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Just did the pass. rear window regulator on Thursday. Best bet is to buy a rebuilt one (I bought one of the new Taiwan/Chinese ones for ~$35...quality looked pretty similar to my OEM, it's installed and working properly, so time will tell....) rather than trying to repair the old one.

Also, did you do a search on youtube for replacing window regulators? They have a vid. for both front and back regulators - I found the one for replacing the rear extremely helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 · (Edited)
(I bought one of the new Taiwan/Chinese ones for ~$35...quality looked pretty similar to my OEM
Normally, I would be leery of Ebay-style prices but given the horrendous quality of the OEM (mine are Kuster/Gate/BMW) regulators - the risk of getting something even worse is less likely to occur.

did you do a search on youtube for replacing window regulators?
I ran an extensive search over here and over here ... and, at that time, I found zero videos of BMW E39 front driver door window regulator replacements.

To my knowledge, nobody showed how to reassemble the motor pieces; nobody explained how to unjam the clamps; and nobody mentioned loctite; and nobody mentioned the flaws in the realoem diagrams.

At the moment, I'm drying out the car (it was very windy last night and the rain is all over the insides) - and my problem is how to figure out the procedure for putting the window glass back in.
 

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You need to remove the chrome trim in order to put the window back in, otherwise you will waste hours and kill yourself trying to get it in there. Its not complicated, just use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the clips one by one and pull up at the trim as you go along. In order to replace after you have inserted the window into the door just put it in its old place and push down firmly until you hear all the clips click into place.

The white "wings" you mentioned are supposed to help align the glass into the correct position in the clamp, aka not too low or not too high. in the rubber clamp.

As for the $35 dollar regulator, I bought one of those off ebay as my first resort. It broke on me while testing it with the door panel still off. The seller was very professional and refunded the $35 plus paid my shipping costs so I can't say anything bad about them but not a big believer in that product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
You need to remove the chrome trim in order to put the window back in, otherwise you will waste hours
I appreciate the help. That makes sense.

Funny thing is that the glass came out easily - but it doesn't go back in as easily - at least not at night, outside, in the rain. I wasn't able to get to it yesterday - but I will try again today.

Lesson learned: Don't remove the glass if you don't have to!

use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the clips one by one and pull up at the trim as you go along. In order to replace after you have inserted the window into the door just put it in its old place and push down firmly until you hear all the clips click into place.
I tried a spoon and a screwdriver, at night and in the rain, but I just ended up gouging the plastic trim and scratching the car door. I'll try again.

The white "wings" you mentioned are supposed to help align the glass into the correct position in the clamp, aka not too low or not too high. in the rubber clamp.
Interesting. That means that we should have a diagnostic test for knowing when the glass is properly aligned. When I get it back in, I'll snap a picture of where the glass fits into the wings (I guess I should call them "glass stops") - but I've never seen (yet) an alignment procedure for the relationship of the glass to the glass stops.

a little after the fact, but you might find it useful...
References are NEVER too late!

The whole point of the forum is to help people and then have THAT help help OTHERS! So, all the references will help the next person!

Remember, I've already looked and never found what was really needed. You'll notice two of those videos in your list are actually mine. From the same driver-side door the last time I put the clips back on the window (I didn't remove the window or the regulator that time).

I'm sure there are thousands of videos I have not found - but - to my knowledge, there isn't one which shows all that is needed to remove the drivers side door, window, and regulator on an E39, which is what I did above.

Luckily, I've documented most of the steps with pictures - so - at least - the 'next' person has an easier time of it, especially on the parts like the trim, stuck clamps, motor commutator, window stops, etc., which are not documented well in the other DIYs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 · (Edited)
BTW, the local San Jose "Stevenscreek BMW" dealer says nobody ever buys the "#7 edge protection" rubber window protection grips.
None of the local dealers (Mountainview, Fremont, etc.) have it in stock either.
Interestingly, the San Jose price is, as usual, more than double what is in Realoem.
I will try to get to it today, if I can, over lunchtime.
 

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Bluebee I think I gave you wrong information last time, you need to remove the interior trim of the door, not the outer chrome trim. By interior i mean the trim that sits towards the inside of the car from where the window would be if it was up. The clips for this should be visible from the inside view of the door with the panel off.

