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Lol... I used packing tape for about a month and a half. It would slide down atleast once every 2 weeks. My cousin told me to cut a stick to length and shove it I the panel. Until I decide which route I'll go to fixing it (the diy quick fix kit some one custom built or order online). Right now it's been 3 months and the stick has been a temporary permanent fix. Lol, not like I have pSsengers I. The back anyways.
 

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Here's a link to the best pic I could find:

However, I actually used 2 small, clear suction cups. One on the left, one on the right. It works so well, the in laws decided to just leave it that way since they never use the rear windows.
:rofl: My rear two window regulators have been broken for at least a year. I first used paper wedges to keep the windows up. That didn't work. Then I used erasers wedges to try to hold up the windows, that didn't really work. Finally it dawned upon me to try using towel hooks with suction cups. That worked pretty well! I have two big suction cups holding up the back windows. Your idea of using two per window is better. Using only one, the window will drag down eventually, but I think two will hold the window in place better and for longer periods of time.

It's so funny to me that others have thought of this as well. I thought I was so special and smart for coming up with the idea. :p

BlueBee, I look forward to your fixing adventure. I will attempt to fix my rear window regulators this holiday break as well. So I'll be watching this thread carefully. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
My rear two window regulators have been broken for at least a year.
Your towel rack suction cup story was interesting. Apparently a lot of us wait for that round tuit before we fix the rear window regulators.

However, this is the driver's side front door - which is the one window that needs to be fixed sooner, rather than later.

I wonder how you guys build up the courage to begin tackling these things!

To build up my courage, I read the widely divergent DIYs, and, then, I assembled my first pass at a composite front drivers side door panel removal instructions (see below).

I'm still rather confused about whether I should buy anything in advance, but, at least I'm at the point of building up my courage to get a look at the window regulator mechanism after removing the front door panel.

My composite BMW E39 front drivers side door panel removal instructions:

  1. Lower the front driver side window glass if possible.
  2. Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery; then the positive terminal.
  3. Cross connect the negative & positive cables (not the battery terminals!) with a wrench & let sit for at least 10 minutes (ostensibly to bleed off charges)
  4. While waiting for electrical charges in the SRS system to bleed off, magnetize a set of screwdrivers.
  5. Locate the driver side door handle escutcheon screw cap.
  6. With your fingernail or a jewelry flathead screwdriver, pry out that screw cap.
  7. With a #0 Phillips screwdriver or a T20 Torx, remove that door handle escutcheon screw.
  8. Locate the driver side front top corner air vent screw.
  9. Close the vent for access to the screw and notice that you must unscrew at an angle.
  10. With a long thin #0 Phillips screwdriver, remove that air vent screw.
  11. With your hands, pry down the aft end of the bottom door light panel.
  12. By hand, disconnect the harness connector to that bottom door light.
  13. Wiggle the door handle escutcheon to ensure it only loosely hinders movement of the front door panel.
  14. Place your left hand on the black plastic (not the grill) at the top right of the front door panel.
  15. Place your right hand on the plastic on the top vertical portion of the front door panel.
  16. With your hands, pull the door panel straight out to pop loose that top right corner of the front door panel.
  17. First working counterclockwise with your hands, pop out the plastic christmas tree clips on the entire horizontal top edge of the door panel.
  18. Then, still with your hands, now working clockwise, pop out the plastic clips on the right edge and then the bottom edge of the front driver side door panel.
  19. When you get to the bottom rear corner of the door panel, note the pocket is glued onto the panel with a plastic sheet; place your fingers on that plastic sheet so as not to detach it from the door panel when you pull outward to release the Christmas tree clips.
  20. When the entire perimeter is loose, the only thing holding the door panel in are two plastic Christmas tree clips behind the arm rest. These clips don't release straight out.
  21. Double check that the door panel perimeter is completely loose and unhindered.
  22. With your hands, twist the entire door panel slightly counter clockwise and then clockwise and then up and then out to release those last two center clips.
  23. Note that the center clip may not come out with the panel, and may remain attached to the door metal.
  24. Slip the door handle through the door panel hole to free up the door panel of mechanical things.
  25. Unplug the midrange speaker harness connector.
  26. Be careful with the master control switch plastic as it is often brittle and may crack; do all your prying from the backside of the switch, not from the outside lip.
  27. Remove the master control switches by pushing outward on them with your fingers, from the back of the door panel through a round hole in the door panel.
  28. Unclip the three diabolical German connectors to the master control switch, two with clips that you push down by hand and then rotate the loose lever, and one with a u-shaped clip that you pull out with an L-shaped piece of scrap metal to release the clip.
  29. Now the door panel is free of its strictures and tethers.
  30. We hope. :)
 

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BB, somewhat off-topic....

