1997 BMW Z3 Power Windows

  • 1997 BMW Z3
  • 1.9L
  • 4 CYL
  • RWD
  • 180,000 MILES
Drivers side window is currently up but not all the way leaving a small gap at the top, looks like it is not aligned properly. When I lower the window it moves down only around 3in and then 'clunk' stops.
When then moving it back up it goes straight close to the top but then shifts forward and 'clunk' again and then shift back and down leaving a 10mm gap at the top.

I have to jostle the window up and down to get the closest fit I can to a closed window.

What is it that is going wrong internally?
What replacement part/s do need to purchase before going to a garage to have it fixed as I would be ordering parts from ebay in US and delivered to me.

Appreciate any help or advice you can give!

Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 AT 12:07 PM

1 Reply

You aren't going to win any friends by buying your own parts unless the people at the shop asked you to. That's like bringing your own food to a restaurant and asking them to cook it for you. The problem is we often get defective new parts or wrong parts. All businesses mark up the cost of parts to help cover the cost to pay the mechanic to do a job over when the new part is defective or gets broken. They know they can't charge you again so that small profit goes to help cover those costs.

When you provide your own parts, if one is wrong or defective, the shop can legitimately charge you labor a second time to do the job over, because they did not assume any responsibility for the parts they installed.

The exception, as I mentioned, is if the shop asks you to provide the parts, and this is most likely to happen with BMW products. They are one of the worst in the world for customer-unfriendly business practices. They won't release paint codes, service information is real hard to get, and they have the attitude that no one is competent to work on cars other than their dealership mechanics. Even aftermarket parts can hard to find because no one wants to bother reverse-engineering things when they can't get any help from the manufacturer. Part of the shop's cost of doing business involves finding and ordering parts. If their past experience tells them BMW parts are going to take a lot of time and resources to find and get delivered, they may throw that burden on your shoulders. You don't have to pay yourself to do that searching. You DO have that cost built into the shop's labor charge when they do it.

To add to the misery. We don't even know what's wrong yet. The regulator could be coming apart. The glass could be loose in its mounting hardware. The door could be rusted allowing a track to move around and bind. You have to know what's wrong before you can know what parts to order.

Some parts can be fixed. Take a loose rivet, for example, holding two corroded parts of the track together. A bolt and a pair of washers might solve that problem instead of replacing the entire assembly. You don't know that yet until the mechanic sticks his nose in there to see what's going on. If your regulator uses a cable and plastic pulleys, as many cars do now, it's common for those pulleys to crack, then the cable frays from scraping across the peg the pulley was on. There are specialty shops that rebuild those regulators but you have to send them your old one first to BE rebuilt. That's usually less expensive than buying a new one, even on eBay. The problem is the car is laid up while you're waiting for the regulator to be shipped back.

For more common car models the rebuilder will often have a regulator in stock and will ship that out, then provide a partial refund when the old one is sent back. Here again, the shop may allow or ask you to take care of that since there's costs associated with packing and shipping. If you take care of that, they don't have to include that in their labor charge.
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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 AT 9:58 PM

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