The rubber door handle gaskets on the E31 8 series, E32 7 series, E34 5 series and E36 3 series cars will all fail in time. The original BMW gasket dries up in the sun from UV exposure over the years causing cracking and crumbling. Unfortunately BMW does not sell the gaskets separately, so you must purchase the entire door handle if going with the genuine replacement. This can add up to several hundred dollars for a sedan.
Instead, quality aftermarket gasket kits are what most people use, coming in at around $29 USD for a set of four gaskets. You can buy a set here.
How to Remove the Door Handle Cover Plate and Gasket
- Open the door and look at the jam on the edge of the door
- With a nylon pry tool, remove the plastic cap covering the access hole. Avoid using a metal object for this step as it can damage your paint.
- Spray lubricant such as WD40 onto the sliding brass mechanism and allow to sit for a few minutes. This step makes the job substantially easier.
- Push the brass slider in the access hole in towards the car’s interior
- This will allow the outer door handle trim and gasket to pop off
- Clean the door handle area thoroughly of dirt, grease and debris
- Install the new rubber gasket to the door trim plate
- Place the gasket with trim plate back onto the door. While holding it firmly against the door with one hand, use a hook tool like this one to pull the brass slider back out towards yourself (away from the car).
- Replace access hole plastic cover
- You’re done! Move onto the next door.
Below are the Genuine BMW Part Numbers to reference:
E32/E34 Front Left Gasket and Cover 51211938285
E32/E34 Front Right Gasket and Cover 51211938286
E32/E34 Rear Left Gasket and Cover 51221938280
E32/E34 Rear Right Gasket and Cover 51221938280
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