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Thread: Broken trunk latch fix (easy DIY)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Minnesota
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    1999 528iA Sport

    Broken trunk latch fix (easy DIY)

    So after a nice time at Oktoberfest in Chippewa Falls, WI - loading up the car to head home on Sunday our trunk latch failed. With a little duct tape holding the trunk shut (no, that's not the easy fix...) we got home without losing anything.
    Called the dealer for a replacement trunk lock actuator $139 or Crown auto $89 - yikes!.
    Looked here for removal info - great reference:
    http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/t...20actuator.htm
    So here was the culprit:


    After 5 minutes noodling with two pliers:


    Test fit in the lock mechanism:





    So far, so good. I'll get a real replacement if the spring breaks again...
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by MNsport528i; 09-22-2009 at 01:31 AM. Reason: trunk lock? trunk latch I guess...
    I can't believe I've had my 528iA sport 9 years and counting . . .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    RI
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    1,595
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    1997 BMW 540I/6
    lol just did this 5 days ago!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    PEI, Canada
    Posts
    88
    My Cars
    2000 528i SP/PP
    Nice pics!! Too late for me though as I had to do this in March!

    Another one of the "common" E39 problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    Anything free is good LOL...
    Great Fix!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Michigan
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Quote Originally Posted by MNsport528i View Post
    So after a nice time at Oktoberfest in Chippewa Falls, WI - loading up the car to head home on Sunday our trunk latch failed. With a little duct tape holding the trunk shut (no, that's not the easy fix...) we got home without losing anything.
    Called the dealer for a replacement trunk lock actuator $139 or Crown auto $89 - yikes!.
    Looked here for removal info - great reference:
    http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/t...20actuator.htm
    So here was the culprit:


    After 5 minutes noodling with two pliers:


    Test fit in the lock mechanism:





    So far, so good. I'll get a real replacement if the spring breaks again...
    Hope this helps.
    Nice job. It looks like it will last a while. I'd be a bit concerned about the side of the spring opposite the failure point. If one side failed, the other may do the same soon.
    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySweitzer View Post
    lol just did this 5 days ago!
    Photos?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    walnut creek, ca, usa
    Posts
    32
    My Cars
    1997 bmw 528i

    trunk latch spring

    my trunk latch failed the day before a 3 week vacation! Had to leave unlocked in front of house...sucks

    upon disassembly the spring was gone. Not in trunk not be found. My local BMW dealer would sell the complete assy for 175 or so...no way

    Went to Orchard supply and found a spring that looked ok bent ends and installed worked fine. Repaired for a buck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    1,033
    My Cars
    E39 540iA
    Can anyone help me out with my trunk problem?

    My problem is, that the trunk won't open with the key, nor will it open when I press the button on the trunk latch.

    The only way of opening it is by using the key turning it, and then it will open. Anyone know what's up with my trunk?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Keller, TX
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    1997 BMW 528i

    Small World!

    My trunk actuator spring snapped as well...shopped around a little and found a similar spring at NAPA (which the clerk gave to me for FREE!), and after a little jury-rigging works great!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Michigan
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Quote Originally Posted by fijimon05 View Post
    Can anyone help me out with my trunk problem?

    My problem is, that the trunk won't open with the key, nor will it open when I press the button on the trunk latch.

    The only way of opening it is by using the key turning it, and then it will open. Anyone know what's up with my trunk?
    Is the central locking system working properly?
    You may need a new trunk latch relay.
    I also wonder if it has to do with the wires running from the trunk to the car. Check to see if the insulation on any of the wires is worn through.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 09-17-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    San Jose, CA
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    1,033
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    E39 540iA
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    Is the central locking system working properly?
    You may need a new trunk latch relay.
    I also wonder if it has to do with the wires running from the trunk to the car. Check to see if the insulation on any of the wires is worn through.
    Hmmm I believe so, although when I sometimes try opening the trunk with the key it makes a weird sound, and doesn't open, I then physically put the key in the trunk key hole and tuern it and the trunk opens.

    Im gonna go check and see if there are any cut,worn wires there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Michigan
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    You could also try lubricating the latch mechanism.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    00 540i

    Talking works!

    Quote Originally Posted by MNsport528i View Post
    So after a nice time at Oktoberfest in Chippewa Falls, WI - loading up the car to head home on Sunday our trunk latch failed. With a little duct tape holding the trunk shut (no, that's not the easy fix...) we got home without losing anything.
    Called the dealer for a replacement trunk lock actuator $139 or Crown auto $89 - yikes!.
    Looked here for removal info - great reference:
    http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/t...20actuator.htm
    So here was the culprit:


    After 5 minutes noodling with two pliers:


    Test fit in the lock mechanism:





    So far, so good. I'll get a real replacement if the spring breaks again...
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks, had the same issue. $148 for new latch to fix one cheap spring. But fixed it with your idea.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Posts
    968
    My Cars
    03 540i
    followed this guide exactly and fixed my trunk latch


    happy camper

    thank you very much.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    118
    My Cars
    2001 530I Sport
    Mine broke last night ... Fixed it this morning. Thanks for the writeup

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Allentown, PA
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    404
    My Cars
    1997 528 Auto 03/'96 M52
    Quote Originally Posted by fijimon05 View Post
    Can anyone help me out with my trunk problem?

    My problem is, that the trunk won't open with the key, nor will it open when I press the button on the trunk latch.

    The only way of opening it is by using the key turning it, and then it will open. Anyone know what's up with my trunk?
    Did you ever get this figured out? It sounds like the same problem I had. It makes a "repeating-type" sound, right? Lots of short bursts, sort of like an automatic weapon?

    The problem is the actual (electrical) mechanism that controls the movement of the locking/unlocking rod. The plastic gears inside are broken. I tried fixing mine (you have to cut the black, plastic box open), but it didn't last too long.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    napa, ca.
    Posts
    46
    My Cars
    e30, 97 528i
    This guide rocks,my trunk latch broke the other night and followed this and got mine fixed.. Thanks a lot OP..

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    UCF/Oviedo, Florida
    Posts
    1,320
    My Cars
    (Prd. 5/96) 528i.
    Could my latch be broken and not catching because of a broken spring? Today I closed my trunk and would lot latch. Visually everything seems okay and nothing broken but the latch is loose. I compared it too another functioning E39 latch and was not loose and closed with no effort.

    10/28- Fixed the problem according to this DIY once I actaully found out the spring was broken as shown in the pictures. I will call around to see if anyone carries this type of spring or just form it as the other end. Great DIY nontheless.
    Last edited by AHay5; 10-28-2011 at 03:57 PM.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
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    My Cars
    SC'ed E36 M3, turbo Miata
    Here's a little tip. In the linked article in the original post, a paint can opener was suggested as a tool. I didn't have one. What I did was to take the metal clip part of those popular Sanford ballpoint pens, the part that lets it clip on your pocket, and modify it. First I bent it 90* outwards, then I pulled it out of the pen's cap. That makes it into an 'L' shape. Then I took the short part of the 'L', and bent it into a slight 'V'. I used it to remove the clips, especially useful for the very recessed one that covers the philips screw. I used it for the 2 clips that you first remove, to lift it up a little bit. Then I used my interior door panel clip removal tool to lift the inner part up high, then the outer part.

    Door panel clip removal tool:
    Last edited by Jason C SBB; 11-19-2011 at 08:40 PM.
    ///Mello Yello

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