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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I asked for help with this a few days ago and user jparnes1 was able to point me in the right direction. I had a hard time finding solid information about how to fix this issue so I figured I'd make a post explaining what I did to solve it for anyone else out there.

The Problem: Pulling on the hood release once opened the driver's side latch but pulling on it the second time failed to release the passenger side latch. After yanking harder, pushing on the hood itself, trying all manner of things, nothing worked. So, how do you open the hood when the passenger side latch won't release?

The Solution:

To start. Here's just a couple of reference photos to get an idea of what the engine bay looks like and where you'll be sticking your hands feeling around for cables in the dark. I'm a visual person and it's nice to be able to see what you're looking at when you can't open the hood yourself.

The green arrow is pointing to the latch that won't release.



Close up



Step 1 - Remove the passenger side front wheel well liner. You don't even have to take the wheel off. There are 10 screws that you have to remove with an 8mm socket wrench. The first two are easiest to access if you turn the steering wheel all the way to the left so the wheel is out of the way.



Once you remove both of those, jack the car up. I used a simple scissor jack. The reason for doing this is to give yourself a ton of room to work with. Here's a comparison of how much jacking the car up helps!



This is the liner removed and the 10 screw points circled in case you have trouble finding them all.



Step 2 - Once the wheel well liner is removed, you have an excellent view of the inside of the engine bay. I highlighted the Bowden cable in green (the one that releases the latch mechanism). If it isn't completely disconnected from the latch, pulling on that will finally release the latch and you'll be able to open your hood!



The issue was a plastic part of the cable broke and caused the cable to fall out of it's housing. On the left you can see how it was just laying out of place and not giving enough tension to release the latch when pulling on the handle in the car. On the right is how it should be positioned when working properly.

*A Note from user Slack00 if you find your cable still attached: "Also, for those that need to MANUALLY open their hood because there is a physical break closer to the handle side of the system: At the latch end, for GOOD cables that aren't broken and are still secured, it is important to note that you must UNHOOK the sheathed end of the cable from its metal perch (while keeping the metal cable/ball inside it's retaining block) and THEN pull on the cable to release the hood--if you pull on the whole cable (sheath and all, still hooked up) you'll risk breaking the clip and you'll need to replace it along with any other broken parts."



Replacing the Bowden Cable - I ordered one from my local dealer and it came out to be $40 with tax. Not terrible. Removing the old cable is easy. Installing the new one was a little tricky. I used a couple screw drivers and a couple needle nose pliers to assist in getting everything reattached. The way you go about doing it will be unique to your hand size and the tools you have, but I documented some key information to hopefully assist you in doing this. It's not hard, it just takes a little patience.

The cable is connected to the latch with a wire with a metal ball attached at the end. That ball can slide up a small track and pop out the side of the enclosure. Not hard to do, but definitely confusing if you can't get a good angle of what the thing looks like. The image below shows the cable in green and the ball circled in red. The side view shows the balls position in the enclosure and the red arrows point in the direction you need to push it in order to unhook it.



Unhook both the left and right side of the latch and follow both of the cables to the connector point on the edge of the hood on the driver's side. This image is of both of the cables unhooked and the small black connection point that connects the hood release cable from inside the car to the cables in the engine bay.



Next, pop open the little black cover and unhook the ball (circled in green) and the connection point of the other cable that leads into the cabin (also circled in green).



Once you have those unhooked you can firmly remove the black box from the metal frame of the car. Congratulations! You removed the broken cable! Now to install the new one mount the new black box, reconnect the interior cable and the ball, close the box and begin reconnecting the new cable to the two latch points. This is the part that'll take some patience as I found it to be much more tricky getting them installed than it was to remove them. But you now understand where and how all of it works so it'll just take a little bit of time.

One last thing to note. The newest revision of the Bowden Cable is meant to be routed differently to the passenger side latch than the old one. Here is an image of the difference. The one on the left is the old one (you can see the broken plastic on the end) and the new one is curved on the right.



What this means is that if you try to route it the same way as the old one, it won't work. When I bought the replacement cable, the BMW tech also gave me two pipe clips (Part # 17127609160). Those pipe clips install in the two green circled areas to secure the cable. The cable follows the green arrows, NOT the old placement, which are the red X's.



