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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Fri, Dec-19-2008, 02:03:24 AM   #1
FCars4Ever
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Default Just replaced my driver's side door actuator - DIY, Hints, & Tips

So, after using tons of hints and DIYs from on here, I figured it is time that I repay you all with one of my own. Hope this helps some of you guys out!

Btw, big thanks to our fellow member here JeST for letting me know exactly what I getting myself into.

About two weeks ago, my car started acting funny. My car was telling me that my driver side door is open (Interior lights come on, window goes down a little bit, and light on dash illuminates) when I am driving and the door is really closed. After doing some searching, I found out that my door actuator needed to be replaced.

I have had some pretty bad luck in the past with dealers trying to screw me over, so I decided to try tackling this one myself.

Now, initially, I was planning on taking pictures, doing step by step instructions, but as soon as I got involved in the job, I completely lost track of things, so I will do my best to describe it and use some pics from other places.

Overall, the job took me 4 hours to do. This was from start to finish, including many breaks. If someone was determined to get it done start to finish, it could easily be completed in 2 hours.

The tools:

-Replacement Driver Side Door Actuator - Part No. 51217011247 - $120 Shipped from Tischer
-Small flat head screwdriver
-10MM Socket Wrench
-5MM Socket
-Torx T20 and T30 Bits
-Painters Tape (Optional)
-Flashlight

First, I put tape on the bottom and the side (near the mirror) of the window, parallel to the molding. I did this just to make sure I kept the window aligned. You don't need to completely remove the window rail assembly, but I just used the tape as a precaution.

Disconnect the battery (10MM Socket)

There are 5 torx t20 screws that you have to remove to the door panel. Three are lined under the armrest, which are easy to get to. One is behind the little "airbag" plastic cover. You have to use the small flathead screwdriver to pry it out by pushing down behind the cover. The last one is inside the door handle. This one has a small round cover on it. You can use the flat head screwdriver to remove the cover, then remove the last screw.







After that, there are just a series of clips that hold the door on along the top and the bottom. All you have to do is pull to get them off. Start from the top by the mirror and then work out. Then do the same on the bottom. These are some noisy clips and you will probably think you just broke all of them when you are taking them off, but you will be fine.

When you detach the clips, you are going to have to disconnect 4(?) things to get the panel completely off (door handle connection, speaker, etc). They are all pretty spread out, so it isn't hard to remember what goes where when it comes time to reassemble the door.

Now the panel is completely off and you see the grey foam that is behind where your door panel would be. You are going to have to peel some of this off to get to the door actuator. I peeled everything that was to the left of the airbag. The foam is held on with some type of tack/goo that stretches, so I used a knife to cut away at it when I was peeling off the foam.


]

Now you are going to have to reconnect the battery and roll the window down a few inches until you see a small, star shaped bolt (Left most bolt in picture). Use a 5MM socket to completely remove this bolt. This bolt is also reverse threaded, so you have to twist clockwise to loosen it. This bolt removes the window from the rail, so be careful with it from here on out. Whenever I raised/lowered the window, I would guide the back of it with my hands as a precaution.




Now, Unbolt the two bolts that hold the window rail in place, but DO NOT completely remove the window rail. The top bolt can be seen in the pic above (Top right corner). Just follow the black window rail down to get to the bolt that holds the bottom of the rail in.

Raise the window all the way back up (GUIDE IT WITH YOUR HAND!) and then disconnect the battery again.

Now, remove the three Torx T30 bolts that hold the door actuator in place. These bolts are right by the door latch/door jab. Now the actuator is completely free. THIS IS THE MOST ANNOYING PART! Getting the door actuator out. Take your time, wiggle it, shake it, pull at it, kick it, spray it with WD40.....do whatever. It is going to be hard to get it out because it is such a big item with little space to maneuver. What I did was pushed the bottom of the window rail inwards again the actual metal of the door, and pulled at the actuator. If you get frustrated, take a break, clear your mind, and go back at it. By this time I was cursing like a sailor to the point where my brother walked into the garage and asked who I was arguing with

At some point, you will get it out. You will notice four connections on it. Make note of what they are and where they go. Take a picture of it with your phone if you need to remember what goes where.




Now you have two options. You can either plug everything into the new actuator and then try to get it in, OR you can shove the new actuator in, and then try connecting the wires. I did the latter because it was easier to move the actual actuator around without having to worry about it getting caught up on the wires and whatnot. It was slightly annoying when trying to connect the wires with little space, little light, and having to feel around on where to put each part. If you have bigger hands, this might be inconvenient. After connecting the wires, I attached the new actuator to the door with the 3 Torx T30 screws.

From here on out, it is just putting everything back together. Reattach the two nuts to connect the window rail. Reattach the battery to lower the window again to put the 5MM bolt back in to reattach the window to the window rail. Raise the window back up to make sure it is still aligned properly. Disconnect battery. Lay the foam back over the metal, plug in the wires from the door to the door panel, lightly pound on the door to get the clips back together, then put in all of the screws and the covers. Now you are all done. You probably have some cuts, scratches, and grease on your hands and face, but you got the job done, saved some money, and learned some more about your car in the process.
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 05:39:05 AM   #2
silverstare46
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Great Job! I have been looking DIY on a few different ones but some are not clear but you did the most of them clear. I have to replace both sides so I am very cautious and I have some questions.

