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  #1  
Old 11-25-2015, 11:38 AM
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E70 hood won't open, passenger latch stuck

My passenger side hood latch wouldn't open. I found a few threads about folks having the same problem, but they all dead ended without any solution. Funny, it seems to always be the passenger side that gets frozen. Anyway, I ended up replying to one of the threads over on bimmerfest, so I figured I'd copy it over here for anyone having the same problem, maybe it will help someone:

------------------

so unfortunately I now understand why none of the e70 threads with hood problems ever come back with a solution. I am going to tell you up front, this problem is genuinely a nightmare. but I'm going to followup with how I did it so the next person has a head start and can save some time.

So my passenger side hood latch was stuck. Nothing I did would release it, obviously there was a failure in a cable or latch. So like you, I started watching BMW hood release videos and started by taking the grill out, like most videos for other models suggest. HOWEVER, in BMW's infinite wisdom, what you realize in the e70 is the latch mechanism was moved BEHIND the radiator, so you don't have access to simply "pop" the latch with a tool.

So I called a couple dealers and spoke with a few techs to see if they could give me a hint as to how to gain access. Funny enough, both said the same thing "oh man, e70, you're screwed". They went on to say thee's no procedure, its just a matter of removing parts until you can get some type of access to do something. They indicated it could take a full day depending on where the failure is....great.

They did however give me the hint that if you remove the drivers side wheel and shrouding you can gain access to the two cables and the junction box connecting them to the handle in the car. This was in fact the case. If you look at the photo, you can see the cables along the frame when you look underneath and up. I was able to grab the junction box and cables with vice grips and pull. If you happen to have a broken cable from the handle to the box, this method would release the hood. Of course, this was not my problem and in the end, access to the cables and box was completely useless because my release was actually broken (or cable) and not responding to the cable pull.




I did end up taking off the passenger side wheel as well along with the plastic lining. Unfortunately, there was nothing of use on that side for me, it was way too tight and didn't give me any access to the latch. that was a big waste of time.

So I shifted back to the grill and the hook attached to the hood. I could "barely" see it through the crack of the hood. In the end, I concluded the hook attached to the hood had to be removed, there was really no other way for me to get this thing open.

So I had to make a new tool, I constructed a reciprocating saw blade by drilling and bolting 2 blades together to reach about 15 inches in without destroying the hood. The back of the hook base is about 15 inches deep under the hood. I then wrapped the teeth I wasn't using with spongebob duct tape to protect anything I might accidentally hit along the way. It looked like this:




I then carefully removed the 2 torx screws on the front of the hook bracket. The one on the passenger side I was able to remove with a ratcheting wrench and bit, albeit slowly. The one on the drivers side required long nose vice grips to grab as hard as I could and break because the bit and wrench wont fit because it gets stuck against the plastic and wont get underneath the screw. Luckily, both screws are not very tight and pretty easy to break and loosen. the screws are already out in the photos, i forgot to take a picture when they were still in. That leaves you with:








I then used the reciprocating saw with a spotter to slowly and carefully cut the front of the bracket. The metal is very soft and easy to cut. After the front was cut, I put the blade further in and cut the back. And pop, the hood was free. The bracket looked like this when I was done:



I was able to successfully do this without any damage to the car. I would highly recommend that you use a second person when you are cutting though, you cannot easily see inside to make sure the blade isn't hitting anything else as you cut.

Now that the hood is open, its pretty obvious how the mechanism works and is changed. Getting the hood open is definitely the challenge. It took me a good 15 hours or so to do this. Seeing the mechanism now, if you had another e70 available you MIGHT be able to construct a tool to reach the latch from through the grill, but it would be a custom tool with many bends as the latch is really in an awkward spot behind the plastic and radiator. I don't know if it would really work, but I think it's possible.

