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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The inner door handles on my F30 chassis 328d are 'melting' from the Florida heat (pics below), I'm assuming this happens across all BMW models with the same design in this weather.

BMW states that they don't replace the specific part causing the problem, instead I would need to replace the entire door panel? A small shop said he would remove both door panels (driver and passenger side) and replace both handles if I brought him the parts... for $300 in labor.

I have only lived in Florida for 3 years so this is the first time I have experienced this. Any thoughts or cheaper options to fix this are greatly appreciated.

Note: I am not much of a "do it yourself" type of guy. I'm not confident in my ability to nor do I want to tear apart my door panel to fix this myself. Just trying to see if anyone else had this issue fixed at a shop and what they paid, etc.

Vehicle Car Alloy wheel Wheel Vehicle door


Land vehicle Vehicle Car Vehicle door Personal luxury car
 

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Odd that the heat would only affect that one component. If you don't want to buy new parts, check with your local salvage yards or the back of Roundel for companies that part out cars. You may still have to buy the entire door panel, but it would likely be cheaper.

Removing door panels and replacing the grab handles is a pretty standard DIY job.
 

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You can DIY this for $20 a handle. Known issue. Check ebay.
That's a good option, as the eBay Chinese copies do not have the soft touch and therefore this won't happen again. If you want to keep it OEM, you *can* order the replacement handles via BMW.

Here's the procedure on how to replace the handle, per BMW instructions:
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/f36-428i-cou/repair-manuals/51-body-equipment/51-41-front-door-trim-panel-with-armrests/HHjHrOGh

I noted you don't want to do it yourself, however the instructions above give you a sense on how much effort it would be for a 3rd party.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a good option, as the eBay Chinese copies do not have the soft touch and therefore this won't happen again. If you want to keep it OEM, you *can* order the replacement handles via BMW.

Here's the procedure on how to replace the handle, per BMW instructions:
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/...-front-door-trim-panel-with-armrests/HHjHrOGh

I noted you don't want to do it yourself, however the instructions above give you a sense on how much effort it would be for a 3rd party.
I appreciate it, yeah I'm seeing how much work it is now. But not necessarily something I'm comfortable with doing nor want to do for that matter, but I don't want to overpay either.

If anyone has had this done professionally please post below that you paid! Thank you

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FYI, the problem is chemical degradation, not heat. Soft-touch surfaces, especially door pulls, were notorious for this deterioration in the E90 platform. Body oils, personal care products (hand creams, etc.), soils, and/or too-infrequent cleaning were the prime suspects for causing breakdown of the coatings. I don't recall a strong correlation with heat being mentioned on the E90s, although I could have missed it.

Judging by the noticeable reduction in the number of posts on the subject, the F30 parts seem to be more durable but obviously still not immune.
 

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fyi, the problem is chemical degradation, not heat.
+1

My 2012 CPO interior is just about perfect but for wear of the soft touch surfaces and scuffs on the upholstery. Neither of us use lotions. The interior is cleaned regularly with a dry MF cloth, vacuum and blower. Carp like Armor-All just evaporates onto the windows and is itself a PITA to remove.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
FYI, the problem is chemical degradation, not heat. Soft-touch surfaces, especially door pulls, were notorious for this deterioration in the E90 platform. Body oils, personal care products (hand creams, etc.), soils, and/or too-infrequent cleaning were the prime suspects for causing breakdown of the coatings. I don't recall a strong correlation with heat being mentioned on the E90s, although I could have missed it.

Judging by the noticeable reduction in the number of posts on the subject, the F30 parts seem to be more durable but obviously still not immune.
I don't use creams, oils, etc... I don't think you understand how hot it is in Miami. It can't be 100+ degrees inside the car year round. You can visibly see the material is softened from it even on the back doors. It's from pulling on the grab handle while it's softer than normal because of the heat.

Not saying that you aren't correct about chemical erosion, if anything mine would be from cleaning products... but it's not like I clean the car excessively or even regularly wipe the grab handles.

This car has lived its entire life in south Texas and mostly in south FL. The extreme heat has definitely expedited this process.

