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Thread: Z3 Passenger Door Lock Actuator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    111
    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3

    Z3 Passenger Door Lock Actuator

    this is an open call to anyone who has replaced the Door lock actuators on a early z3 (ive got a 98 z3 18 roadster).

    I need to know the actual process for getting the actuator out of the car. what do i have to unbolt or unscrew?
    I can get the door panel off easy enough, but the actuator is hidden and various descriptions of this process suggests removing the window.

    i'd like to get this done this weekend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Austin, Texas
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    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3
    Anyone at all?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Austin, Texas
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    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3
    Ok.
    I dug in and worked with the TIS and some explanations provided at other forums. regardless i kind of figured this out and thought i would spare someone else the pain.
    if you go by the TIS it is correct but not very explanatory.



    Here are my instructions
    1. Roll up the window
    2. Remove the Door Panel.
      a. if remote mirror controls are present , pull out the mirror control and disconnect the wiring connnector.
      b. unscrew the armrest screw and unsnap the body trim clips around the bottom and sides of the door panel.
    3. fold away the plastic and unscrew the inner door handle and unclip the Left control rod from the handle. (I removed it from the actuator system and had to take the other door apart to see where it connected to) then remove the inner door handle.
    4. Remove the Window Guide
      a. at the top of the door Jamb face, lift the triangular rubber cap and remove the window guide screw. (TORX)
      b. at the bottom of the door, remove the 10mm hex bolt.
      c. slide the window guide down and toward the middle of the door and remove from the door.
    5. Remove the Door latch mechanism.
      a. on the door jamb face remove the two screws (TORX) near the latch mechanism.
      b. on the inside face of the door there will be a screw (TORX possibly black with a stripe of yellow) remove that one as well.
      c. This is the hard part .... while looking in the door shell, you will see two connectors to the top and left of the latch mechanism (almost to the top of the door). they connect to the outside handle . the top one slides down and out of the keyway while the bottom connector has a small rod attached to it. lift the outside door handle and rotate the rod out of the clip and then pull the rod out of the center of the connector. as i said before, this is the hardest part as much of it is done by feel. I would GREATLY Suggest that when you do get this mechanism out of the door, you take some pictures of it and understand how it will go back together. because you will be putting it back together by feel.
      d. slightly rotate the mechanism and slide it down until you can get it to the door opening.
      e. there is a wire clipped in two places on this mechanism remove it from the clips (pry them slightly open and pull the wire out) dont disconnect the wire you dont need that hassle too.
    6. replace the lock actuator
      a. remove the coolest connector you have ever seen
      b. unclip the actuator (on the side)
      c. align new actuator with levers
      d. replace connector on actuator
    7. put it back together -- the process is about the same in reverse.
    Takeaways
    • I would probably buy some of the nylon grommets that hold the rods as a few of them disintegrated when I removed the rods (www.realoem.com). rather than wait, i went down to autozone and picked up a pack of door lock parts GM, Ford, Chrysler. one (vertical rod) i could use with no problem, but the other (horizontal Left rod) i had to modify one.
    • While you have the mechanisms out of the car, it would be a good idea to lubricate them. i used a dry film lube but im sure you could use PB blaster or WD40, etc..
    • most of the TORX Screws that you take out, are going to already have threadlocker on them. the TIS states that you should use it when you put them back. so pick up some Locktite 272 but i would wait to use it.
      I assembled the entire door (minus the panel) and made sure it all worked, then.... I went back to each screw and bolt, and then I Locktite-ed them.
    You will need the following tools

    • a. 3/8 ractchet with 10mm socket and 1/4 SAE socket for TORX Bits (or male torx sockets)
      b. Torx Drive Bits or male sockets
      c. small flat blade screwdriver
      d. mirror or very expensive endoscope
      e. flashlight
      f. Trim clip remover tool.. this is very much worth not having to replace a door panel becuase you ripped the trim clip mount right out of the back of the door panel.
    Pre-purchase
    • BMW Grommets for the Left and right Rods 3 for each door.
    • Trim Clips for the door panels (4 or 5 Just in case)
    • Loctite 272
    • Goo Gone for the Black weatherstrip adhesive you will get on EVERYTHING
    • black weatherstrip adhesive to replace all of the stuff that will be all over you.
    Pictures to come later.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    111
    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3

    Picture uploads

    Here are the first set of images.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Austin, Texas
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    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3

    Picture uploads

    and the rest of them.

    let me know if you need clarificatoin.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    2000 M Coupe

    Additional hints

    This description was fantastic - extremely helpful and allowed me to save over $200 (compared with my local independant mechanic) by buying a replacement actuator (from Pelican parts) and replacing it myself - thanks for the effort!

    Just one additional comment - I found the window guide very difficult to slide down, and even more difficult to put back in. I realised (after an hour of trying unsucessfully) that I needed to have the window in the absolutely fully up position - the small amount that the window moves down when you open the door (the amount it moves down by itself to clear the rubber seal) prevented me replacing it.

    Since I had a side airbag on my car, I chose to pull the negative battery terminal off before I removed the airbag. So I put the battery back on, closed the door so the window was fully up, then disconnected the battery again so it couldn't move when I opened the door. After this, it went right in within a couple of minutes!

