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Thread: Front Window Regulator

  1. #1
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    E24/E30/E39

    Front Window Regulator

    I just replaced my passenger side front window regulator in my 2000 528iA Sport (with door airbags). Picked up a new regulator on eBay for $98 and free shipping. I took a boatload of pictures and created a 21-page PDF. the PDF is 5mb.

    Download it from this link --> HERE
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...TlqS3pFNmR6U2c

    I always take pictures so I can check on stuff when I put it back together. Replacement turned out to be pretty easy. I took my time so I probably spent about 5 hours total.

    Since regulators go bad frequently I figured someone could benefit from what I learned. My driver's side regulator is making noise so I'll be replacing that once soon as well.

    PLEASE NOTE: New link to Google Docs.
    Last edited by shogun; 08-01-2017 at 06:12 PM. Reason: updated link

  2. #2
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    1967 Ford Bronco
    I just changed out my front pass. side regulator this past weekend.

    I havent had a chance to look at 82bmw633's photo extravaganza but ill go off at the top of my head.

    Now this is instructions for the FRONT PASS SIDE WINDOW REG. and I have a 1998 540i however all year e39's should be relatively similar. This is assuming your motor is fine but your window either makes the crunching noise and goes up/down some of the time but stops intermittently and or stays/fell down and wont come back up.

    1. There are 2 phillips screws, 1 near the tiny speaker/inside the vent (front part of door card) and another in the door handle covered by a tiny plastic cover. Remove both.

    2. Use your hands and pull around the door card (make sure to feel around the bottom of the door card and pull BEHIND the pockets or you will un-glue the pockets from the door card and when you go to put everything back together your DC will flap freely from the pockets and everything you put in there will fall out every time you open/shut your door.

    3. After all the plastic rivet things have bee separated from frame (all should still be on DC but some will break and/or be stuck to door frame. It would be a good idea to stop by an auto store or if you go to the dealer pick some extra ones up as they are only 45cents a piece and if you are impatient like me you will break a few trying to pry them free)

    4. When pulling the DC from the door, make sure to feather the door handle (handle plus black plastic surround) through the card so it is still attached to the cable and gently rock the DC back and forth to break the hold from the top portion and the DC will come loose.

    5. They will be a few wires attached to the DC, one of them being the lower light (dont forget to unhook that). Now if you are anything like me and have crap for a memory get a camera and take a picture of all the connections so you know what plugs go where (however it is self explanatory as there are only about 6-7 plugs total and they are mostly different sizes and go in its specific outlet).

    6. After you have disconnected the speaker wires, airbag, etc. break out your tools and start removing all the things that will stop you from removing the black protective cover. This means, remove the speaker attached to that funky plastic thing (2 bolts?), remove the airbag (3 bolts), remove the little black box above the main speaker plug (2 bolts), and last remove the unit underneath it with the other speaker (3 more bolts?)

    7. You should be able to pull the protective weather guard and now you see the window/frame/regulator.

    8. I should have told you to first disconnect the battery but I like suprises and like getting electrocuted and knowing that the airbag could pop off in my face while im in front of it. Anyway, if you are smart and disconnected the battery, its time to reconnect it. Why? You need to remove the window from the regulator and you cannot get to the 2 supports holding the window to the frame if the window is all the way up. It either needs to be all the way down or in the middle of the frame. (you could do this beforehand as well) I forget what kind of bolt it is, might be a torx 25 or something like that.

    9. Now that you have the window removed (yes it will take a bit of prying in between the rubber and glass it has been its homefor the past few years) its time to remove the window regulator from the frame. There should be a total of 7 bolts you have to remove. 3 on the top you can access through those holes (star shaped but you can use a regular socket if you shove tape in it ) 2 on the bottom in the center of the pulleys and 2 in the middle near the motor holding the beefy frame of the regulator to the frame via a rectangle plate. Remove all these, save all the bolts and the plate and pull the regulator out. It should be easy as it is just the frame and pulleys attached by cables...a.k.a. it all bends so yank it out you cant hurt it, its already broken.

    10. Inspect the unit. If you had the problem where your window made the crunching noise and got stuck, its because one of your pulleys took a dump and either started to break apart, it it fully broke apart and is lying in pieces on the bottom of your door. The crunching noise was the cable grinding on the center press fitted bolt that used to hold your pulley.
    If your window fell down and stayed down thats because you kept on using your window even with this problem and you frayed the cable to its end and it snapped and the window fell!!

    11. I assume you already ordered the frame so now all you have to do is swap the motor over (4-5 bolts), reverse the process of removing the regulator and test to see that the window goes up and down freely before you put all the other stuff back on.

    This is important....

