Pelican Parts
BMW Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog BMW How To Articles BMW Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
View Recent Cars  |Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help
 >  >
BMW E39 Front Door Panel Removal
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front Door Panel Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, Door panel clip tool, Phillips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Vapor barrier, Vapor barrier seal, door panel clips

Hot Tip:

Have door panel trim clips on hand in case they break when removing

Performance Gain:

Access to window regulator, side airbag, wiring for exterior mirror, door latch assembly

Complementary Modification:

Replace door vapor barrier and broken door clips.

In order for components in the door to be serviced the interior door panel needs to be removed. This includes commonly replaced components such as side airbag, speaker enclosure, exterior mirror electrical harness, window regulator and window. In this tech article we will review the procedure for removing the interior door panel on your E39. Now would be a good time to replace the moisture barrier and any broken door panel clips since they will probably break during removal. Keep in mind, this panel may have been taken off previously and substitute fasteners may have been used so they may not match our description. If you are removing the vapor barrier have vapor barrier sealant around for reinstallation. The vapor barrier is foam and can easily tear when removing. Try cutting old sealant with a blade. Care should be taken when reinstalling otherwise you may develop a water leak.

Here is the interior door panel we are going to remove.
Figure 1

Here is the interior door panel we are going to remove. We should start by removing the two Phillips head screws (green arrows) that mount the door panel to the door. One is in the air duct and the other mounts the door handle cover.

Move the air duct flap in the door clockwise to the close position to expose the first Phillips head screw and remove the screw.
Figure 2

Move the air duct flap in the door clockwise to the close position to expose the first Phillips head screw and remove the screw. (green arrow)

You may have to pop off this cover (green arrow) to expose the second Phillips screw in the center of the door handle cover.
Figure 3

You may have to pop off this cover (green arrow) to expose the second Phillips screw in the center of the door handle cover. I like to use a small straight pick to do pop it off.

After removing the screw the interior door handle will be loose but it is still secured by a cable that goes to the latch in the door.
Figure 4

After removing the screw the interior door handle will be loose but it is still secured by a cable that goes to the latch in the door.

Using a plastic prying tool lever out the Memory Seat Switch (green arrow) if the vehicle has memory seats.
Figure 5

Using a plastic prying tool lever out the Memory Seat Switch (green arrow) if the vehicle has memory seats.

Pull out and unplug the Memory Seat Switch by pulling straight on the connector.
Figure 6

Pull out and unplug the Memory Seat Switch by pulling straight on the connector. Once unplugged you may also want to tuck the harness inside the opening so it doesn't get caught when you remove the panel. If you are going to remove the window or window regulator you will want to position the window about 4 to 5 inches from the bottom window seal. This will give you access to the glass mounting screws later. With the flat plastic prying tool lever out the power window switch.

Next you have to remove the power window switch.
Figure 7

Next you have to remove the power window switch. Use a plastic prying tool and gently lever the switch out of the door panel.

There are three connectors (green arrows) you are going to need to remove from the switch.
Figure 8

There are three connectors (green arrows) you are going to need to remove from the switch. Two of the connectors use the lever lock type and the third is a slide lock.

On the lever lock push down on the center tab (green arrows) and slide the lever over it all the way approximately 90°.
Figure 9

On the lever lock push down on the center tab (green arrows) and slide the lever over it all the way approximately 90".  As you move the lever the connector will be forced upwards and you can eventually pull it out. Do this for the two identical connectors.

On the slide lock connector use a small pick to wedge in between the slide
Figure 10

On the slide lock connector use a small pick to wedge in between the slide (green arrow) and the connector. Gradually lever the slide connector away from the switch. As you move the slide out the connector will be forced outwards away from the switch until you can simply unplug it.

Start to fish the wiring through the opening so it does not get caught when removing the door panel.
Figure 11

Start to fish the wiring through the opening so it does not get caught when removing the door panel.

At the bottom of the door panel there is an access light.
Figure 12

At the bottom of the door panel there is an access light. Use the flat plastic prying tool to lever the light out of the door panel.

Unplug the lights electrical connector (green arrow) and fish the harness through
Figure 13

Unplug the lights electrical connector (green arrow) and fish the harness through the door panel so it does not caught when removing the panel.

At this point you can start using a flat plastic prying tool to pry off the outside perimeter
Figure 14

At this point you can start using a flat plastic prying tool to pry off the outside perimeter of the door panel. Here plastic door clips mount to the door panel and pop into holes in the door frame. Start at one corner of the door and work your way around the outer edge. Don't worry about it falling off. It is still held on with a lip along the upper edge of the door.

Now that the bottom of the door panel is loose you can twist the inner door handle and push in through the opening.
Figure 15

Now that the bottom of the door panel is loose you can twist the inner door handle and push in through the opening.

You should now be able to pull the bottom of the door panel away from the door frame.
Figure 16

You should now be able to pull the bottom of the door panel away from the door frame. At the same time lift up on the upper edge of the door panel to release the upper lip it is mounted on. Hold on to the door panel and don't let it drop at this point. You may want to position something so you can rest it on.

There is a tweeter mounted in the upper end of the door.
Figure 17

There is a tweeter mounted in the upper end of the door. The plug connection for the tweeter is mounted to the midrange speaker enclosure (green arrow). Unplug the connection from the enclosure and you can now pull the door panel away from the door. You can now service items behind door panel and repair as needed. When installing, reverse order of removal instructions. Be sure to replace any damaged door panel clips. Properly route all wiring as before.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
New to BMW Comments: nice step by step description. appreciate the pics
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JackGrimsSinn Comments: hey, on figure 17 you can not see all to connections, i forgot how it goes!
August 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Click on the large image, each connector only fits in one place. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Phoenix Comments: On my 2003 530d Touring, the door latch is held on with a T20 Torx, not a Philips head screw. However, it is a Philips screw in the air vent as described.
July 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
gketner Comments: MArvellous description - many thanks. One minor addition: on an '01 530i there was one more spring clip - a metal rectangular clip on the door that fits into a black plastic socket on the panel near the middle of the door, just below and behind the opening for the door latch release handle. It popped off but required some tugging at the panel. Just so people know what to expect.
July 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lalith Comments: This appears to be a superb series of technical details compared many useless U-tube videos that tells you nothing like the one FES replacement!
I almost destroyed my RHS door panel as I missed the screw behind the air vent.
THanks to these series I trust no more damages!
January 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

QUICK LINKS
About Us
Careers
Pelican Parts, Inc.
1600 240th Street
Harbor City, CA 90710
Order Online or Call:
888-280-7799
CONNECT WITH US
NEWSLETTER
Sign Up for Pelican Pit Stop News & Special Offers
Page last updated: Sun 2/19/2017 02:05:03 AM