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BMW E39 Front Window Regulator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front Window Regulator Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, Door panel clip tool, Phillips screwdriver, Torx socket set (T20), inverted Torx sockets (T12) w/extension, Small (1/4 in drive) socket set or wrenches (10mm) w/extension

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Window regulator, Vapor barrier, Vapor barrier seal, door panel clips, plastic window retainers.

Hot Tip:

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

Performance Gain:

Working power window

Complementary Modification:

Replace vapor barrier

The window regulator assembly is made up of the window motor, drive cable and track slides. This design uses two slides and two guides to hold the window in the proper position. The motor and regulator are built as an assembly and typically they are replaced as an assembly. This design uses a cable that wraps around a gear attached to the motor. The motor turns the gear, as it spins the cable either pulls in one direction or the other depending on if you want the window to go up or down. Since it comes as an assembly the motor must be in a specific position to get it installed. Look at the two guides the window slides in to make sure there is no obstruction restricting its movement. If the window glass does not slide up and down freely it will put additional stress on the motor and the cable and cause premature failure.

Remove interior door panel. See our tech article on door panel removing. Since you are not removing the window regulator you should have the window positioned all the way up before you disconnect the battery.

The first step is to follow the procedure for Interior Front Door Panel Removal. The procedure here picks up after that is complete.

ItÃÆ'‚'s a good idea to get some of the components out of the way.
Figure 1

ItÂÂ's a good idea to get some of the components out of the way. You can start by pulling on the inner door handle until the white cable housing (green arrow) is coming out of its mount (yellow arrow) then twist the housing away.

Now rotate the handle towards the open end of the hook (green arrow) and detach hook from handle.
Figure 2

Now rotate the handle towards the open end of the hook (green arrow) and detach hook from handle.

In the next step you should unplug all of the electrical connections in the midrange speaker housing.
Figure 3

In the next step you should unplug all of the electrical connections in the midrange speaker housing. Starting with the smaller connectors, you can disconnect them by pulling them right out. You can carefully use a pick to lever since there is not enough clearance to fit your fingers in there.

Next, the larger connector has a lever type release.
Figure 4

Next, the larger connector has a lever type release. It has a locking tab you have to push down on while moving the lever over the tab. Rotate the lever a full (green arrow) 90 degrees and the connector will be pushed upwards so you can unplug it.

There are three Phillips screws (green arrows) that hold on the speaker housing.
Figure 5

There are three Phillips screws (green arrows) that hold on the speaker housing. Remove these screws and remove the speaker housing from the door. We now have to remove the side air bag. This is going to require that we disconnected the battery before we unplug the airbag. Leave the battery disconnected for 15 minutes before attempted to work on the airbag system. Disconnect battery negative cable. See our tech article on battery replacing and reconnecting.

Remove the four 10mm bolts that hold down the side airbag and support the bag.
Figure 6

Remove the four 10mm bolts that hold down the side airbag and support the bag. (green arrows) You will disconnect the electrical connector once the airbag is removed, is it much easier to disconnect the electrical connector this way.

Squeeze the two tabs on the airbag connector and pull the connector straight apart.
Figure 7

Squeeze the two tabs on the airbag connector and pull the connector straight apart. Put the airbag in a safe place out of the sun. Always have the frame or back of the airbag facing downward against the ground.

You can now start peeling away the vapor barrier that insulates the inner door panel.
Figure 8

You can now start peeling away the vapor barrier that insulates the inner door panel. Around the perimeter there is a black sealant that you can slowly peel off. You can also use a single sided razor blade or knife to cut the sealant as your separate the vapor barrier from the door frame.

With the vapor barrier removed you have exposed the inner door.
Figure 9

With the vapor barrier removed you have exposed the inner door. This gives you access to the window and window regulator.

There are two fasteners that you have to loosen to release the clamps at the bottom of the window glass.
Figure 10

There are two fasteners that you have to loosen to release the clamps at the bottom of the window glass. Loosen the one towards the front of the door and pull the clamp and the rubber loose if you can.

Loosen the second fastener towards the rear of the door and pull the clamp and the rubber off the glass if you can.
Figure 11

Loosen the second fastener towards the rear of the door and pull the clamp and the rubber off the glass if you can. You may be able to unseat the glass with the clamps loose or you may have to totally remove them to get the glass out. Either way support the glass if you remove the brackets or it will fall into the door. There are two methods for getting the window glass out of the way when removing the regulator. One is to completely remove the glass, the other is to secure the glass at the top of the door frame while working on regulator. You can slide the glass all the way to the top and use a special tool with suction cups to attach to the window and a cable to connect them over the upper door frame. Or you can simply remove the glass. Allow the glass to drop slightly and pull up on the rear part of the glass while letting the front of the glass drop down a few inches. You are basically rotating the glass about 45 degrees and lifting it out through the upper opening angling the glass toward the outside of the door.

