Cars / e32 / Body & Interior / Deadlocked Rear Door

Deadlocked Rear Door

Article by: Johan

Problem: My rear door remained locked when all other doors opened. It was not possible to just pull up the locking pin in the door. The servo appeared to remain in it’s “deadlock” anti-theft state.

Models: Applies to all e32 and e34 models.

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 disconnecting the battery didn’t help.

So I decided to remove the door panel from the door while the door was closed. I first removed the rear seat to get a little more space.

The door panel 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 door panel 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. Of course you do have to watch out you’re not cutting anything else that is expensive.

When you have the screws and the white clips 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.

Here are some pictures I took while pulling the interior apart:


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


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 panel, 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.


When the door panel is finally 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 tighten 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 door can’t be opened with the door handle from the inside. If you experiment with this you’ll know what I mean.


Quick fix: And of course it deadlocked itself again. This time I didn’t feel like removing everything. The last time I had the door panel 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 door panel. I guess this is one of the jobs where people with “IL” versions have an advantage.


  • Pull off the wood trim.
  • Undo the screws next to the door handle.
  • Twist off the plastic locking pin.
  • Pull out the inner door seal. I pried it out with a screwdriver starting at the B-pillar.
  • Pry out one or two clips from the top of the door panel with a screw driver. Pry between the chrome strip and the door panel. The chrome strip stays attached to the door.
  • Stick your hand in though the top of the door panel. By doing this you will loosen the clips that are still in place. Don’t forget to take the right spanner with you.
  • When you have your hand behind the door panel 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 door panel.
  • Move the servo backwards.

Have someone open/close the doors a couple of times until 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 permanently 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 un-clip the black clips on the very top of the door panel 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 panel out until I had un-clipped these allowing me to pull the panel up.”


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