Deadlocked Door

Document history :
#29 Feb 2004: Added remark from Richard Peters
# 30 Apr 2003: added the "quick fix" procedure
#09 Apr 2002: initial version

Problem: My reardoor remained locked when all other doors opened. It was not possible to just pull up the locking pin in the door. The servo apeared to remain in it's "deadlock" anti-theft state.

Models: All E32s

Solution: At first I thought this was an electrical problem. After removing the GM and the relay module the lock was still "shut for life". Even disconecting the battery didn't help.

So I decided to remove the doorcard from the door while the door was closed. I first removed the rearseat to get a little more space. The door card is held by 11 white push-in clips (marked yellow in the image), 2 screws next to the door handle (marked green), a big white clip (marked red) and 5 black clips on top (unmarked in the image).

To get to the screws (positions marked green) pull off the wood panels.

To remove the white clips (positions marked yellow) you have to pry/pull the doorcard forward so that they snap out of place. You can also try cutting them off and getting some new ones from the dealer. They are quite cheap. Ofcourse you do have to watch out you're not cutting anything else that is expensive.

When you have the screws and the whiteclips undone in a normal situation you could pull the panel upward and take it off. Obviously now you can't. So I pried the upper 5 black clips loose with a small screw driver so I could pull off the panel.

When pulling off (slightly upwards) the panel you have to use some force. I felt at multiple times that I was going to break the card, but lucky me I didn't. Remember the big white clip behind the armrest (marked as red) is still there and only comes off when you pull the panel upwards about 3 cm.

To get to all these clips I removed parts off the door mouling (it pulls out when it has the space), the cover for the drivers seatbelt (slides downwards when you remove the two pop-in screws, the entry plate at the bottom (pulls up with 3 pop in clips).

When the doorpanel is finaly off and out of the car you can see the reason why. The servo will probably be slightly out of place. Slacked the bolts of the servo. They are on the back so you have to go by feel to get to them. They can be undone with socket 6. Lower the servo slightly and retighten it good so this won't happen again.

When adjusting the servo you'll find that if the servo is too high it will keep the car deadlocked when unlocking, however if the servo is to low the doorcan't be opened with the doorhandle from the inside. I you experiment with this you'll know what I mean.

Here are some pictures I took while pulling the interiour apart:
Click on them to see it bigger (Warning: bigger means 170k)

Quick fix: And ofcourse it deadlocked itself again. This time I didn't feel like removing everything. The last time I had the doorpanel off I didn't reinstall the big white clip circled in red in the 1st picture. But with the clip in place you should still be able to get your hand behind the doorcard. I guess this is one of the jobs where people with "IL" versions have an advantage.


  • Pull off the woodtrims
  • Undo the screws next to the doorhandle.
  • Twist off the plastic locking pin.
  • Pull out the inner door seal. I pried it out with a screwdriver starting at the B-pilar.
  • Pry out one or two clips from the top of the doorcard with a screw driver. Pry between the chrose strip and the doorcard. The chrome strip stays attached to the door.
  • Stick your hand in though the top of the doorcard. By doing this you will losen the clips that are still in place. Don't forget to take the right spanner with you.
  • When you have your hand behind the doorcard slacken the two nuts of the servo with a #6 spanner. Maybe you want to use a piece of rope on the spanner and your wrist as not to lose it behind the doorcard.
  • Move the servo backwards.
  • Have someone open/close the doors a couple of times untill it unlocks. If it doesn't unlock move the servo around a couple of times.

    The reason the servo got out of adjustment AGAIN is that the threads in the plastic got worn out. This time I reinstalled the servo with bigger screws. I hope this will permanantly fix it !!

    Richard Peters on this procedure:
    On the web page it may be useful to include a tip about inserting a small trim blade or something to unclip the black clips on the very top of the door card that sit against the metal piece of trim against the window. I thought I had read it on your site but can't seem to find it, however I found it impossible to get the door card out until I had unclipped these allowing me to pull the card up.

    Story by Johan735.

    If you would like to add any comments, remarks and/or corrections to this procedure, feel free to email Mike Oswald and we'll put it on our site. Share your experiences with us so others may benefit from it.