    A. Does the part you ordered look different from your stock one? Thats cause your part is old and sucks and they outsourced there aftermarket pieces out and the cheapest bidder made a replacement. As long as you know that it is indeed the correct unit/side it should work. Mine looked totally different. The tracks were all reversed (cables facing opposite sides) the bracket that held the center portion together (step 9) was held on by one plate and bolt and the plates holding the motor to the reg was different as well. All you need to check is to make sure the curvature of the regulator is the same as the stock one and that the 5 main bolts/holes line up.

    B. When you go to test the window regulator make sure you put the window in first. The 2 brackets that the window sits in will be twisted awkwardly and will hit and fray the cables if you test it without the window thus destroying your new unit. When the window is seated in the bracket it should straighten the whole thing out.

    C. Just before you put the door card back on and pull the handle/surround through the hole MAKE SURE the cable is attached fully or you will have to pull all the clip off again breaking more of them. Look at the handle...is the circle loop attached to the back? Good. Now is the cable attached to the plastic shroud? Make sure that is on....the cable (exposed) goes before slot and the plastic part goes after the slot. When you see it you will understand.



    Im tired, just got off work and remembered this from the weekend so if im forgetting something please add in. If I mispelled crap so what. If someone wants to save pictures and paste them to each step and make this a DIY feel free.

    Last edited by lennardlector; 12-03-2008 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  3. #3
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    1998 528i 5-spd 102K

  4. #4
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    Why not email this regulator PDF repair file to David Cecil at www.e38.org/e39 ...that way you'll be "immortilized" and your work will be hosted on a website for all to access 24/7...just a thought.

    His email contact is at the top of the page at www.e38.org/e39
    Last edited by Qsilver7; 02-07-2009 at 06:17 AM.
    (if my grammar, spelling, or sentence structure is screwed up....don't blame me...it's my dang bluetooth keyboard...I try to catch & correct the mistakes...but I may not catch all of them.)

    Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
    1997 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date <<~>> 2006 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date
    (SOLD)
    1999 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 1995 525iT (Alpine White)
    1991 735iL (Schwarz) <<~>> 1985 325e (Bronzit)

  5. #5
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    How long did it take you to change it out?
    '02 E39 530i/5sp Topaz Blue/Black Interior - MegaSquirt3x - Garrett GTX3582R turbo - E85 fuel - Apex FL-5 - 265/295 tires - Custom Porsche Brembo BBK - 600whp @ 22 PSI
    '15 E84 X1 35i M Sport Alpine White/Coral Red Interior - H&R Sports & Bilstein B6 - Velgen VMB5 - 265/305 tires - ETS FMIC - MPI Charge pipe & DME Flash - 3.5" down pipe


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackEatsEmoKids View Post
    How long did it take you to change it out?
    With taking pictures I did it over two days (maybe 4 hours total). Lot's of folks have said it can be done in a few hours. One guy did it over lunch in the parking lot!

    I wasn't in a hurry and I take pictures anyway because I forget stuff (saved my ass on an E30 timing belt replacement). Same with the Vanos - a couple of days over a weekend. Just took my time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82bmw633 View Post
    With taking pictures I did it over two days (maybe 4 hours total). Lot's of folks have said it can be done in a few hours. One guy did it over lunch in the parking lot!

    I wasn't in a hurry and I take pictures anyway because I forget stuff (saved my ass on an E30 timing belt replacement). Same with the Vanos - a couple of days over a weekend. Just took my time.
    Yea, I can get them done in about 25mins(if even that much) I know I did my personal one in 20mins at work one night... Window regulators rock especially when BMW pays you just under 2hrs to do them and you have them done in 30mins.

    I like people who put together DIY's. You rock!
    Last edited by JackEatsEmoKids; 04-13-2009 at 08:43 PM.
    '02 E39 530i/5sp Topaz Blue/Black Interior - MegaSquirt3x - Garrett GTX3582R turbo - E85 fuel - Apex FL-5 - 265/295 tires - Custom Porsche Brembo BBK - 600whp @ 22 PSI
    '15 E84 X1 35i M Sport Alpine White/Coral Red Interior - H&R Sports & Bilstein B6 - Velgen VMB5 - 265/305 tires - ETS FMIC - MPI Charge pipe & DME Flash - 3.5" down pipe


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackEatsEmoKids View Post
    Yea, I can get them done in about 25mins(if even that much) I know I did my personal one in 20mins at work one night... Window regulators rock especially when BMW pays you just under 2hrs to do them and you have them done in 30mins.