The other said to remove air bag, remove grey foam and put air bag back on. I do not need to do that , right? All you did was peel off only rear end from the airbag, right.

"Now, Unbolt the two bolts that hold the window rail in place, but DO NOT completely remove the window rail. The top bolt can be seen in the pic above (Top right corner). Just follow the black window rail down to get to the bolt that holds the bottom of the rail in. "

Can you tell me exactly where the second bolt located? It is close to the door mirror?

"Raise the window all the way back up (GUIDE IT WITH YOUR HAND!) and then disconnect the battery again."

Once the wiondow is raised all the way up.Even you don't hold the window by hand, Would the window still stay there?

Silly but is it easy to align the window?

I am sorry to ask so many questions. But please help me.

Thank you very much and take care!
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 06:01:22 AM   #3
daytonaviolet
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excellent hopefully i'll never have to do this change.
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 06:21:03 AM   #4
FCars4Ever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstare46 View Post
Great Job! I have been looking DIY on a few different ones but some are not clear but you did the most of them clear. I have to replace both sides so I am very cautious and I have some questions.

The other said to remove air bag, remove grey foam and put air bag back on. I do not need to do that , right? All you did was peel off only rear end from the airbag, right.
Correct. No need to remove the airbag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstare46 View Post
"Now, Unbolt the two bolts that hold the window rail in place, but DO NOT completely remove the window rail. The top bolt can be seen in the pic above (Top right corner). Just follow the black window rail down to get to the bolt that holds the bottom of the rail in. "

Can you tell me exactly where the second bolt located? It is close to the door mirror?
The second bolt is further below the first bolt that is shown in the pictures. Once you are in there, you will not miss it. Like I was saying, just follow the black window rail to the bottom and you will see the bolt that I am talking about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstare46 View Post
"Raise the window all the way back up (GUIDE IT WITH YOUR HAND!) and then disconnect the battery again."

Once the wiondow is raised all the way up.Even you don't hold the window by hand, Would the window still stay there?
Once you get the window up, you won't have to hold it in place. I just guide it while raising/lowering the window with my hand as a precaution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstare46 View Post
Silly but is it easy to align the window?
Apparently, you will need a special tool from BMW to align the window correctly. You shouldn't have to worry about the window alignment, unless you COMPLETELY remove the window rail, which I did not do in the DIY.



Quote:
Originally Posted by silverstare46 View Post
I am sorry to ask so many questions. But please help me.

Thank you very much and take care!
No problem! I posted this to help everyone out so questions don't bother me at all. If you have any other questions while in the process, feel free to PM me. I will get the email notification sent straight to my cell phone and should be able to respond rather quickly.
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 07:37:48 AM   #5
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Default Thanks!

FCars4ever, Thank you very much for your quick reply. That will help me a lot!!! Just BMW dealer will charge me so much for this repair and I will save d Big Money indeed. However, I made a stupid mistake even though he said to get the parts from Tischer. ( When I did the web search I was looking at wrong one) Their price is much cheaper than bmwpartsonly.com ($ 104.60 vs $130.70. bmwpartsonly.com won't charge for the priority mail but Tischer will charge shipping. But still I could have saved $20 to $30 on parts. so Just in case for whoever reading this thread here is the address:http://getbmwparts.com/

I will post about my fixing latter. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 02:13:15 PM   #6
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I have the same problem but on the passenger side. I am going to order the parts and try and fix it.

Also does any one know how and what the body module control part number is. My M3 keeps unlocking and rolling down all the windows by itself. I have finally resorted to removing fuse #49 from the fuse box every time I leave the car to prevent this problem.
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 02:32:35 PM   #7
eurone46
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i did this too and man it was a pain
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 02:47:09 PM   #8
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Not sure if I should bother... my symptom is simply that in cold, dry weather, the driver's side lock will not properly unlock maybe 1/3 of the time. I just press it again and it works; the only "problem" is it also unlocks the passenger's side and is a minor inconvenience. It also lags behind the other locks consistently when locking the car. Again, though, probably isn't worth the hassle. I've been inside the door for the window regulator and boy it's a major *****!
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 11:26:12 PM   #9
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Default GM5 parts #

Quote:
Originally Posted by d3x74 View Post
I have the same problem but on the passenger side. I am going to order the parts and try and fix it.

Also does any one know how and what the body module control part number is. My M3 keeps unlocking and rolling down all the windows by itself. I have finally resorted to removing fuse #49 from the fuse box every time I leave the car to prevent this problem.

You can check http://www.realoem.com/bmw/
to see any parts number. It is very useful.

and says #61359161931. I guess this is it but enter the exact year for your M3. You can go to http://getbmwparts.com/ to get. As far as I know they offering the cheapest price if you disregard the shipment charge.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!
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Old Tue, Dec-30-2008, 11:44:37 PM   #10
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Yea this is seriously a pain to do but way better than paying the stealership!!
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Discussing Just replaced my driver's side door actuator - DIY, Hints, & Tips in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)