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Front Window Regulator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Window Regulator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Plastic panel clip tool, flathead screwdriver, socket set (10mm), small hook pick tool

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Window regulator, 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:

Functioning power window

Complementary Modification:

Replace window seal

The window regulator is the mechanical track and guide for lifting the door window glass. The front door of your vehicle has a window regulator with two cable operated sliding tracks mounted to the glass. The regulators are constructed of metal rails with a cable driven track.

The window regulator has an electric motor attached to it. The electric window motor can be serviced separately; however they do not fail that often. You will need to swap the electric motor over to the new window regulator you are replacing. The electric motor can be installed in any position, as it does not have a mechanical stop. Do not worry about the installation orientation when reinstalling.

When replacing a window regulator, it is important to inspect the window guide and seal. The seal can wear, and this increases friction on the window when going up and down, which stresses the window regulator. This can lead to premature wear of your window regulator and repeat failures. If needed, replace this component also.

Remove the door panel. See our tech article on door panel removing.

Lower the window until it is about 4.
Figure 1

Lower the window until it is about 4.5 inches up when it is measured near the center of the glass (red arrow). Disconnect the battery negative cable. See our tech article on battery replacing and reconnecting.

After the door panel is removed, remove the airbag (red arrow) and vapor barrier (blue arrow).
Figure 2

After the door panel is removed, remove the airbag (red arrow) and vapor barrier (blue arrow).

To remove the airbag.
Figure 3

To remove the airbag. Unclip the electrical connector (red arrow) retainer using a small flathead screwdriver. Then remove it (insets). Then remove the three 10mm airbag fasteners (blue arrows), and remove the airbag.

Remove the door vapor barrier (red arrow).
Figure 4

Remove the door vapor barrier (red arrow). When peeling the vapor barrier off, be careful not to tear it. If you do, replace it. Clean off and apply new butyl sealer (blue arrow) when reinstalling the new vapor barrier.

Using a trim panel tool (red arrow), lever out the trim panel clip at the outside of the door in the jamb.
Figure 5

Using a trim panel tool (red arrow), lever out the trim panel clip at the outside of the door in the jamb. This is the clip for the window seal.

Using a trim panel tool (red arrow), lever out the trim panel clip on the door panel side of the seal.
Figure 6

Using a trim panel tool (red arrow), lever out the trim panel clip on the door panel side of the seal. This is the clip for the window seal.

Then, lever the inner window seal off of the door using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 7

Then, lever the inner window seal off of the door using a plastic prying tool. Start at the edge of the door and work your way inward, lifting up as you lever (red arrow).

Next, you will have to disconnect the right side window glass guide from the window regulator.
Figure 8

Next, you will have to disconnect the right side window glass guide from the window regulator. Working inside the door cavity at the window regulator, disconnect the metal clip (red arrow) by pulling them toward the doorjamb using a hook tool.

Next, move to the outer regulator fastener.
Figure 9

Next, move to the outer regulator fastener. Working through the hole in the bottom of the door locate the T40 Torx Plus fastener (red arrows) and remove it.

Move back to the inner guide.
Figure 10

Move back to the inner guide. Using a prying tool (red arrow), lever the window regulator out of the plastic guide located in the window glass track.

Once the glass is detached from the window regulator, pull the door glass out (red arrow) of the door by the rear corner first, moving it up and sliding it out of the door.
Figure 11

Once the glass is detached from the window regulator, pull the door glass out (red arrow) of the door by the rear corner first, moving it up and sliding it out of the door. Store the door glass in a safe place.

Before installing the new window regulator, remove the plastic guide (red arrow) and inspect them.
Figure 12

Before installing the new window regulator, remove the plastic guide (red arrow) and inspect them. If a guide is worn it will cause an issue with the new window regulator and may have been the cause of the failure. Replace the plastic guide if it shows wear.

Disconnect the window motor electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrows) and pulling it straight off the motor.
Figure 13

Disconnect the window motor electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrows) and pulling it straight off the motor.

Before unbolting the window regulator, mark the fore / aft adjuster inside the door.
Figure 14

Before unbolting the window regulator, mark the fore / aft adjuster inside the door. It is located at the bottom of the rail, on the door latch side of door. Mark the position (red arrow) of the rail with the door.

Working at the bottom of the door, looking up from below.
Figure 15

Working at the bottom of the door, looking up from below. Remove the plastic cap, the second one from the door latch side of the door. Then remove the 10mm window regulator nut (red arrow).

Working at the outside of the door, remove the 10mm window regulator nut (red arrow).
Figure 16

Working at the outside of the door, remove the 10mm window regulator nut (red arrow).

Now move to the inside of the door and remove the 10mm window regulator nuts (red arrows).
Figure 17

Now move to the inside of the door and remove the 10mm window regulator nuts (red arrows).

Next, unclip the window regulator cable from the mount (red arrow) inside the door.
Figure 18

Next, unclip the window regulator cable from the mount (red arrow) inside the door.

Remove the window regulator by the rear rail first, the motor side of the regulator.
Figure 19

Remove the window regulator by the rear rail first, the motor side of the regulator. Then remove the opposite side rail. Be careful not to snag the wiring harnesses or scratch door paint when removing. Note the position of the wedge (red arrow) when removing. Remove the window motor fasteners and rotate the window motor counterclockwise to remove it from the window regulator. These fasteners may be T25 or T27. Install the window motor on the new regulator. Then rotate it clockwise until the bolt-holes are aligned and install the fasteners. Clean the window glass track and lubricate it with white lithium grease. Then install a new window glass plastic guide into the window. Install the new window regulator into door. Be sure to install the factory nuts with the integrated serrated washer flange. I have seen many vehicles where the nut has been misplaced and the wrong fastener installed, causing the regulator to come loose. The remaining installation steps are the reverse of removing. Properly route the wiring harnesses as they were before. When the vehicle battery is disconnected or power window components have been replaced, you have to initialize the power windows. A sign that you may need to initialize the window is your one touch window feature is not working as expected. Use the following steps to initialize your power windows: Close the window. Hold the window switch until the window glass reaches the top of its travel. Open the window. Hold the window switch until the window glass reaches the bottom of travel. Activate one touch operation to close the window. Once the window closes, confirm that one touch operation works in both directions of the window glass travel. If so initialization is complete. If not, repeat the steps.

You may have to align and adjust the window glass when replacing a regulator, if so follow the next steps.
Figure 20

You may have to align and adjust the window glass when replacing a regulator, if so follow the next steps. Start by checking if the window glass is parallel to the guide. If it is not, adjust the outer edge of the window regulator by adjusting the bolts (blue arrows) and moving the regulator up or down until it is parallel. Access the adjusting bolts from under the door via the access holes (red arrows). Remove the plastic covers to access the adjusters. You can also adjust the window closing height if needed using these adjusters. To adjust the window glass fore / aft, use the outer rail nut, loosen it, and angle the glass in or out as needed.

Using a piece of paper, check that the window glass closes evenly along the seal.
Figure 21

Using a piece of paper, check that the window glass closes evenly along the seal. Check for sections that have less or more resistance. Repeat the adjustment steps until even. If having trouble, grab a repair manual for more detailed steps.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:00:01 AM