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View Full Version : CONVERTIBLES 101: My _____ Doesnt Work. How Do I Fix It???



palomino
02-20-2007, 06:10 AM
A compliation of various helpful threads about VERY common vert questions. It is a work in progress, so if it took you a long time to find some vital info that you think should be easier to find, send me a PM with a link to it. :)

NOW WE DONT HAVE TO MAKE NEW THREADS ABOUT OLD PROBLEMS! :stickoutt

Post up your own helpful links. PLEASE try to keep this thread free of chit-chat, questions and other things that are not helpful bits of advice for solving common vert-specific problems. I'd like for there to be a clear, easy to read thread where the answers are easy to find. Hopfully, this will allow seach-aphobic n00bs to find the info they need without creating another thread that we've all seen a million times!

Moving on...
:redspot :redspot :redspot :redspot :redspot :redspot :redspot

A PDF of The 1997 Owner's Manual
Owner's Manual (http://www.two3cats.biz/downloads/e36manual.pdf) not working at the moment :(

A PDF of the E36 Bentley Repair Manual - AKA "The Bentley" not working at the moment :(
Bentley Repair Manual for all E36 Cars (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=725624)

The Amazing Convertible Top PDFs
General Info, Troubleshooting Microswitches
http://bmwpages.co.uk/archive/e36_convertible_adjust.pdf

Link to Thread With PDFs (some of the attachments in the linked thread are duplicates):

- Resetting Convertible Top Motors After Emergency Release (post 6)
- Various Adjustments: storage lid locks, storage lid motors,
- Replacing the whole soft top
- Replacing Tension Straps (This is post 1, attachment 4; and post 3, attachments 4 and 5 - They are all the same, dont bother reading all 3 of them. Please note that its label is misleading. The top jamming against the storage lid is not the same problem as the lid jamming against the top.)
- Replacing the convertible top motor and the storage lid motor
- Troubleshooting semi-automatic soft tops
- More General Info
E36 Convertible Tops (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4687851)

Directions for Replacing The Soft Top
Buy the top on ebay for about $400 and DIY.
Elefntkpr did it in a day! (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=906187)

Convertible Top: Clunking, Strings, Microswitches, Adjustments & Emergency Handle
This info is also available in the book "101 Performance Projects for your BMW 3 Series"
Pelican Parts (http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/101-Projects-74-Convertible/101-Projects-74-Convertible.htm)

Soft Top Hits Storage Compartment Lid When Lowering The Soft Top Into Compartment
You need to replace the 2 shocks that support the storage compartment lid. Or, only operate the top with the car facing uphill.
A post from the Tension Straps thread that tells how to change these shocks. (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=8892094&postcount=103)

Storage Lid Hits Soft Top While Compartment Is Opening While Lowering Top
You need to replace the Tension Straps in your car.
Some people have also had good luck with using zipties to pinch off about 7cm of slack in the straps to shorten them.
Replacing Tension Straps - See Post 1, 4th Attatchment (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4687851)
Replace Or Assist Tension Straps with VelStretch (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=12571573&posted=1#post12571573)


Possible Solutions For A Leaky Top:
1. Rubber conditioner or moisturizer. AKA "gummi-pfledge"
2. Soft top fabric water proofing treatment
3. Get a completely new soft top
4. Clean any dirt or grime from key sealing points
5. Silicon caulking (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=703367)
6. Replace the rubber seals (post 23 in link below)
7. Remove the front plastic from the soft top and clean & condition it thoroughly.
Discussion on Fixing Leaks (Summed Up In The 7 Points Above) (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=658739)


C-Pillar Strings For Securing Headliner
A post with links to string info and some other vert stuff (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9200926&postcount=4)
Restring Pattern made by yours truely (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9103487&postcount=9)


Rollover Protection Pop-Up Bars
General Information On Pop-Up Bars (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=650669)
Resetting Pop-Up Bars After They Have Deployed (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1177979)

Make Your Vert Quieter
Lubing Joints Of Convertible Tops (http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=121097)
Adjusting Hardtop Front Latches & General Hardtop "Clunking" Solutions (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=889810)

How to Replace Rear Quarter Window Regulators
New DIY Rear Quarter Window Regulator w/pics (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1958661)

Plastic Rear Window
Cleaning & Polishing Your Nasty Rear Window (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=653957)Any plastic polish should be fine, some of us have our favorite products.
How To Zip In A New Window (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=652786) (Skip to posts 20 and 21)

Top Does Not Stow Away Completely, Lid Does Not Close Completely:
Straightening "the metal rod" helps, but there are a few other things in the first thread listed here that you'll want to do to solve this problem 100%.
Minor Soft Top Repairs (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=715404)
Straightening A Metal Rod (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=659316)

Wind Deflectors
All About Wind Deflectors. YES, THEY DO WORK! (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=699634)
Fixing A Wind Deflector That Falls Down Randomly (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=670582)

Soft Top Maintenance:
Products we use on our softtops to clean and protect them.
Be sure to get some rubber conditioner too!
Cleaning & Conditioning (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=668870)
Minor Soft Top Repairs (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=715404&highlight=minor)

Resetting Convertible Top Motors:
Is your top stuck? Did you pull the red emergency handle? These could help.
Simple Instructions To Reset Motors (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=564247)
Links to another thread with BMW's Directions attached (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=4659474&postcount=6)

Thoughts On Structural Integrity & Stiffness:
As of today, no one makes a rollbar for the e36 vert. If you want one, it needs to be custom made.
Discussion (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=680441)

Hardtop
Installing The "Hardtop Install Kit" - With Pics (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=675206)
Other Kit Installation Directions (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=624724)
Thoughts On How Rollover Bars Might Work With Hardtop Installed (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=641636)
Want to buy a hardtop? Try forum classifieds, ebay, and craigslist. Be willing to travel to get it, and dont be afraid to make a hardtop-only offer to someone thats selling the car with the hardtop. You shouldn't have to pay for that $1500 for one, many people have gotten them for less - closer to $1000. Try to get the stand too. Yes, you DO need the hardtop install kit. It is about $120.

