Monday, May 30, 2011
Driver's Door Overhaul Day Two
I had planned to go over to the garage mid-morning but I awoke to torrential rain and thunder. The radar indicated a group of isolated cells on the move out of the area so I figured I'd do some additional research on my predicament while I waited for the skies to clear.
This time a search on bimmerforums revealed a much better DIY that confirmed what I already knew at this point -- the window must be removed, or at least moved out of the way, to replace the door handle assembly. The problem with that article was that I couldn't figure out why he had decided to remove the rear window guide when I figured it would be a hell of a lot easier just to remove the two bolts that hold the window to the trolley that rides in the guide, particularly because the guide must be precisely aligned or the window won't mate with the vehicle correctly.
I pulled up my copy of the TIS and found the long and involved instructions required to correctly align the window and decided that I'd just as soon avoid that procedure if necessary and remove only the two T25 torx bolts holding the window to the trolley, access to which is provided by holes in the door located under the side molding. Surprisingly, I found one other article on bimmerforums in which someone said to avoid removing those two bolts "at all cost", but they didn't say specifically why. While I know the bolts are used in the window adjustment process (and I later confirmed this at the garage), ask yourself the same question I did at this point: if you have a choice of removing 6 bolts that contribute to a given adjustment in several axes vs. 2 bolts that are used to adjust in a single axis, which would you choose? Yea, I thought so.
I headed over to the garage and spent a few hours washing and detailing the E46 before getting up the nerve to try to remove the window. I expected the worst, but it only took me about 15 minutes to analyze the situation, disconnect the regulator arms from the sliders, reposition the window manually as required to remove the two bolts holding the window to the trolley, and, uttimately, extract the old door handle assembly. Needless to say, I breathed one hell of a sigh of relief at this point and headed home in the E46, victorious.
Upon closer inspection, the handle assembly looked pretty beat up. The ring that connected to the operating rod connected to the latch was worn, though not as badly as the other end of the rod. The tumbler seemed to have a lot of radial play (certainly more than the lock in the passenger door), and I also wasn't particularly impressed with the condition of the microswitch that triggers the power lock system when the key is used to lock/unlock the door. So I've decided to order a new, fully coded handle assembly as well as a new electric lock actuator while I'm in the neighborhood. I have no desire to ever go this deep into the door again, so I'm planning to fix it the right way, once and for all.