Stepping back and looking at the door here are the seven fasteners (green arrows) that will need to be removed to get the window regulator assembly out.
Figure 12

Stepping back and looking at the door here are the seven fasteners (green arrows) that will need to be removed to get the window regulator assembly out.

With the glass removed you can remove these 2 fasteners (green arrows) that support the motor mounting bracket.
Figure 13

With the glass removed you can remove these 2 fasteners (green arrows) that support the motor mounting bracket. You can either use a T20 socket to fit inside or a E12 inverted Torx socket on the outside to loosen these fasteners.

With these two fasteners removed a bracket behind the window regulator frame will drop since the 2 fasteners supporting it have been removed.
Figure 14

With these two fasteners removed a bracket behind the window regulator frame will drop since the 2 fasteners supporting it have been removed. Remember where this goes during reassembly.

Next use the E12 inverted Torx sockets with an extension to reach the three upper Torx fasteners that support the top of the window regulator (these fasteners run along the top of the door and are accessed through holes in the sheet metal).
Figure 15

Next use the E12 inverted Torx sockets with an extension to reach the three upper Torx fasteners that support the top of the window regulator (these fasteners run along the top of the door and are accessed through holes in the sheet metal). You will probably not be able to use the internal T20 on these screws.

There are two screws that support each slide at the bottom of the door.
Figure 16

There are two screws that support each slide at the bottom of the door. It is tight there but you can use either a T20 Torx bit inside the bolt head or a 10mm 1/4 inch drive socket or 10mm wrench to remove these fasteners. The one pictured here is the rear slider mount so look for one toward the front of the door.

There is a plastic clip (green arrow) that holds the cable housing from rubbing against the glass.
Figure 17

There is a plastic clip (green arrow) that holds the cable housing from rubbing against the glass. With a pick lever off the clip and remove it.

With all the mounting fasteners removed you can then lift the regulator assembly upwards and pull the bottom of it out of the door and pull the assembly all the way out.
Figure 18

With all the mounting fasteners removed you can then lift the regulator assembly upwards and pull the bottom of it out of the door and pull the assembly all the way out. You can flex each half of the assembly left to right to make it easier to remove just remember on installation the cables should form an ÂÂ"XÂÂ" pattern.

Squeeze both side tabs of the plug for the power window motor and pull the connector off.
Figure 19

Squeeze both side tabs of the plug for the power window motor and pull the connector off. Try to keep the regulator in the same position and lay it on the floor. This will help you orient it when you install the new one. If you are replacing just the power window motor, you can swap it now. Remove the fasteners and install the new motor. When installing, work slowly so cables in regulator do not unwind. Once properly engaged to regulator, tighten fasteners. Remaining installation steps are reverse of removing. Properly route the wiring harness as they were before and be sure vapor barrier is properly sealed. You may have to align and adjust the window glass when replacing a regulator, if so I suggest picking up a repair manual as there are many specific steps involved in doing so.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Spin2Win Comments: Any suggestions if the window is stuck in the UP position? Is there a way to manually lower it to get at the torch screws that attach it to the regulator?
September 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, remove door panel, cut the regulator cables. Then push window down. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
letterman Comments: It raises but should go up another quarter of an inch to make a complete seal with the top of the window frame. Lets water in drips when washing car, driving in rain, etc.
September 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possible the door switch is in the wrong state, keeping the window cracked open for closing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
letterman Comments: This article does tell you how to take the old one out. On the reinstall, though, I am having problems getting the window to go all the way up again. Is there another place to find those solutions?
September 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Go up? As in it is reassembled but will not raise? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sroor9001 Comments: Update
Installed this e39 97 in my 2002
But you have to use the bracket from 97 not yours and everything is fine
This is if you are low in budget and you have found this only
December 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sroor9001 Comments: By the way I mean fix 97 window regulator in my 2002 car
Is it possible ??
December 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sroor9001 Comments: Hi friend
I've bought used one from scrapyard from 97 model e39
I think it has same screws as model 2002 e39 525
So can I fit it it looks same can I use it or I have to return it back
Also same motor plug
December 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To be sure, check the part numbers for each vehicle, they will have to match. it may fit, I am not 100% sure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mike Comments: this was very informative and i appreciate your assistance, thank you
February 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
CPC Comments: Great write-up. Everything went smoothly. Except that since disconnecting battery and airbag, and reconnecting everything, the airbag light is on. How can it be reset? Thanks.
January 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: With a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:05:21 AM