Hi - I put my passenger rear window down today and heard a crunching noise.
Needless to say it would not go back up. After removing the door panel it
looks like the cable got wrapped up around the motor or something else. I've
never dealt with BMW windows before ( only US cars with mechanical linkage)
but it looks like I need a new regulator and not the motor. Does this sound
right? If so is it a big job to replace?
My daughter's '00 323 had this problem too. I found a new window regulator
on eBay for about $60. It was very easy to replace. I do not recall exactly,
but I think the regulator comes out with the motor attached, and you simply
swap the motor to a new regulator and reinstall. In any case, I found the
job to be pretty easy. You MUST be sure you get the proper regulator for the
door -- left, right, front, rear, and any combination thereof.
You must remove the regulator and replace it, you can not rewind the
cable -- especially since the cable is badly kinked by now.
While the regulator is off, you can push the window up and use a suitable
tape to hold it so you can keep the car in service if you need to do that.
My kid had this trouble on the left side rear door, but I can't imagine
there is any practical difference.
It's the regulator (trust me on this). The guides are plastic molded
around the cable and they break in normal use.
Replacement is not difficult with the right tools to remove the door
panel and so on. It's impossible to remove the plastic sheet inside the
door without tearing it when it's cold. Make sure you have a warm place
to work and let the door warm up for a while to soften the glue that
holds it on, and you can remove it with gentle steady pressure and reuse
Also, assuming you know how and are comfortable with handling air bags,
make sure you disconnect the battery for the specified interval (I
forget how long) before unplugging one (they are standard in front,
optional in the rear for the E46) or the system will be disabled and
you'll have to pay to get it reset. (The longest interval I've found on
any car I've worked on to date is 20 minutes, so I always wait that long
rather than trying to remember which are which. When I find one that's
longer I'll increase my wait time. ;-)
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