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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Without the spring or without tension (when the cable is loose), you should be able to push and pull the black piece by hand.
I was pounding with the mallet but at that time, the spring was still engaged - so I was fighting the spring.

I agree, it goes much more easily without the spring!

"We", can not adjust it in one place because the spring will always push it out, to the maximum tension
This is good information to get my bearings on how the thing works.

You push it in to loosen the cable just so that you can reassemble it. Then when you let go of the spring, out it goes to full tension.
In hindsight, that's what I should have done to loosen the cable tension in the first place!

BTW, in my googles, it seems the Germans use this particular type of window regulator:
- VW
- Boxter
 

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If you put it back together and take pictures, you can complete my DIY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
If you put it back together and take pictures, you can complete my DIY.
I like the idea of working together to complete your DIY so that others benefit in the future, long after we're gone.

The great news is that we have the holy grail in hand, which is the trick to loosen & tighten the extreme cable tension, at will:

  • The ribbed stem 'is' the tension adjustment mechanism (outward=tighter)
  • The spring can potentially be wound off or on without disassembly of anything
In fact, I just now created a special tool for re-inserting the ribbed stem because it is so difficult to pound that tension adjuster inward (i.e., in order to lessen tension).

So, I'll snap pictures - but - for some reason - for the first time ever, I am no longer privileged to upload photos. I don't doubt that I post more photos than almost anyone - but - I didn't get any private messages from any moderators or system administrators (and I have email turned off) - so I'm not sure why all of a sudden, after all these years, my picture-posting privileges are missing.
 

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No worries. We all can not upload attachment at the moment. They are upgrading our servers during the whole weekend. You missed the "Announcement" at the top of the forum. ;)

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
You missed the "Announcement"
Oh. Whew! I thought I was suddenly a persona non grata because I uploaded so many pictures of this endeavor.

Success at last!

In the end, it was actually trivial to re-tension my front window regulator.
I'll send the pictures of each step to MatWiz to complete his DIY ... but here is the secret.

The key to releasing tension is shown in this picture!

Without MatWiz' wizardry, I wouldn't have known to concentrate on that spring on that black post!

After focusing on the springed black ribbed tensioning rod, I was E-A-S-I-L-Y able to get the cable onto the rollers.
The extreme cable tension was no problem at all because I simply added the extreme tension as the very last step, one spring roll at a time!

I wish I had not needed to ask so many questions and to learn so much in hindsight (instead of foresight), but, here, for the next person, is the 'idealized' way to release tension:

To release tension:

  • Simply spin the large tensioning spring off (as you would a key in a keyring)
  • Each revolution of the spring will decrease the tension, until there is absolutely no tension whatsoever!
  • Once the spring is off (or nearly off) you can easily pull the (now loose) cables off the pulleys
To add tension:

  • First push the (now naked) ribbed tension rod inward (about 1/2 inch sticking out)
  • Then, string your (loose) cables around the four pulleys
  • Lastly, simply spin the large tensioning spring onto the ribbed tensioning rod (each turn adds tension!)
Voila!


I do have one question of the Wiz, though:

I'm not sure WHERE to measure from, but, the position of the two hexagonal "barrels" seems to be 'off' by about a quarter of an inch.

Q: Where do I measure from, and, should they be closer than 1/8" symmetric?

 

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Such an elegant solution, Bluebee! Well done! :thumbup::thumbup:

In summary, using MatWiz' wizardry and only after focusing on the black ribbed tensioning rod, I was E-A-S-I-L-Y able to get the cable onto the rollers.
The extreme cable tension was no problem at all because I simply added tension as the very last step, one spring roll at a time!

I wish I didn't have to ask so many questions and to learn so much in hindsight, but, here, for the next person, is the 'idealized' way to release tension:

To release tension:

Simply spin the large tensioning spring off (as you would a key in a keyring)
Each revolution of the spring will decrease the tension, until there is absolutely no tension whatsoever!
Then you can easily pull the (now loose) cables off the pulleys

To add tension:

First push the (now naked) ribbed tension rod inward (about 1/2 inch sticking out)
Then, string your (loose) cables around the four pulleys
Lastly, simply spin the large tensioning spring onto the ribbed tensioning rod (each turn adds tension!)
Voila!
 

