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Thread: xjeeper's Hood latch and cable replacement DIY (the easy way)

  1. #1
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    xjeeper's Hood latch and cable replacement DIY (the easy way)

    It is a very common e36 problem to have a difficult to open hood. The cable gets rust in it, loses lubrication, the latches themselves become gunked up, the bowden cable gets pissed off, there are all sorts of problems that can go wrong.
    Sooner or later it WILL break and the dealership will want to charge you over $800 to fix it Most of this is labor; as they remove the drivers side fender and nose panel in order to run the cable and attatch the hood latches. Thanks to some friends on BF.C I was made aware of an alternative method that is substantially less time consuming and can be tackled by the average DIY'er. Here is how to do it

    First off, get your parts. You may or may not use all of the same parts I did. Use your discression, you know what you need and what you don't. I bought parts # 20, 10 (left AND right, they ARE different), and 15.


    First thing to do is to take off the kick panel. If you can't do this without me showing you how then don't even bother attempting to do this job yourself. Anyways, take out the speaker and pull out the foam baffle that resides behind it. If you look into and up in the hole that the speaker fits in, you can almost see where the cable runs. Almost. Just follow it with your hand.... you are really going to have to contort it into some crippling positions and you almost certainly will bleed. Just remember, your saving yourself hundreds of dollars.

    Below is a picture of my new cable showing the rubber grommet/plug that protects the cable when it passes through the sheet metal of the firewall/fender area. What we are going to do is attatch our new cable to the old cable (the end inside the car) and pull it through. This grommet will not let you pull it through. What I found worked for me was taking some scissors and reaching up through the hole that I took the speaker out of and cutting as much of the grommet off as I could. [**** note: this is to be done on the OLD cable in order to get it out, DO NOT do this to your new one!!!] With the grommet gone, you can actually pull the cable through the hole.

    Once that is out of the way and you are free to move the original cable, get some real strong tape and tape your new cable to your old one. Make sure you use STRONG tape, you will be shit out of luck if they come untaped halfway through the journey.

    Once you are confident that they are securely attatched you can go outside the car and start pulling on the old cable. I had to pull HARD for it to start coming, so hard that the sheith of the cable began to unravel. Be carefull, you dont want it to pop. Her is where it goes into the fender

    You are pulling from outside, here is where the new cable is feeding into



    If all goes well, It will actually work. Don't worry about pulling it too far, remember that grommet we talked about earlier? It WILL stop your progress

    Now you are ready to tackle the hood latches, they are held in with 3 torx t-30 self tapping screws. Obviously, you must remove the radiator shrowd in order to access them, 2 screws and some plastic plugs and its out of the way. Now, instead of removing the entire nose panel, you can simply grab it near the latches and bend it up, it is very this sheet metal and will easily bend back. After you do this you can pull the latches down and out. Check it out:


    Before you remove the cable, be sure to take note of how they are wrapped inside the latch. I didnt take pictures because it went so fast but it is prett self explanatory. If you are still with me at this point, you will have no problem.

    Installation is the reverse of removal. Here is the new one going in..... NOTICE... When you get parts 10 left and right you will notice that the holes are not threaded. This threw me off a bit and I thought I may have gotten some unfinished pieces or something. A fellow BFC'er pointed out that the torx screws that hold the latches in place are self tapping and you simply screw them into the new latches... they will cut their own threads quite nicely (be carefull not to make them crooked though. Here is a pic showing one hole unthreaded, as it comes and the other hole I simply screwed the stock hardware into.


    Before you button it all up, go pull on the release inside of the car and make sure everything feels like it should. If its all good tighten it al up and you're DONE!! Smile you just saved youself almost $800
    1/4 mile in 13.1 @ 106++ (calculators put this at 0-60 in "4.21" seconds.)

  2. #2
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    yesss, i have to do this soon

    my hood currently opens with alot of effort and a pair of vice grips

  3. #3
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    Monty E36, E90?
    you assume I can open the hood with the latch broken?