In #3, you say "Cross connect the negative & positive terminals with a wrench & let sit for at least 10 min."

I always wonder why folks here on the Fest recommend doing this. (My incredulity is probably rooted in ignorance.) Also, I'd be worried that a few newbies reading this might then try to connect a tool between the BATTERY terminals, so maybe an emphasis on the unconnected cables might be advisable here (with the caution not to mistakenly place a conductive object between the two battery terminals).

If you are worried about residual charge in capacitors or some other electrical parts in the car, wouldn't turning on the headlights or something that draws significant current get rid of it (assuming there really is any residual charge even with battery disconnected)? Is there anything about the airbag electricals that really demands this step?

I hope your interview went well.
 

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BB, somewhat off-topic....

In #3, you say "Cross connect the negative & positive terminals with a wrench & let sit for at least 10 min."

I always wonder why folks here on the Fest recommend doing this. (My incredulity is probably rooted in ignorance.) Also, I'd be worried that a few newbies reading this might then try to connect a tool between the BATTERY terminals, so maybe an emphasis on the unconnected cables might be advisable here (with the caution not to mistakenly place a conductive object between the two battery terminals).

If you are worried about residual charge in capacitors or some other electrical parts in the car, wouldn't turning on the headlights or something that draws significant current get rid of it (assuming there really is any residual charge even with battery disconnected)? Is there anything about the airbag electricals that really demands this step?

I hope your interview went well.
pleiades, I'm glad you pointed this out as this was exactly what I thought the instructions were telling me (as a newbie) to do. Am I to put the wrench between the positive and negative terminal so they 'connect'? That doesn't sound right to me. Exactly what does #3 mean? Please explain in newbie/laymen language. Thanks!

And I like the idea of turning on the headlights to discharge any potential residual charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Exactly what does #3 mean? Please explain in newbie/laymen language.
I do not know if it does anything useful.
What it is "supposed" to do is bleed off stored charges.
Is that necessary? I don't know.
Do we actually need to bleed off SRS charges? I don't know.
Does it actually bleed off SRS charges? I don't know.
Probably not in all cases.

Wouldn't putting the headlights on bleed off stored SRS charges? I don't know.
Maybe. But I don't know.

But I've done it a hundred times to reboot the DICE so here's how you do it.

That, I know. :)
 

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The confusion is in the terminology. Your picture explains it perfectly. Short out the positive and negative battery cables (to the car). NOT the positive and negative terminals to the battery. As Geezer points out, you will get, very quickly, a very warm wrench if you short the battery terminals. This is how [email protected] explains the procedure:

1. Disconnect iPod from cable
2. Remove battery cables, negative first
3. Touch battery cable terminals together (away from battery) for +5 seconds, a small spark is normal as this is stored power draining from the system.
4. Allow cables to remain disconnected for about 5-7 minutes
5. Reconnect battery cables onto battery, negative last.
6. Reboot iPod by pressing on MENU and CENTER buttons for +5 seconds and then reconnecting to the DICE cable after the reboot process is completed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
For the record, I re-edited the post that said to connect the terminals and made it clearer it was the cables that needed to be cross connected.

Still haven't gotten the courage to rip it all open yet; but I did watch all the youtube videos I could find on removing the door panel (and added all that information to the DIY writeup above).
 

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I have used the Packing Tape trick twice now with good results and it cleans off just fine if you are careful.

I have also used this trick once to identify where a wind noise was coming from on the hwy. It turned out to be a sealing strip along the rear window. The tape totally eliminated the noise so I know to remove that strip and properly seat it back in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I have also used this trick once to identify where a wind noise was coming from on the hwy
That's a great idea to eliminate wind noise from the windows; we should add this to the wind-noise diagnostic threads.

