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86 635; Suggestions on how to "un stuck" a glove box

Discussion in 'E24 (1977-1989)' started by BINGO, May 10, 2011.

    BINGO guest

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    I can't open my glove box. I believe something is jammed in the latch. The outside latch articulates in a normal manner but it won't release. Any suggestions ?
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    Such a common problems on 80's-era BMW's.

    Diagram here: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=5374&mospid=47205&btnr=51_1032&hg=51&fg=30

    See a picture here: http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?t=44375

    A couple of possibilities are typically the problem -

    The latch is two parts - the handle part, which is attached to the metal bracket you see in the picture (and the diagram too), and the upper part with the 'catch' ears, which is on the inside or upper part of your glovebox, held in position by screws through holes in the upper part, through the glovebox, and into the metal bracket.

    What you can't see in that pic and isn't shown in the diagram is that the pull-handle part has two cylindrically-shaped parts, (integrated as part of the handle mold) that extend to either side of the handle, and the metal bracket has holes not just for the screw mounting, but for these cylinder-shaped parts, and fit over them - which is how the metal bracket is secured to the pull handle. In the picture, you have tabs on either side with the mounting holes for the screws, and those tabs are attached to two vertical tabs extending down from the top horizontal piece of the bracket; there is a hole in each vertical tab that you can't see in the picture, which fits over the cylindrical-shaped parts of the pull-handle.

    Below that on the pull handle is a rounded piece, designed to cover the latch mechanism, and prohibit access to the latch.

    Now, the upper part of the latch mechanism has the catch "ears", which are triangular shaped, and can be seen in both the picture and diagram. One of these is kind of 'J' -shaped, and when the backside of the keylock or pull handle is pulled, it pulls down on the bottom part of the 'J', which actuates against the other 'ear', retracting both, and allowing the glove box to drop down.

    So, one problem that is common - one or both of the cylindrical shaped pieces that attach the pull handle to the metal bracket crack, or break entirely, meaning that when you pull the handle, it can't be in position to actuate against the 'J' of the upper latch, and the catch ears aren't able to be retracted.

    The other typical occurrence is the bottom of the 'J' part stress-cracks, so that when you pull on the handle, it's not able to pivot the catch ears.

    If the pull handle cylindrical-shaped part(s) are cracked, you'll need to replace it, I don't think super-glue is a viable fix that can withstand the strain. One way to get the glove box open is pull the pull-handle as far forward/up as you can, probably breaking it completely or partially from the metal bracket, so that you can access the metal latch-ears by having the handle far enough forward/up to get behind the rounded plastic cover part molded in to keep you from doing just that. If you can hook something onto the 'J' latch and pull down (while pushing up on the glove box to lessen the resistance against the catch ears), then you'll be in. Unfortunately, I think there is a chance of slightly deforming the top edge of the glovebox recessed pull-handle area if you pull the handle that far forward, so be advised if you have to go that route.

    If the bottom of the 'J' catch-ear is stress cracked, you have the option of destroying the pull handle to again, gain access, and manipulate things as best as possible, with the hope of freeing the catch ears, or you can try removing all the mounting screws at the back of the glove box, and hopefully gaining enough access to unscrew the top-latch mounting screws, or maybe even retracting the catch ears, or, although I don't think you could get access with the front of the glovebox in place, unscrewing the top catch through which the top latch goes.

    The glovebox latches are one of those why-does-that-part-cost-so-much things. There are likely lots of used ones available on ebay. The problem with used is, the fatigue and breakage factor of the latches is both age and usage related; an old one, even if it looks perfect, may cause you the same headache again a lot sooner than you want it to, but a new latch may be more than you'd like to have to pay.

    If your glovebox latch has the keylock in the pull handle, you can swap it into another - a circlip on the back of the tumbler mechanism holds it in place; pop that off and you can slide it out. Keep the key in it to retract the lock parts, and don't let them fall out as you extract the lock, there won't be anything to hold them in place; come to think of it, I think there are small springs, so if you pull out the tumbler without the key in place, you're likely to launch them.

    Once you have it back together, you can minimize the strain on the lock/latch mechanism a bit by putting upward pressure on the glove box as you open it; pushing up will take some of the resistance off the catch-ears, meaning you shouldn't have to pull the handle as hard. Some lubrication/grease on the contact points on the swiveling 'J' and other catch-ear part of the upper latch is advisable.


    BINGO guest

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    Thanks so much.

    I will jump in right away

    BINGO guest

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    Success !

    Thanks for the help. I ordered a part off of E-BAY ($18.50). Broke the latch off but I could not get to the dog ears. So I applied pressure on the door to give enough to slip a hack saw blade in to cut the part holding the dog ears in half. I swaped the key cyclinder. It only took a couple of minutes to install the replacement parts.

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