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Faults, Fixes and DIY Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix!

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Old Thu, Sep-13-2007, 04:05:58 AM   #1
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Default DIY e46 front window regulator install

So if you are reading this chances are your window regulator has failed Maybe you experienced the crackling sound when the window was going up or down or it just got stuck overall.

Well hopefully you are still able to move your window up and down, because that will be a big help during this install.

Disclaimer, this DIY is only meant to help other forum members out and i do not take any responsibility for the attached write up! I also will not go into detail with torque spec's etc. just wanted to help some others out since i couldn't find any accurate info...

This install was on the passenger side

1. The first thing you want to do is note the location of the existing window with respect to the frame. If your window is completely closed i would also suggest putting a piece of painters tape across the bottom of the window along the seal, this will help to line up when putting the window back in. (Yes you have to remove the entire window!)

2. Secondly, you will need to remove the interior door panel, side airbag, and for ease of removal & install i recommend carefully removing the foam panel which covers the door. (please search the forum for further details on removing these items).

3. Now you will need to remove the window. This is done by loosening the two special bolts that holding the window to the frame rails at the front of the door and the rear of the door. If your window is still somewhat operational, now is the time to move it so you can access the bolts. Please note that removal of these bolts require a "E-7" socket (looks like a torx head socket, bought mine at an auto store) and the threads are reverse.

here is a pic of the front guide that the window sits on. I recommend taking a sharpie and tracing a line on the window to help when reinstalling the glass

another pic from above. Note: this assembly will be attached to the black frame rails, i just happened to take pics after i tore it apart.

the rear bracket is accessible if you can lower the window approx. 3-4". Again, these are reverse threads so loosen it carefully. You are also going to want to loosen the large black rubber piece at the top of the door on the end, this will help when removing the window since a portion of the bracket remains on rear of the window.

4. After loosening the two window bolts carefully lift up on the window starting from the rear and slide it out the top. I say carefully because a portion of the bracket remains on the rear of the window so you just need to massage it out. Again, note the location of the bracket on the window.

5. remove the motor from the regulator by removing the 3 torx screws and twisting it and then removing. If your window was jacked like mine this is what it will look like! Yikes! cables that are all ****ed up!

6. You can now remove the five 10mm bolts that hold the window regulator in place, (note that the cables are clipped inside the door in various places to keep them from moving around)

7. Before installing the new window regulator i would double check the two rubber guides that hold the glass to make sure that the adjustments are the same. From what i read it's very difficult to adjust the glass after it's all installed so that's why i recommend using a sharpie to really outline where the glass sits on the two rubber clamps.

8. Install is basically a reverse order of the removal, so start with installing the window regulator and tightening the two rear frame rails, leaving the front three somewhat loose. When attempting to put the motor back on the gear, the window cannot be all the way in the lowest setting, because you need to twist the motor on the gear. This can be resolved by just putting the motor on the gear, pluggin in the power, and pull up on the window switch so that the guides move up. Then you will be able to put the motor back in twist it, and reinsert the three torx screws.

9. Note: It doesn't matter if the motor is installed with the window rails slightly up or down, it will not affect the range of window movement.

10. Now that the motor is in and the window regulator is in, i suggest making sure everything funcions prior to putting the glass back in. When you put the glass back in follow your markings making sure you align the glass up exactly as you removed it, and you shouldn't have any need to adjust the window!

I hope this helped anyone that had questions about this DIY, sorry i didn't have more pics but i didn't decide to take any until i started putting things back together.

Last edited by king-rb; Mon, Nov-26-2007 at 05:34:12 PM.
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Old Wed, Sep-19-2007, 07:45:04 PM   #2
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Wow thanks for the diy, should be a very useful thread as the E46 ages as it looks like BMW still use the delicate regulator that they used on the E36! (?)

However the E36 uses brass rivits which need drilling with top quality drill bits to remove the regulator.
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Old Thu, Apr-03-2008, 06:56:45 PM   #3
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bump this was a huge help thanks!
Dan - 2005 BMW M3 SMG 170km stock

Last edited by Fissionx; Thu, Apr-03-2008 at 10:01:37 PM.
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Old Sun, Jun-01-2008, 07:28:02 PM   #4
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So I'm doing my window regulator right now on on my M3.. I got the new regulator in, I put the motor on the gear. The window is not in yet. So I pull the window switch to simulate the window going all the way up, when it's near the top it makes a clunking sound. Anyone know what I'm doing/did wrong?
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Old Mon, Jan-05-2009, 04:38:16 AM   #5
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This is a great diy. I really owe m3forums for all the help i've gotten. I just replaced both regulators on my car. They were acting up so i kept them closed for a while. Then some valet rolled them down even though i told him not to, so the driver's side was stuck midway. I was now forced to fix them. If you're hearing noises when rolling your windows up or down, then i'd say replace your regulators sooner rather than later. it only gets worse. If you hear any scratching, or crackling sounds, it's most likely your regulator, not your motor. The pullys on the regulators are plastic and break easily. once they break, the cable starts scraping on stuff, which makes an aweful sound. Anyways, I'm pretty new at diy work on my car so it took me a while to do this fix, even with all the help from above. I'm going to attach a few more tips to make things smoother for the other noobies out there. It's the least i can do for a little payback. I also replaced the handle trims because all the paint was bubbling off (so cheap!). I'll number my comments to correspond with the instructions above:

1. I was a little afraid of closing my door without the inside panel, but it is critical that you put the window back in place where it was. the painters tape will make sure that your window is aligned horizontally when you put it back. it can tilt if you're not careful.