BTW, as a cross reference, here's a picture from this thread showing that more than a few people use the ingenious rubber suction cup method of holding the E39 windows up!

 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·

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Last year my driver's window just went down and wont come up just like yours. I just open up the door panel and then the vapor barriers and found that the glass slipped off the rack. All I had to do was put the glass back on the rack and had someone hold it for me while I tighten back the screw on the rack. Everything works perfectly again. Just make sure you seal back your vapor barriers good or you will have a koi pond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
All I had to do was put the glass back on the rack
That is why I haven't bought the parts yet. I haven't done enough research yet to tackle the job. Since it's 57 degrees today, maybe I should tackle it now. :)

Looks like there are three or four components of the task:

  1. Figure out how to remove the panels to access the regulator (done)
  2. Figure out what's wrong (regulator, or whatever)
  3. Figure which replacement regulator or kit to buy (or make your own)
  4. Figure out what to reseal the vapor barriers with (which glue)
Since I only have the first of four researched, I have a long way to go before opening the door panels up and fixing this.

To help out, here are some recent drivers side door panel threads ongoing at this moment in the E39 community, each with good information:
- 528i driver side window regulator, by RookieBMW
- Drivers Door Window Regulator, by jglover

Along with these older driver-side specific threads:
- E39 Front Window Regulator - Re-Assembly Instructions by MatWiz
- E46 Front window regulator DIY by elbee

And, even this fabricate a repair kit yourself here by the beloved cn90.

Just make sure you seal back your vapor barriers good or you will have a koi pond.
That's good advice. I will have to research the threads for the right sealant. I know they're all over the place (which makes it hard since there is so much data).

Here are just some of the better ones:
- Vapor Barrier - What's the specific/ideal adhesive for repair?
- Where to get vapor barrier adhesive Butyl Tape / Rope by ill_kuma
- What sizes to buy for vapor barrier adhesive (1)
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
Now what?

Looks like there are three or four components of the task:

  1. Figure out how to remove the panels to access the regulator (done)
  2. Figure out what's wrong (regulator, or whatever)
  3. Figure which replacement regulator or kit to buy
Now that it's 70 degrees outside, I decided my round tuit was free, and I followed the 30 composite panel removal steps listed in post #25 above.

Some of the steps were wrong; others were imprecise ... so here's the update after having pulled off the "outer" trim (I didn't realize that there is an "inner" barrier to deal with before I can see the regulator - but that's for the next post.)

My specific BMW E39 2002 525i front drivers side door exterior panel removal instructions:

  1. Lower the front driver side window glass if possible (I left mine taped up).
  2. Using a 10mm socket or box wrench, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery; then the positive terminal.
  3. Cross connect the negative & positive cables (not the battery terminals!) with a wrench & let sit for at least 10 minutes (ostensibly to bleed off SRS charges)
    • Note: This step is not listed in the Bentleys.
  4. While waiting for electrical charges in the SRS system to bleed off, magnetize a set of screwdrivers.
    • Note: This step is not listed in the Bentleys.
  5. There are a total of 19 connection points (2 screws & 17 clips, not counting wire connections)
    • 2 screws: 1 under the vent; 1 under the door handle
    • 17 clips: 5 on the top; 3 on the front; 4 on the bottom; 3 on the rear; & 2 under the arm rest
  6. There are a total of five electrical harness connectors.
    • (door light, memory module, master switch, door speaker, air bag)
  7. Locate the driver side door handle escutcheon screw cap.
  8. With a small 1/8" wide flathead screwdriver, pry out that screw cap out from the 6 o'clock position.
  9. With a T20 Torx screwdriver, remove that door handle escutcheon screw.
  10. With your hand, close the front corner air vent for access to the screw behind the vent door and notice that you must unscrew at an angle (it was easy with a long screwdriver).
  11. With a long thin #2 Phillips screwdriver, remove that air vent screw.
  12. With your hands, pry down the aft end of the bottom door light panel (this took a decent amount of force) & pull out the plastic light box.
  13. By hand, disconnect the 2-wire harness connector to that bottom door light.
  14. Wiggle the door handle escutcheon to ensure it only loosely hinders movement of the front door panel.
  15. Place your left hand on the black plastic (not the grill) at the top right of the front door panel.
  16. Place your right hand on the plastic on the top vertical portion of the front door panel.
  17. With your hands, pull the door panel straight out to pop loose that top right corner of the front door panel.
  18. First working counterclockwise with your hands, pop out the 5 metal clips on the horizontal top edge of the door panel.
  19. Then, still with your hands, now working clockwise, pop out the 3 yellow (longer) plastic Christmas-tree clips on the right edge.
  20. Pry out the 4 white (shorter) plastic Christmas-tree clips on the bottom edge of the front driver side door panel.
  21. When you get to the bottom rear corner of the door panel, note the pocket is glued onto the panel with a plastic sheet; place your fingers on that plastic sheet so as not to detach it from the door panel when you pull outward to release the Christmas tree clips (I didn't really understand these instructions; but, luckily, I just ignored them and all came out ok.)
  22. Pry out the 3 white (shorter) plastic Christmas-tree clips on the rear edge of the door panel; note the middle clip may be more difficult than the rest due to the additional clip under the rear arm rest only two inches away from the middle of these three rear-side clips.
  23. When the entire perimeter is loose, the only thing holding the door panel in are two clips behind the arm rest. One is a white plastic Christmas-tree clip near the aft end of the door handle which pulls straight out; the other is a metal clip in the center of the door handle which comes out when you pull UP on the panel (the way a window would close).
  24. Pry the aft door handle white Christmas-tree clip outward with a wide tool; and then double check that the door panel perimeter is completely loose and unhindered.
  25. With your hands, twist the entire door panel slightly counter clockwise and then clockwise and then up and then out to release that last metal center clip.
  26. Note that the center clip may not come out with the panel, and may remain attached to the door metal (all my clips stayed with the door panel).
  27. Slip the door handle through the door panel hole to free up the door panel of mechanical things (my door handle fell off from all the commotion when I pulled that last center clip loose).
  28. Now the only thing connected to the door panel are wires. Unplug the white 2-wire plastic connector to the four memory buttons.
    • Note the Bentleys have us removing the memory module first, prior to removing the door clips.
  29. At this point, you can fully access the insides of the door, if you wish to lay the door panel off to the side. Or you can continue to disconnect wires so as to totally free the door panel.
  30. Unplug the black 2-wire mid-range speaker harness connector.
  31. Make certain to be careful with the master control switch plastic as it is often brittle and may crack; do all your prying from the backside of the switch, not from the outside lip.
  32. Remove the master control switches by pushing outward on them with your fingers, from the back of the door panel through a round hole in the door panel.
  33. Unclip the three diabolical German connectors to the master control switch, two with clips that you push down by hand and then rotate the loose lever, and one with a u-shaped clip that you pull out with an L-shaped piece of scrap metal to release the clip.
  34. Now the door panel is free of its strictures and tethers.
  35. Now what? :)
I had thought, by the time I got this far, that I would be able to "see" the window regulator mechanism (to diagnose what is broken).

Alas, there is this gunky black sheeting still on the door (see pics below) that needs to be removed properly ... so I'm going to do some more research. :(

 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I'm at a loss as to the next step.

Interestingly, I just spent the last hour of warm sunny daylight looking up DIYs for the driver's side window regulator. Strangely, NONE of them explained the steps to remove that black stuff which appears to be the vapor barrier (maybe I should have looked up vapor barrier threads instead).

This was the closest I could find, from Ågent99, but it doesn't explain anything (it does provide lovely pictures though - see below) ... and it's for the wrong door (his is for the passenger door which has far fewer wires).

So, I think, I'm on my own (surprisingly, for such a common repair). I must assume "the next step" is either dead simple or people just didn't write a DIY on it for some other reason.

Anyway, what I need to figure out his how to get from the first of Ågent99's pictures below (but for the driver's side door) to the second one (where I can finally "see" the window regulator mechanism)???

For the driver's side door, how do I go from THIS ...


To this! (i.e., what is the next step once the outer panel has been removed?)
 

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