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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My remote was not opening my driver's side door, so finally I got around to replacing the actuator. Presto, problem solved! It was a bit of a PITA, but really pretty easy. I know everything was hooked up fine, solid, etc. Well leaving work today I hit my remote and lock pops up fine, but the door won't open. I went through the passenger side door and tried the inside handle: nothing. When I put the key in the lock cylinder on the outside, it's very stiff and takes a lot of force to turn, no matter which way I tried to turn it, the door wouldn't unlatch. Since neither handle is working, I'm thinking the bowden cable came detached from the actuator somehow. However, when I move the inside handle, I can hear movement near the actuator area of the door, so maybe it isn't disconnected? I don't know what's going on.

What are my options at this point? Is there any way to remove the door trim w/ the door shut or am I SOL on that? I don't really see how I can fix this w/ the door closed, but maybe someone knows something. Please help guys!
 

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Oh man, that is a tough one! You definitely need to remove the panel to get access to the inside. The problem is, how are you going to get the clips started with the door closed?

There's a guy on here called BMW Tech (I think). I'd send him a PM and ask him to check this thread. He's a wealth of knowledge and I'm sure it's not the first door to go south, he will probably have some advice for you.

Definitely keep us posted! Good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Update: I took out all the screws, but I see no way to start prying off the door panel. HOWEVER, I realized that when the door is locked, I can pull the inside handle and the door lock knob pops up as expected. So now I know the cable isn't disconnected. It's just that the door doesn't budge, as if it's still locked. Ideas? I'm thinking of trying and spraying some white grease through the key hole and/or down the lock knob hole to see if I can grease it up. Good or bad idea?

EDIT: I tried white grease and silicone spray, but no luck. I was able to get the door panel removed enough that I can fit my hand somewhat inside the door near the actuator. I'm able to feel far enough to verify the bowden cable is working as it should (can feel where the bowden cable connects to the actuator) when I pull the inside handle w/ the other hand. If I can get my hand in there further, what part of the actuator actually unlocks the door from the door jam?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update

I was able to get the door trim off enough and the rear rail for the window moved out of the way so I can actually reach the actuator w/ my hand. In the attached picture I circled the part in red that I was moving w/ my hand. It moves up and down normally, but alas the door stays shut w/ a death grip. What part of the actuator actually "undoes" the dang locking mechanism? I think I'm about to just light my car on fire and then call the insurance company :mad:.
 

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The reason why the key won't turn in the lock cylinder is perhaps you had the actuator/latch assembly in locked position. When you reinstalled the lock cylinder assembly at neutral position while the actuator/latch assembly is in locked position,this would be the result. If you can get the central locking system in unlock mode, disconnect the connector to the actuator and locate the "hook" like release at the latch/actuator assembly and move it twice as if the cable for the inside door release handle was still attached to it. The outside door handle release cable would not work since the position it is on prevents anyone from breaking in (LOCK ARREST or DOUBLE LOCKED). This is what you are trying to do now so try a different approach and that means the route from the inside release handle. If equipped with an alarm, trigger it (make it go off) and while the alarm is going off place the key in the ignition and this should cancel/turn off/deactivate the alarm and the locks would automatically unlock. If you can't get the actuator to move in the unlock position let me know. We can try to force the actuator to give it up by jumping the wires neccessary to unlock. I would need to look at the schematics to get the wires and their colors in order to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply. So just to confirm, get the central locking system in UNLOCK: is this the same as unlocking both doors using the remote or is there another way I need to do it. Then once that's accomplished, I need to move the part that I have circled in yellow in the attached picture (NOT the one circled in red)...correct? My car has the clown nose on the mirror, so I assume there's an alarm system, but how do I set it off? Thanks for the help.
 

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Thanks for the reply. So just to confirm, get the central locking system in UNLOCK: is this the same as unlocking both doors using the remote or is there another way I need to do it. Then once that's accomplished, I need to move the part that I have circled in yellow in the attached picture (NOT the one circled in red)...correct? My car has the clown nose on the mirror, so I assume there's an alarm system, but how do I set it off? Thanks for the help.
Not the part you circled, you'll break that.
 

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Thanks for the reply. So just to confirm, get the central locking system in UNLOCK: is this the same as unlocking both doors using the remote or is there another way I need to do it. Then once that's accomplished, I need to move the part that I have circled in yellow in the attached picture (NOT the one circled in red)...correct? My car has the clown nose on the mirror, so I assume there's an alarm system, but how do I set it off? Thanks for the help.
I hope I stopped you in time. Yes, unlock position using the remote. Try lifting the lock/unlock rod (the one that normally sticks out on top of the door panel) upwards and unlocking the complete vehicle using the remote or switch at the console. Check your fuses, if none of the actuators work. The area you circled in yellow is just the bracket to hold the cable in place. Above that, close to your hand is the hook like release that I was referring to. This is where the cable for the inside door release handle goes. Press the central locking button once and pull/tug/pry on that release mechanism TWICE. Just because you have Ronald Mc Donalds nose isn't a good verification that the vehicle is equipped with an alarm. They all have this, a SINE or siren/ or the interior protection sensor at the center of your roof is a good verification. Locate the panel on the roof/headliner (it has small vents) and just simply unfasten or unlip the cover or housing by pulling it downwards. If you have a sensor there, you have an alarm. If you see a spider, don't pet it. If you find that you dont have an alarm, try the other options I suggested first. Try different ways to get it to unlock. This diagram may help from realoem :