I believe they might need to be squeezed with thumb and forefinger to loosen and simultaneously lift up, it should be pretty simple when you see it
 

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when you get it fixed and if you have a garage. i learned a trick, my windows always opened with a cracking sound when car sitting for awhile, now when i close them i hit down button just a little ,to alleviate pressure,no more sound when i open them.also i don't use one touch as it seems to forceful, causing it to eventually self destruct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
i don't use one touch as it seems to forceful, causing it to eventually self destruct.
You have a point because somehow, mine 'self destructed' when they went too high up in the door (I assume because the glass, being removed, allowed them to).

you need to remove the interior trim...The clips for this should be visible from the inside view of the door with the panel off
Thanks for the advice. It's amazing how little hints and suggestions help move forward.

No matter how much I squeezed with my hands, I just either did not have the finger strength (or I didn't have the technique) to pull up that interior chrome trim.

So I used a screwdriver for leverage, obtaining uneven results.

Here's as detailed a DIY as you can get on removing the inner window trim bar.

Lifting with my fingers just didn't work (for me).


So, I first tried prying the visible part of the trim clip away with a screwdriver:

But all that did was scratch the window clip.

Then, I shoved the screwdriver deeper, and used a spooning motion, to leverage up and out.

The trim budged ever so slightly ... so I moved the screwdriver to below the clip, and leveraged upward.

Finally I was getting some air below the clip ... so I moved to the next clip and leveraged upward similarly with the screwdriver.

After the first two clips, I was able to grab the trim with my hands and pull upward. Much to my surprise, the third clip stayed on the trim. I'm not sure if that's whats supposed to happen though ... but I wasn't stopping at this point ... so I pulled until the trim came off the door.

I noticed the sixth clip was of a different size & shape than the first five ... so I started wondering (belatedly) if I shouldn't have worked from the front forward rather than from the rear frontward ... so that exercise is left for the next person to contemplate.


The good news is that only the inner trim was needed, as I was prior advised, in order to slide the window back inside the door.

QUESTION:
Q: Were the trim clips supposed to stay on the door (as two did) or to come off with the trim (as the other four did)?

EDIT: This DIY shows how to remove the trim - and they didn't mention it but I can see not all the clips came off with the trim:


EDIT: This video is for the rear window, but it shows another way to release the window trim clips (go to time point 0:45s to 0:55s):
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
Lesson to others.

Don't lower the window so far that you don't have a straight shot to the clamp bolt. I could only get to mine by tilting the Torx driver handle so that it was no longer perpendicular to the bolt.
This won't be a problem now - but it certainly will cause issues when it's time to tighten the Torx bolt.


Another mistake I made was to mark the door glass with nail polish - which simply slid off in the rain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
This is the important part that I don't remember seeing in any DIY.

Q: Where do you set the glass stops?

Notice the glass stop on the front clamp is behind the glass, and about a half inch above the bottom of the glass:


While the glass stop on the rear clamp is on the edge at the bottom of the glass.


Something doesn't seem symmetric.
Q: Where is the procedure for setting where that glass stop should be set?

EDIT: Interestingly, this thread implies that some of the replacement regulators don't have these windows stops, which causes problem due to lack of alignment:
I was unable to complete this DIY. Why? Because I spent HOURS trying to get the window aligned properly so that it would actually roll up. I finally got it to completely roll up but very slowly and sometimes it stops near the top and I have to click the button again to finish the closing. The reason appears to be the bracket clamps that hold the window itself. The design on this replacement assembly is different in many areas, as expected by what others had posted in their experiences. For the most part, that's either good or no issue at all. The problem is that there are no additional plastic adjustment screws on the brackets. They have some rotational ability and a little vertical ability on the carriers but no matter what I did, I could not get the window right. So frustrating.

I messaged FCP Grouton to ask about returning this assembly (the $65 one). I could either try their $99 one or else the photos of the $65 one at ECS Tuning shows that it has the extra adjusters. It's a shame, because everything else about this regulator was nice (and it included every screw in every spot, whereas the DIY writeup said I would have to reuse most of the hardware). Just a heads-up to anybody else out there - this DIY can be a real PITA and maybe paying a little more in this case could be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
Looking at all the DIYs specifically for how to set the seat stops, I re-found this DIY which was one of the rare DIYs explaining the seat-stop adjustment concept:
- Front window regulator replacement
Lower the window glass along the guides on the front and back of the door to rest on the seats. On each seat there is a plastic stop to adjust the glass height so it remains parallel to the guides on the door. Loosen the bolt on the stops to adjust the height so the bottom of the glass sits on the stops. Tighten the seat with the rubber cushion sandwiched in between.