Make Your Softtop Operable At Any Speed
Just be careful, dont be going too fast...
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=15184666&postcount=28

dieseldriver99
02-20-2007, 11:02 AM
Very nice thread Palomino! I'm sure this will go on as Sticky! Hey Modm how about a sticky here!

laserdude
02-20-2007, 04:45 PM
STICKYSTICKYSTICKYSTICKYSTICKY......PLEASEhttp://images.bimmerforums.com/vb3images/icons/icon10.gifhttp://images.bimmerforums.com/vb3images/icons/icon10.gifhttp://images.bimmerforums.com/vb3images/icons/icon10.gif

millertimebmw03
02-20-2007, 05:21 PM
Palimino Is Kig Of All + I'm in a few of these!

palomino
02-20-2007, 06:13 PM
Palimino Is Kig Of All + I'm in a few of these!

:D

i tried to include a little from everyone. it was easy though, all of the people that post here often have had something worthwhile to add

MParallel
02-20-2007, 06:58 PM
Don't forget this topic:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=646745

palomino
02-20-2007, 07:37 PM
Don't forget this topic:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=646745

that isnt one topic.

that is a list of things that are specific to the convertibles. that thread doesnt even contain answers to many of the problems it lists. i dont even know why its stickied. it was made in the Suggestions forum to show the mods that convertibles have lots of things different from coupes and sedans. it was made to support having a vert-specific forum.

The-Great-328ic
02-20-2007, 07:42 PM
when did this happen? We tried and tried years ago to have a vert forum and they always denied it.


Good work on the write up :)

mikese36
02-20-2007, 07:45 PM
Good work palomino.!

palomino
02-20-2007, 07:56 PM
when did this happen? We tried and tried years ago to have a vert forum and they always denied it.


Good work on the write up :)

youre a little late to the party!

The-Great-328ic
02-20-2007, 07:58 PM
youre a little late to the party!

haha tell me about it, I just noticed there some threads from back in december :eek:

jasontn
02-20-2007, 08:47 PM
I would say it was a good move to have the vert forum. We have doubled the hatch back post in a very short period of time. There are so many specific issues to a vert....seemed eminent. Thanks for the combination of posts Palomino.

NachtRitter
02-20-2007, 10:16 PM
Yay! Palomino, you're my hero!!!

:urtheman

ComBIRDable
02-20-2007, 10:24 PM
This is a fantastic resource! Thanks so much. I tried the link for leaks, but I got a thread on hard top installation.

Thanks again,

Scott

palomino
02-20-2007, 10:44 PM
This is a fantastic resource! Thanks so much. I tried the link for leaks, but I got a thread on hard top installation.

Thanks again,

Scotti have no idea what you are talking about. :paranoid:

went through the rest of the links, and theyre all good to go. thanks for the heads up there.

German Pride 10
02-21-2007, 03:39 PM
Thank you for compiling this information Palomino!

Random23
02-21-2007, 04:24 PM
Looks great, Thanks for taking the time.

MParallel
02-21-2007, 05:14 PM
Whoops, didn't mean to sound unthankful.

Great info!

williamm3
02-21-2007, 11:53 PM
Palomino,

Thanks for the great info.

lorkar
02-22-2007, 12:44 AM
Very nice! Well done.

Hugo
02-22-2007, 10:37 AM
Awesome. But now, we can close the section, all answers are there. :az


Kidding!


I'll request a sticky!

Daved
02-22-2007, 11:09 AM
Parked :)

Kevlar
02-22-2007, 11:51 AM
Your stock just went up in my book...

palomino
02-22-2007, 01:01 PM
Awesome. But now, we can close the section, all answers are there. :az


Kidding!


I'll request a sticky!:shifty


;)
Your stock just went up in my book...

:redspot

NachtRitter
03-07-2007, 03:48 PM
Seems like the "Official E36 Convertible Top Thread" ought to be included as well... Includes a lot of .pdf links:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4687851

palomino
03-07-2007, 04:43 PM
Seems like the "Official E36 Convertible Top Thread" ought to be included as well... Includes a lot of .pdf links:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4687851

i looked through them and linked the thread. its too bad some of the attachments there are duplicates. makes it look intimidating, plus its confusing to read. :(

helpful though, none the less.

i am thinking of reorganizing the first post, to make it less cluttered. :az

edit - first post reorganized. :)

ateneoboy
03-27-2007, 11:16 AM
Palomino, thanks for this site, but I need help. I tried downloading the owners manual but so far I am stuck at 2.7MB out of the 3.5MB and not moving anymore. Do you mind if I just ask you to email me the owner's manual? My email ateneoboy2003@yahoo.com

palomino
03-30-2007, 03:43 AM
Palomino, thanks for this site, but I need help. I tried downloading the owners manual but so far I am stuck at 2.7MB out of the 3.5MB and not moving anymore. Do you mind if I just ask you to email me the owner's manual? My email ateneoboy2003@yahoo.com

i actually do not have it on my computer.

what i made up above is more of a collection of informative threads about topics that seem to come up ALL the time. it is kind of a crash-course on e36 verts, so to speak.

