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BMW E39 Trunk Release Button Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Trunk Release Button Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Trim panel tool, Flathead & Phillips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan (1997-03)
BMW M5 Sedan (2000-03)

Parts Required:

Trunk release button, trim panel clips, trim removal tool

Hot Tip:

Have spare trim panel clips on hand

Performance Gain:

Repair broken trunk release button

Complementary Modification:

Clean or repair any rust near handle

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 that fractures the mounting tabs of button and pushes the button in. The rubber button pad also falls apart. The good news is, the button is serviced and tested easily. In this tech article, I will show you how to test and replace your trunk release button.

This photo shows a button that has fallen apart (green arrow).
Figure 1

This photo shows a button that has fallen apart (green arrow). The rubber button is cracked and torn, it is also detached from the plastic bracket. Open your trunk. First you will have to remove the trunk trim panel.

First remove the trunk trim panel rivets using a trim panel tool.
Figure 2

First remove the trunk trim panel rivets using a trim panel tool. You only have to remove the clips along edge of trunk lid. (green arrows) Then, unscrew and open the tool kit (yellow arrow).

To remove the trunk trim panel rivets, pry the center out of the rivet using a trim panel tool and remove rivet from the trim panel.
Figure 3

To remove the trunk trim panel rivets, pry the center out of the rivet using a trim panel tool and remove rivet from the trim panel.

Next, remove the small plastic cover located inside the handle on the left side of the trunk lid.
Figure 4

Next, remove the small plastic cover located inside the handle on the left side of the trunk lid. (green arrow) Then remove the Phillips head screw under the cover (yellow arrow).

Now you will have to unclip the four trim panel clips that run along the bottom of the plastic trim panel.
Figure 5

Now you will have to unclip the four trim panel clips that run along the bottom of the plastic trim panel. (green arrows) This photo shows the locations of the clips already detached from trunk lid. Use a trim panel tool to release the clips.

Lever out the trunk light lens using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 6

Lever out the trunk light lens using a flathead screwdriver. Then disconnect the electrical connector (green arrow) by pulling it straight out of light.

Next you have to remove the carpet panel on the trunk lid.
Figure 7

Next you have to remove the carpet panel on the trunk lid. Remove four Phillips head screws (green arrows), then disconnect trim panel clips at each corner (yellow arrows). Pull carpet trim away from trunk lid.

Working on the right side of the trunk lid, locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 8

Working on the right side of the trunk lid, locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow). Remove it from the holder, then disconnect it by pulling it apart.

Now it is time to remove the handle from the trunk lid.
Figure 9

Now it is time to remove the handle from the trunk lid. There is a small notch in the handle where you can lever it out of the trunk using a flathead screwdriver. Once released, you will have to remove the top first, then work out the bottom of handle at an angle. This part will make sense as you are performing the task. Feed the wiring harness through trunk lid while removing the handle.

Note the hole (green arrow) in the trunk lid where the harness is routed, as you will have to feed the new harness through the same hole.
Figure 10

Note the hole (green arrow) in the trunk lid where the harness is routed, as you will have to feed the new harness through the same hole. Install new handle in reverse order. Be sure to properly route wiring harness and install in plastic holder. Replace any trim panel clips that are damaged and inspect operation of trunk release and lock. Testing trunk release button To test your trunk release button, remove the trunk trim panel as described earlier in this tech article.

Working on the right side of the trunk lid, locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 11

Working on the right side of the trunk lid, locate the trunk release button electrical connector (green arrow). Remove it from the holder, then disconnect it by pulling it apart.

One side of the connector goes to the handle (yellow arrow), the other side goes to the body electrical system (green arrow).
Figure 12

One side of the connector goes to the handle (yellow arrow), the other side goes to the body electrical system (green arrow). To test the handle button, connect a DVOM across the handle side electrical connector, when the button is released there should be no continuity, when the button is pressed there should be continuity.

To test the body side of the harness and latch operation, start by using a screwdriver to lock the latch in the closed position.
Figure 13

To test the body side of the harness and latch operation, start by using a screwdriver to lock the latch in the closed position. Then turn the ignition key to the ON position.

Using a jumper wire, connect the two wires at the body side of the connector together, when connected the trunk latch should unlock.
Figure 14

Using a jumper wire, connect the two wires at the body side of the connector together, when connected the trunk latch should unlock. If they do not, check the body side of the connector voltage readings. In this photo, I have a back probe inserted into each terminal and a jumper wire connected to one and am jumping the back probes together. The brown wire is the ground, ground should always be present on this wire. With the key ON, the other wire should be about 5 volts. If either of these voltages are incorrect, inspect the wiring harness that runs from the trunk lid to the body. I have seen many wires break in this area.

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Comments and Suggestions:
VinnyH Comments: What if the trunk will not unlock using the button inside the car? Is it still the external trunk release button that is the problem? Or can it be electrical?
August 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it could be, or the wiring, or the latch itself. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jetblack540 Comments: I do...my trunk lid wont latch. Itwont catch at the latch. Is this an electrical issue or is the latch broken? Thanks
November 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most likely the latch. With the trunk lid open, try latching it using a flathead screwdriver. Does it hold or open back up?- Nick at Pelican Parts  
bull Comments: your trunk release
February 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Do you have a questions about the trunk release? - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:06:13 AM