E28 to E12 Doors

I have often been asked, do I know if BMW E28 doors will fit a BMW E12, and if so do they need any modification. I have always said that I believed that they would, but never knew for sure, however I did know that the window frame trims were different.

So given the opportunity I thought that I would try it for myself and try to document it

The short answer is Yes E28 doors do fit an E12

This is the type of job that may you may need some practice on, if you check out the step by step pictures below the information will surely help you. There is no need to rent books at your local library and read a lot of help books, the best way to get this job done is just to do it, practice makes perfect as they say. But if you feel the need to read up on some books and do some research, there are so many good one on the web, or other book store to help you.


An E12 with E12 Doors



An E12 with E28 doors


Note the trim differences below


So the doors fit, but obviously they would have to be changed in pairs, ie both OS or both NS, and the E12 centre chrome B Pillar trim has to be removed, but are there any other differences ??
note that the points detailed below refer to E12 cars after 1976, as the earlier doors have subtle differences to even the later E12's


Exterior Door Handles
These are chrome on the E12 but black on the E28, but they are the same shape and mounting detail so are easily swapped over

These are identical to both cars, even the electric connections

Door rubbing strips
These are wider on the E28 but use the same mounting clips as the E12 so again a straight swap

Interior door trims
These need a little more work, as the door pull is mounted slightly differently, but all the E12 holes are present in the E28's, the trim cards are a completely different design, but will swap over quite easily with their corresponding clips

Interior door handles
These are a completely different style, mounting detail and rod arrangement, but are easily swapped over from the E12 to the E28

Door Strikers and lock Mechanism
These are identical to both cars

Central Locking solenoids
These are different to both cars and are mounted in different places, but apart from a difference in the electrical plug connectors, either type will work in either door with modification to the electrical connector

Electric Windows
They use the same mechanism in both cars, but they have a different electrical plug connector on each one, either type will work in either door with modification to the electrical connector

Window Glass
This is the same in both cars, but there may be slight differences in the Tint colour's

Doors Seals
These are fundamentally the same shape but due to the differing trim detail, they clip in differently around the window frame, so you must use an E12 rubber on an E12 Door and likewise an E28 rubber on an E28 door, but otherwise no problems

Door check straps
These are identical to both cars

Window rubbers and seals
These are identical to both cars

There are various other improvements that were made to the E28 doors to help with wind noise and sound proofing, from a rubber grommet around the interior lock knob, to increased sound proofing between the door trim and door skin, to a rubber sealing gasket around the door check strap, these can all stay on the E28 doors, or can easily be incorporated into E12 doors

The photos below show the inner skins on the E12 and E28 for direct comparisons


An E28 Near Side Rear Door



The following 2 rubber grommets are new to the E28 but can be easily swapped over to the E12, and I suspect that they will give better sound and wind proofing



Below are the same shots of the E12 Door


For reasons I can not really begin to understand, the E12 door seems to have been punched for all the E28 fitments, even though these doors were obviously made earlier, to the point where there are even blanking grommets fitted for the central door lock solenoids for the E28.
I cannot decide if perhaps later E12 replacement doors were based on the E28 doors, or whether BMW were experimenting early on with different set ups.
You can see what I mean below on the E12 Door

Although I have also noticed that E28's have a wide and thick sealer on the inner crimped seam of the door skin, most E12's do not have this, but some doors and wings that I have seen recently do, again I think that these E12 doors and wings with the thick sealer on, have been later replacement parts.
But this means that the E12 door as shown above, has all the E28 holes and pressings but not the E28 seam sealer, all very strange, can anyone shed any light on this matter

The front doors are much the same story, I have shown side by side photos for a better comparison

Note also the E12 doors pictured have manually operated windows, while the E28 ones pictured are electrically operated


I hope that this helps to answer a few questions, and soon I hope to see if I can then modify an E28 window frame to accept an E12 trim surround

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