325cab1995
04-19-2007, 05:27 AM
Nice compilation of links for the vert crowd... Thanks!

lseguy
05-15-2007, 02:42 PM
I think we debunked the "straightening the metal rod" thought listed in the FAQ. That rod comes from the factory curved, as it should remain. The issue appeared to surround the fabric surrounding the ends of the metal rod. Often the fabric tears away, which alters the folding of the material, causing it to bunch up in the storage area.

palomino
05-15-2007, 08:19 PM
I think we debunked the "straightening the metal rod" thought listed in the FAQ. That rod comes from the factory curved, as it should remain. The issue appeared to surround the fabric surrounding the ends of the metal rod. Often the fabric tears away, which alters the folding of the material, causing it to bunch up in the storage area.
i agree with you 100%.

after stitching up the torn loops and straps, my top folds up the right way about 95% of the time now, as opposed to never.

some THINK that straightening out the rod solves the problem, but i attributed this to the fact that the straightened rod somewhat makes up for the torn fabric. it is more a treatment of the symptom rather than a cure for the illness.

johnshardrive
07-12-2007, 11:35 AM
Thank you for all the manuals...I just got a 94 325 Convertable and I need all the help I can get...Thanks again.

dgizzle
07-19-2007, 02:30 AM
Hi,

I've been reading posts trying to find a solution to my vert top problem. You all seem to really know what you're talking about, so maybe one of you can give me an answer. Here's the deal:

Nothing happens when I press the button to raise the automatic top. I don't even get any action from the motor. I've checked the fuses (yes, the one by the battery too). Precisely when this problem first developed the trunk lid ceased to latch, so I figured it had something to do with the microswitch under the tonneau coverócan't just be a coincidence, right? There's nothing wrong with the trunk latch. I tried the emerg. release lever under the rear seat and (here's the crazy part) the tonnneau cover wouldn't release.

What's the deal? this defies all my (limited) knowledge of how the emerg. lever works. I really hope one of you has some kind of idea.

Thanks,

DGizzle

millertimebmw03
07-19-2007, 02:20 PM
Watch my video in the DIY section, even if the emergency leve doesn't release the tonneau cover motor you can still do it by hand. Zach

dgizzle
07-19-2007, 03:08 PM
Watch my video in the DIY section, even if the emergency leve doesn't release the tonneau cover motor you can still do it by hand. Zach

Zach,

Thanks for the video. And I appreciate your help with my problem. The issue is that I can't get the tonneau cover open, even once I've pulled the emergency lever.

Any ideas what might account for the stuck tonneau cover?

Thanks again,

DGizzle.

millertimebmw03
07-19-2007, 03:52 PM
In the trunk in the left hand side (in the video I say thumb and finger) the lever needs to be pulled down to release the motor. let me know if this helps.
DONT USE THE Emergency lever under the seat pop it out by hand!

dgizzle
07-19-2007, 05:50 PM
unfortunately, i tried pulling the emergency lever prior to reading your warning on this subject. i've now tried disengaging the tonneau cover motor by hand with no success. might this have something to do with my having pulled the lever? maybe i'm just missing the technique. "thumb and finger" for re-engaging it, right? what about disengaging it?

millertimebmw03
07-20-2007, 08:55 AM
Just pumm the lever on the motor behind the left tail light, (tonneau cover motor )(motor #1) that the cable is connected to. Where I used my thumb in the video (little black lever). and just pull alittle lower and it will pop out if not the hold the lever down and have a buddy try top open and close the tonneau cover (only alittle, ***WARING* if you pull up on the tonneau cover hard while hold the lever down for motor #1 and successfully disengage it, the cove may hit the trunk lid and damage the paint!!!
Please let me know if this helps!!!!

Zach

///M3
08-16-2007, 11:15 AM
This is an awesome thread for vert owners! Thank you very much!

jmac
08-18-2007, 01:45 PM
My 2005 325ci was delivered with option 380 (hardtop preparation). Does anyone know if that confirms it is pre-wired for a hardtop and if so do I still require the installation kit? After contacting 2 dealers I was given 2 different responses.

firestormer
10-01-2007, 02:00 AM
Hi there, i got my first BMW a couple of weeks ago, a '96 328 vert and had the old ' tonneau hitting rear spar when folding' issue.
After a fair bit of searching i found some very useful theories and reasons for this but it wasnt until yesterday i looked into it.
The reason mine was doing this is because some previous owner had decided to straighten the motor drive rod, so all i had to do was adjust said rod in about 10mm and hey presto !
And yes it does seal back onto the tonneau top afterwards okay.
Top quality Bimmer site tho, even if it is a bit cluttered !

Regards, Firestormer.

VertE36
10-18-2007, 11:35 AM
The main top motor engaged just fine after using the emergency handle and doing the reset and rengage motors routine. HOWEVER the top cover motor engages but wont lock in place it keeps springing back to the disengage position. Is there a dual spline in there? the cable of the emer unlock are reset correctly.

My biggest problem is that the Power top cover wont go down once the top is UP it goes down fine when putting the top down but when you put the top up it STAYS open.

and I have to hit the emer unlock

Help? I didn't see this in any manual, what microswitch controls the Top Cover Down/ top up? top cover down/ top down works fine.

Help?

userbmw
12-21-2007, 07:25 AM
Hello all,,i have a 2003 BMW 33o ci convertible and now i have noticed the roof is taking too long to open and it even does not go all the way down to the storage compartment.the back lid opens and and the roof just stays like it is not yet open.what could it be the problem.i took it to the dealer and they say it might be the pump,,and the pump looks fine to me..another dealer says it is may be some switches..tthe first dealer put the car in the computer and could nit find anything,,and the other dealer,,same thing in nthe computer,,and after say that it might be the switches.anybody can tell me what could it be.looks like convertible owners have to start fixing their own problems as dealers have no idea about the car they sell nowadays/.anybody can help will be very much apprecuated,,thanks

91regiment
02-02-2008, 10:18 PM
I have a 1994 325 convertible. It was working great in Oct/Nov. I tried it once in Jan. and I had to try again, then it worked. Now, the back comes up part of the way and then it stops. Sometines it will go back down, sometimes not. I do have the back seat out, but I did not disengage the motor. Thanks for the help, Clay

koenigma
02-12-2008, 11:34 AM
Have you tried the reset/resync procedure?