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I do have one question of the Wiz, though:

I'm not sure WHERE to measure from, but, the position of the two 'barrels" seems to be 'off' by about a quarter of an inch.

Q: Where do I measure from, and, should they be closer than 1/4" symmetric?

Are you asking about the window glass attachments/carriers? I'm not 100% sure but if I remember correctly the bottom of the glass is not exactly horizontal, so it needs to be a little slanted. You'll see that they'd work ok after you lay the bottom of the window on them.

When you tighten them on the glass, don't over tighten so that you will not crack the glass window.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
the bottom of the glass is not exactly horizontal
I thank you for sticking with me! And for understanding the dilemma!

The fact that the window clamps are 1/8" off is surprising because I took great pains to wind both ends of the cable onto the spool symmetrically:

Caption correction: There is only one cable (it has two ends, both of which end up on the takeup spool).

I don't think there is anything I can do about that 1/8" asymmetry other than to adjust the window stops accordingly.


UPDATE:
I installed the window regulator in the front door, and the hexagonal barrels were off by the amount shown:


Such an elegant solution!
I must say, with some self satisfaction, that this effortless tensioning/detensioning solution does appear to be elegant!
And, to my knowledge, this solution is unique ... or ... at least, it is not documented ANYWHERE on the Internet!
We solved this problem together! (Do you know any good patent attorneys?) :)

We make a good team!
Specifically,
a) YOU FIGURED OUT HOW THE RATCHET POST WORKS!
b) And, given that as a starter, I tested a novel way to add & remove the spring without taking anything apart.

So, the answer to the original question is:
Q: How do we decrease cable tension from taut to slack in order to restring the regulator?
A: Simply reverse the effortless sequence below (where I just now went from slack to taut).







Hindsight: It's probably easier to leave at least one loop of the spring around the ribbed post at all times.

REFERENCES:
Regulator rebuilding:
- This is MatWiz' 2007 regulator-rebuild DIY
- This is the trick to reducing the tremendous cable tension
Regulator replacement:
- Here is an unfinished DIY for removing the front driver side window regulator
- Here is an update to that unfinished DIY moving forward additional steps
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
I'm surprised by the pounding (you said mallet previously). Without the spring or without tension (when the cable is loose), you should be able to push and pull the black piece by hand.
I can emphatically confirm that this ribbed tensioning pin definitely takes a P-O-U-N-D-I-N-G to go down into the motor (even without the spring!).
It also takes a lot of force to come out of the motor - but it seems to take even more force to go back inward!

My kitchen table was reverberating from the effort this morning!


With the window regulator restrung, I will go back to the previous thread which documented my trials and tribulations reinstalling the front driver side window regulator:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Was Loctite - Now it's: How NOT to fix a BMW E39 window regulator
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I'm doing this for the nth time because the cable keeps jumping off the top-left corner pulley.

I think there is a need for a reverse PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slower than everyone else).

EDIT: I'm starting to damage the white plastic transmission case because of the multiple winding and unwinding of the spring catches on the edges, especially when I wind it on wrong (it goes on easily in some cases, and not in others, so I'll have to notice the difference later).

 

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I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
But we're all learning from your experience which will make it much easier when it is our turn! :thumbup: And we appreciate it!
 

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I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
Spinning off the chipped wheel? Can that be the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
make it much easier when it is our turn!!
Well, this is one time when I wish others had gone before me to report all the gotchas I've made mistakes on.

Today, for example, I realized I need to twist the cable clockwise (looking at the end down toward the cable) two turns when winding it on the coil counterclockwise two turns. Otherwise, this happens when you put the whole thing together:


Of course, it's a bit difficult to keep all that CCW and CW winding together with a single set of hands:


Note: I bought a T27 Torx driver - but it isn't needed. The only Torx needed is T25 to remove/replace the regulator and a T20 to remove/replace the white plastic take-up-spool assembly from the metal bracket - and T20 to adjust the window stop wings on the window clamps (which are T25 for the clamp bolts).

Spinning off the chipped wheel?
The chip 'might' be the problem - but - there are so many 'other' mistakes I've made that I need to just put it together once without making a fatal mistake to be sure.

