Recently I have noticed that a lot of people are asking how to remove the old nasty door handles either to replace them with new ones, replace the cracked rubbers, or to just repaint them to make them look nicer. Anyway, after finding out myself, I decided to create this DIY. It was hard to take pictures of the inside of the door, so bare with my on the pictures.
What you need:
- Flat head screw driver
- Some type of hooking device, coat hanger whatnot
First things first, open the door of choice, and you will notice a little grommet. (Yes, e36 door panels blow )
Remove the grommet with the screw driver to be able to access the "Slider".
Here are a few more pictures of the "Slider".
To help people understand the purpose of the slider, I drew the slider's location based on looking at the door. For instructions, push the slider towards the front of the car to release the old door handle piece. To install the new one, place your hook in the proper position to pull back on the slider and hold in the new piece up against the car (you could also grab a friend to hold it in for you). Pull towards yourself (or towards the back of the car) to lock the slider and hold the new piece in place.
I hope all this helps.
Last edited by shogun; 01-26-2017 at 07:26 AM. Reason: non working pic links removed
Rob - 2000 BMW Z3 M Roadster | 1986 Porsche 944 5.3L LM4
I finally got lucky finding the "slider" on my 'vert. There is a "gasket" hidden behind the rubber trim on the door, but it's pointless to bother with b/c there's a piece of sheet metal that blocks access to the slider anyway.
After screwing with the gasket access I finally gave up and took the trim and soundproofing off the door from the inside. I tried looking with flashlights and mirrors and couldn't find the hooked end of the slider, but could easily locate the other end (towards front of car).
I was able to cram my hand into the hole and felt above and aft of the lock mechanism. You can just feel the hooked end of the slider and with some effort, push it forward. After that the hardest part was holding the trim on with one hand outside the door while working the slider from inside.
For some reason the driver's side was harder to do - not sure if the parts are different (why would they be) as I'd already reassembled my passenger door. Luckily a buddy came over and helped by holding the trim in while I futzed with the slider. I ended up using a screwdriver to pry it into place from the "front" (non-curved) end as that area is easier to see.
It was a minor pain but much better than taking the door apart...
Hellrot 1998 328iC
Deletes: CDV, Wood Trim, E36ME's ASC-ectomy, Mudflaps | Undeletes: Fan (after one rebuilt head, can you blame me?)
Adds: aFe CAI | BMW: Brake Upgrade (e46/330) - Hardtop - MTech Front Spoiler - MTech Euro 3-spoke Steering Wheel - MTech Mirrors - M50 Manifold - S52 Cams | BSW ib108 Subwoofer | Diffsonline 3.46 LSD | Eurosport: M50 Manifold Kit - S52 Cam/M50 Manifold Software | UUC: Big Boy v2.0 - Black TME - DSSR - ERK - EvoII SSK - RSC36 Exhaust - Sachs Stage 3 Suspension - SS Brake and Clutch Lines - Strutbarbarian - SwayBarbarians - Underdrive Pulleys | ZKW Euro Ellipsoids w DDE
Waiting to install: CF Trunk Lip Spoiler
Attention convertible owners: Please post all e36 convertible-related questions in the "Convertible Questions" e36 Subforum.
I own a 328i coupe and recently changed the rubber trim. What a mission. There is a slider behind a gasket, but it is very difficult to find and move. If you lift the rubber seal on the top edge of the door (where the window meets the sill just above the latch) you will find a very small gasket (see picture). If you look inside this gasket you will see a lever that moves down when you lift the door handle (a curved grey dull colour).
The slider is directly behind this (a few millimetres towards the front) against the outside panel. The slider itself has gold/yellow appearance and is in the shape of an "L" with the bottom of the "L" sticking out from the panel. You can just see the tip of slider. Use a flexible LED torch that you can poke it into the gasket and light up the area. It’s hopeless shining an ordinary torch into the gasket and trying to find it. You can’t look in and shine the torch at the same time.
The best way to slide it forward (towards the front of the car) is to use an Allen key. The Allen key allows you to get in behind the handle lever. If you can imagine the slider being an “L” shape and the Allen key being an “L” shape, then the idea is to push the bottom of the Allen key (tip of the “L”) against the tip of the “L” of the slider. Be careful as the locking mechanism is in very close proximity to the slider and you don’t want to damage it.
I my case the slider was difficult to move. But a few taps on the Allen key with the handle of a rubber grip screwdriver did the trick.
Once you get the trim off and replace the rubber use the Allen key as a hook to pull the slider back.
The best thing you can do is to find/make and LED flexible torch that will poke through the gasket. Once you do this and get a glimpse of the slider you will see how it all works.
There is no need to pull the door apart.