L5gcw0b
03-11-2008, 06:20 AM
Great info! I might not of sold mine if I knew how to resync the top ;)

sebastianforbes
03-21-2008, 09:34 AM
fantastic site... i enjoy reading all of this information, while just waiting for something to go wrong !!! :-)))

Riick
03-29-2008, 10:35 AM
fantastic site... i enjoy reading all of this information, while just waiting for something to go wrong !!! :-)))
Never fear - it's a BMW, ---------("NO, that's not a software Bug, ...its a Feature!")

nycmarine85
03-29-2008, 11:05 PM
my convertible stop working all of a sudden. the light use to light up when I push for the top to come off. Would any of you guys know what is wrong with it?

nycmarine85
03-29-2008, 11:06 PM
btw, is all convertible have automatic tops or some come with manual tops

L5gcw0b
03-31-2008, 02:30 AM
I know 318's had manual tops.
Which cars had fully auto tops(my '94 you still had to lock/unlock the headar)?

calves2997
03-31-2008, 09:30 PM
Does anyone know what the part number is for the central switch used to raise and lower the top.
I looked at real oem and it only lists the following:
SWITCH WINDOW LIFTER WEISS 61311387388 and
CENTRAL WINDOW LIFTING SWITCH 61311387389.
Any help is aprpeciated.

ZUUD BYE
04-21-2008, 10:29 AM
Full Credits to lseguy
original post #103 @
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=648071


03-07-2007, 09:37 PM
lseguy
License Revoked Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: DC Metro Area
Cars: Old, Slow Vert.
Posts: 1,492

How to replace the storage cover gas springs/struts on a 1999 M3 Convertible.

Head to the dealership, and provide the dealer with your vin so that the parts guy can provide you with the proper gas springs/struts for your particular model. Apparently there is more than one application for the 1999 model year M3, not sure about the 1998 model year M3. Can't speak for other year E36's. My gas spring was identical to the one shown in this graphic
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/s/z/5.png

In order to get to the mounting points of the springs, you will need to pull back/remove the carpeting on the left and right sides of the trunk. On both sides you will see open holes in the inner skin of the sheetmetal, and the gas springs/struts will be visible inside of these holes. On my 1999 M3, I was able to use a flathead screwdriver to slightly pull back the metal clip on the lower mount of the gas springs, and release them from their mounts. On the passengers side of the car, I was able to reach back through the hole just ahead of the radio antenna mounting, and push the black metal vertical lever that is attached to the upper point of the gas spring, outward. This releases the strut from it's upper mount. On the drivers side, you have less room to work with due to the motor that is mounted to the quarter panel just ahead of the drivers side tail light, so you may need to release the upper mount from the top. To do that, you must close the trunk, then open the convertible top halfway. Once the storage cover is fully open, stop the opening process, get out, and reach down into drivers side storage cover hole. Locate the gas spring/strut upper mount release lever, and press it outwards. The gas spring should release, and fall down. Close the top, open the trunk, and remove the old strut(s).

In order to install the new struts, you need to follow a two step process.

For the passenger side, I was able to pop on the upper mount of the gas spring/strut through the hole in the storage cover area. To do this, I opened the convertible top until the storage cover opened fully, then stopped the opening process. With the gas spring in my hand, I reached down into the hole (it's tight..if you have huge fat hands, you might have a problem here), and going by feel, was able to attach the strut to the upper mount. I then was able to reach all the way down into the hole, and press the gas spring/strut onto the lower mount. You should hear/feel audible clicks when the springs/struts are fully mounted properly into their mounts. In order to get the lower portion of the strut snapped onto the lower mount, you may need to push back fairly firmly against the storage cover, so that the mouting points line up properly. You may find it helpful to temporarily pop off the rubber stops that are attached to the arms of the storage cover, so the cover can go back as far as abslutely possible. You also may need to pull upwards on the bottom of the strut in order to get it upwards that last 1/4 inch it will need to snap onto the lower mount. This will require you to get your hand FULLY down into the tight hole.

Re-attach your carpet, and that's that.

I was able to do this without moving any of the motors or drivers side items ahead of the drivers side tailight.

On the passenger side, it was easier for me to unscrew that one nut that holds the antenna mount in place and push the mount aside, as it allowed me to reach through that vertical hole that faces the passenger side tailight.

Good Luck. and remember, this is how you do it if your struts have the black vertical lever at the top. Some of the struts appear to have a bolt threaded onto the upper mount, and I can't speak for the Remove and Replace process for those.



*********MOST IMPORTANT Update**********
04/07/2007.

Mparallel reports an easier way to reach the shocks.

"And now the biggest tip I can give....

...remove the lid!! It's just 4 10mm bolts (I had a friend help me for this)

This way (you need to insert something so the microswitch (on the right lock hinge) won't activate the interlock (I used a large allen key) you can have the hinges AND the lit FULLY open at once.

Why is this good? Because now you can install the gasshock while it's fully extended. So no need at all to try and sqeeze it together in a place where my hands won't go."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by lseguy; 04-07-2007 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Added a tip by Mparallell.

level 199
05-11-2008, 12:42 PM
Hi, recently bought a '98 328i vert with fully auto top. It seems to lower fine, though slowly. The problem is that it that the tonneau covers starts to open by itself while driving, causing the raise/lower switch to flash red, then I have to push the switch to lower the tonneau cover back down. This happens repeatedly. I've read through all the posts, and it sounds like resynching the motor is for the semi-auto tops. Is that correct? Anyone have this problem before and have a fix?

TIA, Brad

ericzz
05-16-2008, 06:18 PM
Full Credits to lseguy
original post #103 @
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=648071



Head to the dealership, and provide the dealer with your vin so that the parts guy can provide you with the proper gas springs/struts for your particular model. Apparently there is more than one application for the 1999 model year M3, not sure about the 1998 model year M3. Can't speak for other year E36's. My gas spring was identical to the one shown in this graphic
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/s/z/5.png

In order to get to the mounting points of the springs, you will need to pull back/remove the carpeting on the left and right sides of the trunk. On both sides you will see open holes in the inner skin of the sheetmetal, and the gas springs/struts will be visible inside of these holes. On my 1999 M3, I was able to use a flathead screwdriver to slightly pull back the metal clip on the lower mount of the gas springs, and release them from their mounts. On the passengers side of the car, I was able to reach back through the hole just ahead of the radio antenna mounting, and push the black metal vertical lever that is attached to the upper point of the gas spring, outward. This releases the strut from it's upper mount. On the drivers side, you have less room to work with due to the motor that is mounted to the quarter panel just ahead of the drivers side tail light, so you may need to release the upper mount from the top. To do that, you must close the trunk, then open the convertible top halfway. Once the storage cover is fully open, stop the opening process, get out, and reach down into drivers side storage cover hole. Locate the gas spring/strut upper mount release lever, and press it outwards. The gas spring should release, and fall down. Close the top, open the trunk, and remove the old strut(s).

