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Window motor & regulator replacement 98' 740il

Discussion in 'E38 (1995-2001)' started by abgarcia, Mar 9, 2010.

    abgarcia guest

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    Estimate from shop to replace passenger side rear window motor/regulator exceeds $700. Is this a 'shop-necessary' repair? Window is currently in down position with no motor sound nor movement when window up/down button is pushed. (So, sitting in the carport with weekly start-ups.)

    jsj9464 guest

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    I had local BMW dealer replace the window motor & regulator for my 98' 750il about two years ago for about $500. $700 doesn't sound unreasonable based on the fact that two years has transpired. However, I thought $500 was too much at the time. This seems to be a common problem on the E38. I almost never actuate the rear windows and I seldom have passengers riding in the rear. Use or lose, I guess.
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    John in VA

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    Can you change the window switch with one that is still working to determine if it's just the switch vs. motor? Did you check your fuses?

    jsj9464 guest

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    I'm by no means mechanically astute to properly answer your questions; but, I'm fairly sure if you had an extra switch you could use it to test the rear window actuator. I think the electric drive motor is most likely the problem with your window. My understanding is that the job of replacing the motor and regulator is labor intensive. That is what drives up the cost. Also, I would get in the habit of lowering and raising all windows at least once a month. JSJ

    cwbiii guest

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    It is somewhat labor intensive and knowing how to do it is a learned technique... plus the fact the rear air bags are in there adds another thing to be wary of for the novice. My son did it so often while working as a alarm and electronics installer
    that he makes it looks like nothing...but I know better from my own experiences.
    If you want to learn and have access to an old fashioned junk yard then go there and pull a used window regulator as a replacement out yourself and you won't have to put your own car at risk learning just what needs to be disconnected and how. Or better yet buy one of the 2 right side doors I have in my basement with window regulators in them and have even more extra parts... (silver) off of a 96 740i, in almost perfect condition. If you want a look at what the inside looks like drop me an email and I'll take a picture of the inside of the door for you.
    I originally bought these to replace the ones on my 97 740i that were beginning to rust but sold the car rather than restoring it. I kept the headlights though and put those in my motorhome!
    Chuck
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    bcweir

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    Buy a Bentley manual for your E38

    It's easily the best investment you can make in your car. You'll save enough on labor cost to pay for it with your first DIY job from it.

    e30e38e39 guest

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    Window Regulator change in an E38

    Good Evening!

    I did it myself on my driver's door and took my time. It is involved because you want to take your time removing and saving the "vapour barrier" which is actually a full door width sculpted high density grey foam pad stuck on with very sticky black non curing adhesive on the edges (that you can replace and buy in strips or rolls of different widths at most car parts store).
    The other trick is to avoid turning on power until the removed air bag is re-installed if you have one like I have one in my front doors. Otherwise the car will register an Air Bag fault and the Air Bag light wil stay on until you either use a reset tool or pay the dealer more money to reset it.
    I now have my very own Air Bag circuit troubleshooting and resetting tool from PEAKE RESEARCH since it cost me the same as what one reset at the local dealer would be. The price you were quoted is about right in my view since if you buy a BMW part you are sold both the frame, cables and motor as one unit. If you buy a Chinese aftermarket frame and cable unit without the motor it is much cheaper. See GROTON for those parts on the net. Based on research I have made BMW original window motors seldom go, but the frame/cable and pulley mechanisms ARE DESIGNED to fail.
    These stamped frames which hold everything to move the window up and down also have small plastic pulleys which allow the cables to move the window up and down in this rail mechanism. Since everything is stamped in place and pulleys are not replaceable, they have put a notch in each pulley ( a stress riser sure to cause a failure eventually) to allow each cable to be slipped over each pulley. Most will crack from there and your window will sound like a garburator having a bad day. That's the motor trying to chew the cables. Odds are the motor is still good, so if you can get away with an aftermarket window regulator frame without the motor you can save a substantial sum of money by re-using your old motor. If you hook everything back up properly including the small connector for the circuit which protect people's hands from being crushed, the window will "learn" it's new High and Low position, so there are no limit switches to play with. The cables are known to get frayed and break as well.
    I hope this helps!

    Cheers,

    Tony
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    cmperfi

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    Buy OEM parts take your baby to a good indy body shop

    I have a 99 E38. Broke both of mine at the same time with the auto-down feature in the middle of an IL Winter.

    I got the same ridiculous quote from the local $tealer!! Mine wanted $800 labor and $400 EACH for the $355 MSRP BMW part. Conveniently jacked up to yield MSRP after my CCA discount! Thieves.

    So, being a little bit price concious (born at night, not last night), I bought the regulators from RockAuto.com

    DORMAN 741486
    DORMAN 741487

    Paid $170 each including the motors and body shop labor to replace on both doors was $150.

    So, $500 for both or $1600 to the $TEALER. Your choice! :eek:

    kydreams guest

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    I changed mine myself and bought a regulator and motor from ebay, it's not a hard job, just tedious on a few parts, took me about 40 minutes to change mine out.
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    meteck

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    Really just depends on your mechanical ability.
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    John in VA

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