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Door Cavity Molding Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Door Cavity Molding Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, socket set (10mm)

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Door cavity molding, molding clips

Hot Tip:

Have extra molding clips on hand in case they break when removing

Performance Gain:

No more annoying rattles or loose trim

Complementary Modification:

Replace side molding on exterior

Unfortunately, as your BMW E46 ages, certain exterior trim pieces may begin to grow old too, such as the door cavity moldings. These door cavity moldings are directly susceptible to the elements, grime and more. The molding itself consists of a few trim pieces and is held together at the joints with glue. It's here that these joints come apart and the molding begins to fall apart, one section at a time - usually at the rear door first, losing the curved piece that wraps around inside of the door cavity. 

The good news is these molding pieces are relatively easy to replace and can be done in just under an hour.

In this article, I will go over the steps involved with replacing the E46 door cavity molding and molding clips.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

This is a long piece of molding, stretching almost the entire length of the vehicle.
Figure 1

This is a long piece of molding, stretching almost the entire length of the vehicle. When replacing, it is a good idea to replace all the clips that hold it to the body as well - there are a total of 15 clips.

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the molding piece.
Figure 2

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the molding piece. I prefer to start at the rear of the vehicle and work my way forward. In this photo, the curved section of molding is missing from the vehicle. So I started to detach the molding at the rear most part.

Release the molding slowly down the entire length, disengaging each clip.
Figure 3

Release the molding slowly down the entire length, disengaging each clip.

Inspect molding clips for damage or wear.
Figure 4

Inspect molding clips for damage or wear. This photo shows a broken clip.

To replace the clips, press the center locking pin through the clip into the body.
Figure 5

To replace the clips, press the center locking pin through the clip into the body. Then remove the clip from the body.

Once the molding is removed, inspect the body for rust (green arrow).
Figure 6

Once the molding is removed, inspect the body for rust (green arrow). The area behind molding can rust and is sometimes hard to notice when the molding is in place. If you spot rust, now is a good time to repair it while you have it apart. You can sand it by hand and use a brush on primer and then use touch up paint, if the spots are small like the one shown here.

To install the new clips, place the square end of the clip into the body, then press the center of the plastic rivet into the clip to expand it.
Figure 7

To install the new clips, place the square end of the clip into the body, then press the center of the plastic rivet into the clip to expand it. I used the flat side of a plastic prying tool to engage the rivet.

To install the new molding, line it up with the body and double check it is close to the correct position before clipping in. Begin at rear of the trim piece, to engage the clip, hook the bottom of the clip with the molding then press firmly in area of clip with your palm. The motion of engaging the clip feels like you are rolling the trim on, starting at bottom and applying even pressure while rolling trim up and engaging clip. Work your way down molding until you finish, ensuring each clip engages.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Spencer Comments: Hi, I was wondering how many of those clips the molding uses for one side?
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I had to guess at a year E46 as you didn't supply your vehicle info. for a 2000 it uses 30 per side.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Water Damage Comments: This is exactly what I need to do to my 2005 325i. However, I can't see where it is specified how many clips and misc pieces I need.

Wish there was an easier way to link the items used I suppose.
May 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it depends on the trim piece you are replacing.


I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Adrian Comments: Hello, I need the part on the rear window that appears on Figure 1, it's for a 325 i 2001, do you have it??
December 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pelican Parts can get it. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Cesar Comments: I need the molding. Do you guys have that?
September 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: YEs. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bud Comments: i need part in figure 1 the arrow to the right over the back of the rear window. Do you sell that piece? 2005 325i sedan
August 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes we do.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:20:05 AM