That's it! Enjoy being able to open your hood again! Hope this is helpful... or at the very least, can help you decide if you want to buy a $40 part and spend a couple hours listening to awesome music and getting your hands dirty or if you'd rather take it to the dealer and pay hundreds of dollars for time saved.

Cheers!

-Soul
 

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You lost me at "jack up the car". Back to the dealership.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You lost me at "jack up the car". Back to the dealership.
Hahaha, fair enough. For me, the end result was a $30 part and maybe an hour of my time versus the dealership quoting me anywhere from $200-$500 depending on how long it took the tech to figure it out.
 

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Thanks for posting this, it's good to know just in case. This sort of happened to me once but I was able to just push the "unlatched" side back down and start over to get it opened.
 

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One of the best write ups I've ever seen on a forum. Especially liked how you colored the cable green in your photos to allow for easy differentiation from everything else.
 

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I suspect that this is not that uncommon of a problem - I had it too with my 2012 335i. Dealer took care of it under warranty.

Great write-up, BTW!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I suspect that this is not that uncommon of a problem - I had it too with my 2012 335i. Dealer took care of it under warranty.

Great write-up, BTW!
Yeah, the replacement cable was designed differently, so it seems like BMW realized the issue and engineered a fix, which is nice to know.

My warranty had just run out unfortunately.
 

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Just wanted to let you know...

...that this wonderful post helped solve this issue with my BMW this morning.

Oddly enough, the $100 Bentley manual I have makes NO MENTION of the hood latch or any hood opening features WHATSOEVER. What a waste. So, I was ready to take off the front bumper (!!!) to get to the hood latch. Thanks internet, for saving me from that fate!

Fortunately for me, no new parts were involved--a strong pull on my hood latch handle unsecured the cable from the other two at the joint inside the box. When I finally opened the hood, the box was open and I just had to press everything back down firmly into place. Even with everything back together, this F30 is one of the worst hood-latch systems I've ever encountered (half the time I have to re-press the hood down and make multiple attempts to open it...I suspect its the passenger side latch as other people have pointed out, but nothing seems to be broken and I'm not bothered enough to do anything more about it)

Thank you a LOT SoulAssasyn for the great writeup!

Another few tips:

1) Removing the wheel(s) helps with access to the fender well screws as well as the cable itself. If you don't mind spending extra time in exchange for a less frustrating experience, I'd recommend this step.

2) Also, for those that need to MANUALLY open their hood because there is a physical break closer to the handle side of the system: At the latch end, for GOOD cables that aren't broken and are still secured, it is important to note that you must UNHOOK the sheathed end of the cable from its metal perch (while keeping the metal cable/ball inside it's retaining block) and THEN pull on the cable to release the hood--if you pull on the whole cable (sheath and all, still hooked up) you'll risk breaking the clip and you'll need to replace it along with any other broken parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Slack00, thanks for the feedback! Great information in #2 for people whose cable clip things didn't break! I'll add it to the OP. Super glad the information was helpful for you.
 

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That's the kind of nonsense why BMW lost me.

Why does this happen? Bad design (again)

My E90 had the contrary; when closing the hood the hatches wouldn't maintain it locked. Of course a lack of lube is a contributing factor.
 

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I asked for help with this a few days ago and user jparnes1 was able to point me in the right direction. I had a hard time finding solid information about how to fix this issue so I figured I'd make a post explaining what I did to solve it for anyone else out there.

The Problem: Pulling on the hood release once opened the driver's side latch but pulling on it the second time failed to release the passenger side latch. After yanking harder, pushing on the hood itself, trying all manner of things, nothing worked. So, how do you open the hood when the passenger side latch won't release?

The Solution:

To start. Here's just a couple of reference photos to get an idea of what the engine bay looks like and where you'll be sticking your hands feeling around for cables in the dark. I'm a visual person and it's nice to be able to see what you're looking at when you can't open the hood yourself.

The green arrow is pointing to the latch that won't release.