I got my rubber trim from EBay (kenneth_woo, $25 plus $5 shipping for a set of 4).
I hope this helps you guys. It’s difficult to explain and even more difficult to photograph (even though I tried).
OK, I just took another look and tried to take some better pictures.
I made a mistake in the previous post. The Slider tip is just in front of the door handle lever (see the pic for details). It’s between a small piece of painted sheet metal on the inside of the outer panel (just visible through the gasket) and the door handle lever.
Hope these pictures explain things a bit better.
here...... http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...4&postcount=12Originally Posted by Casebrius
and here... http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...4&postcount=13
...its correct, i just replaced mine yesterday.
I just replaced my door handles on my ti.Originally Posted by spsinha
'95 330ti Club Sport w/sun roof delete, S50USB30, Schricks, 24# inj, BBTB, Conforti SW, Euro HFM, Samco Silicone Intake Boot, Euro oil cooler, JTD Cold Air Intake Duct, RE DMS exhaust, RE Tranny mounts, CF Valve Cover, LTW flywheel/Kevlar sprung hub clutch, RE SSK, 3.46 Finned LSD (M6) , M3 tranny, Brembos, RE Wheel Studs, SS brake/clutch lines, CF interior, Tilt Steering retrofit, 13.5 lb DynaBatt in rear, LED interior/footwell lights, 4500K ZKW HID, Headlight Aim Control, Rear fog light w/cluster indicator, BMW Traffic Pro/Alpine MP3-CD Changer, Staggered LTW wheels, '95 M3 steering rack, VIS CF Hood, M3 LTW Strut Bar, Aluminum M3 Coilover Front/M Coupe Rear suspension, Red LTW Motorsport Seatbelts, OEM Fire Extinguisher, Z8 Starter button, Auto dim rear view mirror w/Homelink, PDC, Rear Sun Shade, Euro Gauge Cluster w/oil temp/shift light , Headlight Washers, BMW MS Door Handles, CF Grills, French ZKW Fogs, Bimmer Mag 8/2007
OK - one more than I asked for, very grateful.
Mike - Please DO NOT pull out your window.
Here is what you do (coupe)
Windows on these cars are a PITA to remove, so, FDS. With the door panel off, you will find that the window slides on this yellowish, orangish thingie (yes I'm kinda coming down from major drinking right now, bear with me) and what you need to do is remove that. I know your issue is the door handle trim slider, I'll get to that soon. OK - There are 6 bolts/nuts that you need to remove here. The guide that is farthest to the rear of the car needs to come out. The guide is held on by two allen bolts at the bottom of the door, two bolts at the top near the door handle, and two nuts that connect the window to the slider. Whatever you do, do not loosen a bolt that goes through glass. The last two nuts I mention hold the glass holder thingie to the slider (you will know what I'm talking avout when you're in there).
OK, now pop the window off the plastic slider clip thingies that attach to the window regulater arms. These plastic clips should be replace anyways since they are a failure item anyways, so just kill em. The clips I am talking about are white plastic, slide a bunch, are covered with grease, and have a metal clip on them. Pull the metal clips with a screwdriver and get the window off of them.
You will need to mess with the window a bunch to get this far (up, down, etc), so, what you wana end up with is a window that is loose, that you can pull away from the door handle so that it can be brought in and out no prob. With all of this stuff out of the way (the window still in the car btw), you are able to move the window enough to change out the door handle, and not go through the hassle of removing the window entirely which is WAY too much work for such a simple job (granted I have done it 3 times now, but trust me, this is much easier).
OK, so now the window is far enough out of the way to do the door handle job, and you have saved a buncha time. Great. The slider. It's a PITA I know. I just helped knightryder whatever his username is do BOTH his door handles the other dai I know wtf im talkig abou.t.
OK -- te slider, if you cannot get it through the tiny hole which IS possible rust me, get a hook tool and you can slide it inside the door. You gotta somehow grab it, and pull it towards the front of the car. On the passenge r side i was able to get it through the hole, but for some reason the frivers side was much easier inside the door. There is this metal plate thingie that gets in the way and you gotta deal with this thing when putting the new door ahndle in there . You gotta kinda tucj k the new door handle in there under this metal plate in order to have enoug threads around the lock sylinder to get the nut on there.
ANyways, that slider is a beeeeyotch, and I highly suggest going to sears and getting a tool that has a hook on the end (will post a pic of mine when im coherent enough to do so).
Hey man, if this didnt help PM me your cellie and ill give u arin g and talk u through it.