In order to install the new struts, you need to follow a two step process.

For the passenger side, I was able to pop on the upper mount of the gas spring/strut through the hole in the storage cover area. To do this, I opened the convertible top until the storage cover opened fully, then stopped the opening process. With the gas spring in my hand, I reached down into the hole (it's tight..if you have huge fat hands, you might have a problem here), and going by feel, was able to attach the strut to the upper mount. I then was able to reach all the way down into the hole, and press the gas spring/strut onto the lower mount. You should hear/feel audible clicks when the springs/struts are fully mounted properly into their mounts. In order to get the lower portion of the strut snapped onto the lower mount, you may need to push back fairly firmly against the storage cover, so that the mouting points line up properly. You may find it helpful to temporarily pop off the rubber stops that are attached to the arms of the storage cover, so the cover can go back as far as abslutely possible. You also may need to pull upwards on the bottom of the strut in order to get it upwards that last 1/4 inch it will need to snap onto the lower mount. This will require you to get your hand FULLY down into the tight hole.

Re-attach your carpet, and that's that.

I was able to do this without moving any of the motors or drivers side items ahead of the drivers side tailight.

On the passenger side, it was easier for me to unscrew that one nut that holds the antenna mount in place and push the mount aside, as it allowed me to reach through that vertical hole that faces the passenger side tailight.

Good Luck. and remember, this is how you do it if your struts have the black vertical lever at the top. Some of the struts appear to have a bolt threaded onto the upper mount, and I can't speak for the Remove and Replace process for those.



*********MOST IMPORTANT Update**********
04/07/2007.

Mparallel reports an easier way to reach the shocks.

"And now the biggest tip I can give....

...remove the lid!! It's just 4 10mm bolts (I had a friend help me for this)

This way (you need to insert something so the microswitch (on the right lock hinge) won't activate the interlock (I used a large allen key) you can have the hinges AND the lit FULLY open at once.

Why is this good? Because now you can install the gasshock while it's fully extended. So no need at all to try and sqeeze it together in a place where my hands won't go."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by lseguy; 04-07-2007 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Added a tip by Mparallell.


I just replaced both sides in less than 1/2 hour thru the holes in the storage compartment . I removed the lid 4 bolts never did I even opened the trunk . Remove the lid in it's upright state and leave the arms like so . Undo the bottom of the pistons first then the top .

On another not I also drilled out the rivets for the straps on the rear bow and moved the strap approx 7mm and re riveted them all is well .

mpower510
05-20-2008, 06:17 PM
Anybody know how to replace the struts? it looks easy but i would like it if i was with someone with experience. I live in Bay Area, PM ME if you can help!
Thanks

bigbru96
05-31-2008, 11:21 AM
read every thread an big big thanx for it but no use in my case:(( locked in here inside a vert with closed windows and roof, :(( please help and make us all happy again:))

aquariangirl
05-31-2008, 12:26 PM
Anybody know how to replace the struts? it looks easy but i would like it if i was with someone with experience. I live in Bay Area, PM ME if you can help!
Thanks
^^^^just review Isleguy write http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=8892094&postcount=103 up which are very on point...the only thing I would add (since I just changed mine myself) to make it easier is:
(I didn't remove the lid or the bolts, just moved the trunk carpet away from the bottom holes on the driver & passenger side to snap in the bottom of the struts - 1 minute each side:stickoutt)

1: if you have the stoppers (the little rubber pieces that keep the "arms" from rubbing against the car frame) remove those so you have more play to lift the lid a little more.
2: Use a 12" inch flathead screwdriver to release the bottom strut through the holes in the lid
3: push the new struts on from the bottom first through the trunk (easier to just snap them on)
4: if you have big hands just grab someone with small hands (I'm a woman with small hands) to snap in the top struts through the holes in the lid (all it takes is just lining the hole of the strut up and raising the lid up a little and then it will just snap in).

PorkNBeemer
07-17-2008, 02:27 PM
Lots of help there. Thank you!

Maverick 320
07-29-2008, 12:08 PM
Can anyone make a mirror for, or send me, the owners manual? I tried several times but still can't dowload it from that link...

Thanks a lot for this thread!!

rstafford
08-06-2008, 12:05 PM
My 1999 323i conv. top storage cover motor is making a ratcheting noise, when cycle is complete and finger is off the switch it continues to keep on making the same noise. Of course now the Led light is blinking and the cover will not move at all. We have owned the car for 6 years with no problems with the top until this year. This forum has been very helpful in resloving the other problems but I don't know where to begin on this one.

MParallel
09-21-2008, 10:15 AM
This Service Information bulletin supersedes orange S.I. 54 08 96 dated October 1996 which should be removed and discarded from your S.I. binder.

SUBJECT: E-M Top Stops at Midpoint when Lowering Top
MODEL: 328i Convertible
Situation: On some 328i Convertibles the customer may complain of the top stopping in the middle of the lowering cycle, but once the front of the top is pushed up again, the top continues to operate normally. This can be a very intermittent problem, but seems to occur more frequently after the car has been allowed to sit in the hot sun.

The problem is caused when the rear bow drops into the opened storage well so rapidly that the weight of he rear bow causes the tensioning bars to straighten to the point that the top locks in position. When the front of the top is lifted again, the tensioning bars unlock, and the top operates normally from that point on.

Correction: Before making any modifications, check to ensure that micro-switch S4 on the left tensioning bar is properly adjusted.
If the micro-switch is properly adjusted, run the top until the rear bow is in the vertical position.