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I don't think you understand how hot it is in Miami. It can't be 100+ degrees inside the car year round.
Most major automakers, BMW included, field-test cars in Death Valley, CA. In summer. Death Valley in summer makes Miami seem like an air-conditioned nightclub, and I've spent time in both. Longevity in extreme conditions is part and parcel of component, assembly, and finished-product testing.

The extreme heat has definitely expedited this process.
Certainly possible, as I suggested in my first post, but merely handling the parts while hot is certainly not the sole cause. If it were, this would be observed on virtually every BMW sold in the Sunbelt, and it isn't. The cars that suffer this failure are outliers in some way.

On E90s it was moderately common. On the F30 it is much less so, suggesting improvements by BMW in the composition of the parts. Contributing factors could be anything from cleaning/care products (human or surface) to atmospheric conditions (smog levels?) to the pH of the user's perspiration to some other unguessable contaminant. Unfortunately, unless someone is willing to design, conduct, and analyze a battery of exposure and wear tests on a buttload of door handles, we can only speculate from anecdotal data.

One big challenge to getting a handle on the problem (apologies for the pun) is that it takes years for a replacement part to deteriorate. That makes it tough to verify whether a particular change in habits/products/owners/locations actually makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On E90s it was moderately common. On the F30 it is much less so, suggesting improvements by BMW in the composition of the parts. Contributing factors could be anything from cleaning/care products (human or surface) to atmospheric conditions (smog levels?) to the pH of the user's perspiration to some other unguessable contaminant. Unfortunately, unless someone is willing to design, conduct, and analyze a battery of exposure and wear tests on a buttload of door handles, we can only speculate from anecdotal data.
I appreciate your input. However, I know multiple people with E90, E92, N54, and N55 cars that do not have this issue or even the first signs of it. I believe it's because those cars are located in cold weather climates. They may test the cars in Death Valley, but do they expose them to 5 years of extreme heat? I don't think so.

Regardless, what frustrates me is that BMW knows about this problem and they have known about it since the cars they released 10+ years ago, yet they still continue to use this material (or some form of it) on virtually every car they sell.

Granted, like you said, not every car will have this issue... but I'm sure there is a way for them to make it easily replaceable just in case it does happen, yet they still choose not to. We'll see what it's like on the new generation cars in 5 years time. I would hope they would have solved this problem by now. That is the most ridiculous part about it if you ask me.

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I know multiple people with E90, E92 ... cars that do not have this issue or even the first signs of it. I believe it's because those cars are located in cold weather climates.
It hasn't correlated well with climate on the E90 platform, even approaching 15 years on. Plenty of people is northern states suffered "melting" of soft-touch surfaces; plenty in the southern tier reported no troubles at all. Lots of threads to peruse over in the E90 forum if you ever have time to burn.

I'm sure there is a way for them to make it easily replaceable just in case it does happen, yet they still choose not to.
On that we're in complete agreement. BMW can be a bit stubborn about sticking with an idea through multiple flawed implementations. That often pays off when they finally get it right but it's aggravating in cases like this, where some small accommodation could eliminate a lot of frustration.
 

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It's actually not difficult at all to replace, provided you are OK removing the door card. Once you break off the plastic melted posts, the replacement door pulls are screwed in. Now *that's* the way they should come from factory, but at least once replaced, they are even easier to replace again.
 

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This isn't limited to cars either. I have COmcast Xfinity remotes that are coated with the soft-touch material and after 6-8 months it starts to breakdown and become sticky.
 

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It easy to find out if the problem is temperature or a chemical reaction.
On my E90, the sticky door handle was the front passenger side only. My wife sit there and use hand cream.
The driver door and rear doors handles are fine. All 4 doors handle are subject to the same temperature extreme.
 

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This isn't limited to cars either. I have COmcast Xfinity remotes that are coated with the soft-touch material and after 6-8 months it starts to breakdown and become sticky.
This! My VISIO TV remote did the same... had soft-touch on the back. In that case I wiped down the remote with acetone (not too much just enough to remove the soft-touch rubber). As it removed it, I got to the plastic which was somewhat affected but I was able to do a light acetone wipe down of the entire back and it's nice and smooth now.
 
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