I recently changed my driver door actuator in my 2002 E46 320d saloon.I forgot to take pictures and so borrowed some from google images(sorry if anyone objects to this?) I searched for ages to find a DIY for this but it was always coupe models that came up. So I’ve decided to make my first ever DIY. actuator.png

Start by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery in the boot you will be working with the driver door airbag so you don’t want any accidents or airbag lights coming on the dash!battery.jpg

Removing the driver door card – remove the interior trim by prying off with a screwdriver covered in a cloth to avoid damage. Then remove the two T20 torx screws behind this trim. There are another two T20 torx screws in the arm rest behind two black plastic covers – again these pop off with a small flat head screwdriver. Last screw is behind the mirror switch on the armrest. Remove the mirror switch using two very small screwdrivers. Pry up each side carefully until you can pull it out using your fingers. Disconnect the two plugs from the mirror switch. Pry off the door card using a screw driver again covered in a cloth. Now lift the door card from the bottom of the door and pull outwards and you will hear the clips popping out. Then pull the top of the door card out the way carefully, and lift it off the button. Make sure you don’t bend the button!!Now unclip the inside door handle cable and the speaker plugs. Place the door card somewhere it won’t get damaged – your backseat

Now you need to unbolt the airbag – it is 3 10mm hex bolts. Then preferably have someone hold the airbag while you cut away the door insulation – cut the black glue stuff holding the insulation to the door with a Stanley knife right down the middle of the glue – by doing this you can easily reseal it! Now peel the insulation back out of the way and bolt the airbag back on using only one bolt so that it is further to the left hand side and out of the way. door card removed.jpg

Now you have access to the driver door lock actuator. Remove the exterior handle cable, pull it off its clip and twist the top of the cable to remove it. Unplug the electrical plug going into the actuator – just press both sides of the plug in and pull it out. Now you need to undo the drivers lock cylinder in the door handle. Remove the little black cover from the side of the door where the lock cylinder is. Just pop it off with a screwdriver. Inside is a little Allen key bolt (size 4 from memory). Then pull the thumb lock out of the door from the outside by pulling it 1-2mm to the left then out the way.
Then you will need to undo the two window guide nuts (it is a black bar running from the top of the door to the bottom, they are both 10mm hex nuts. Then wind down the window almost to the bottom – you will see an 8 or 10mm hex bolt through the 20mm hole in the door towards the bottom right hand side. Undo this bolt and be careful not to drop it (it’s a pain to retrieve it). Now you will be able to move the window guide backwards and to the left in order to the the door actuator out. Finally undo the 3 T27 torx bolts holding the actuator in place, keep a hold of it inside the door to prevent it falling and causing any damage.
door lock cylinder.jpgE46 window guide nuts.jpgwindow guide 8mm bolt.jpg
Installation is the reverse of removal

Hope this helps someone, I could have done with it when i was looking for it

Apologises if i have missed anything