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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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please help with interior door handle / latch replacement

hi everyone!

i'm new to the forum. did a search for this, but didn't see a thread.

the handle or latch on the inside driver's door on my '86 325e is broken. went to a salvage yard and got a fresh one.

actually thought this was going to be a simple, straight forward task.
(come on! it only has two screws! i thought: how hard can it be?!?)
maybe it is pretty easy...
but i need some help.

managed to get the panel off the driver's door...
(this was exciting.)
but it looks like i have to do more.
because some how i have to attach this latch to some lever... and that's all on the INSIDE of the door, right? plus, of course, there's no way for me to get the old one out, even after unscrewing the (only two... how tricky can it be...) screws.

so do i need to take the entire door off?
where can i find instructions?
(anyone know of a site or a book w/ illustrations and step-by-step instructions?)

(is this something a regular person can do? you know... someone w/ really really basic tools and a bit of bravery to attempt the task?)

also... i notice that my broken handle has some nice sort of foam around it. can i buy or should i somehow fashion something to make a seal/cushion around this handle... assuming i can get to the point of replacing it?

would be extremely grateful for advice/suggestions/instructions.

thanks,
christine
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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answering the how to fix the interior door question myself!

ok... for anyone who has gotten so far as to get the door panel off, but then been flummoxed as to how to continue to replace the door handle (with only two screws... so really... how hard can it be?) let me tell you this:

first... anyone with a screwdriver and some patience and some care can do this job.

1. if you are wondering if you have to take apart the entire door, the answer is: NO! you will need to peel back the plastic from the upper left corner of the door (upper right if you're working on the right side of the car.)

2. presumably, at this point, you've also unscrewed the (mere) two screws holding your broken handle in place. (if not, now would be a good time.) you can peer into the top of the door w/a flashlight, or into the holes in the door you've exposed by peeling (carefully) away the plastic to get a glimpse of what the interior looks like. you will see that there is a thick wire hook going through the back of the handle, which is holding it in place (and which also provides the leverage to unlatch the door, when everything is working right.)

3. looking down through top of the door for some visual guidance, rotate the handle about 180 degrees to the left (right on the right hand side of the car, right?) to get it off the hook. once freed, you can slide the handle through its handle slot in the door to remove it.

4. if you don't have a gasket (foam thing-y) on your replacement handle, re-use the one from your broken handle, if you can. just place it around the edge of the handle.

5. slide your new handle into the handle slot. (hold onto it... imagine it would be a real hassle to drop it into the door.) looking down through the top of the door -- or really however you can sort of see anything to grasp what's going on -- with your left hand maneuver the thick wire with the hook so it slides into the hole on the handle (you will probably need to move it away from the interior side of the door) and slowly rotate the handle on the hook about 180 degrees until it's facing the right way in the handle slot. screw in the two screws. (this is probably a good time to shut the door and try our your handle) replace the interior panel. voila! have a beer and enjoy your handiwork. ;-)


(there are plenty of posts that deal w/the intricacies of getting off the door panel -- it's in most of the bmw repair books, too... so i'm not going to deal with that.)

i dunno why no one's given directions for this before. maybe it's too easy of a task. if anyone wants to edit the instructions -- because maybe they're not clear, please feel free.

ciao,
christine
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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sweet. thanks for the info
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