Close up



Step 1 - Remove the passenger side front wheel well liner. You don't even have to take the wheel off. There are 10 screws that you have to remove with an 8mm socket wrench. The first two are easiest to access if you turn the steering wheel all the way to the left so the wheel is out of the way.



Once you remove both of those, jack the car up. I used a simple scissor jack. The reason for doing this is to give yourself a ton of room to work with. Here's a comparison of how much jacking the car up helps!



This is the liner removed and the 10 screw points circled in case you have trouble finding them all.



Step 2 - Once the wheel well liner is removed, you have an excellent view of the inside of the engine bay. I highlighted the Bowden cable in green (the one that releases the latch mechanism). If it isn't completely disconnected from the latch, pulling on that will finally release the latch and you'll be able to open your hood!



The issue was a plastic part of the cable broke and caused the cable to fall out of it's housing. On the left you can see how it was just laying out of place and not giving enough tension to release the latch when pulling on the handle in the car. On the right is how it should be positioned when working properly.

*A Note from user Slack00 if you find your cable still attached: "Also, for those that need to MANUALLY open their hood because there is a physical break closer to the handle side of the system: At the latch end, for GOOD cables that aren't broken and are still secured, it is important to note that you must UNHOOK the sheathed end of the cable from its metal perch (while keeping the metal cable/ball inside it's retaining block) and THEN pull on the cable to release the hood--if you pull on the whole cable (sheath and all, still hooked up) you'll risk breaking the clip and you'll need to replace it along with any other broken parts."



Replacing the Bowden Cable - I ordered one from my local dealer and it came out to be $40 with tax. Not terrible. Removing the old cable is easy. Installing the new one was a little tricky. I used a couple screw drivers and a couple needle nose pliers to assist in getting everything reattached. The way you go about doing it will be unique to your hand size and the tools you have, but I documented some key information to hopefully assist you in doing this. It's not hard, it just takes a little patience.

The cable is connected to the latch with a wire with a metal ball attached at the end. That ball can slide up a small track and pop out the side of the enclosure. Not hard to do, but definitely confusing if you can't get a good angle of what the thing looks like. The image below shows the cable in green and the ball circled in red. The side view shows the balls position in the enclosure and the red arrows point in the direction you need to push it in order to unhook it.



Unhook both the left and right side of the latch and follow both of the cables to the connector point on the edge of the hood on the driver's side. This image is of both of the cables unhooked and the small black connection point that connects the hood release cable from inside the car to the cables in the engine bay.



Next, pop open the little black cover and unhook the ball (circled in green) and the connection point of the other cable that leads into the cabin (also circled in green).



Once you have those unhooked you can firmly remove the black box from the metal frame of the car. Congratulations! You removed the broken cable! Now to install the new one mount the new black box, reconnect the interior cable and the ball, close the box and begin reconnecting the new cable to the two latch points. This is the part that'll take some patience as I found it to be much more tricky getting them installed than it was to remove them. But you now understand where and how all of it works so it'll just take a little bit of time.

One last thing to note. The newest revision of the Bowden Cable is meant to be routed differently to the passenger side latch than the old one. Here is an image of the difference. The one on the left is the old one (you can see the broken plastic on the end) and the new one is curved on the right.



What this means is that if you try to route it the same way as the old one, it won't work. When I bought the replacement cable, the BMW tech also gave me two pipe clips (Part # 17127609160). Those pipe clips install in the two green circled areas to secure the cable. The cable follows the green arrows, NOT the old placement, which are the red X's.



That's it! Enjoy being able to open your hood again! Hope this is helpful... or at the very least, can help you decide if you want to buy a $40 part and spend a couple hours listening to awesome music and getting your hands dirty or if you'd rather take it to the dealer and pay hundreds of dollars for time saved.

Cheers!

-Soul
Very interesting post and tutorial. great pictures!!
 

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I have had this problem for a while now, I call it a ?feature? at this point... for anyone who may see this, here?s an easier trick to try first. Pull the release to open the driver side. Then get someone else to continue pulling the release over and over, while you press down on the passenger side of the hood. Directly above the headlight, but not extremely hard. Like giving CPR. The hood should release.
 
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