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DIY Window
Regulator Repair

impee's DIY Window Regulator Repair for BMW 318i e46
How to repair a Window Regulator yourself!

Difficulty Level: Medium / Difficult

Approximate Time For This Project: 2.5 hours

Prices: Professional labour costs for Window Regulator Repair  - £55 (private) 
or £155 (BMW) - per hour X 2 hours

Socket Wrench 1 £14
Socket Wrench Extension    
8mm & 10mm & UK 5/16 Sockets I have been told that UK 5/16 (7.9375mm) fits on the bolts more snuggly than a 8mm Socket. See section #13 1  
Torx 20 & 30 Bits 1  
Thin Flat Head Screwdriver 1  
Zip tie / Cable tie Medium or Large size required   10 £2
Grease (any multi purpose) Spray on is simpler and less messy 1 £4
Duck tape Any other tape will do.


It is a good idea to go and buy 2 extra Hex Bolts from BMW before you start the DIY. Past DIYs (and my impatient nature) have taught me to always have at least 1 extra of each screw, bolt or clip! Some times you could simply loose one, break or even strip it! They only cost from £0.70 up to £3.00 a piece, depending on what you buy.
Hex Bolt Part number: 07147154229 Part #2.
(see section #13 of this DIY)
BMW 2 £3
Window Regulator /
Electric Window Lifter
Part number: 51337020660 Part #1.
Also see notes in Section 14 below.
BMW 1 £90
Window Regulator Slider Clip Either you can buy the whole Window Regulator as above, or you can just buy a slider clip from eBay. eBay 1 £3

*prices correct at time of publication

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1) Assemble Your Kit + Notes

 Below is the total kit I used. As you can see, there aren't many tools required for this job at all, but having the correct ones is very important. 

Note: After repairing my Window Regulator, it worked ok for a few months, but then the clip broke even further...I again repaired it, again it broke. At the end I bought a new Window Regulator. So do note that this DIY is only valid if the clip is broken a little, and not as much as in this DIY.

The part we are going to repair it here.

Window Regulator Kit


2) -ve Terminal of Battery - Disconnection 

Note: First roll down a little more than half of the window. (This helps in a later stage, and also gives you place to hang the air bag off). I forgot to do this myself (as you will notice in the photos) and it was a major headache later on.

 Go to your boot, locate the battery and use 10mm Socket to undo the black -ve cable and detach it from the battery and move it away, or cover it in duck tape to avoid it swinging back and reconnecting the battery. In the photo I used a spanner, which isn't the correct tool. Mind you, after stripping a screw and a bolt in one of the later stages, I went to the shop and bought a decent tool kit containing a Ratchet Spanner, correct Torx Bits, correct Sockets and Socket Extension. I should have bought these tools a long time back, as they are used for many of the other DIYs on your car.  

BMW Battery


2) Decor Strip - Removal 

As in Photo, use the thin flat head screw driver to open one end of the Decor Strip. There are 2 screws beneath this which will be opened later.

BMW Door


The Decor Strip is held down by clips, so just slowly pull it all off, nothing can break  

BMW Decor Strip


3) 2 Plastic Screw Covers - Removal 

Use your nails, or the thin flat head screw driver to pry of these 2 covers. There are 2 screws beneath them which will be opened later.

BMW Handle


4) Mirror Control Box - Removal 

Use the flat head screw driver to pry out this little mirror control box. You must only insert the screw driver on the right centre part, as that is the only place that a screw driver can fit to enable you to take it out (exactly as in the photo).;

Window Switch


Once it has come out enough for you to use your fingers/nails, pull out the rest. There is screw inside this, which will be opened later.  

Window Switch


5) Door Panel Screws - Removal 

Open the 5 screws using Torx 20. Be VERY careful to use the correct tools and pressure, to not strip these screws.

Decor Strip Off


6) Door Panel - Removal 

Once you have taken all the above off/out, use your fingers to pry off the large inside door trim. Start from the outside of the door at the top and work round clock wise. There are 10 clips, which all require a slight pull each (as highlighted in the photo below). Once trim is loose/off, you will notice a white plastic thing attached to the door handle on the trim, just pull this white connector off the trim/handle to detach it.

There will also be 2 more wires snaking around on the trim and attached to it with small plastic clips, just simply pull them off the trim to detach them from the trim.

Remove the 2 speaker cables form the trim and the 2 plugs from the little mirror control box.

Don't worry about remembering which cables go back where, due to the way they are made, each cable can only plug back into its own socket.

