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Re: do I remove front door panels on a 1999 BMW 528i to...
Outside handle or inside well there are little plastic windows on the trim panel start there then take the inside mirror cover off and then pull at the bottom of door pull out the side and then pull up on trim to take off unhook door switch from botom and then the inside handle is easy from there but if your looking for the outside handle take the vapor barrier of and the take the bolt thats holding the handle out if you cannot then you must drop the lock or latch it has 3 bolt on the outer edge of jamb then you can get the hanlde out its 10mm then go backward the same way
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Ignition key works the manual door lock:
You get out the original fob... pull out the (metal) key... insert it into the single lock slot under the drivers side door handle...
and twist like an old fashion key lock.
You will have to remove the inner door trim panel, and more than likely you will find the small rod connecting the door lock to the pull handle has dropped off. Removing the panel is a job for someone with the tools to release the pop studs and clips etc that hold the panel to the door, there are several and possibly screws as well. Take your time and be aware there will be electrical connectors within the door. It may be that you can loosen the panel and have someone hold it while the door rod is replaced. Check that the rod securing clips are in place.
remove the mirror switch, theres a hex screw in there,remove inner door lever, useing a panel pullers or flat screwdriver prise bottom of door card straight out, theres about 10 clips holding door card on.plus unscrew door button then lift away
You need the special tool that will hold the water pump pulley and a 32mm open ended wrench. Ebay has the set for around $20. The thread is the opposite than normal too! Easy to take it all off with the right tools. 15 minutes max.
I had the same problem on the rear door of my 1998 528i and it was the door actuator that had gone bad. I had to take the rear seat out to get the door panel off. Once I had the door panel off it was not that difficult to replace the door actuator.
pop the door panel loose near the door lock actuator is at top of door;break the cover off of the door lock actuator.manually turn the actuator worm gear out of double lock with a screwdriver and pull the inside handle; not the easiest thing to do...good luck
to be honest i would need the car in front of me to diagnose correctly but from the sound of it the mechanism inside the door is worn,the lever that springs open the jaws has worn to the extent that it will not push the two contacts inside the lock open to allow the door pawl to swivel around releasing the door.Only way is too remove the door trim if you can and operate the mechanism with a big screwdriver to open the door then renew the mechanism
On your door the inside the panel is removable. remove the screws in the handle on the inside and take it off. Once you get the panel off just reach up in the door and remove the connectors and remove the handle and replace.