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=BN53&mospid=47713&btnr=41_1354&hg=41&fg=40
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The rod that goes up through the door (knob or whatever) connects to the piece I have circled in red. I've both moved that piece manually and have confirmed it moves when I hit lock/unlock w/ my remote. Yet it still is locked. The actuator seems to be working "correctly", as in that circled part moves when locked/unlocked, all cables are connected properly, etc. What else could I be missing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, I tried lifting that hook part, but still nothing. When I try to lift it w/ the car locked, I can feel the resistance...makes sense (I did this gently so I wouldn't break anything). Then I unlock and try the double thing, it feels exactly as I would expect it to, just like normal, except the door is still latched. I think the wire jump thing may be the only solution at this point. Thoughts?
 

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My apologies, I don't know why I decided to update my windows with this new SP3 (service pack) and now I can't open this WDS or wiring diagram site that BMW provides us. Bear with me, if you must...just remember that it's the 2 thicker gauge wires. One of them is the lock signal (to actuate, simply add ground to it) and of course, the other is what you need. Putting the key in the cylinder may help so that it won't lock again if it senses a restriction or excessive amperage to actuate. Other than that, quite frankly sir.... You should consider getting someone from an independent shop or pay the dealer to make it go away (so to speak). And you can relax and drink beer in peace or party like a rockstar (so to speak).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the reply. I just hate going to the dealer b/c I can see the $1200 bill (or something outrageous like that) that they'll slap me in the face with. Any chance you can get that wiring guide? I'm out of town till Wed anyways, so I can't even work on the car until then. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Well I was finally able to get the door panel off. I took some pictures of the actuator and the wires. BMW tech, can you tell from the picture which wires I do what with (wow that reads all kinds of weird, sorry!)?

Also, as shown in the first picture, the cylinder thing from the keyhole (circled in red) is NOT inserted into the white hole (circled in red 2nd picture) like it should be. It's sitting just above/behind the white hole thing, so that explains why it feels very stiff and not "correct" when I tried the exterior key. Any way this is causing/contributing to the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In case anyone cared, I finally just took the car to the dealership and after 2 hrs they couldn't get any farther than I did. Their "body guy" is coming in on Tues, so they think he can figure it out. So now I'm at home w/ a loaner and what can only be expected: a large bill. I'm pissed!

A very long shot, but does anyone think I have any ground to stand on if I call BMWNA and loudly complain about this issue? I know my car isn't under warranty, but this is a HUGE safety issue. Every time I drive the car I know there is zero chance I'm getting out of my driver side. What if I got in an accident, especially if I had to get out for something time critical (i.e. fire). I'd probably be screwed. Despite not being under warranty, I think BMW should do something for me considering what a gross impact this is on my safety. If I really did get in an accident, I'd feel justified in suing their asses if I was further injured b/c I couldn't get out of their car due to mechanical failure. Thoughts?
 

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Have the same problem in my E85 Z4. Started down the same route as you... Mine is intermittent though. I thought it was a cable and related to temperature or something, but it is not.

I thought maybe a bowden cable was stretching, but it is not.

Want to replace the entire lock actuator, but don't want to go overboard if not necessary.

What was the verdict in your case.

I agree it is a safety issue - at least I have a convertible.
 

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Brabus,

I have the same problem with my 2001 330ci. I have been reading your post with the Mr. bmw tech guy. I am scared to replace door lock actuator myself now. You know, I hardly see BS like this happen in japanese car. Good luck dude. Or we can set the cars on fire.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Trusss - That looks like a good tutorial to follow. It really is not a "hard" job, just a "PITA" job...as is most jobs on a BMW! The problem in the end I think might have been my fault. When I installed the new actuator, I did not properly attach the door lock pin to the actuator (the part labeled "Lock Pin Shaft Attach Point" in the attached picture). Instead of the shaft being inside that attach point, it was just resting on top of it (at the time of install, I didn't realize this whole thing existed...I just slapped the actuator in and said "sweet!", not knowing I hadn't gotten the lock pin lined up properly). I think after a few days of use the lock pin finally jammed the actuator into some weird lock mode. The dealership ended up drilling my door lock out and installing a new one, but obviously properly fitting it into the actuator. I have had zero problems to this day with it. So bottom line, I say do the replacement yourself, just don't be an idiot like me and miss that crucial step. Good luck!

 
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