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Another window regulator bites the dust

After riding my bike (last time) down through some back streets to finally get in the parking area, I put all the windows down since it was toasty. As I was driving away and closed all the windows..., *SNAP!*, there went the right rear window regulator. It was only a matter of time. This was the 3rd one to go. I'm going to replace both of the rear ones since the last one has to be right on its heels.

Fortunately the window is not stuck down and I have it taped to hold it in place. I've got calls out to two mechanics now to see where to go (this was all after business hours). I'm not desperate that I have to go to the dealer yet.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
geometrician
Apr. 10th, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
What's a window regulator? JHC, is this something else I should worry about one my Eurocar? AAAAAAAAA!

Hi, BTW!
snowboardjoe
Apr. 11th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Hello, Joe! [HUGS]

Don't tell me you don't know what a window regulator is. You may be gay, but you are still a man. :p

I don't know about your car, but BMW made one of the critical components of the window regulator out of plastic. Over time it gets brittle and breaks.
rbsmith77
Apr. 11th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Hi Joe..

This is something you can totally do yourself! Save yourself the $150-$200 the dealer will charge ya. The rear windows are super easy to do. I will get you the links I followed.

This same issue was resolved by proper engineering by our German counterparts at Audi and Volkswagen. They used a metal riser instead of plastic. BMW so far refuses to acknowledge the problem.
rbsmith77
Apr. 11th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Links I used for emotional support
BimmerFest's E46 wiki has the best comprehensive and navigable resource.

Here is the link, which takes you directly to thread links with pics and DIY write ups.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php?title=BMW_E46#My_window_doesn.27t_go_all_the_way_up.2Fdown_or_makes_bad_noises

Here are my tips: The rear windows are easier than the fronts since the rear regulator is one metal arm. Plus no side airbag in the rear for my E46.
Use a hair dryer to warm up the sticky black adhesive, but NEVER put the foam soundproofing inside the car. The black will get onto the leather and be a pain to clean off. Also don't be surprised if you see scrape marks from the dealer hacks using a screwdriver to scrape off the adhesive.
You will probably need to buy a T30 torx screwdriver for the power window motor, and if you don't have a deep socket metric set, I recommend picking up a small set in the 7-11mm range. The deep sockets + 4-6" extension make it easier to get to the nut that attaches the regulator to the glass itself.
Unless you are removing an airbag, you shouldn't need to unplug the battery just leave the key off.
One of the thread mentions just replacing the plastic part. I have never had ANY luck with catching it before replacement is warranted. Plan on replacing the entire assembly.
It should take about 2 hours. I got to 1h15m or so after doing it a couple times.
snowboardjoe
Apr. 11th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Yep, I learned it was not that bad, especially on the rear. Had I known it was this easy overall, I would have done it myself--all of them. I'm probably still going to pick up 2 regulators and replace both as I'm sure the other one is not far behind.

I spent some time this evening disassembling one and I got the regulator out in about 20 minutes. It broke in the classic location. Don't think the zip tie method will work here though.

At least I know that I can do it now. I already had a Bentley manual and it was decent, but your links provided a few tricks at making the job go easier and filling in the gaps. Thanks!
rbsmith77
Apr. 11th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)
Yea, the Bentley manual is a great resource, but it's definitely geared towards the everyday professional mechanic. DIYers could use alittle more guidance and support. I heart the internets for that. One guy forges a new path, take pics, and guide others.

The fronts are a bit more tricky as you have two metal guides interconnected, and side airbags.

Edited at 2008-04-11 05:29 am (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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