Window Regulator Replacement on a BMW X5
Contributed by: UCrewX5
Replacing Window Regulators
*** Note, if you donít disconnect the battery and you insert the key to raise/lower the window while the airbag is removed, the airbag light may illuminate and will require a service visit to reset. If you are going to fully remove the airbag then Itís best to disconnect the battery, but I donít know how one would get the window in the right place the first time. Proceed at your own risk! ***
1. Pop out the window switch and unplug it from the harness
2. Pop out the pathway light under the door and unplug it from the harness
3. Pop off the wood trim and remove the 2 screws behind it.
4. Pop off the plastic cover that says "ABS" and remove the screw behind it
5. Pop off the round screw cover in the door pocket area and remove the screw behind it.
6. When removing the rear door panel, you must first remove the interior door pull cover to access an additional screw to remove before fully detaching the panel from the door. Once these screws have been removed the door panel should pop off by carefully pulling it away from the door and popping the plasic plugs that hold it in place. Watch the wiring harness leads as you remove it and note how they run so that you can put the back the same way when you reinstall it. Also you will need to disconnect the cable that goes to the door handle/latch, which you can only get to once the panel has been pulled away from the door. I started by prying at the bottom and working my way up.
7. Unbolt the airbag from the door frame and carefully move it aside. It should not be necessary to unplug the connector, but if you choose to do so then you should first disconnect the battery in order to avoid having an airbag light come on after you reinstall everything.
8. Carefully remove the foam padding. This is held on with a tar-like substance, so work slowly and pull it away in small sections so as not to rip or damage it as much as possible.
Here is what the bare door frame will look like:
9. The window must be in a position that is very close to all the way down in order to remove the two nut/bolt combinations that hold it to the window regulator. There is a little hole in the bar of the regulator to do this, as shown in the next picture. An extra pair of hands can really help here because there are 2 plastic clips that can break if the weight of the window rests on the edge of them.
10. After the window is separated from the regulator, raise the window by hand and tape it in place (I placed paper over the paint to ensure I didnít get adhesive on it, then I saddled tape over the top of the door and stuck it to the window in order to hold it in place)
11. Remove the 5 nuts holding the regulator in the door and remove the regulator from the door frame.
12. Once out, remove motor from old regulator and install on new regulator.
13. Reverse the steps above to install the new regulator into the door frame and then put all of the trim and components back on the door.
Here is an example of how the regulator components can fail. Another failure point is the cable assembly.
Rear Door Variations
Removing the rear door panels is very similar to the front. The one major difference comes into play if you have the sun shades that retract into the door. If so, you need to first remove the vertically mounted shade that covers the rear quarter window. To do this you need to insert a mini flat screwdriver in the very top portion of the fixed window sunshade where you see the hole in the back. Depressing the metal piece will release the top of the sunshade allowing you to lift out the bottom. You should see another screw that needs to be removed in order to remove the door panel. You do not need to remove the main window sunshade, it comes off with the door.
When removing the door panel be very careful, as there is a small wire connected to a fragile plastic clip at the top of the door for the handle LED. You have to reach up inside the door panel when you have the bottom pulled away to pull out the LED light. Otherwise you will break the plastic LED light housing. If you do break it, find the pieces and superglue it back together and it should work.
Pictures and additional details thanks to Fred Ginnebaugh
Another DIY Guide
DIY Guide for front and rear window regulators in PDF format
Rear Window Regulator Replacement DIY Guide