For example, besides the spinning of the cable, I realized that I was LUCKY last time in that I lucked out by spinning the spring on the 'right' way. Today, I spun it on the wrong way ... and I realized, too late, that it makes a difference which way you do it.

This is the wrong way. I should have reversed the coil spring. Lesson learned.

To the next person who tries this, MARK THE COIL before you take it off so you know the orientation to spin it back on!

EDIT: It turns out, upon closer inspection, the coil spring is symmetric, so, it won't matter which side you spin on first. What matters GREATLY is to spin it on AT AN ANGLE and do not pre-wind the spring parallel to the cable. My first time I was at about a 45° angle, and it worked fine. The second time I prespun it on the cable, parallel to the cable, and it was a disaster. The third time I came at about a 45° angle again, and it worked fine. So, technique is important here.


Also, today I put the take up spool in the wrong direction, and had to start over again. So, MARK the TOP of the take up spool also!
- BOTTOM gets the cable end with the longer spring
- TOP gets the cable end with the shorter spring

Note: There is no need to unwind the shorter cable - but - if you did, you'd probably gain a little slack.


Of course, the grease is a good idea, except when you have to take it apart a few times. Sigh. So my advice is to put the grease on last!

Likewise, you don't want to press the ribbed rod too many times out and in (I must have done it a dozen times by now); as the fatigue will cause 'this' to happen:


At least we now know what the teeth grabbing the ribs looks like! :)
 

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I'm doing this for the third time. I think there is a need for a PRE-TWIST to the cable, which, may be why it's spinning off the wheel. Still debugging. Yes. I know. (I'm slow.)
I don't remember twisting the cable but reading your next post I figured why, and how you can do this without twisting and in an easier way.

Start with one cable end. Insert into the wheel and turn the wheel in your hand to wrap the cable all the way to the end of the wheel. Meaning, wrap all the grooves of the wheel with one side of the cable. Now, insert the other end into its hole, and start turning the wheel in the reverse direction, to wrap this end of the cable onto the wheel. What will happen is that the new side of the cable will go into the groove that will now become emptied by the other end.

You see, now you don't need to pre-twist because you are not twisting the cable to go OVER the wheel.

Think of your garden hose, if your hose is all the way out, and you are collecting it by turning the wheel, you will not have twisting. But if you stand on the side of the wheel, and wrap THE CABLE onto the wheel, you will get endless twisting.
 

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Turn the wheel with the two ends wrapped to have about the same wraps of each side on the wheel (about two from each side?). Then insert the wheel and press to lock it in. Done. Now place the cable on the rollers if they are not already on them, and insert the spring. Finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
wrap the cable all the way to the end of the wheel
This is a GREAT idea ... which ... I only belatedly saw just now as I was retiring for the evening. In effect, it looks like there are three ways to wrap the cable in order to take into account the cable twist from the three counterclockwise wraps on the take-up spool.

  1. Wrap, as you mentioned, the larger-springed cable end six wraps counterclockwise onto the bottom half of the take up spool (taking up all six grooves of the takeup spool) ... then ... wrap the smaller-springed end into the top three grooves of the take up spool
  2. Twist the larger-springed end clockwise three turns, and then wrap three counterclockwise loops on the bottom of the takeup spool; likweise, twist the smaller-springed end clockwise three times and wrap three counterclockwise loops on the top of the take up spool
  3. Wrap the larger-springed end three loops on the bottom of the takeup spool; then allow the entire remaining regulator cable to spin freely in the air to compensate for the twisting; then twist the remaining end three times clockwise and then wrap it around the top end of the takeup spool.
The approach I took today was #3 above - but I like your approach #1 above because it requires no difficult twisting (especially since my cable end had frayed a bit, it was biting into my skin as I attempted to twist the cable ends).

Note: This spool only has 5 wraps - but it actually requires six tight wraps (yet another lesson learned, the hard way).



