The following is a DIY to replace the front door lock actuator. This is a relatively easy DIY (about a 5 or 6out of 10) but there are some tricks to doing it quickly and properly. It took me 4 hours total includingtime spent to document the procedure and two hours to troubleshoot why the lock button did not workat first. Refer to http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/e39/ for additional drawings. The Bentley is mostlyuseless.The usual disclaimers apply. Use this DIY at your own risk and peril. Always disconnect the batterybefore handling the airbag module. Safety first!Part #67 11 8 352 165 Door Lock Actuator VDO/Siemens ~$54 from BMApartsTools 1. #2 Philips head and small flat blade screwdriver 2. T10, T20 and T30 screwdrivers 3. Small pick set (Harbor Freight) 4. 10mm socket 5. 3/8” extension bar 6. A good small flashlight with a clip 1. Remove the front door panel. Follow the BSW directions on YouTube for e39 front door speaker installation. a. Remove the Philips head screw inside the front vent tunnel b. Pick the cap off the screw cover and remove the T20 screw behind the door handle c. Pull the door panel off by pulling outward to disengage clips. Work your way around the entire edge. d. As you pull away the panel, work the door handle through the opening. e. Unplug the speakers and door lamp f. I did not disengage the window control cabling so I just left the door panel laying across the door opening. g. Pull the door clip off the post by squeezing the tines and pulling. Put the clip onto the door panel to facilitate reassembly 2. Remove the speaker module – Remove the three Phillips screws that hold the bass speaker cabinet, unplug and remove. 3. Remove the airbag module - Disconnect the battery. Disconnect the power cable by pushing in the yellow tab and moving the entire plug assembly to the right, off the bracket. Then squeeze the plug and remove from the socket. Remove the three 10mm screws and remove the entire airbag assembly. Per the TIS, some models have four crews.
4. Gently peel vapor barrier back (TIS R51 0257). I went about halfway, which was enough. Bend the vapor barrier back and tie off to the steering column to keep it out of the way.5. Refer to TIS 51 21 090 for removing the door lock. a. Open the small hinged door that covers the actuator cable connector. Use a small screwdriver to open the restraining tabs (arrow) and open the door. Remove the actuator cable connector by pulling downwards (arrow) on the outer frame (TIS R51 0258). It should follow the curved arcs and then allow the plug to be pulled off. b. Disconnect the Bowden cable white nipple (arrow) located against the outer door panel side by using a pick to push the spring-loaded arm up (it rotates) (R51 0259). In the space below, insert a AA battery or the end of a 3/8” extension arm to hold the arm up. This creates slack in the Bowden cable. Use the T10 screwdriver and insert it into the small opening on the end of the nipple (arrow). Don’t force it. It will wedge tight and then rotate the nipple counterclockwise 90 degrees. This will free the cable nipple from
the arm. Move the entire cable, including cable guide free. c. Remove the three T30 screws that hold the locking assembly to the door (TIS R51 0488). These have locktite on them, so the initial force required is high. Remove the upper T20 screw near the lock button. d. Unplug the lower cable connector from the locking assembly and disconnect from the locking assembly (TIS R51 0487). A small restraining tab on the locking assembly holds the cable in place.6. Gently work the entire locking assembly downwards. The connection to the door key takes a little bit of persuasion to come free. Work the lock button through the foam and the entire assembly comes free. Work the attached door handle through the opening and follow the locking assembly out the lower opening in the door.
7. The entire locking assembly, including the actuator and the attached door handle are now free of the vehicle.8. Remove the back panel from the locking assembly by removing the T20 screw (arrow).9. Remove the old actuator (TIS R51 0262) by bending the locking panel out with a small screwdriver and lifting the actuator up and out. The slot is where the locking tab engages.
10. Reassembly – This is the part that is not described anywhere. When you replace the actuator, make sure the two center tabs (arrows) are aligned like so. For some reason, if you do not do this, the lock button does not go up or down when the actuator is triggered.11. Install the actuator into the tabs.12. Before inserting the locking assembly, plug the cable assembly in place, reconnect the battery and check for proper function (door button goes up and down). You will need to manually close the door latch (to simulate a closed door) for this to function. The first time, I did not check for proper function and my lock button did not go up or down AFTER reassembly. It took over two hours to troubleshoot this issue, disassembling and reassembling the unit several times before I figured this out.
13. Ensure the outside door handle connector is facing downward to facilitate re-engagement.14. Insert the locking assembly into the lower door opening. Lead with the door handle and cable. This should come out of the old opening. Wiggle the locking assembly onto the door handle connector. It is engaged when the screw holes become visible. Insert on T30 screw to hold the unit in place. Replug the connector to check for proper function. If OK, close the door. Reconnect the lower cable.15. Reconnect the Bowden cable using the disassembly procedure in reverse. Make sure the cable guide goes into its proper location.16. Install the T30 screws using Loctite (blue) and the T20 screw.17. Reinstall the vapor barrier using silicone caulking.18. Disconnect the battery before reconnecting the side airbag. Reinstall the airbag module, reconnect the cable and reconnect the battery.19. Reinstall the speaker module and reconnect all cables20. Reinstall the door panel.21. Enjoy the working door locking mechanism!