- Locate the pop rivets that fasten the tensioning strap to the rear bow on each side.
- Drill out the rivets to release the straps,and pull the straps back 7 mm.
- Make two new holes in the straps at this location and rivet the straps in place. This modification shortens the effective length of the tensioning strap, thereby slowing down the drop of the rear bow into the opened storage well sufficiently to prevent the tension bars from locking.

Warranty Status: Covered under the terms of the BMW new car limited warranty.

Defect Code: 54 34 00 52 00
Labor Operation: 00 51 231 - Check and adjust micoswitch only.

SI EM Top Stops at Midpoint When Lowering Top
BMW AG - TIS 16.01.2000 20:24

Issue status (08/2001) Valid only until next CD is issued
Labor Allowance: 6 FRU
Labor Operation: 00 51 232 - Check microswitch adjustment and shorten both straps
Labor Allowance: 9 FRU

fun2drive
12-22-2008, 05:42 PM
I used Total BMW, a Brit site for years when I had my E36. Well I just found about 5-6 PDF's on some articles that would help all of us E36 vert drivers.

I need a mod to contact me so I can send these to you for consideration for posting. The Total BMW web site is now defunct so I don't think we are infringing on any copyright issues.

Jimmie Jazz
12-25-2008, 12:01 AM
From your description, it reads as if there are two issues; one which has caused the other. The ratcheting sound which occurs during the re-sync (or even so-called "normal") operation is the result of the primary drive gear splines on the motor side half of the Top Lid Drive Motor Assembly failing to fully insert into the Reduction Gearbox half of the assembly. Because the splines and gearset are not fully meshed, the drive gear splines will 'slip' or 'ratchet' against the reduction gearset's teeth. All gears are steel and are very substantial. It is unlikely that the gears themselves will ever fail.

The two halves of the Top Lid Drive Motor assembly are connected by a sprung hinge, which allows the motor side to disengage from the reduction gears (The reduction gears rotate the linkage arm and tension the Bowden cables connected to the Top Lid latches) when the emergency lever is pulled.

Frequently, when the rear bow of the convertible top does not attain full upward travel when lowering the top, the Top Lid will strike the rear bow when opening, since the rear bow did not move far enough out of the Top Lid's travel arc. The reason that the rear bow does not move out of the way is because the tension straps are fatigued. This is how fatigued tension straps have caused the failure of the Top Lid drive mechanism. (One issue causing another.)

The resistance to upward travel of the Top Lid (provided by the impact/friction between the rear bow and the front edge of the Top Lid) places a great amount of stress/torque on the Top Lid, which translates back through the linkage to the Top Lid Motor assembly, bending the Motor side housing of the assembly. This happens because the motor continues to turn even though the linkage stops traveling (due to the Top Lid hitting the rear bow). The motor side of the assembly pushes itself away from the reduction gear half of the assembly while the emergency release 'latch' remains engaged, which bends the flange where the latch hooks.

BMW would prefer that you purchase a new assembly, yet with careful work and patience, this can be avoided.

It is necessary to remove the Top Lid drive motor assembly (4 nuts, 2 Bowden cable clips, 1 Bowden cable dual binding clip, 1 linkage clip, 1 release cable nut, 1 wire bundle strap and 1 electrical connector) before you can attempt bending the assembly back to as near as original shape as possible. I suggest warming the steel before attempting to re-bend, as it appears very brittle. Bend in small amounts, preferably using a vice, until the portion of the flange where the emergency release hook (slot) engages is on the same plane as the rest of the flange. This will make sense when you see the bent assembly. The bend is not visible until the assembly has been removed. Once re-bending is complete, test the engagement/release function of the emergency release mechanism to ensure proper operation. Note that the drive splines of the motor now insert into the reduction gear side of the assembly by a more significant amount, which does not allow the gears to slip, which was where the 'ratcheting' noise was coming from.

Reinstall the assembly and connect the linkage, cables and electrical connector. Close the trunk and perform the resync procedure.

Now that the mechanical function of the top Lid has been restored, you must resolve the tension strap issue or this will happen again. See other posts in this section for more information on tension straps and possible work-arounds to complete replacement. If you had already recently resolved the tension strap issue, the damage was apparently already done and the drive gears were barely engaging, and finally slipped.

Good luck; this will save you approximately $450. (USD) from the avoidance of purchasing a new drive unit, with nearly the same amount in labor.



My 1999 323i conv. top storage cover motor is making a ratcheting noise, when cycle is complete and finger is off the switch it continues to keep on making the same noise. Of course now the Led light is blinking and the cover will not move at all. We have owned the car for 6 years with no problems with the top until this year. This forum has been very helpful in resloving the other problems but I don't know where to begin on this one.

clemo87
12-28-2008, 07:33 AM
i bought my vert an the hood didnt work so i reset it and now the lid comes up the hood comes out but the back of the hood wont lift up to let the lid go back down any ideas

slim17265
03-12-2009, 03:27 PM
I do not know how many folks I have helped with there drive train problems..its a lot.
but now I have conv top problems...I bought and installed a bungee cord to help lift #6 bow....they snapped off(metal ends). I then bought bungee with plastic hook ends. they will probably break also since they are only glued on. there is mention here of moving the rivets to a new position. I may have to try that next...one thing is sure if you own a BMW one needs to buy a shop manual(which I have) and read whatever is pertinent on this site. These cars are a joy to drive but constant repair.

LA328i
03-16-2009, 09:25 PM
I am not a DIY kinda gal, but my convertible top needs expertise like yours on repairing a couple of things. Do you know of anyone in the Los Angeles area who could help me? :help It is very difficult to find someone who knows what they are doing and is honest as well. I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions you could give me.
i actually do not have it on my computer.

what i made up above is more of a collection of informative threads about topics that seem to come up ALL the time. it is kind of a crash-course on e36 verts, so to speak.