BTW, here is some terminology from that DIY:
- Rail (the two black steel sheet metal arms where the cable slides, front rail & rear rail)
- Cable guide (the two bent metal overhanging tabs on each black sheet metal rail)
- Seat (the two steel clamps holding the bottom of the window)
- Edge protector (the rubber cushion inside each of the two seats)
- Cable shroud (the triangular soft rubber protection around the cable)
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 · (Edited)
On the topic of the proper position of the glass stops, here is a picture from a video I took about a year ago when I first tightened the seat bolts for the driver's door window regulator:

When I compare that picture to the same parts today, I can see the seat window glass stop has apparently moved upward, such that it no longer aligns the bottom of the window glass.


Interestingly, the Bentley doesn't cover the glass-stop alignment procedure at all; all it discusses is the centerbolt on the seat:

This DIY says a bit about adjusting the 'ears':
- BMW E39 2000 528iA Front Window Regulator
The white plastic "ears" on the outside of the metal clamping piece are used to adjust the window height. On a replacement regulator loosen these before attempting to place the glass in the clamping pieces. I did not adjust these prior to energizing the window motor and the glass was hanging up at a few places. The motor sounded strained and the regulator torqued a little. That was because the glass was out of alignment. The white plastic ears provide some of the horizontal alignment of the glass and the clamps provide the vertical and some horizontal adjustment. On my car the glass was seated at the bottom of the clamp cradled in the rubber piece between the clamping jaws. Once I had the glass properly aligned everything ran smoothly.
In addition, the BMW TIS 51 33 00 refers adjustment to BMW TIS 51 32 154 but that TIS doesn't provide any new useful detail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 · (Edited)
Yet another lesson learned.

Before I could even attempt to loosen the T20 window stop bolts, I had to connect all the wires in order to raise the window up so that I could have a straight shot to the T20 window stop bolts and to the T25 clamp bolts.

It took me far longer than it should have to identify each of the wires ... so ... I took a moment to LABEL them, for future reference. (In the idealized DIY, you would label them as you remove them.)


Once the wires were labeled and connected (I probably only needed the master switch, but I wasn't sure), I raised the window just enough to access the T20 & T25 window stop & clamp bolts.
I measured the tallest distance where the glass stuck above the door trim, and it was about 2¼ inches. (In the idealized DIY, you would lower the window to that position as the FIRST step of this DIY, before taking anything apart.)


Now that those things (which should have been done before) are accomplished, I looked all over the net this morning for the procedure to adjust the stops - and - I just can't find anything more about how to adjust the T20 window stops.

The instructions say to get the window 'parallel' ... but parallel to what?

Since there are almost no parallel lines in the entire setup, it's confusing to me what the reference point is supposed to be.

Here is the initial condition where the forward window stop is clearly too high for the window to fit properly in the forward window clamp.

I loosened the window stop T20 bolt, so now it slides down ... but I'm guessing at the reference point for the final resting place of the bottom of the glazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 · (Edited)
Oh no! More mistakes!

I think it was my fault. I'm learning TOO MANY lessons, belatedly.

First I gathered up my blue & red permatex glue.

Then I loosened the aft clamp (what I thought was a) bolt.

When I removed it to add the Permatex threadlocker, to my surprise, it was not a bolt - it was a screw (so I now wonder if threadlocker is appropriate)?

Then, I adjusted the aft window stop to keep the bottom of the window at exactly the same line as the bottom of the window clamp (having had no other reference point).

Likewise, I loosened the fore clamp window-stop screw and set it so that the window glass straight lines were even with the straight lines on the bottom of the window clamp.

Then I connected 'just' the three connectors to the master switch.

But, when I powered up the car and moved the switch, all sorts of horridly strained sounds occurred!

Looking down from the top, I could see that three rollers were spinning but the fourth had the cable fall off its track. This was the damaged roller aft upper roller.