    I like people who put together DIY's. You rock!
    I was just over at Braman buying a new front passenger regulator from pops. My took a crap on Easter Sunday. Yippee! Tape time

    1999 E39 Touring Sport and 3 pedals

  9. #9
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    Sacramento, Ca,USA
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    e36, E39, E30

    Rear Regulator E39

    I just replaced my rear window regulator, I used this link for the procedure. IT was really not that difficult, just pay attention to the details.

    http://www.bmwrepairkit.com/videos.html

    Good Luck.
    drive fast, take chances





  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82bmw633 View Post
    Good thought! I e-mailed the file to him.
    I checked on www.e38.org/e39 but there are a few DIYs on the window regulator. Which one is yours?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    I checked on www.e38.org/e39 but there are a few DIYs on the window regulator. Which one is yours?
    None of them. It sent it to the e38.org dude but maybe he didn't post it because it's in PDF and not HTML.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82bmw633 View Post
    None of them. It sent it to the e38.org dude but maybe he didn't post it because it's in PDF and not HTML.
    Did David respond to your email with the attachment?

  13. #13
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    Back to the topic of BimmerBoard and hosting the PDF.

    If you just simply register to be a member of Bimmerboard...you automatically get 100 MB of FREE webspace...and if you make a donation of any amount...you get 1GB of free webspace plus the little BMW Roundel next to your name.

    By registering there you can upload your regulator PDF file...then paste the URL to it in this thread (like edit your original post and paste it there)...then instead of having to check back and email it to anyone requesting it...all they've go to do is click on it and download it to their computers.

    Again, you get 100 MB of FREE webspace for just registering....donating like $10, $20, $40 etc...you get 1 GB (1000 MB) of FREE SPACE to upload your BMW pics, write-ups PDFs, anything you want to the BimmerBoard server. You can then post the URL of your pics and files anywhere you want and share them with the world wide community.

    For example, I have the (5MB) E39 Buyers Guide PDF (from the 8/2005 issue of BIMMER) uploaded to my BB.C account and instead of sending out individual emails for those that want the article...all I had to do was insert the URL for them to download...which they can do 24/7 without me having to do a thing: E39 Buyers Guide PDF (8/2005)

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by Qsilver7; 07-21-2009 at 01:29 PM.
    (if my grammar, spelling, or sentence structure is screwed up....don't blame me...it's my dang bluetooth keyboard...I try to catch & correct the mistakes...but I may not catch all of them.)

    Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
    1997 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date <<~>> 2006 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date
    (SOLD)
    1999 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 1995 525iT (Alpine White)
    1991 735iL (Schwarz) <<~>> 1985 325e (Bronzit)

  14. #14
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    00 528i Sport_DM63
    Quote Originally Posted by Qsilver7 View Post
    ...and if you make a donation of any amount...
    Just a thought :-)
    ^^Good reminder.

    In just a couple of days on E39 forum I have benefited from 82bmw633’s DIY pdf as well as just learned something from Qsilver7’s buyers guide pdf that answered a couple of nagging questions before I invested more of my time researching an issue. Bingo…valuable…worth a contribution that I’ll be making shortly.

  15. #15
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    I just used the pdf to check out the driver's window regulator on my 99 528i. Worked fine. My problem turned out to be a window that had come out of the clamps. Probably due to in the frame in winter and I still tried to lower it. I am sure I will have the regulator failure down the road at some point, but the pulleys and cables looked good for now and I sprayed them with cable lube.

    I pulled the airbag and needed the battery hooked up so I could test the window, so I have a code to reset, but I my advanced scan software can do that. I think I could have either left the bag connected or just reconnected it before reconnecting the battery.

  16. #16
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    A long overdo “thank you” to 82bmw633 for his very helpful and informative DIY. Pretty much 1,2, 3…roll up the window!

    82bmw633 also gave me an appropriate heads up to order the OEM part rather than a cheaper make do product…no need to be back in there soon.

    Some comments:

    I was not familiar with the quick couplings used for the wiring bundle eventually separated into three connectors to the door handle switches; so I did take some time to figure out their method of release. Hinge method for the two smaller with a pull out latch [think akin to stock air filter removal] on the larger.

    As with above…almost forgot to reinsert foam insulation [plugging the wire bundle hole] prior to door panel reassembly. Also…be sure and remember to drop the wire for bottom door light through the panel passage prior to door reinstall.

    Battery neg disconnected in rear but did not disconnect the airbag wire…my method of hanging [large rubber bands] suspending within the window portion of the door frame w/o stress to the wire worked fine for me. Did not replace the three bolts with new…but did carefully torque original back at 13 ft lbs.

    On page 19 of the pdf is mentioned the glass clamping jaws. Worth noting both your old clamping jaw fine adjustment “nubs” to those of your new window regulator’s clamping jaws by setting the screw to the identical position [use machined guide marks]. Also take note of the old clamping jaw footprint on the glass [so don’t wash this portion when the glass is out] as you should notice the clear outline[s] within the dirty portion of the glass. By combination of matching the fine adjustment nubs in concert with the jaws footprint on the glass…your first test of operation should be spot on.

