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7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

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  #1  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:28 AM
7sofar 7sofar is offline
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Mein Auto: 1999 740i
"frozen" doors

Hi, I recently acquired a pristine 99 740i, but am having a curious problem.
When I wash the car (and also when it rains) and the weather goes below freezing, the drivers door and the rear passenger door "freeze" up.
Drivers door: The latch does not "grab" the locking bar on the door post. The inner locking cams (the ones you can see) move freely, they just do not secure the door. aka, when you close the door, it just bounces back open.
When the door finally does close, it can not be opened from either inside or outside. The door handles move freely, but don't seem to "engage" the opening mechanism. After the car warms up, all works as it is supposed to again.
Rear Passenger Door: Same opening symptoms except the door closes correctly.
I'm from northern Wisconsin, so I'm familiar with doors freezing after washing. My standard practice is to towel dry the car after washing, paying particular attention to the door gaskets and mating surfaces. This doesn't seem to be a typical case of the doors freezing shut...
I'm kind of stuck here (no pun intended )
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by 7sofar; 02-01-2013 at 09:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:38 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Posts: 5,381
Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
You've got to get some type of lubricant up in there that will dispel/displace moisture after getting her unthawed.

This is a common issue for those that live in snow country that don't regularly winterize the door locks/catches/hinges/handles and lubricate their gaskets.

I use the 2 products below...Tri-Flow (which contains TEFLON) for all the moving parts that bind/rub against other parts as well as the bowden cables & the locks/catches/springs in the hood area..and 100% silicone (sprayed into a cloth rag) and all gaskets (doors/trunk/hood) are wiped.


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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2013, 06:28 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Any update?
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2013, 08:02 PM
7sofar 7sofar is offline
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 1999 740i
Thanks for the advice. I've been real busy as of late, so I haven't had a lot of time to devote to this. I have some silicone spray that I intend to treat the gaskets with, (great idea by the way) but that isn't the main problem...
I used to use tri-flo years ago, and loved it. I checked around for an old can, and not finding one, I looked at a few local stores, with no success.
Next issue, how to get the lube where I need it... just beyond the actual locking "arm" inside the mechanism (the one that engages the bolt on the door post) is a plastic guard that presumably protects the rest of the latch assembly from dirt... It also protects it from someone trying to lubricate it...
is there any way of accessing the rest of the mechanism without removing the interior door panel? If not, what is the best way to remove the panel without damage?
Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2013, 10:40 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
EDIT: OOPS! For some reason I thought I was still on the X5 forum...so sorry for all the X5 diagrams and references etc. I will leave the reply as is because there is some cross-over in the larger scheme of things...water still enters the interior of the door, and freezes if temps drop etc. and a lubricant the dispels/displaces moisture still helps prevent frozen doors on BMWs.

Tri Flow can usually be found at bicycle shops...its a popular lubricant for the cycling community...and there's always eBay & amazon.com. You can also go to http://www.triflowlubricants.com/buyonline/ to find local vendors using your zip code...or purchase online.

I used the "straw" that came with my can of Tri Flow to get into the small crevices etc (like the door lock cylinder & around the lifted handles). There's also a removable plug (#3 in the diagram below and circled in red in the image below) that can be found just above the lock actuator (#1). In the diagrams, the encircled numbers indicate hardware...and usually there's a separate index within the illustration that gives an idea of what the hardware looks like.



(the center piece (#3) is what's removable)

I also found an old thread from 2005 on Xoutpost that has a SI Bulletin that officially recognized there was an issue with water freezing on the bowden cable (#5 in diagram above)...I'm not sure if there is an updated SI that includes X5s built after 7/02...because I am sure this issue occurs on multiple BMW models built after this date:
Here is one of the service bulletins sent out by BMW. They are are aware of the problem but, still, no recall to fix this design fault.

This Service Information bulletin replaces S.I. 51 51 02 dated March 2002.

SUBJECT
Outer Door Handles Freeze

MODEL
X5 produced prior to 7/02

SITUATION
Some owners of X5s built prior to 7/02 may complain of one or more outer door releases failing to operate in freezing weather. This usually occurs after a period of heavy rain which is followed by a sudden, hard freeze.

CAUSE
The Bowden cables connecting the outer door handles to the latch assemblies may get water inside the outer sheath of the cable. If the temperature drops below freezing before the water dries out, the water may freeze, preventing the movement of the inner cable.

CORRECTION
As of 7/02 production, the sealing of the outer cable from water penetration was improved by modifying the rubber nipple on the handle end of the cable.
__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 02-02-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2013, 07:19 AM
Cosmopat Cosmopat is offline
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Location: Under the hood
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 2000 740i m-sport
Rubber care

If it's the actual door rubbers sticking go to your BMW dealer and ask if they have a product called a "rubber care stick" from Wurth. It's a non-silicone based lube for door gaskets/rubbers that keeps them from freezing. Because it has no silicone in it it won't make the car impossible to repaint either
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2013, 01:59 PM
7sofar 7sofar is offline
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Mein Auto: 1999 740i
Fantastic info, the diagram really helps.
I'm going to give this a try in the next few days, then give her a good wash and let you guys know how it went...
Thanks !
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:15 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
IIRC that little oval rubber plug is actually access for the stealer tool to remove the door handle. You need an angle tube to direct lube to the lock. If you have time get the cables out and lube them with Castrol GRR. Water repellant and wont make rubber components swell or jam cables. I use loads of it.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2013, 08:26 PM
7sofar 7sofar is offline
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 1999 740i
Hi Guys, just a quick update...
Armed with some high grade lubricant (LPS 2) I finally was able to attack the project.
I tried to gain access through the little oval access hole, which proved almost completely useless... so, I decided to "simply" remove the interior door panel (spoken as a Ford/Chevy owner) and attack the thing from the inside. Well, an hour later, with the panel removed, the airbag removed, and the insulation barrier removed, I was looking (with mirrors and LED flex lights) at the inside of the door. Still the latch seemed inaccessible, and I couldn't figure out how to remove it. So, I just squirted lubricant where I could. I sprayed the cable connecting the inside handle to the latch, the latch itself, and the exterior handle "hinge".
Well, I have washed the car twice since, and the rear door has frozen, but not the drivers door !!!
As soon as I have a little more time, I will attack the other door.
Also, If anyone knows how to remove the exterior handle assembly, I think I could lube the appropriate spots much more effectively.
Anyway, thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it !
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