  4. #4
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    F the dealer and every shop that overcharges for this. Ill be using this DIY this weekend, thanks.
    www.E36-tech.com

  5. #5
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    Exactly the info I needed! Thank you very much!
    2007 335i Space Grey Coupe
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  6. #6
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    glad i could help!!
    1/4 mile in 13.1 @ 106++ (calculators put this at 0-60 in "4.21" seconds.)

  7. #7
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    Noice. Ive always wondered how you open the hood if the cable breaks or something. I found out the other day that you can open an E30 hood with a broken cable through the front grills with a flathead. I wonder if the E36 has this trick too...
    460whp/515wtq wifes MMW tuned 335i

  8. #8
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    I'm not too happy I have to do this AGAIN. Twice in 2 years....WTF!! Definitely not worth what the stealer will charge, thats for sure. 45min-1hr tops for this job.
    Mods ~ Ones that make me fast enough, handle like a dream, stop me on a dime.....and all while still looking good.

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  9. #9
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    I just did this - thanks a lot for the write-up! It definitely helped me. The idea of pulling the new cable through as you pull the old cable out is genius! (as long as you connect them to each other strongly... tape alone may not be enough).

    I want to add a few notes though:
    1) I couldn't remove the latches without unbolting the nose panel. I bent up the center sheet metal as suggested in this thread, but there was still nowhere near enough room because the plastic shroud underneath and the aux fan get in the way. I tried for more than an hour to no avail. Then I finally unbolted the nose panel (on each side, you have 2 screws next to the radiator and 2 more where the nose panel attaches to the fender - the latter two are accessible if you pull the plastic fender lining in the wheel well). I just unbolted the driver's side of the nose panel because I wasn't replacing the latches, just the long cable that goes from the release handle to the driver-side latch, so I didn't need to mess with the passenger-side latch. The moral of the story is that I recommend not bending any sheet metal because it won't help you anyway - just pull out the nose panel.

    2) When attaching the new cable to the latch and to the handle inside the car, the inner part of the cable is not long enough to easily go through the slits in the plastic parts and get aligned correctly at both ends. You'll see what I mean when you attempt it. So what I did was I attached it to the handle inside the car first, routing everything correctly, then attached the actual inner cable to the hood latch while its outer part hangs loose. Then pulled the outer part out as far as I could, and pressed it into its plastic sleeve with some pliers. This partly damaged the outer rubber lining of the cable, but it worked. Or is there a better way to do this?

  10. #10
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    I found you!.....on google but not on search BOOO!
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  11. #11
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    Xjeepers Creepers! Pass this on to a Mod and have it moved to the DIY forum.....

    John
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    ***Got a '95 M3? (actually pretty common on all years! Even happened to Racer Seth Thomas! ) Check Your LSD! http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=390209

  12. #12
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    you know how I'm fixing my broken cables and latches? HOOD PINS! 20bucks baby!

  13. #13
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    Good write up. I'll try it out as soon as the parts arrive. Thanks!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostM View Post
    you know how I'm fixing my broken cables and latches? HOOD PINS! 20bucks baby!
    x2, but I may be doing this soon. I don't like the look of my pins
    '03 M3. Titanium Silver/Black. Bilstein PSS10, 19" VMR 710, UUC SSK, UUC LWT clutch/flywheel, UUC catback, ///Avin Avant2.
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  15. #15
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    can you do the trick that you can with the E30? ie: flat head screwdriver. I really found that useful

  16. #16
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    Thanks for this! I have been using vice grips to pop the hood from the inside for many months. Only recently this stopped working because the cable disintegrated. Now I have a fresh cables routed with all new hardware. Latch works like new!

  17. #17
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    Good to go! I am going to try and lube the cable first though.
    ----Dave----

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheresmym3 View Post
    Good to go! I am going to try and lube the cable first though.
    Lube it? You're going to have to find a way to get lube inside of the black sheathing. It's the cable inside that moves. Impossible I think.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukes View Post
    Lube it? You're going to have to find a way to get lube inside of the black sheathing. It's the cable inside that moves. Impossible I think.
    Not really. I am going to look at it but I believe it is most likely the same as other cables of this sort. For motorcycles they make a tool to lube the cables for the brakes and clutch. It pushes fluid through.
    ----Dave----

  20. #20
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    Should try that Lube trick with my Kids E36, his is a bear to pull that latch back. Mine on the other hand is an easy pull.