Kevn21
07-14-2009, 12:37 PM
My top stops haly way wat do you think it might be? sometimes it works and other times like now it doesnt?

technovioletbmw
07-27-2009, 07:04 PM
I work at an auto upholstery shop and I have noticed a large increase in the amount of e36 conv that I am doing. One thing that most people are complaining about is the deck shelf motor is making noise or the top just wont function properly. The motor on the drivers side in the trunk is almost always the cause of the problem. The gear on the motor itself get worn over time mainly cause by the top hitting the deck shelf as it opens. Which is caused by tension straps that connect the second, third and rear bow going bad. You can get around replacing the tension straps until you need a top by simply pulling the third bow or the rear of the headliner forwards as your raising the top, before the deck shelf starts coming up. That motor and the tension straps are the two main causes for most conv problems that I have come across. I have done at least 9 this year already with two more in the following weeks. Just wanted to add my two cents because I deal with this all the time.

mpower510
07-28-2009, 04:17 AM
Anybody need the pressurized shocks for the convertible top?

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1278380

srhodes
08-05-2009, 04:53 PM
I just fixed my convertible top problem today and i have to say this helped a lot.

My problem was that the storage lid wouldnt move due to the motor being jammed on the gear housing (the hole wasnt big enough for the pivoting electric motor gear).
I had to use a screwdriver to dis engage the motor.

My top works better than it did before now. But only because i took out the motor assembly, took it off the bracket, and made the gear housing hole bigger.

What a pita, but im glad i did it now

hockeyfan27
08-06-2009, 01:31 PM
This Service Information bulletin supersedes orange S.I. 54 08 96 dated October 1996 which should be removed and discarded from your S.I. binder.

SUBJECT: E-M Top Stops at Midpoint when Lowering Top
MODEL: 328i Convertible
Situation: On some 328i Convertibles the customer may complain of the top stopping in the middle of the lowering cycle, but once the front of the top is pushed up again, the top continues to operate normally. This can be a very intermittent problem, but seems to occur more frequently after the car has been allowed to sit in the hot sun.

The problem is caused when the rear bow drops into the opened storage well so rapidly that the weight of he rear bow causes the tensioning bars to straighten to the point that the top locks in position. When the front of the top is lifted again, the tensioning bars unlock, and the top operates normally from that point on.

Correction: Before making any modifications, check to ensure that micro-switch S4 on the left tensioning bar is properly adjusted.
If the micro-switch is properly adjusted, run the top until the rear bow is in the vertical position.

- Locate the pop rivets that fasten the tensioning strap to the rear bow on each side.
- Drill out the rivets to release the straps,and pull the straps back 7 mm.
- Make two new holes in the straps at this location and rivet the straps in place. This modification shortens the effective length of the tensioning strap, thereby slowing down the drop of the rear bow into the opened storage well sufficiently to prevent the tension bars from locking.

Warranty Status: Covered under the terms of the BMW new car limited warranty.

Defect Code: 54 34 00 52 00
Labor Operation: 00 51 231 - Check and adjust micoswitch only.

SI EM Top Stops at Midpoint When Lowering Top
BMW AG - TIS 16.01.2000 20:24

Issue status (08/2001) Valid only until next CD is issued
Labor Allowance: 6 FRU
Labor Operation: 00 51 232 - Check microswitch adjustment and shorten both straps
Labor Allowance: 9 FRU

I've read piles of posts on tension straps preparing for my repair. I can't believe this service notice isn't cross referenced ANYWHERE else!

Would doing this also correct the collision of the storage compartment with the top? (maybe if i moved the holes more then 7mm) I have both issues: stop at midpoint and compartment collision.

tdcalhoun89
08-08-2009, 01:22 AM
thank you to all who had input in this thread, you have all made my life easier and my wallet heavier :)

vlakci
09-19-2009, 02:25 PM
I need the values for the softop frame place. On this link page #25 http://bmwpages.co.uk/archive/e36_convertible_adjust.pdf there are some measurments from TIS, but the picture is to small. It's the height of the point of the two vertical bolts + one horizontal. I put the all.automatic top in, and I am having some problems, because I got the front to close perfectly (it's in line), but the last bow doesn't close 100% and I have a 1mm gap at the end gasket bellow the window.

Dominic321
11-24-2009, 05:24 PM
check out this youtube video all you have to do is reset the motors. Follow every step in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boiybaJkMrI

Ic3manSA
09-04-2010, 03:14 AM
This info has been sooo helpful . Thanks guys!!

2bimmerman
05-08-2011, 05:15 PM
I have a 99 328i convertible. Fuse #7 keeps blowing sometime between operations. I have replaced the fuse reset the top and operated the top four to five times with no problem. After driving the car for any length of time with the top up, the fuse blows. I have checked the wiring for the trunk lock and also the wiring for the anti-theft. The only other circuits on fuse 7. Anyone have any ideas? My BMW dealer couldn't find it either. I'm stumped

gmiz
05-31-2011, 02:17 PM
Hi All;

I have read this thread and cannot see the answer to my question clearly so I will ask and hope someone can help me.

My tops works mostly ok, but on the drivers side the tonneau does not close completely - sticks up maybe a half an inch. As a result, the trunk gets stuck on the back part of the tonneau when I go to open it. If I push the tonneau down, this rubbing does not happen.

If I re-sync the top - will this help. It seems like it works but the drivers side just doesnt go down all the way and is not "flush" when its closed.

Any other ideas or advice?

Thanks

Joylove
06-14-2011, 08:27 AM
Here is my guide to the flat bungee tension strap fix.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1668652

Coldiron325i
06-29-2011, 07:37 PM
I cannot get the .pdf to open on how to replace a convertible top motor from the first post to this forum...I just purchased my first BMW, a 1992 325i convertible and am on cloud nine!! However, there is an issue with the top motor, and I do not know what I have gotten myself into to replace it, or get it replaced. Is this .pdf anywhere else on the forum?

Is it possible to turn it into a manual top?

Thanks, from a proud new BMW owner!!!

JDStrickland
07-11-2011, 08:37 PM
Did I find an error in the instructions to reset the top?