I hope this helps someone. This problem on the e70 is not trivial like other models. The lesson in all this might be, periodically check the hood mechanism and do some preventative maintenance because this isn't a problem you want to deal with!
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2015, 01:01 PM
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So what was the root cause, the failure?
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Old 11-25-2015, 01:04 PM
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Holy Mackerel that was a lot of work. Good on you for posting it.
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Old 11-25-2015, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
So what was the root cause, the failure?

I haven't taken the latch out, waiting for the cable to arrive to finish (I ordered everything, I'm changing it all out actually), so I'll followup as soon as the parts arrive.

That said, most likely a cable failure. When you pull the cable there's no motion on the latch at all. So logically, unless I just can't see the broken arm, it's likely a cable failure.

But I'll let you know!
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Old 11-25-2015, 02:42 PM
ard ard is offline
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Wow.

Thanks.

Say...what about tying a flexible hacksaw/cable/blade thing around each point and ziptie it in place when everything works. Then, in two years when one fails you just open the front, grab the ends and saw it free. You look like a firgging genius.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ard View Post
Wow.

Thanks.

Say...what about tying a flexible hacksaw/cable/blade thing around each point and ziptie it in place when everything works. Then, in two years when one fails you just open the front, grab the ends and saw it free. You look like a firgging genius.
Funny you should say that

I've been thinking a lot about how to build in a safety mechanism in case it happens again. You might be able to zip tie something to the latch, but I don't know if it will interfere with the normal mechanism. I'm waiting to see the new part to see if I can drill a small hole in the latch to put a safety cord on.
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2015, 04:04 PM
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What year is your E70?

BTW, I think the Sponge Bob duct take was the key to getting this job done!

I think you need to have a back up pull wire for the latches, think about it and let us know if you can find a way to hang some emergency release cables on the latches.

Might be a DIY that we all should consider.
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2015, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
What year is your E70?

BTW, I think the Sponge Bob duct take was the key to getting this job done!

I think you need to have a back up pull wire for the latches, think about it and let us know if you can find a way to hang some emergency release cables on the latches.

Might be a DIY that we all should consider.
Im a 2008 4.8 with about 90k miles.

I figured spongebob would work hard, Patrick is just too lazy.

I'm going to fool around with a backup safety design. Maybe a cable looped in the catch. When the replacement part comes I'll look and think some more. I can tell you I DONT ever want to do this again!
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Old 11-25-2015, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clinkinfo View Post
Im a 2008 4.8 with about 90k miles.

I figured spongebob would work hard, Patrick is just too lazy.

I'm going to fool around with a backup safety design. Maybe a cable looped in the catch. When the replacement part comes I'll look and think some more. I can tell you I DONT ever want to do this again!
Ugh, I have a 2008 4.8 with about 78k miles, now you have me worried!!

I will try to look at my latches over the weekend to see what options or ideas I may be able to come up with.

In the short term I will wait to hear what you think the cause of your failure was. Where do you live/where has the vehicle lived? Wonder if corrosion had anything to do with the failure?

I might be replacing the hood release cables as a PM because I do not want to loose 15 more hours of my life!

BTW, thanks for posting your experience here, scary but helpful!
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2015, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Ugh, I have a 2008 4.8 with about 78k miles, now you have me worried!!

I will try to look at my latches over the weekend to see what options or ideas I may be able to come up with.

In the short term I will wait to hear what you think the cause of your failure was. Where do you live/where has the vehicle lived? Wonder if corrosion had anything to do with the failure?

I might be replacing the hood release cables as a PM because I do not want to loose 15 more hours of my life!

BTW, thanks for posting your experience here, scary but helpful!

I'm fairly certain it's the cable, but I'll let you know Monday (parts won't come until then, delayed from holiday).

Luckily the parts are really cheap for this problem, very un-BMW like

There is a single cable from the cabin handle to the junction box. This cable is independent and hooks into the junction box. Out of the other side, there are 2 cables, one going to each latch. Those 2 cables are permanently attached to the junction box (not serviceable on that end) and attach to the releases with typical cable 'ends'. The double cables and junction box are a unit, and only like $25. The spring releases are like $35ish a side. All told, really not to bad IF you can get your hood open
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