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I used to own a 2000 528i. I had what seems like a similar problem. To sum it up it sounds like your door lock actuators have stripped out. What caused it is unknown to me, as I never figured out what caused my front locks to go haywire and strip out. I replaced both front actuators and drove the car another month or so before I sold it. (had to fix right away since the car was on the market) go figure! It seemed that for some reason those circuits were fed power (or ground) when they weren't suppose to. Meaning there was a short. Try cleaning/checking all grounds, condition of battery, etc. Also, if you really want to get into it, check for broken or chaffed wires in the door hinge area.

Hope this can be of some use for a tough problem!
 

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I found it was easiest (for me) to remove the latch assembly from the door and replace the actuator "on the bench" or in my lap in the passenger seat. Anyways, it allows you to see how the assembly works and actually, if I remember correctly, there was one screw that holds on the water shield that was hard/ impossible to take out with it in the door.

Hope this gives some insight. Good luck with the root cause!
 
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