    Hope this tip can save someone else an hour!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
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    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3
    I dont want to be douche-y about it, but number 1 of my instructions is
    "Roll up the window"

    Regardless, glad it helped you... the TIS was hard to follow and as you can see from the beginning of the thread, nobody was offering any help so, I am glad I could.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
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    552
    My Cars
    2000 BMW Z3 COUPE 2.8
    Awesome detailed instructions. Thank you

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Burlington/Freehold NJ
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    11,477
    My Cars
    Z3, M2, M5, X5, 428i
    Thanks for the instructions. This should be stickied.
    2000 Z3 2.3 -Topaz Blue over Sand Beige, Sport
    2003 M5 - Imola Red over Imola Red/Black, Sport
    2004 X5 4.8is - Estoril Blue/Black
    2018 428xi -Estoril Blue II/Black
    2018 M2 - Long Beach Blue/Black

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Burlington/Freehold NJ
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    Z3, M2, M5, X5, 428i
    Quote Originally Posted by ruprectgern View Post
    I dont want to be douche-y about it, but number 1 of my instructions is
    "Roll up the window"

    Regardless, glad it helped you... the TIS was hard to follow and as you can see from the beginning of the thread, nobody was offering any help so, I am glad I could.
    Not douche-y but maybe you didn't know that coupés have a window jog feature when you open and close the doors so they snug into the upper weatherstripping. And yes, I saw your window fully up thing too. This will help doing an actuator on a friend's roadster. Thank you very much!
    2000 Z3 2.3 -Topaz Blue over Sand Beige, Sport
    2003 M5 - Imola Red over Imola Red/Black, Sport
    2004 X5 4.8is - Estoril Blue/Black
    2018 428xi -Estoril Blue II/Black
    2018 M2 - Long Beach Blue/Black

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Isreal
    Posts
    3
    My Cars
    Z3

    Thanks a lot

    Brilliant tutorial......saved me some figuring out....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Isreal
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    3
    My Cars
    Z3

    Remove window seals

    The most difficult part is to replace the window guide. It took me 45 minutes to realize that if I removed the two window seals - I could see everything from above and slide the guide up into place in 30 seconds.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    72
    My Cars
    2000 M coupe
    Trying to gather the parts to do this job. Anyone know the part number of the grommets for the door rods? I checked realoem, but couldn't find it.
    Is it on this diagram? http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...66&hg=41&fg=40

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Isreal
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    Z3
    PS - mine is acting up again. Is there any way to decipher if the problem is the actuator or the latch assembly?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Marietta, GA, USA
    Posts
    3
    My Cars
    1999 Z3 Roadster, 2.3
    Both doors central locking failed. I purchased 2 Dorman actuators on Amazon for ~$85 and followed the great ruprectgern instructions (post #3). All locks are working fine again!

    My bottleneck was removing the latch mechanism, I bent the operating rod (one with the door button) on the first door and used the other one to mirror image the correct bends and corrected this on my shop vice. The central locking is working well again!
    I highly recommend directing the door handle control rod out its direct opening as the latch mechanism is lowered and rotated to the door opening. This gives enough room to not bend the door button operating rod.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
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    My Cars
    2000 BMW Z3 2.8
    PSA Update: Wear gloves when you are trying to pull the window guide. Working the passenger side, it was extremely tight, and when it broke loose, the back of my left hand raked across the window regulator assembly and I lost a good bit of skin.

    Good tip from above, removing the window seal and bending the end seal out of the way, you can see down in there to get it back in. This thread saved me an hour of fussing with it. Mine ended up being the actuator itself, I had a used assembly (eBay) on hand, which turned out to not have the outside door arm, so the mechanical part was useless, so I just swapped the electric actuator from the eBay unit and it's all good.

    My door card is about 50% J-B epoxy now, about half of the panel clips just pulled off the card, luckily I had a supply of new panel clips and epoxy to fasten them back on the card. Used a fair bit of epoxy to stiffen the interior door pull as well, since it was loose and one good pull from coming completely off!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    142
    My Cars
    1999 M Roadster
    These instructions suggest lubricating the mechanism. Does PB plaster / WD40 seem appropriate? Is there a longer lasting lubricant we should use? Does it need to be lubricated?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    3,971
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    1997 BMW Z3 1.9L 5MT
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffPortland View Post
    These instructions suggest lubricating the mechanism. Does PB plaster / WD40 seem appropriate? Is there a longer lasting lubricant we should use? Does it need to be lubricated?
    I don't know if it needs lubrication, but it looks worth doing. PB Blaster is a strong penetrant, and WD-40 is weak penetrant and lubricant that also displaces water; neither seem right for this application. I like to use Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant.
    https://www.triflowlubricants.com/pr...trigger-spray/
    https://www.amazon.com/Tri-Flow-TF20...6497861&sr=8-2

    For locks and ignition switches, I use Houdini.
    https://www.superslickstuff.com/lubr...Lock-Lube.html
    https://www.amazon.com/HOUD1-Houdini.../dp/B00C5JFKKE
    BMW MOA 696, BMW CCA 1405

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
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    My Cars
    97 Z3, 94 E36, 73 E3
    I used a dry film lubricant because i didn't want the lube picking up dirt or slowing the mechanism down like a grease would. Blaster makes a dry film lube. so there's that.
    you don't want to use PB Blaster or WD-40 on these mechanisms as they dry out and they are not lubricants, but penetrating oils.

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