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Thread: IHKA Button Repair vs. Replacement

  1. #1
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    Exclamation IHKA Button Repair vs. Replacement

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRob View Post
    Dont pay $20/button. Do this to the cracked AND non-cracked ones.

    Remove it, place scotch tape over the front to line it up and keep it it secure. On the backside, put a dab of JB weld along the crack above and below the indicator window on the button to reinforce the center. Let dry and reinstall. Mine are cracked but solid as a rock now. If the little crack bothers you and you can see some white, take a black sharpie or something to it, but really I think it's minimal to notice. FREE.
    jamesdc4
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-16-2010 at 11:00 PM.

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  2. #2
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    Cool.
    How hard do the buttons have to be pressed to break like that?
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 07-10-2009 at 02:31 AM.

  3. #3
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    Unhappy Not hard at all...

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    Cool.
    How hard do the buttons have to be pressed to break them like that?
    As with most of the plastic on these cars (), you don't have to press very hard for this to happen. These broke during normal use as the corner cuts leave very little plastic for support creating weak points at each corner. Smart design if you want to sell $125 panels later...

    Personally, I'm happy with the repair as I'll put the $60 towards my other maintenence items...

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  4. #4
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    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.

  5. #5
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    Talking It's cool...I'm saving money.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    I'm on the fence with this one, A. It's a good fix as far as 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.
    As I stated earlier, it looks WAY better from the cockpit than in the up-close pix and the flash accentuates the cracks big time (you know how detailed I am)! The good thing is knowing that the buttons won't fall apart leaving a gaping hole in my IHKA panel and now the buttons operate as a single unit instead of a wobbly mix of two or three pieces.

    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.

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12CoolDude View Post
    As I stated earlier, it looks WAY better from the cockpit than in the up-close pix and the flash accentuates the cracks big time (you know how detailed I am)! The good thing is knowing that the buttons won't fall apart leaving a gaping hole in my IHKA panel and now the buttons operate as a single unit instead of a wobbly mix of two or three pieces.

    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.
    No, no, no....you misunderstood me. Thank you for posting it up and spending the time to tweak it. I was just checking it out.
    BTW, your HVAC sampling fan vent needs some TLC!
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 07-10-2009 at 03:12 AM.

  7. #7
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    Wink It's all good...

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    No, no, no....you misunderstood me. Thank you for posting it up and spending the time to tweak it. I was just checking it out.
    BTW, your HVAC sampling fan vent needs some TLC!
    It's all good but I really meant it...just sharing.

    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.

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
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    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
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    I hang out in OT alot, got any questions about my car? Feel free to PM me! Like electronic music? Check out my soundcloud!

  10. #10
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    I've been searching on RealOEM.com for the part (30 minutes now) but haven't had any luck finding it...anyone have an actual p/n?? I just wanna know where and how much to get the replacement panel for future reference...thanks!

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12CoolDude View Post
    I've been searching on RealOEM.com for the part (30 minutes now) but haven't had any luck finding it...anyone have an actual p/n?? I just wanna know where and how much to get the replacement panel for future reference...thanks!
    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=DN63&mospid=47588&btnr=64_0678& hg=64&fg=20
    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.

  12. #12
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    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.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by gurmukhbhogal View Post
    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.
    It appears to be a separate light source as the triangular light carrier is just a small piece of clear plastic with a red or blue tip, which inserts into the button. Not sure if you can just replace the carrier bulb but would be interested to know if it is possible...from what I see, it should be.

    Quote Originally Posted by SPHINX25 View Post
    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=DN63&mospid=47588&btnr=64_0678& hg=64&fg=20
    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.
    Thanks very much for the link and suggestion but I was trying to avoid old buttons since they will most likely fail in a short amount of time but the link is exactly what I was looking for.

    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

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  14. #14
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    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/

    Crown FTW
    Last edited by SPHINX25; 07-10-2009 at 05:37 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurmukhbhogal View Post
    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.
    After looking more carefully (check out pic #1), it appears that the light source is mounted onto the green board so it may not be possible to just replace the bulb. I'll look into the Bentley to see if that is the case...or, anyone?

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12CoolDude View Post
    After looking more carefully (check out pic #1), it appears that the light source is mounted onto the green board so it may not be possible to just replace the bulb. I'll look into the Bentley to see if that is the case...or, anyone?
    Picture #3 and #5 from top are not very sharp and out of focus, where the light bulb w/ the triangle is separated. I am interested to know how this light source works and is it part of the button. Some people who have bought buttons separately can chime in to say whether that light source is part of the button or not. Did you glue the triangle back in place and does it still light up?
    Last edited by gurmukhbhogal; 07-10-2009 at 07:48 PM.

  17. #17
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    Cool In answer to your questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by gurmukhbhogal View Post
    Picture #3 and #5 from top are not very sharp and out of focus, where the light bulb w/ the triangle is separated. I am interested to know how this light source works and is it part of the button. Some people who have bought buttons separately can chime in to say whether that light source is part of the button or not. Did you glue the triangle back in place and does it still light up?
    The triangular piece is ONLY a "light carrier" as it is a plain clear red/blue tipped piece of plastic. As stated, the light source/bulb appears to be soldered to the HVAC green/main board behind the HVAC panel.

    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...

    '00 540iA with 235k+ on the original TCG's, Vanos and transmission...

  18. #18
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    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.

  19. #19
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    a/c unit removal

    Does anyone have any diy on removing this A/C unit?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tudor7 View Post
    Does anyone have any diy on removing this A/C unit?
    That is not really the AC unit but has the HVAC sampling fan in it that checks the cabin temp by blowing air past a temp sensor. The panel just pops straight out, held in by pressure clips on the sides. I got the whole panel of buttons from a junk yard for about $5, my up/down buttons were cracked the same way when i bought the car.

  21. #21
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    I need one of them buttons and can't find them for cheap.

  22. #22
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    I get mine from http://ihkabuttons.com/ Try there - JT
    Last edited by Johntee540; 07-16-2012 at 11:57 AM.
    Johntee540
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  23. #23
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    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

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Shilling View Post
    Why repair when there is ihkabuttons.com? I did that, 2 minutes and a couple bucks and it looked new.
    I am sorry, did you mean why buy it if you can repair it?

    I fixed mine:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...1&postcount=16



    Too bad I gotta fix another one...
    Last edited by siny528i; 07-16-2012 at 10:12 PM.
    BMW CCA 434493

  25. #25
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    fan speed button

    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.
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