I replaced my door trims this past weekend. The coupe's design is the same as the sedan, but work will need to be done almost blindly because there is a piece of metal that blocks the view of the slider from the access hole. While the slider is in the forward (open) position, it is possible to see a glimpse of the hook end of the slider, but it is not visible while the slider is closed. Using a tool shaped like a larger allen wrench is ideal. Taking apart the door is not that much of a help because the area is blocked by the bottom part of the window (even with the window rolled all the way up), and you will probably find that you will need to fix your door panel because the adhesives have broken down. All you need is the wrench, a flashlight, some patience, and a third hand.
I was using an allen key and blindly fishing around behind the sheet metal tab. I had no idea what size the mythical retaining clip was, and I was using an allen key that was WAY too big...
I actually used the slotted end of an offset screwdriver since I couldn't find a paint can opener in my garage, but same principle.
After completing the swap, I am convinced that BMW hired Erno Rubik to design that thing!
dear god almighty. I definitely did not expect that to be so hard. Contrary to what a few other people have said, it IS possible to do the coupe door trim without removing the door panel. I used a flat head screwdriver to push the tab into the 'unlock' position, and then used a coat hanger with a loop bent in it to pull it back. It's frustrating and takes some patience but it can be done.
"Do not put cheap eBay crap on your German Stallion!" -Bimmer323is
The slider on the 328is is has a slight L shaped bend in it. NO HOOK or HOLE to insert the allen key into. It is just a little back behind that little sheet metal tab. An allen key held in vise grips moves it back and forth easily. You will not find it with a flashlight so give up. Use feel instead. It's way easier than it seems. After fighting with the first door for two hours I finally realized to simple "slide" the L shaped bend bac and forth. Push it forward to release the trim. Adjust the allen key and hook the back end of the L shaped bend and pull forward to lock it in place. The second door took 10 seconds. It's easy to over complicate this one. Don't.
Pics would not help. You can't see anything through the hole and what you need to see is visually blocked by the sheet metal tab. Like I said I struggled for two hours with a tiny flexible flashlight to "see" the clip and it was pointless. I gave up and might as well as closed my eyes becuase it's all feel.
Just between after sheet metal tab (maybe 1mm at most) is the L bend in the retainer clip.
You "push" it back (towards the front of the door) with your allen key (held in vicegrips) It only goes back about 1/4 inch.
Pop the old trim off and then hold the new trim in place. Then "hook" the end of the allen key over the L bend in the retainer clip and puul it back towards you.
Once I got the "feel" of it I was mad at myself for making it so hard at first. Second door literally took 10 seconds to do.
Just changed the door handle on the drivers side in my coupe, was worried how hard it would be after reading some of the posts, but found it really easy.
I removed the gold window guide chanel to give some more hand room, and the bottom bolt of the lifting arm to allow the window to tilt forward a little. Had the new handle in front of me, so just looked where the slide was, and reached around till i found it,and slid it across using my fingers, no screwdriver needed.
To get the handle out i had to push the window outwards a touch. Only prob I had was when re assembling, the handle didn't want to sit flush. Turned out to be that little bit of sheet metal that blocks access to the slider catching on the very end of the handle.... whats it even for?? just to annoy people?
I was intimidated but I did it in like 15 mins! Sedans really are better than coupes
Using an allen key held on with grip pliers makes it easy.
Ok here it is for the coupe. I was pretty confused but hopefully this will condense everything that others were saying that, added together, makes this like a 45 second job.
I have a 98 M3 coupe. My slider is black just so it's better camouflaged. PIC!!!!
You can see the tab quite well, this is because it's already been pushed. It sits right in front of the foward edge of the "blocking tab" and you can squeeze a paint can opener (thanks for the tip) between the two and just push. You'll find it after a couple of tries and mine wasn't hard at all to push. replace the trim, holding it against the outside of the door, and just pull the tab back. done faster than you read this lol.
Hi, I just followed the instructions provided by Mmineham to replace the rubber seal around the door handle trim and it worked perfetcly however, a few tips from what I learned.
- dont use the eBay rubbers they do not fit correctly and while, with some effort, I have been able to get mine to fit, its not perfect so defeats the reason I replaced them in the first place. I will probably go to a dealer and get genuine replacements and re-do them
- while I tried an alen key, it was a bit short so I bent the end of a cheap flat head screwdriver to 90 degrees and it was very easy
- follow Mminehams pictures and description it works. While I couldnt see the slider, following the instructions was simple and can be done with your eyes closed (after 2-3 min getting the infernal eBay rubbers to fit, it only took a few seconds to unslide and re-slide the trim back in place)
- I read a post somewhere that suggested the slide went in different directions on each side - mine were both forward to undo and back to clip back in.
- and absolutley no need to take your door trim off and play with windows! Unless you are one of the unlucky ones who reported stuck sliders (mine slid really easily)
FYI - my car is a 1997 328 convertable
Good luck all
Last edited by gusrox; 05-23-2009 at 12:19 AM.
