How to Replace the Trunk Lock Actuator on an e39

Please note that the following instructions are for entertainment purposes only. Proceed at your own risk. By attempting this or any repair on your car, you may void your warranty or cause extensive damage to yourself or the car or you might even get leprosy! How bad would that be?

Special thanks to you guys and gals on especially Agent99 and Jim Cash.

Time Needed: 15-30 minutes max.

Skill Level: Easy

Parts Needed:

Trunk Lock Actuator (67.11-8 377 569) $32.40 from Pacific BMW
Trim Clips (Just in Case) Less than 50 cents at Pacific BMW
Paint can opener Lowe's? Home Depot? Or you can bend a paperclip into a paint can opener-esque shape.
Screwdriver Use the one from the trunk toolkit
T25 Torx driver Get one from Pep Boys, Autozone, Sears, etc.

Taking off the Panel:

1) First you need to pop open this screw cover. Use a paint can opener. Or use pliers to bend your paper clip into a similar shape. Just stick in the hook portion and pull down... It doesn't take that much force. Estimated 2 lbs force.

2) Remove the philips head screw underneath.

3) Pull out the two plugs that are facing you (same side as where the lock mechanism is sticking out) with either your fingrenails or a small screwdriver. (Thanks again, Agent99. I'll update the picture this evening.) Next, there are four clips attaching the black plastic trim to the sheet metal of the trunk. These clips are pointed at below. It takes a little extra tugging to get these off. Just use both hands, one hand on each side of the clip and do a gentle but firm pull. I'd estimate about a 5-8 lbs force is necessary for each clip.
4) Okay, so now you have the trim pulled out, it's time for the beverage of your choice. That was the hardest part, btw.

Removing Trunk Actuator from Assembly:

5) Remove the three T25 Torx screws from the trunk lock. These are pointed at to the right.

6) Unhook the actuator and remove the wiring harness.

7) Remove the remaining two screws to seperate the lock mechanism from the trunk actuator.
8) Detach this piece of plastic over from the old actuator to the new one. To remove, just push it down with about 1-2 lbs of force. See the picture below:

9) That's it! Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. Remember to be gentle but firm when pushing in the clips. I actually broke one clip because I couldn't force it back in. No big whoop. They're like either 18 or 50 cents from Pacific BMW. Just order a few before you start the job.

Project Notes:

You see that in one photo I also took off the felt trim part that the toolkit is attached to. That is completely unnecessary.

UPDATE by DKFS July 2003

1) The part number listed has been superceded....The new part number is:51 24 8 236 897 Trunk Lid Catch (List price $100.80)

You can no longer just buy the actuator, you must buy the actuator and latch assembly. Note, the part number on the actuator itself is the same as listed on bmwtips, so it is not likely a new and improved one. Probably agood way to move excess inventory of trunk latches and generate extra margin.

2) The part number for the trim clips are not listed. It is, 51 49 8 123 832 Clip (List price $1.56)

3) I needed at T27 Torx Driver, not a T25

4) There is no mention of the connection rod from the lock mechanism that is hooked to the latch assembly.
In the picture above, look on label where it says "lock". Directly to the right there is a little hole, that has a white plastic grommet in it.
That is the receiving hole for the connection rod. It must be unhooked before the latch can be removed, and obviously reconnected when reassembling otherwise you wont be able to use the key to open the trunk.

5) Here's the bummer....
Replacement should be a snap since you should be able to swap the entire latch assembly, but no....I found that the holes for the mounting screws are tapped slightly smaller that the screws that were currently on the car.
The old screws will not thread into the new bracket. So I had to take the new actuator off the new latch assembly and put it onto the old one. I guess if you have T25 screws, this step might not be necessary.

6) Swapping the actuator is easy Just remove the two Phillips head screws and the actuator comes off the
latch assembly.
In this case, this step is unnecessary. There is no need to reuse the plastic receiving hook as shown in this picture as the new actuator already has one.