I posted this in response to another thread and decided that it might be beneficial as a separate thread.
Wow...these are expensive to replace and of course, other buttons will eventually fail as soon as you replace the broken ones. My solution is to remove the broken ones (if they are still intact), CAREFULLY use a LITTLE superglue (specifically Future Glue brush-on by SuperGlue as it's like miracle glue dude) and reinstall. I've gotta admit that my first attempt is a bit sloppy but if it saves me $20 per button or $125 for a new panel, 'f' it!
However, I will be much more careful in my next two attempts since I now know what to avoid. I'll probably use a little nail polish remover to make a second attempt at the driver's side button as I want it to look a bit cleaner too. Here are the pix of the first attempt and the final two will be documented and added as well.
Step One: Remove the button by pushing/lifting it carefully from the bottom upwards and outwards. If you have the triangular light carrier (as mentioned b4) be very careful as it can come flying out as the button "pops" free. If you're uber lucky AND careful, you may be able to remove the broken button in one piece as I did for the first two. Alas, the third one was already in two pieces as you can see by the added pic...
Step Two: When gluing the piece, do not glue it from the front as it will leave a visible mess and that is not our goal. We want as clean a repair as possible and that means applying the superglue from the back of the crack. Use a very small amount of glue (I was overzealous), slightly open/flex the crack to get the glue to flow into the crack and do your best to quickly mate the surfaces cleanly, which is the tricky part due to the fact that the piece is only surfaced in black while the actual molded part is white so if you have even the slightest mismatch, the white will show.
Step Three: Reinsert the triangular light carrier when you feel the glue has dried sufficiently and reinstall your repaired IHKA button by inserting the top portion of the button into the top of it's slot (while matching the carrier to it's alloted place) and then pivot the lower part of the button into place as you carefully engage the clip by pressing as you would normally set the temp. Use a little rubbing alcohol to clean it up a bit and VOILA...you've saved $20 per button. In my case, I saved $60 since the site that sells them individually (IHKAButtons.com) only offers a discount if you order four or more.
(1) This is with driver's side removed (be careful of the light carrier--triangular plastic piece with a red or blue arrow) as mine went flying by my ear and I found it purely by luck (I thought that mistake was gonna cost me the $20 so seriously, be careful when popping out the button). You must "push/lift" up on the button and the bottom portion will pop loose, allowing the entire button and light carrier to fly off the panel.
(2) As you can see here, both passenger buttons have failed too...
(3) This is the best pic I could get of the broken driver's side button and triangular red light carrier (that's the tiny piece that flew by my head).
(4) Here is my sloppy ass repair on the driver's side but the potential is definitely there (it looks way better at a distance). If someone has a steadier hand, please post better pix of a more competent install. LOL At least I can hear the fading sound of ca-ching, ca-ching as my $60 stays in my pocket...
(5) Here is the last one I removed and it was ready to fall apart as it was in two pieces...
(6) Here is the final repair with all three buttons operating as one solid unit now. It looks WAY better from the cockpit than in the up-close pix so don't be fooled!
Edit: Here's a little extra info for additional techniques to repair the buttons.
Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-16-2010 at 11:00 PM.
Personally, I'm happy with the repair as I'll put the $60 towards my other maintenence items...
I'm on the fence with this one, A. It's a good fix as far as $s saved, but if there were a way to hide the cracks better, it would be perfect.
Edit: You already mentioned trying not to get the SG on the exterior of the button.
Last edited by jamesdc4; 07-10-2009 at 02:45 AM.
As for posting it in the DIY section, I don't really care as I just wanted to share a money saving fix that I had to do anyway so it's ultimately your call...thanks for the consideration though.
Yeah...the flash really brings that out too! It looks like the PO must've spilled his coffee while using those uber efficient can holders...LOL. BTW...thanks for including the shoddiest looking button in the tight shot (the bottom right corner was my first attempt using the sg from the wrong side).
Last edited by ViolinARC; 07-10-2009 at 05:41 PM.
I bought a "repair" kit from bavauto a few years ago and it was a new faceplate with all the buttons but the plate was stamped "sample" or something like that It was cheap -- maybe $35? I washed off the writing and used it. Keep the old one and spare buttons since you will break another down the road.
I also bought the replacement buttons from bavauto a few years ago... it was dirt cheap. I wonder why they are so damn $$$$ now?!?!?
- 2000 528i Sport -
I hang out in OT alot, got any questions about my car? Feel free to PM me! Like electronic music? Check out my soundcloud!
I personally check the F/S section in Lighting & Body parts or whole part cars, sometimes people will part out the buttons rather then the whole HVAC.
Very nice write up. Is the triangle piece and the light behind it, part of the button or is it a separate bulb like thing? I am asking this because the light on one of my buttons (blue) is out, and by the looks of it, if that thing flew by your face, perhaps I can replace the light bulb alone, if I can find one and is it replaceable? The button is not broken in my case.
YIKES!! $120 for just the buttons?!?!? I guess the post stating that the entire panel is only $125 must be incorrect since I see how much the buttons alone cost...definitely worth sg'ing them IMO.
EDIT: Pelican Parts to the rescue...only $97.50 for the entire IHKA Panel including buttons. A much better deal IMO...
Here's the link: http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/...38%2F%30%30%29
Last edited by ViolinARC; 07-10-2009 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
crown auto - $74.98 (for just the buttons)
I've literally tried every online retailer as i have 5 buttons falling off, 1 week ago I went to vaccum my car and sucked 2 right right off the control unit. So this is the best I came across, next cheapest is ECStuning at 91.40 http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/64118375645/ES177294/
Last edited by SPHINX25; 07-10-2009 at 05:37 PM.
Last edited by gurmukhbhogal; 07-10-2009 at 07:48 PM.
I didn't have to glue the triangular piece into place, it fits nice and snug without any glue and lights up just fine. The back of the triangular "light carrier" fits into a triangular female dock over the light attached to the HVAC green/main board.
I hope this answers your questions...
Yeah, there's a BMW owner down in San Diego, I believe, who started his own little net business of supplying these IHKA buttons at like $20 a piece...It works out to be far more expensive than buying the whole set but of course, then you get just the piece you need.
Highway robbery over all but it is what it is...My concern with the $20 by piece repair alternative is that I am not certain if these are OEM or not...I bought 2 a year ago and they are both cracked now...I don't know if it's the heat or what but seems odd that they continue to crack.
Does anyone have any diy on removing this A/C unit?
I need one of them buttons and can't find them for cheap.
Why repair when there is ihkabuttons.com? I did that, 2 minutes and a couple bucks and it looked new.
BMW 540iT and a Porsche 944 Turbo S. I'm a glutton for punishment
I fixed mine:
Too bad I gotta fix another one...
Last edited by siny528i; 07-16-2012 at 10:12 PM.
BMW CCA 434493
When I bought my car there was nothing in the space for the fan speed button, so I ordered a replacement on ebay, but it turns out to be just a plastic cap. I assume that some sort of contacts are needed for the button to function. Does anyone know if it's possible to find (or improvise) them? Or am I out of luck with this cheap replacement? Thanks.