2. There is a great youtube diy on removing the inside panel.

Removing the inside foam is tricky if you dont want to rip the foam up. i have pictures of the door with and without foam. just be patient. I also have a picture of the caps that cover the bolt by the handle and the airbag so you know how it fits in. It took me a while because i didn't want to scratch up the one in the door handle. By the way, the driver's side has an extra wire for the side mirror controls. It's a little harder to put back. I have small fingers and it was hard for me. I put the airbag and the small electronic box back on the door after removing the foam so it wouldn't dangle there while i worked.

3. i've also attached a picture of where i marked the window to help put it back.

4. Removing the windows was the hardest part. I've attached pictures of what the bracket looks like inside and out. it's fairly large. So definately remove the large black rubber piece at the end of the door. i've attached some pics of that. you might want to lift up the edge of the bottom rubber trim (not too much or else you'll dent it and it wont go back in). Also, you'll need to remove the rear bolt. I put a picture of that also. it seemed easier to remove the rubber when the window is all the way down. you'll see a plastic rivot on the inside. Just pull the rubber over the rivot, you dont need to remove it.

5. Remove the motor first, and if you want, you can remove the motor from the electric cable, which is easier to do once the motor is out.

6. there are 2 clips that the cables are clipped to. it should be in the center of the door. feel for them first. leave the bottom clip in the door, but i found that it's easier to take out the top clip, put it on the new regulator and clip it inside the door when the new one is installed.

7. If you look carefully, the window may not be flush with the rubber trim on the bottom. I never knew this. So rain can just roll into your door. It should be ok, as long as you live in SoCal, where it rarely rains .

8. once the motor is in, and you test it, you'll hear some clunking. I think it's from the window clasps. once you put the window in, it should be ok.

Note: the 2 pics of the entire door are from the drivers side. the other pics are from the passenger side.

If you're replacing your handle trim, it's pretty straight forward. The only thing that is difficult is removing the leather pad. it's locked in there with metal clasps that i couldn't figure out how to remove. If you can afford it, just buy some pads with your handle trim. the pads are held down by 6 of these metal clasps. the back end is hooked in. if you want to try your luck, just pull from from the front side and hope that you dont break too many of the clasps. if you break the ones in the back, its ok because the hook will keep it down. You really want to make sure you keep the front ones in.

I hope this wasn't too long winded, and helps some of the other people who have not done this before. i dont know how to insert the pics within the post so they are all attachments.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg black_rubber_edge.jpg (211.1 KB, 252 views)
File Type: jpg foam.jpg (395.4 KB, 239 views)
File Type: jpg panel_nofoam.jpg (299.5 KB, 250 views)
File Type: jpg Plugs.jpg (407.2 KB, 228 views)
File Type: jpg window_bolt.jpg (183.6 KB, 243 views)

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Old Mon, Jan-05-2009, 04:40:27 AM   #6
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Here are a few more pics:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg window_outline.jpg (149.6 KB, 199 views)
File Type: jpg windowbracket_inside.jpg (313.9 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg windowbracketoutside.jpg (305.5 KB, 579 views)

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Old Mon, Jan-05-2009, 09:28:11 PM   #7
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I have OEM Driver and Passenger windows for sale if anyone needs them... E46 M3

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Old Tue, Mar-10-2009, 12:09:54 AM   #8
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great thread thanks btw, my driver's side window still works. but.. when i close the door with the windows rolled down.. i hear alot of rattle. like the glass is loose. i also here the same rattle when i go over speed bumps. is that a symtom of a bad regulator? or perhaps something is just loose?
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Old Sat, Nov-21-2009, 07:27:39 AM   #9
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it is probably a bad sign of the window regulator. it may be the possible cause but i believe there is no need to immediately replace one

Last edited by bobbie12; Sat, Jan-23-2010 at 02:07:12 AM.
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Old Fri, Mar-12-2010, 04:38:43 AM   #10
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so, when replacing regulators, should i disconnect the battery since I'm going to be removing/installing airbags?
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diy, e46, front, install, regulator, window

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Discussing DIY e46 front window regulator install in the Faults, Fixes and DIY Forum - Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix! at BMW M3 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)