    John
    '95 Hellrot M3 w/Dove
    AA Euro HFM Stage II (w/21# Injectors & Software) W/Gen III Exhaust - URI Crank Pully - FDM w/3 Row M Coupe Rad - 3.23 LSD - Vogtland Club Spec/Koni SA - UUC Red w/Enforcers - TMS Shims/Rear Camber Bars w/QA1 inners/Sways - VMC F/TMS R End Links - X-Brace - Perf Ultimate/SS Brake Lines - GC Tower Mounts/RTAB Shims - ZKW's w/5000K Hid - Fog Delete - Alpine 9847/Pioneer TS-C130R Kevlar Components/Pioneer PRS-X340/Stealth Box's/Wired Zune 120GB - OE LTW CF Sills/Glove Box Plate - Staggered Black M-Spoke II's w/235/40 (front), 255/40 (Rear) Nitto NT05's - Rolled Fenders!

    ***Got a '95 M3? (actually pretty common on all years! Even happened to Racer Seth Thomas! ) Check Your LSD! http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=390209

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukes View Post
    Lube it? You're going to have to find a way to get lube inside of the black sheathing. It's the cable inside that moves. Impossible I think.
    Spray some lube while the cable hangs, vertically.
    Walk a mile in my shoes and you are a mile away in someone else's shoes.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazarr View Post
    Spray some lube while the cable hangs, vertically.
    Well in my situation the cable end in the engine bay had heavy amounts of rust and dirt. No amount of lube would have helped. Also part #10 (the left and right hood locks) didn't properly spring back into position. All my hardware had to be replaced just like the OP.

  23. #23
    Join Date
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    Jammed Bonnet why and RHD fix

    xjeeper

    Many Thankx from the UK.

    Your post saved several hours of pain on my wife's RHD 328i convertible.

    For others in the UK I took all the parts from motormec.co.uk at 64 including next day shipping. Nice helpful people (plug).

    RHD UK Spec E36 328i 1998

    51231977451 Pull and cable mechanism
    51231977391 Cable
    51231977636 Bonnet Lock (catch) RH
    51231977635 Bonnet Lock (catch) LH

    Things I learned ...if the handle wont pull easily don't use force ...it will break...

    The bowden cables were fine but the catches were corroded to f**k. My pulling had broken off the plastic cable lead in on the first latch so the cable worked but moved nothing.....

    The second latch was bad but worked so I used that as a 1 latch temp solution till the parts arrived.

    Removing the grill to open the bonnet is a waste of time if you have a/c as the fan shroud stops any access to the catches....

    Removing the to lower panels (4 off M8 bolts and the air duct..careful with the temperature sensor) under the bumper (marked 1 & 2) helps but you can't reach the cables if you have a/c as the reciever is in the way...

    A very bent wire coathanger will reach the pull cable passed the a/c reciever... healthy pull and it opens...be brave...

    Gat a mate to 'wiggle' the pull cable as this will stop you pulling out parts of the wiring loom with the wire hanger....

    Took xjeeper's comment and wire tied (2 off) the new cable to the old then covered the ties and cable ends in a wrap of duct tape so there was no snags...

    Covered the new cable outer shroud (x section) in maintenace spray and it fed through like a dream....

    All done in 1 hour!

  24. #24
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    typhoon, i'm glad you got this done. This was by far the best DIY repair I've done on my M3. This was the first annoying repair that needed to be done for almost 2 years. It was so painful pulling my turn signal out and yanking the cord every time I needed to access the bonnet.

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    i wish i was DIY inclined when mine broke i had to open my hood by breaking my corner light cutting through the cable housing and pulling.... the latch broke hardcore! but that was a while ago...
    -Andrew Mensah




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