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  #21  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:04 AM
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So I was able to tweak the design so that it's harder for water to get where it can freeze the rivet but also, added a little feature that wipes the water off if a drip forms every time the door handle is operated.

I figured out the best way to defrost a frozen latch and where to spray some deicer or water repellant.

I rebuilt passenger actuator last night and that includes the new anti-icing feature and of course I cut off the self destruct button.

I will be making a new thread for how to repair your own actuator (for a $144 to $224 savings PER DOOR); I will save about $600 doing my wife's four doors.

I will also eliminate the design oversight that causes the freeze up in the first place.
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  #22  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:30 AM
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A quick preview of what's to come:



First I used a Dremel cut off wheel to remove about half of the rivet head. This more than doubled the gap between the rivet head and the metal behind it.



Green is the doubled gap, red is the remaining rivet head.



Holy crap! The water still just seeks out that crazy spot! Look where the blue arrow is pointing! Now I didn't freeze it and see if I weakened it enough that or will be easy to break free but I think I'll do that experiment tonight.

The crazy thing is this: that even when I've doubled or tripled the gap, that one drop off water just rolls back and forth and stays right under the rivet as if it was as magnet.



Until I added this feature: shark gills. Pulling the outer door handle will eliminate the drop off water with a single pull. Annoyingly that won't operate itself so in a case where the car was out in the rain then it drops below freezing you might get a frozen door situation, but say you drove in the rain stop at a store and drive home after but the rain has stopped, the water drop will be removed. Also you will learn to go clear the rain drops: if it just switched from rain to snow and temp below freezing, go pull any door handle with the tweak, door can be locked as long as the self destruct button had been removed and the drop off water will be eliminated.
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  #23  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:33 AM
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Nice, excited to read your guide Andrew. I can also confirm, my car has been in the garage nearly everyday of its life. Still have one door that freezes in the winter...
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  #24  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:35 AM
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I will make a separate thread of how to add anti icing to your door actuator and a separate thread for how to do the same to your door handle carrier.

During the testing I took a video and captured the self destruct button moving at about 1/50th normal speed (where you could easily pull on the door handle after the door is unlocked but the handle is still locked)

I will make an iCloud photo library so I can post the video, tapatallk no longer does videos.
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBody View Post
Nice, excited to read your guide Andrew. I can also confirm, my car has been in the garage nearly everyday of its life. Still have one door that freezes in the winter...


Great if only one door.

I will be posting a how to that you can spray with some deicer or possibly WD-40 to repel the water and reduce the freeze risk with only removing the lock cylinder or possibly even using the red spray straw through the door handle. I'm going to figure out exactly where/how to spray tomorrow while I have the door panel off but the actuator and DHC installed.

Just knowing exactly where to heat the sucker to defrost it and the exact mechanism that causes the freeze is hugely helpful.

I thought just the DHC was freezing up but it turns out both DHC and the actuator freeze up.

If the DHC didn't freeze but the actuator did, you should be able to get some deicer into the door and get out working.

For now the simple rules are:

Learn what DHC locked feels like: pull the handle when the door is locked: it will feel firm yet spongy.

When the DHC is not locked but the actuator is frozen you can pull it open if it's not too frozen but you are likely to get out stuck open.

So: you need to figure out if the door is unlatching but the door seal is frozen or if the DHC or actuator is frozen.

If you feel the latch working and making noise you likely just have a frozen door seal: push IN on the door very firm eg body slam: bump with shoulder, butt etc. You will hear the ice cracking. One you've worked most of the way around, hold the door handle up and push on the door then pull out on the handle: 3-5 cycles of that will usually get the door open.

If you don't feel the latch moving then likely either DHC or actuator is frozen, you need to unlatch from the inside.

If you are very lucky the window won't be frozen, or you can use some driver on the window so you can use the auto down feature of the key to roll down the window to pull the inside handle.

In the far more likely situation, try the other doors in order of difficulty in getting access to the inside of the driver door. Worst case being the tailgate: it's a very tight squeeze for me to climb over the back seat without folding it down but I can do it; think ahead, if it's raining and about to drop to 20F overnight, put down one side of the back seat just in case.

The inner door release is independent of the outer and does not pull on the frozen lever so you can safely open the door from the inside without risk it won't latch. Pull on the handle then I usually push the door with my feet to break the ice.

If the outer handle won't move don't force it: if DHC is frozen you'll likely break the hinge, if the actuator is frozen you'll likely get the door where it won't latch and then it'll latch but be stuck where it won't open from inside or outside!

All you need to do is drive with the heat on to defrost the actuator, maybe 20-30 minutes or move the car into a heated garage. If you don't have a heated garage you can use an unheated garage and a space heater under the door if it's still stuck shut

If you can get the door open but it's stuck where the latch won't close, or it opens from only inside, use a heat gun or a hair dryer and blow heat directly into the throat of the latch mechanism.

It took only 20 seconds for me to defrost my frozen actuator with a heat gun. The part needing defrosting is inside the weather seal so you won't be able to effectively use a heat gun from outside if the door is stuck because the actuator is frozen "unlatched". Best to just drive a while until it defrosts itself or put a space heater below the door and wait an hour or two,

Helpful information from my testing: though it's impossible to get the water bubble out normally, once I sprayed with deicer, I couldn't get it to freeze stuck even when ice formed it would push out of the way, and when I treated with WD-40 I couldn't get water to stay in the joint unless I put the actuator on its side (as if the car was balancing on the back bumper)

I'm hoping that when I get the details of Exactly where to spray, people can treat their X5 and prevent the freeze in the first place, or defrost through the door handles of it does freeze.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:26 AM
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Wow awesome ingenuity!

How about putting glob of Vaseline or Synthetic grease all over the rivet so the water can't collect there at all?


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  #27  
Old 01-24-2019, 11:26 AM
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The problem with grease is it gets gummy when cold. It could work well to repel the water and also the results of the test are in: with the bigger gap I was able to break through the ice with relative ease.



Look close there is about 1/16" thick 3/8" diameter disk of ice.
.

Ice slug didn't stick to rivet.
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  #28  
Old 01-24-2019, 03:28 PM
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I'm so glad I don't live in cold country.
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:36 PM
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Added an "awning" to shield the part from future water. That might be the easiest retrofit ever. You could probably add that without taking out of the car.

I want to add some ice protection on wife's driver door today so hopefully I can find time.

I have to put passenger door back together. I tested the actuator before I even put back on the latch: you have to plug in the door window switch module before it works.

I actually tested with the motors open so I could see them spin.

When you hit the unlock button the first time just the secondary unlock runs (passenger side) and the second press unlocks the door. When you hit lock both primary and secondary motors run simultaneously.
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for posting!
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