    The door panel’s small plastic piece (not the technical term as I did not look it up ;-), securing the center of the door panel [just below the door handle] to the door itself is mentioned on page 4 in the pdf. For reinstallation I found it easier to use a small piece of tape and hold it in its door panel metal carriage rather than re-clip it [in the correct orientation] to the protruding metal clip of the door. That is; I found it easier to settle the entire door panel assembly square into place “hearing” and “feeling” the plastic piece engage the metal piece [think space shuttle moving slowly forward to dock with the space station] rather than lowering down the door panel to find and marry up with the plastic piece already clipped onto the door protrusion...and with no issues engaging top portion correctly. YMMV.

    BTW. Since this was the drivers side Window Regulator I did purchase a new door handle at the same time to replace the more worn [sloppy movement] original handle. While it’s not necessary to remove the door panel to install the handle, I did think it best to perform an entire inspection of the door handle and locking assembly anyway including the replacement. Done! Feels good!

    Again 82bmw633; many thanks! I did take a couple of additional pictures that I’ll send your way that deal with my comments above.

    Don.
    Last edited by dondenver; 08-06-2009 at 08:30 PM.

  17. #17
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    I can host this on my website if anyone wants me to.

  18. #18
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    Good idea...it would be much easier (as previously stated) if someone uploaded this PDF to a server where it could be accessed 24/7 so that individual emails wouldn't have to be used to disseminate the information.

    Again, others have offered their web space and if anyone registers to be a member of Bimmerboard (you get enough web space just for registering) you can upload the PDF to your account and it will then have a URL that can be linked.

    Not sure why no one will do this. :
    (if my grammar, spelling, or sentence structure is screwed up....don't blame me...it's my dang bluetooth keyboard...I try to catch & correct the mistakes...but I may not catch all of them.)

    Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
    1997 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date <<~>> 2006 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date
    (SOLD)
    1999 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 1995 525iT (Alpine White)
    1991 735iL (Schwarz) <<~>> 1985 325e (Bronzit)

  19. #19
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    I can do it. I might still have the .pdf from when I used it.

    I'll check when I get home.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRDBMW View Post
    Please send me a pdf copy thanks! sjcoyoteroad@yahoo.com
    At last! The file is hosted HERE (BimmerBoard).

    A couple of hints since I created this:

    • the aftermarket regulator in this DIY failed after 8 months, it has been replaced with an OEM unit.


    • I have a $15 repair kit for the rear regulators (yet to be installed) but the right rear started to fail. The failure was in the various plastic parts and not the aluminum guide for the cable (which the repair kit fixes).


    • OEM rear regulators only come with the motor installed, so they're a little pricey.


    • Front OEM regulators can be ordered with or without the motors.


    • I had my indie BMW guy install the new OEM regulators in the front and rear of the passenger side doors. He said OEM lasts longer than the aftermarket stuff, even if it isn't very good to begin with. I think perhaps the extra $50 or so for the OEM front regulator is worth it.

    Also, be sure to read dondenver's post above which contains quite a bit of valuable information.

    Otherwise, let me know if you have any questions.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82bmw633 View Post
    • I had my indie BMW guy install the new OEM regulators in the front and rear of the passenger side doors. He said OEM lasts longer than the aftermarket stuff, even if it isn't very good to begin with. I think perhaps the extra $50 or so for the OEM front regulator is worth it.
    anychance you where did your indie got his oem regulators from?
    from searching for oem i found this: http://regulatorusa.com/
    anyone know other sources for oem front regulators?


  22. #22
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    Both oembimmerparts and EAC Tuning have the BMW regulators (about $155 for the front w/o the motor). My indie gets them from another source but I don't know who it is.

    As far as rebuilt regulators, I wouldn't use them on a BMW. The design of the BMW regulators has multiple failure points. When one thing goes it can screw up something else. On my OEM front regulator the wheels and the cable failed. On the aftermarket unit the frame torqued and the cable and glass clamps were then out of alignment. It's not a great design so cheaper materials/manufacturing only aggrevates the situation.

  23. #23
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    My passenger side window makes a thump noise when it goes to the bottom. I'm assuming this is related to the regulator. Can anyone confirm? Thanks.
    2000 M Coupe Imola on Imola/Black

    1998 BMW 540i Auto Black on Black......Retired


  24. #24
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    Sounds like the regulator. Another test is to see how much movement there is in the window when it's about halfway up/down. Grab hold of the top of the glass and see if you can move it up or down. Lot's of play/slop usually means the pulleys and cables are on the way out. Don't be too aggressive as you don't want to pull the glass out of the clamps.

  25. #25
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    '00 528i

    window switch question

    Thanks for your great info on the regulator replacement, it was right on time as mine just went out friday. I have one question though. When I was removing the door panel and I went to disconnect the window switch, one of the plugs won't come off. There three plugs , the largest of the three is the one causing the problem. The smaller two had a latch type lock on them, but the larger one did not seem to have the same type, and it won't just pull off. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by keifers5281; 09-12-2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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