 The trim should now be free. Put it away safely, to not damage/scratch it.  

BMW Door


Vapour Barrier

7) Airbag - Removal 

Use 10mm Socket  to remove the 3 bolts holding the Air Bag.

 Note: DO NOT DISCONNECT THE CABLE PLUG FROM THE AIR BAG. IT MUST REMAIN CONNECTED, or the airbag fault light will turn on in the dashboard.

BMW Air Bag


8) Airbag - Securing 

Use 2 zip ties to hang the airbag to the window as in the photo. Just to avoid it being knocked about.

Vapour Barrier


9) Vapour Barrier - Removal

Now you will see the sheet of grey Vapour barrier. Take your time and peel / remove this form the door without ripping it. If when putting the door back at the end this sticky thing does not stick well back to the door frame, use a hair dryer to slightly melt it.

Vapour Barrier


10) Regulator Bolts - Removal 

Use a 10mm Socket to open the 5 bolts. If you are opening only the right regulator side, then just open the 2 right bolts, if also the left regulator, then open the left 3 bolts too.


11) Cable - Release 

Use a cutter to cut the zip tie to release the cable. At the end, do remember to re-attach it with a new zip tie.



12) Window Motor - Removal 

First you will need to use Torx 30 and remove the 3 screws from the window motor. In the photo below, the red circles denote the place from where I have already removed the bolts.

Then twist the motor so that it is possible to pull out. Then suspend it using zip ties.

This will now free the window and it will now be possible to apply some pressure to move the glass up and down when required.

To avoid wasting time and opening extra stuff, you can diagnose which window slider clip is actually broken (rather than open them both).

Note: If you are opening the whole regulator (both arms), then you must secure the glass, in terms of using duct tape to tape it firmly in place (as if the window was shut).

Manually lower the window and then on both left and right regulator arms look and see if the middle metal connector is in place in the plastic slider clip, or has come out? Obviously the one that has come out is the culprit. For me, it was only one side, i.e. right one (outer side).

Take a look at Step 15 to understand and diagnose if the slider clip is broken or not.

Window Motor


13)  Glass Bolts - Removal 

Push down the window till you can see the 2 Hex Bolts through the small holes as indicated  (remove the bolt for the side of the regulator arm that you want to extract). First try the UK5/16 Socket, if that does not fit, then use a 8mm Socket to remove these bolts.

Note: Be very careful to use the correct tools and pressure, as these bolts in particular strip VERY easily.



One of the bolts looks like this.

(Apologies, the flash seems to be too bright, but it is positioned just between the 2 red lines)

Regulator Window Nut


14) Regulator Arm - Extraction 

The photo below is the whole regulator. The slider clips are the small dark grey plastic parts on each arm that move up and down (highlighted). I couldn't find a product code for this item and when I checked with BMW, they told me that they do not sell it as a separate part and instead sell the whole Regulator as one part and it costs around 90. However now you can also find just the clip on eBay for £3.

Further below is a photo of a brand new slider clip.

BMW Regulator Arm




Once the glass bolt has been removed, pull out the regulator arm, to get to the broken slider clip.  

BMW Door Inside


15) Slider Clip - Repair 

There isn't much I can say here, except get the highlighted middle metal connector into place and then use 2 zip ties to hold it down, as in the below photo.

In this photo, the broken part (in fact broken off and missing) of the plastic is the top/right end (indicated by 2 red dots), i.e. the sides should be narrow as they are on the left side so they hold this metal connected in place.

 I will admit that the below photo is slightly misleading as the zip ties are not tight enough and later on the connector came out, meaning I had to open the whole door again. Tighten both zip ties to the maximum so they hold the little metal connector in place.

Glider Clip


16) Grease - Lubrication 

Before you put the slider clip back, shake and use grease to lubricate the regulator arm, but do try to avoid the little connector and zip ties other wise they may it may slip out again. Lithium grease is white, so you can see in the photo that I have sprayed both sides of the regulator and also sprayed on the bottom end of the slider clip which is open and visible. As you probably have a spray on grease with a thin nozzle, spray the grease over the other regulator too. Over the years the original grease surely has worn off, hence slow windows, and also the broken slider clip.



17) Put The Door Back Together 

Work back in order and put it all back together. I read somewhere to give 10 mins before you re-attach the battery (I think it had something to do with the airbag settling down). 

The first time you roll up and down the window, there will be a slight crack; this is the window re-aligning itself into place.


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DIY BMW e46 Window Regulator repair by - impee

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