The new DIY I posted up in the e36 M3 section should replace this, no offense to the OP or contributing members. I don't have privileges to post up a new DIY, so here's mine:
The current DIY for this is discouraging at best and the images are no longer viewable, so I thought I would update with a clear, simple way of tackling the job. This is more a compilation of different people's ideas than my own, but having them all put together should make this a less than 5 minute job as opposed to the multiple hours I've read about.
Disclaimer: This procedure was performed on my coupe, so I can't confirm that it applies directly for sedans. According to what I've read though, the sedan is easier to do; you can actually see inside. Also, don't come to me if you hurt yourself doing this. It's your own fault.
That's right, you only need one. Go to your local hardware or paint store and pick up a paint can opener; they just give one to you since they have about 498745398 of these:
If you really are too lazy to go to the hardware store, you can try bending a piece of metal wire into an L shape, but I didn't feel like wasting my time with the wrong tools. If you do make it, try to form this kind of shape:
"Door Handle Cover Outer includes Sealing Gasket, Left Front, E36 3 Series, All 1992-99": 51-21-8-122-441-M9
"Door Handle Cover Outer includes Sealing Gasket, Right Front, E36 3 Series, All 1992-99": 51-21-8-122-442-M9
Back to Black or equivalent
1. Open your door of choice and look at the rubber cover on the top half of the door.
Pull the outside lower corner of the rubber sheet up to pull the rubber grommet out of its hole.
This will reveal the access hole that you will be using to release the handle trim.
2. Since you can't actually see what you're doing inside the door, it's going to be pretty much all feel. Take the paint can opener, point it towards the front of the car, and aim the L shape to the outside of the door. In that orientation, aim the tool at the crotch of that little metal arm of the door handle assembly shown below.
Push it forward to release (this shouldn't require an incredible amount of force).
To get a better idea of what you're working with, check this out: you're just going to be sliding a little knob forward:
YouTube - E36 Drivers Door Handle Trim Removal.
3. Once you've felt the knob slide forward, you can get a fingernail under the trim and pull it off, top side first.
4. Now that you have the trim off, you'll see quite a bit of dirt buildup under there. Clean it off, and if you have some Back to Black on hand, get the actual handle completely covered since you can access more of it while the trim is off.
5. Installation is the reverse of assembly. The hook shape of the paint can opener makes it a good tool to pull the knob back into place, securing the trim. Another thing to watch out for is that the new rubber seal isn't bunched up on the plastic trim.
Instead of this:
It should look like this:
And you're done! The whole process took me about 15 minutes including going back and forth to the house to grab some back to black and stopping every 5 seconds to take a picture.
It's a nice improvement. Went from this:
Just did mine on both cars - Coupe & Convertible. I'm wondering why I waited so long. It was a very easy task. Just do exactly what everyone is saying.
You really only need to undo the bottom grommet to access the lever.
I used a smallish allen key and a vise grip, it worked great!
this is everything you need to know ab this. i realized there is a sliding brass looking bar, doesnt slide easily. its almost the length as the entire handle assembly. push it forward completely and remember your going to need a tool to pull it back with to lock the trim in place, i suggest wd40 a lil on the sliding lock piece and it goes nice and easy. just looked at this DIY after 30 mins of f*ckin around and got it no prob.
Yes, on the 2 door, that slider is a pain! It's behind a metal tab that protects it from being seen through the hole as mentioned above. Photos are attached showing it removed from the car. The side photo shows how it fits on the handle. It holds the trim because the trim pokes a couple little hooks through a couple little holes that the slider catches. The second photo shows the slider from the view you would see it through the viewing hole if that metal piece were not in your way.
i have two problems... one my door wont lock because this is down.. how can i fix it?
and two i cant see the little part where this goes
i know it used to go here but how can i get it out again?
After discovering my cellphone actually fits between the door and the handle while also being in-focus (mostly) - I decided to make a quick DIY. Maybe it can be of use to someone.
No it's not an easy job. It's a PITA. I've got 25 years of working on vehicles whether I want to or not, and I have had my BMW door apart now for 2 weeks trying to get it right. If you grew up working on them and knew nothing else existed, I could see how you might have that perspective. Changing out the driver's side door handle is harder to do than rebuilding a manual transmission, or the replacing the heads of an engine. I suppose it's all about perspective though. I may not be any sort of expert, but I have rebuilt over 20 transmissions, and every single one of them was easier than replacing the door handle for my e36 that STILL is not done yet... The clip you have to slide is probably the easiest part of this job, and that isn't easy.
Last edited by shogun; 12-23-2016 at 01:22 AM.