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Thread: Front Window Regulator replacement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)

    Front Window Regulator replacement

    Window regulator replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by lennardlector View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
    These are all the parts of the front driver side window regulator. Part number 51338252393. You can check for the other part numbers in www.realoem.com. The body shop that I took my car to, took it completely apart. I had no idea how it was before. I wanted to rebuild it. I will try to give a step my step instructions. It might come handy if you accidentally manage to dismember it, or if you are trying to rebuild one.


    1. Connect this piece into the large metal plate. It will snap in.


    2. There are two hinges like this one on the piece.


    3. They will snap into these holes. Press hard and it is in. It might come out a few times while you are trying to assemble it. Try not to apply force in a direction that will separate the plastic from the metal plate. It will come off many times, but you will get the hang of it after awhile.


    4. You should attached the white plastic to this side of the plate.


    5. And here it is. The easy part is done.
    Quote Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
    The roller that moves the window up and down goes here.

    1. This is the bottom side of the wheel. This side will go into the deep inside the plastic plate. Notice the direction it goes in.


    2. Here it is again. Notice the little ring inside the wheel. This will snap into the plastic plate and will hold it in place.


    3. This side will face up when you install the wheel inside the deep. This side interfaces with the window motor. You will need to connect the motor to the window regulator just before you install it into the door.


    4. This is how it will go in. If you will place the wheel inside the deep, you'll notice that it will not go flush with the plate, but it will be about 3mm higher. If you press it with your thumb, it will snap in. You will only be able to take it out using pliers. Grab it by the ribs above and pull up. Don't pry it out, or you will ruin the grooves. Look at the ring inside the deep in the plastic plate. The ring inside the wheel (picture 1 & 2 above) will snap into this. Don't put it in yet.


    5. The ends of the wire needs to go here. The nest pictures will show how. You will install the wheel in the deep after the wire is put around the wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
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    -Thanks to 82bmw633, lennardlector, MatWiz and yaofeng.



    Last edited by jamesdc4; 01-06-2013 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Added link.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    540it-318ti-318ic-Z3
    Nice! Move to DIY section...

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    2003 530iA
    Great info Jamie.
    I will create a lnky in "my" page - you knew that anyways. Right?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackBMWs View Post
    Nice! Move to DIY section...
    Thanks. I've already requested it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doru View Post
    Great info Jamie.
    I will create a lnky in "my" page - you knew that anyways. Right?
    Yes.
    Doru,
    I hope you dont mind that I edited out some of the links from your page (that were not standard DIYs) when I added it to the DIY Quick Links list. If at all possible, I would like to keep the DIYs seperated from other info.
    The two front window regulator author's posts above compliment each other and belong together until a better DIY is documented.

    Cheers, guys.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______
    I started hearing a rattling sound in the passenger side window in the fall. It doesn't rattle when the window is up fully, but it does in pretty much all other positions. I'll probably be using the above DIY soon, but I'm a little reluctant to mess around with the air bags.
    I seem to remember seeing a DIY on some metal clamp that breaks and rattles. I can't seem to find it. SEARCH!!!!!
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-03-2009 at 12:11 AM. Reason: Automerged

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Gadsden, Al
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    '01 530i,'90 Miata
    Awesome writeup. I will definitely be using this next week. My moms front and rear regulater gave it up. I just went in and cut the wire to get the windows up.


    '01 530i Sport(RED)
    '90 Miata(work car)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    California
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    My Cars
    1997 BMW 528i
    I just had my window regulator fixed. Somehow the wire that's braided tightly unraveled and when I opened up my door panel and got the window regulator out I found a wire hairball in the corner of my regulator. I had it a *NEW* wire put in for under $100 bucks at a Auto Glass shop.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Gadsden, Al
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    '01 530i,'90 Miata
    I'm about to order a regulator for the front window of my moms '98 528i and a rear for my '01 530i. Where is the best place to order?

    Oh yea, will it be a problem if I disconnect the air bag? The battery will be disconnnected before I even remove the door panel. Just want to make sure


    '01 530i Sport(RED)
    '90 Miata(work car)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    NJ
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    02 540i 6MT
    I did my front window regulators today, and this is all good stuff, and to follow 82bmw633 steps as well. My regulators were in there for 10 yrs, and the brackets that hold the window at the bottom were the toughest to separate. By opening up the torx holdings that hold them the most and 'twisting' the glass, it is easier to separtate them. Also, since you don't use the old brackets anymore, you can work them at the bottom by the glass and 'break' them off. Be careful, just be mindful of the glass.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    I added an additional front window regulator replacement DIY at end of post #1.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    MD
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    Subaru
    hm, i need to get around to fixing my rear left regulator. This still helps though, thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Los Gatos, California
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 525i Sedan

    E39 Window Regulator Replacement (2002 525i)

    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who so generously posted pictures and instructions on replacing the regulator. They were flawless instructions and I got the entire project done in less than two hours, at a very careful and methodical pace. You saved me hundreds of dollars and gave us a thousand smiles.

    CK

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