Door Handle Replacement

by Fariz

The fix is around $25 - $30 for the part. Check Pacific BMW or your local dealer.The part # is 51 21 8 226 049. The replacement part is obviously made of plastic. They do not replace just the HANDLE but rather the whole handle housing: the black part on the sideof the door where the handle is rested. The new part looks absolutelyidentical to the old part, so I thought I will be replacing them likeChristmas lights. But there is a slight difference and I will explain lateron what the difference is.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE APART YOUR DOOR ASSEMBLY.The only thing that needs to be taken apart is the black handle housing. You do not need to take the panel out.

1. You need to take the screw cap off (goes back only one way, so don'tworry). Use a flat head screwdriver.

2. unscrew the black screw (mine was black. there is only one screw there).Use Phillips head screwdriver. It will make the housing loose.

3. You need to pull the housing back as far as it will let you go (not too far, since it is still connected to the cable).

4. disconnect the cable. you will need to wiggle the whole thing and use setof long nose pliers. The end of the cable is attached to a thick metal hookand it is tricky to unhook that hook from the metal lever in the housing. Becareful, do not break things. If the cable runs away from you into thepanel, do not worry, you can get it with your fingers.

5. Take the new assembly and hook the metal hook to the new assembly.The trick part here is that the cable does not have much play (it is a BMW, let me remind) and the hook does not want to go where it belongs. You needto turn the housing the opposite way (180 degrees, it will be upside down,shiny part still facing you) and using the pliers hook the hook from downgoing up. Then you will need to turn the housing back 180 degrees. Do itcarefully so you do not catch with the housing the leather panels and don'tput scratches on the leather. It will look like if you put the hook from updown.

Next step is very important.

6. The housing has a guiding groove that goes behind the panel. You need tomake sure that the metal cable goes into that groove and plastic sleeve fromthe cable stays in the groove's wider opening as well. Otherwise, yourhandle will be there but will not open any doors for you.

7. Then screw the black screw back 8. and cover with the screw cap. (You might have to repeat steps 6 through 8 just to get it right) Voila. It is done. Now. The BMW solution for keeping the handles from breaking up. The replaced housing consists of 3 components: black housing, shiny "chrome" handle and a pivoting metal lever that keeps them together. On my original part, the lever had 4 "teeth" and the handle had 4 grooves for those "teeth".

4 teeth

On the new part, the lever had only THREE "teeth" and the handle had 3 grooves. Where the 4th groove would have gone, was just nothing. However, that "nothing" was filled with plastic, making the circular opening for the pivoting lever thicker where the 4th groove would have been.

3 teeth

3 teeth handle

On the original, that 4th groove made the plastic thickness at that spot about 1 mm, maybe less. Obviously, it was a weak spot. So I hope, This handle will last for some time. Time will show.


Time indeed can show a lot... On my first endeavour, I had the handle that broke off in the weak spot.. On my second "lucky" day, it was the metal pivoting head that broke off where the lever attaches to the main cylindrical body of the pivot.

My explanation is that the driver's door handle takes the most abusein the car - every time a car is used or driven, the driver's door ( and the driver'sseat) are being used the most. The next one in abuse would be the front passengerarea, the next one is rear right side and the side that takes the least abusewould be the rear left side.