Installing Electric Windows
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Once again one of the inadequacies of Bavarian design got my attention. From day one when I bought my first 2002 about 8 years ago I have been upset with BMW window regulators. The 2002s are notorious for water intrusion and rust on the regulator uni
ts which eventually results in inoperability. My 530i had the same disease. None of the regulators worked properly for one reason or another, especially the driverís side front which of course is the one I use constantly. The design is weak and after 2
0 years of use I just couldnít get it adjusted properly to roll up and down straight and without binding. Plus the window broke free from the metal glass holders. It was time to fix the problem.
I am not a big fan of eletric windows but they are nice if they work. The electric window mechanism, regulator, lift bar etc. is a much better design than the manual unit on these cars. I decided to retrofit an electric window mechanism for the drive
rís side front window on my 530i from one out of a 528i. I have not seen the electric window mechanism for a 530i but I am sure it would be less taxing to retrofit that unit into a car like mine. Like I mentioned I couldnít find a 530i with electric win
dows to get the parts.
This is not for the faint of heart.
Assuming you have acquired an electric window motor, lift mechanism, glass lift rail, glass holders, control switch etc. etc. to perform the job then here goes.
- Remove the manual unit and all of its associated brackets, mounts etc.
- Remove the interior chrome door panel top and rubber wiper, exterior wiper and glass
- Line up motor and winder assembly, temporarily mount it in place (this will actually require sheet metal removal so the electric motor receiver will fit, see figure). Insert the glass rail, glass holders, and glass in the door
- Line everything up and perform "Zen and the Art of Making a *%$#!@ Door Window Operate Properly on a BMW." (I am going to act like this step only takes a few minutes but those of us "in the know" have better sense than that)
- Assuming you have the window in place drill the two holes necessary to permanently mount the assembly in place. Mount everything and check proper function of the window movement
- Pick up 12 volts positive power from one of the main 12 volt power sources to the ignition switch, preferably one switched to power only when the key is on. I used a violet wire (I think it is for the horn) and tested it for current load. I loaded i
t with twice the current draw of the electric window motor and it didnít burn up the wire or blow a fuse so I used the wire. Donít forget a good clean ground is very important here for the ground wire
- Feed the wires through the grommets that hold the electric mirror wires in place and secure them to make sure they donít get tangled in the moving parts
- Cut a rectangle in the door panel for the switch (a good utility knife will do it) and put a plug over the hole for the window winder (these are standard issue on the 528i door panels). Use a switch from an electric window BMW for the passenger side
front, rear, or driverís side rear. Check the wiring diagram but basically black and blue go to the motor, two of the other three are common (gnd) and the third is +12V. Very simple connection. Contact me with any problems.
- Button everything up and you have an electric window
Just as a reminder all is fair in love and war. Your new electric motor will not have a tolling function or automatic stop features but I have to believe people can figure out these things on their own.
Having forwarded this information, I used a full machine shop for two nights and I had taken apart 530i doors about 20 times before this to fix the mechanical mechanism. My time about 5 hours to do everything.
Estimated time for the average Hack Mechanic with proper tools 8-10 hours.
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