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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 12-15-2012, 06:52 AM
Michaelmoser23 Michaelmoser23 is offline
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Location: Guam
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Mein Auto: Everything
Door latch problem

So I am not a BMW owner (yet) just an enthusiast. My younger sister, however, has a BMW, a 1994 325is to be exact. It currently is having an issue with the driver side door. She cannot open it from the inside or outside. She just climbs in from the P/S. The D/S door will lock and unlock just won't open. Not sure if this is a common occurrence or not. Y'all have any helpful tricks or advice? Any idea how to get the door open or at least maybe the door panel off to look at it? I'm deployed so I cannot help her but my dad, who knows his way around cars/trucks quite well; just not exactly foreign models, is there to help though.

Any help is much appreciated.


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Old 12-15-2012, 09:35 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
Sounds to me like a double lock solenoid failure. BMW E36s have a primary and secondary locking system. The primary is with the key and the mechanical push button, the second is an electronic system that controls a solenoid in each door latch that moves the mechanism for a secondary lock. The locking solenoids get sticky with age and and then stick in the locked position.
The only other thing I can think of is something has broken in the latch mechanism, but the lock solenoid is the common failure.
The door panel has to come off to get to the lock solenoid or the latch mechanism so the approach is going to be the same to try and verify/fix this. The last time I remember someone removing the door panel with the door in the closed position they had to remove the seat so that they could get to the fasteners and swing the door pane out to remove it.
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
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