How to Replace an E46 Front Passenger Window Regulator

Written by peter grant
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The window regulators on E46 generation BMW 3-Series cars can eventually fail over time. The regulator is a key part of your electric window's operation. If you have noticed a grinding noise or hesitation in the movement of the windows, then your window regulator is likely on its way out. Replacing it will require about a half hour of your time and a few simple tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Flathead screwdriver or trim tool
  • Torx driver, No. 10
  • Socket wrench
  • 10-mm socket
  • Philips-head screwdriver
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Remove the door trim piece on the front door by prying it off with the flathead screwdriver or trim tool.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the two Torx No. 10 screws that are underneath the trim.

  3. 3

    Pry off the three plastic covers that remain, then remove the remaining Torx screws that are underneath all three.

  4. 4

    Pull the larger door panel piece to pop its retaining clips out of place, then set the door panel aside. Perform the same function on the bottom of the door panel.

  5. 5

    Disconnect the latch cable that is located underneath the panel, then unplug the speakers.

  6. 6

    Remove the remaining door panel pieces and set them aside. Unscrew and remove the three 10-mm bolts that secure the side airbag to the door panel.

  7. 7

    Unplug the airbag connector and then remove the airbag. Unscrew the two Phillips-head screws that secure the plastic control unit where the airbag was located.

  8. 8

    Remove the yellow insulating foam from the door, then move the window glass up and down by manipulating the two 10-mm screws at the bottom of the window. When the window is down, remove the bolts entirely.

  9. 9

    Remove the five 10-mm nuts that hold the window regulator to the door, then cut the nylon zip ties that secure the window cable to the door frame using the scissors.

  10. 10

    Twist out the rear rail from the door frame then slide out the front rail.

  11. 11

    Reinstall the new window regulator and follow the above instructions in reverse order to reassemble the car door. Be sure to use new zip ties to reattach the window cable.

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