Looking about, I had realized, in this window-adjustment stage, I had purposefully neglected to tighten up all the window regulator bolts ... but ... that might be one of the factors in the cable jumping its track. Dunno yet.


So I took it back out of the car (third time is easy!) and I easily restrung the cables (perhaps too easily?).

And now all the cables are back on their rollers.

I wonder if there is a good bench-test procedure for operation?


I will try to bench test the operation again, because I'm not sure whether the cable slipped out due to one or more of these factors:

  1. The aft upper roller is chipped
  2. The window position might not have been adjusted correctly (it was binding)
  3. The regulator bolts were loose (as I was in the window-adjustment process)
  4. The motor could be bad (remember, I had taken it apart)
  5. The cable ends may have come out of the motor coil (as the cables are loose)
  6. ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #57 · (Edited)
UPDATE:

After spending days scouring the Internet searching for the elusive trick for easily re-stringing the front window regulator, MatWiz and I teamed up to define & successfully test a restringing method heretofore never documented (patent pending), which easily ratchets the window regulator cable tension from astronomically taut to utterly slack, and vice versa, just as effortlessly from totally slack to supremely taut - all with a simple twist of the wrist!

You can read how we arrived at our uniquely elegant solution (which, to my knowledge, nobody has ever defined before) over here:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > How do we loosen tension on a BMW E39 front window regulator anyway?

Suffice to say, I can only tell you under frieNdDA, that this is the key:


Now it's time to bench test my newly restrung front window regulator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 · (Edited)
Drat!

I painstakingly reinstalled the window regulator in the door, tightened all bolts and clips, and added the cable tie, and then, I belatedly realized, I had neglected to install the window clamps onto the guide rails.


"No big deal", I thought. I'll just slip the clamps on the rails while the regulator is bolted to the door.

Since the crimped hexagonal barrels were, by definition, in the midsection of the guide rail, I lowered them to two inches above the lower pulleys. But I couldn't get the window clamps onto their hexagonal barrels because there wasn't enough room for the swinging motion.


So I raised the position of the crimped on hexagonal barrels to the middle of the door, but, when I did so, I foolishly allowed the cables to spring AWAY from the two cable hooks on each guide rail - and boing! The cable (again) slipped off the regulator! Sigh.



Since this is the second time this happened, it's either because:

  • (a) I allowed the cables to move sans the window clamps being installed, or,
  • (b) the chipped pulley is allowing the cable to fall off
So, one more lesson to be learned:

  1. Install the cable clamps BEFORE placing the regulator into the door
  2. Install the window before OPERATING the window regulator.
Back to the drawing board!

EDIT:
Even after all this, I ended up adjusting the window glass location wrong!
My glass doesn't go all the way down - so I must have adjusted it improperly.

So I opened this thread in the hopes of finding out HOW to properly adjust the window glass before buttoning it all up!
- Do we have a step-by-step DIY for ADJUSTING window glass when replacing the regulator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 · (Edited)
Hmmm... when I labeled the wires, there were 10 connectors but only 9 places to connect them.

  1. door light (1 connector),
  2. memory module (1 connector),
  3. master switch (3 connectors),
  4. woofer & tweeter (3 connectors),
  5. air bag (1 connector).
  6. ? (1 connector)
It looks like someone opened a thread, just today, asking what this lone unused connector is for:
Can anybody tell me what is the purpose of this wire or what's it for? It's located on the inside window trim and attach to the trim itself
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
For the record, it was asked today how to ADJUST the cables - so I hope this set of threads will be updated by the person asking (see below).

My passenger window keeps falling off the teach every time I fix and righted the pulley system in the door it comes undone in weeks and the window is useless. Does anyone have any knowledge / experiences with their E39
What is a 'teach"?

Anyway, maybe you need to push the adjustment spring outward?

Matwiz and I put all the details and scores of pictures in one of the threads below, found simply by typing /window regulator F3 in the best links:

- How to diagnose and replace a BMW E39 front driver side door window regulator (1) and how to remove a BMW E39 front passenger side door window regulator (1) (2) & the unintuitive trick to effortlessly loosen and tighten the astronomical cable tension without damaging the front door window regulator (1) & how to rebuild and restring your current E39 front door window regulator (1) & scores of pictures showing how NOT to remove & repair your front door window regulators (1)

This is the key to the window regulator adjustment.
 
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