EDIT:
BTW, this video shows even the pros have problems winding up the spring. It's easy, but, it's all technique. Wrong technique - and it's not so easy anymore. An extra set of hands would help.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2Pe3cpYCfC0

Note: This video shows a DIFFERENT way to retension a cable regulator:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS20sLgUEbI&feature=related
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Turn the wheel with the two ends wrapped to have about the same wraps of each side on the wheel (about two from each side?)
I wish when I had first taken the spool apart that I had counted the wraps - but I tried today with just two wraps on each side - and it was too loose, so it's three wraps on each side.

Now place the cable on the rollers if they are not already on them, and insert the spring. Finished.
Inserting the spring is actually easy - if you approach it from the right angle - and very difficult if you don't.

For example, today I tried to wrap the spring back on by first wrapping it around the cable outside the black post - but that turned out to be folly:

Then, I belatedly realized the right way to approach the spring wrap is to come in at a slight angle and wrap around the black post, turning the spring clockwise to wind it on.


Unfortunately, I wound and unwound that spring so many times today that I ended up damaging it a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Bad news. Today I tried another three or four times to repair the regulator. I have the wrapping and stringing down to a science, so that's not the problem.

And, I put the window clamps on the rails BEFORE mounting it in the door (which was a lesson learned).

But, still, after about five or so test traversals of the window, the wire came off the top left roller (i.e., the one that was chipped).

Given that, I'm finally convinced (by the data) that my regulator is toast - mostly due to the chip in the wheel that occurred when the regulator jammed prior to removal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
I will search for regulator suppliers ... so ... if you have experience with particular brands and suppliers ... please let me know.

- Supplier prices lookup comparison engine (1) & BMW salvage (junkyard) parts lookup engine (1) & BMWfans search by part number (bmwfans.info parts catalog) & Realoem nominal prices by part number (1) & EACTuning actual prices by part number (1) & BMW of South Atlanta actual prices by part number (1) & Maxmillian BMW dealer prices by part number (1) & the most often recommended parts suppliers (1) & what BMW E39 parts & supplies are best to buy OEM (1) & joining BMWCCA to lower parts costs (1) (2) & what parts to always get OEM (1) which BMW dealers match prices (1) & in situ pictures of common parts of the M54 engine (1)

EDIT: Seems like the following brands are available:

  • OE 51 33 8 252 393 (Kuster is the original brand name on mine) 51338252393
  • A1 Cardone 82-2134A
  • Action Crash 1032-04050415
  • Dorman #: 740-478 or #740478
  • Hollander #: 125-58598L
  • JL Germany (Bavauto seems to sell this)
  • Partslink #: BM1350103
  • Replacement B462922 (The Parts Bin & DriveWire & auto parts warehouse seem to sell this)
  • Üro Parts 51338252393 (BMA, AutoHauzAZ, Amazon, seem to sell this)
  • VDO/Siemens (Amazon seems to sell this)
  • World Source One W0133-1601605
  • ? what others ?
Note: The driver-side front regulator seems to go by two different part numbers: OLD: 51338236859 NEW: 51338252393
Note: Part #51338252393 is for the front left, driver side; while part #51338252394 is for the front right, passenger side.
Note: E39 models built before 9/1997 apparently used a slightly different mounting method than later models do (mine is a 2002).

Note: It's interesting that Turner Motorsports has multiple items of the exact same price & brand as "The Parts Bin" (URL not provided as it is asterisked out when I type it as a single word).

Note: Here is a typical supplier's picture of the OEM brand (Kuster).

  • Notice I flipped all the pictures so as to always show the true orientation (most suppliers show it upside down)
  • Notice the white plastic take-up spool assembly is tie wrapped to the metal motor plate so I presume we need to re-use both the old motor and the five screws which held the old take-up-spool mechanism to the metal motor plate
  • We probably need to re-use the three T25 bolts at top which don't show in this picture
  • The two bottom 10mm bolts seem to come with the window regulator
  • The two window clamps seem to come with the regulator (each clamp has a T25 bolt, rubber "edge protector", T20 bolt, and the plastic window stop)
  • The regulator appears to come with the T20 bolt and clip at the center (which clips the bottom portion of the motor plate to the door)
  • The small rubber stopper on the motor plate seems to come with the regulator (this is a separate part number in realoem diagrams)
 

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Isn't there someone who sells (sold?) rollers replacements? :dunno:
 
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