door from the inside however, it would not open from the outside – the door lever simply lifted nothing happened.

After reading various forums, replies and how-to it looked a bit of a daunting job – people quoting hours and not wanting to have to do it again. So here’s my take on it, I feel it’s a relatively simple process without too much patience needed. Maybe I was lucky, perhaps I’m using a different process (specifically step 10 below).

You’ll need a 10mm socket and ratchet/wrench, T20 Torx bit screwdriver or socket to fit the ratchet/wrench, a blunt rounded knife, a torch, long flat bladed screw driver, long nose pliers, side cutters, a large zip-tie (Image01). Also, although not strictly necessary, a lead light, a small zip-tie, an inspection mirror and a maximum 40 minutes of your time.

1/ Read through the process and familiarise yourself with what’s expected and where. Working from inside the car door only:

2/ With the T20 Torx bit screwdriver or socket to fit the ratchet/wrench, undo the three self-tapping screws under the arm rest.

3/ With the blunt knife prise off your Air-Bag badge, also ‘carefully’ remove the screw blanking cover from behind the inner door lever. Now remove the T20 Torx screws from behind those two covers.

4/ Using the blunt knife, ‘carefully’ prise out the door mirror switch from the arm rest (Image02) and unplug the two connections.

5/ Starting from bottom the door card about centre, using the blunt knife, prise away the door card from the door itself. If it doesn’t release relatively easily, try further along the door. There are 11white round press-fit fittings (Image03), once you’ve started, use your fingers to avoid any paint or interior damage. Work your way along the door and up both sides of the door card.

6/ With the door card bottom and two sides free, using the door arm rest, pull towards and slightly up you to release the final 6 black square press-fit fittings along the top of the door card, bear in mind the door lock on the top of the door as you will have to also lift over this (Image03 / Image04).

7/ Now remove the speaker connection also, carefully feed out the two door mirror connections off the door card. Finally, release the white housing/cable from the inner door lever (Image04).

8/ Using the blunt knife, ‘carefully’ remove the grey door card foam barrier, I removed from about half way to allow inner door access (I also removed the three 10mm bolts from around the Air-Bag (Image04) and without disconnecting the wiring, placed the air-bag inside the inner door for safety - You should also to disconnect the car battery – Image05).

9/ Looking inside the door and back toward the handle mechanism, you can see the cable has pulled out of its C shaped retainer/housing (Image06 / Image07).

10/ Looking down lower in the door, trace where the cable connects to the door latch mechanism (Image08 / Image09). Pull the cable out of its housing (Image10) unhook and release it from the latch mechanism then, temporally thread it back out of the inner door (Image 11). You may have to temporarily remove the black protector plate which is positioned half way along the cable route. This will allow the cable to manoeuvre into position in step 11 below. I removed mine and inadvertently snapped the retaining fixing – hence the small white zip-tie later in Image17).

11/ With easy access to the yellow end of the cable, look back inside the door and push/pull the cable and its housing independently to position the cable back over the C shaped retainer/housing. With the cable near it’s correct position (and just out of the C shaped housing cup), use the long flat bladed screw driver to push/press the cable surround back into the C shaped housing cup (Image12). (Note the cable surround has a D shape to it, as well as a groove in its D shape to correspond with the C shaped housing – there is only one way it will fit together correctly.

12/ With the cable now back in its correct position in the retainer/housing. Thread the large zip-tie up and behind the retainer/housing (Image13). Using the long nosed pliers pull up, zip up and tighten the zip-tie. Manoeuvre the lock part of the tie away from potential obstruction and snip of any excess zip-tie (Image14 / Image15).

13/ Working back on the other (yellow) end of the cable, thread the cable housing back into the original route, behind the black protector plate, and back up to the door latch mechanism. Now bend tip of the cable to an L shape and thread it back behind the latch fixing through the key shape hole and push back into the housing/retainer position (Image16 / Image 17).

14/ Now, working backwards from step 8 back to step 1, replace everything back to the original positions. I cannot stress enough the importance of following each step and checking everything functions ‘before’ going on to each previous step. For example, make sure your outer door handle functions correctly before putting the grey door card foam barrier back on. Then once the air-bag is back in position and the battery is connected up, check the window and the remote locking functions correctly before putting the door card back on. Also the speakers, the inner door lever and all the cables back into the correct routes.

>>> Please note, this is for general guidance only. I will not be held responsible <<<
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