14 How To - Cabin

This section will deal with the doors as well as what would normally be considered as part of the cabin.

Quick links: Doors Disassembly   Doors Rattling     Headrest Rear   Cabin Light

Doors (disassembly) : 

No matter if you are planning to change speakers, door lock, outside mirror, window, window mechanism, fix rattling in the door or like, you need to take the door trim apart.

This section, therefore, is a prelude to all abovementioned works.

The pictures to the left aim to give information of
where the screws and clips are located.

If you are working on the driver side door, start by
prying out the switch controlling the mirrors.

The 5 pcs torx are the next to remove

It’s a good idea to open the window fully before
next step.
Start prying at the lower rear corner. If you can get
the prying tool close to the clips work is easier.
When all the clips are loose the door card hangs out
in an angle still attached by the row of metal clips at
the top of the door.
To get loose of these metal clips, the door card needs
to be pulled horizontally away from the window. Start
at the front end. At the rear end the locking pin
restricts the movement but it can be done without
breaking anything.

When the door card is fully loose beware of the wires
(for speakers) and the door opening mechanism at
the back.  

The connection between the internal door handle and
the drawbar to the lock is of the type “hook – twist –
click”. It can be taken off by hand only.

When the door card is free and away, next step is
roll up the window and disconnect the battery. Then
disconnect the two electric connectors from the
controller and unscrew the controller.

The airbag is next. Observe that you will get a system error if battery is connected when the airbag is disconnected. Since the battery is disconnected, the airbag (3 pcs M6) can be removed. Should you need to connect the battery in order to test mirror or move window, you can attach the airbag loosely to the door and connect the wire as long as the battery is needed to be connected.

In order to access the inside of the door the vapor barrier/insulator (foamy material) needs to be removed. It is “glued” to the door frame by a strip of Butyl rubber, which is a very sticky stuff. This Butyl rubber can be “rolled” pulled off – however only if this is done slowly. Rapid pulls will only stretch or break the butyl.

When you later want to reattach the vapor barrier you may need to use new butyl tape. Personally I find it easiest to attach the butyl tape to the vapor barrier first (break the backing paper in the sharp corners).    

Back to   Outside mirror       

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Doors (rattling): 

It’s very annoying to have rattling form the doors. Most probably this comes from the window or the window regulator. Another irritating phenomenon is a metal-to-metal sound, when you “roll” the window down completely to stop.

To solve the problems you need to strip the door –
i.e. take off the door trim panel (door card). See

OBS: disconnect the battery as first step. If you
decide to disconnect the door air bag please observe
NOT to connect battery while the air bag is
disconnected. It will cause error codes. Personally I
disconnect the air bag when taking off the insulation
foam and link up the air bag temporarily after. This
way you can connect battery if you need to move
window up or down.

The window may be loose in the attachment to the
window regulator. To fix this tighten the two torx
screws shown in the video. OBS: These screws shall
be turned counter clockwise to tighten.

Next check the 5 pcs M6 nuts (No 1 to 5) holding
the window regulator to the door.

If rattle persists check the two clips (A and B) holding
the pull wires to the door panel. A is easy to check.
B is not so easy – it has to be done “blindly” by hand
only. If B is loose or broken the wire will rattle against
the door. It’s difficult to replace B, however a piece of Butyl rubber (used to fasten the foam insulator to the door) placed the right place will do the trick.

If you experience the metal-to-metal sound when opening the window fully (all the way down to stop) it’s probably because the small rubber bump stop (se picture) has fallen off. You will likely find it in the bottom of the door. It’s tricky to put back in place without taking out the window regulator – but it can be done. It should be pushed in the bottom hole in the front window rail. If the bump stop is lost (it can’t be purchased separately) you may succeed to fasten a piece of rubber with butyl rubber instead.  

These videos show some more comprehensive work than may be needed, however they give a pretty good overview of how the doors are designed. Video 1. Video 2.
This video shows a “shortcut” to fasten the rails – however he mentions 4 nuts but there are 5 (see pictures below). Video 3.

The below pictures show the details.

Headrests rear:

To take the rear headrests off can be a bit of a challenge.

It is possible to force the guide pins up – best with some
twisting – but it takes quite a lot of force.

Alternatively you can lift the rear shelf cover and remove
the lock springs, however this requires taking more parts
off. See video.: BMW E46 M3 Rear Headrest Removal Tips.

This irritated me. The solution was a modification of the
guide pins. These pins have 3 notches. These notches are
asymmetrical, which means that they allow movement in
one direction and only one. Take a small grinder and make
the notch in the lower end (3) V-shaped. It will still hold the
head rest in place, but can be pulled out with reasonable
force. If you need to take the guide pins out of the headrest,
just twist the pin either way and pull.

Cabin lights: