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Remove and Replace Your Trunk Release Button
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Remove and Replace Your Trunk Release Button

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*

Tools:

T-20 Torx driver, trim panel tool, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan (2001-06)
BMW 328Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 328i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 330Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2001-06)
BMW M3 Coupe/Conv (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Trunk release button

Hot Tip:

Be gentle with the button when opening your trunk

Performance Gain:

A trunk you can open

Complementary Modification:

Inspect / replace rear bulbs

The trunk release button (handle) can wear out or break over time. It is made of plastic and when pulling up on the button as you open the trunk, it creates stress fractures on the mounting tabs of the button and over time, pushes the button in. The rubber button pad also tends to fall apart. To replace it, you have to replace the entire rear trim piece that houses the trunk release button and license plate lights.

To avoid marring the trim if you need to pry anything, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out the trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

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.

Open the trunk to access the trunk trim panel.

Remove the trunk trim panel rivets using a trim panel tool.
Figure 1

Remove the trunk trim panel rivets using a trim panel tool. You only have to remove the clips along the edge of the trunk lid (green arrows).

Pry the center of rivet out using a trim panel tool and remove the rivet from the trim panel.
Figure 2

Pry the center of rivet out using a trim panel tool and remove the rivet from the trim panel.

Pull the trim away from trunk lid and locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 3

Pull the trim away from trunk lid and locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow). Disconnect the electrical connector by it pulling apart.

Next, remove the four T-20 Torx fasteners from the handle housing (green arrows).
Figure 4

Next, remove the four T-20 Torx fasteners from the handle housing (green arrows).

Remove the handle from the trunk and guide the wiring harness out of the body.
Figure 5

Remove the handle from the trunk and guide the wiring harness out of the body.

Install the new handle in reverse order. Be sure to properly route the wiring harness and install the plastic holders.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Sid Comments: There are some differences from this article. On my 2003 BMW 325 Conv E46, the BMW logo is on the handle itself. And there is a screw behind the BMW logo. Facing the logo, you just have to pry it towards yourself it's glued but use a plastic prying tool and move around the circumference continuously opening it up a bit. Also, there are more fasteners to remove that shown above to access the wire harness behind.
May 17, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
steffs Comments: hi,i have a 2001 bmw convertible ,I have removed the 4 screws,is there a screw behind the bmw badge as the badge is a part of the panel,not separate ,its wont come off at the moment,the lower part has lifted where the 4 screws have been removed,regards steve
June 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should be the same as shown. It's possible the seal is stuck.

The article was performed on a sedan model. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
beefcheif Comments: I couldn't undo the tiny black connectors, tried pulling and prodding no joy
January 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a small pick to gently lever the connector near the retaining tab. Then pull apart. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sparky Comments: Hi, what tool do you use to remove the torx fasteners? Im in Australia and our screwdrivers dont work. Thanks.
November 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Torx drivers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: Wayne/Nick the trunk handle I removed from the car has the trim piece glued to the light-holding assembly and sealant has been applied to tabs. Shouldn't the replacement trunk handle be similarly assembled? Are those details in the Bentley manual? Also any guidance for taking the trim piece off the original trunk handle so that it can be used with the new light assembly so as to avoid painting? Thanks, John.
June 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure if Bentley covers that detail.

Most times, they are painted before installing.

I don't think you can separate the two pieces.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Al Comments: Discovered the 5th torch screw under the attached roundel.
No issue with year, 2001, 325ci convertible.
March 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Al Comments: The issue I have with my 2001 325ci release is that it does not match what is shown here. The Roundel is connected to the handle housing, and I have not found how to release the entire unit - therefore unable to follow this example.
March 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Should be the same for your vehicle, I am not aware of the difference if it exists. Possible you have the year mixed up?

If the article does not match, I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Sat 9/23/2017 02:21:41 AM