There is a PDF floating around that describes the construction and repair of the convertible top. There is a section RE-CONNECTING THE DRIVE MOTORS, that says to pull Fuse 7 to disable the safety interlock for the trunk. On my car, I had to remove BOTH F7 and F43, both are 5A fuses. The trunk interlock was not disabled with the removal of either of these fuses, but was disabled with the removal of both of them.

kcs
07-24-2011, 04:16 PM
Updated link to the E36 Bentley manual here: http://www.mediafire.com/?m1b0ltgdhd6

Downloaded and worked for me!

Joylove
07-25-2011, 03:15 AM
Updated link to the E36 Bentley manual here: http://www.mediafire.com/?m1b0ltgdhd6

Downloaded and worked for me!

+1 Great link, searchable PDF, thanks.

Stan Smith
11-05-2011, 10:37 AM
Apologies in advance if my searching has not been 100 percent diligent for an answer to this question, it's always in the last place you look...

The top on my 323i is cantankerous at best, and I've gone through the reset steps to raise the top manually before when it stuck, but here is what it does now:

When you press on the button to lower the top, all that happens is that all four windows lower in jerky, approximately-one-inch-at-a-time increments until they are completely down. Nothing else, end of story. The top itself does nothing at all and remains up and locked.

Thanks for any assistance.

huligan
11-22-2011, 07:18 PM
Storage Lid Hits Soft Top While Compartment Is Opening While Lowering Top
You need to replace the Tension Straps in your car.
Some people have also had good luck with using zipties to pinch off about 7cm of slack in the straps to shorten them.
Replacing Tension Straps - See Post 1, 4th Attatchment (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4687851)
Replace Or Assist Tension Straps with VelStretch (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=12571573&posted=1#post12571573)




just as reference / for clarification - this is what is meant here, correct ?
(if not delete or move post, thanks)
http://rides.webshots.com/video/3006687090046866181YORDXC

flyfishvt
11-22-2011, 07:24 PM
yup

Joylove
11-23-2011, 03:09 AM
just as reference / for clarification - this is what is meant here, correct ?
(if not delete or move post, thanks)
http://rides.webshots.com/video/3006687090046866181YORDXC
Tensions straps for sure. There is a DIY in my signature.

huligan
12-14-2011, 09:00 AM
The Amazing Convertible Top PDFs
General Info, Troubleshooting Microswitches
http://bmwpages.co.uk/archive/e36_convertible_adjust.pdf


trying to contribute to the community be reporting bad link:

Server not found
Firefox can't find the server at bmwpages.co.uk.

thanks again for all those supplying all the info and those maintaining this forum !!!

lfedje
12-14-2011, 09:48 AM
Here is a link that works.

http://www.gbnetwork.co.uk/bmw/archive/e36_convertible_adjust.pdf

SoIcyE36
03-07-2012, 06:29 PM
I have a problem, I have a 97 318ic with a manual top. When I pull the,lever to release the decklid, the passenger side releases but not the driver side. How do I fix this?

mnash
04-28-2012, 01:57 PM
Your reply shows frown face and will not open.

MCORMG1
05-06-2012, 04:52 PM
I"ve heard that some folks strip off all the electrics, etc., and turn the top into a manual one. Is this feasible and can it be raised and lowered relatively easily?
thanks for your advise.

RahgBag
06-12-2012, 06:19 PM
From your description, it reads as if there are two issues; one which has caused the other. The ratcheting sound which occurs during the re-sync (or even so-called "normal") operation is the result of the primary drive gear splines on the motor side half of the Top Lid Drive Motor Assembly failing to fully insert into the Reduction Gearbox half of the assembly. Because the splines and gearset are not fully meshed, the drive gear splines will 'slip' or 'ratchet' against the reduction gearset's teeth. All gears are steel and are very substantial. It is unlikely that the gears themselves will ever fail.

The two halves of the Top Lid Drive Motor assembly are connected by a sprung hinge, which allows the motor side to disengage from the reduction gears (The reduction gears rotate the linkage arm and tension the Bowden cables connected to the Top Lid latches) when the emergency lever is pulled.

Frequently, when the rear bow of the convertible top does not attain full upward travel when lowering the top, the Top Lid will strike the rear bow when opening, since the rear bow did not move far enough out of the Top Lid's travel arc. The reason that the rear bow does not move out of the way is because the tension straps are fatigued. This is how fatigued tension straps have caused the failure of the Top Lid drive mechanism. (One issue causing another.)

The resistance to upward travel of the Top Lid (provided by the impact/friction between the rear bow and the front edge of the Top Lid) places a great amount of stress/torque on the Top Lid, which translates back through the linkage to the Top Lid Motor assembly, bending the Motor side housing of the assembly. This happens because the motor continues to turn even though the linkage stops traveling (due to the Top Lid hitting the rear bow). The motor side of the assembly pushes itself away from the reduction gear half of the assembly while the emergency release 'latch' remains engaged, which bends the flange where the latch hooks.

BMW would prefer that you purchase a new assembly, yet with careful work and patience, this can be avoided.

It is necessary to remove the Top Lid drive motor assembly (4 nuts, 2 Bowden cable clips, 1 Bowden cable dual binding clip, 1 linkage clip, 1 release cable nut, 1 wire bundle strap and 1 electrical connector) before you can attempt bending the assembly back to as near as original shape as possible. I suggest warming the steel before attempting to re-bend, as it appears very brittle. Bend in small amounts, preferably using a vice, until the portion of the flange where the emergency release hook (slot) engages is on the same plane as the rest of the flange. This will make sense when you see the bent assembly. The bend is not visible until the assembly has been removed. Once re-bending is complete, test the engagement/release function of the emergency release mechanism to ensure proper operation. Note that the drive splines of the motor now insert into the reduction gear side of the assembly by a more significant amount, which does not allow the gears to slip, which was where the 'ratcheting' noise was coming from.

Reinstall the assembly and connect the linkage, cables and electrical connector. Close the trunk and perform the resync procedure.

Now that the mechanical function of the top Lid has been restored, you must resolve the tension strap issue or this will happen again. See other posts in this section for more information on tension straps and possible work-arounds to complete replacement. If you had already recently resolved the tension strap issue, the damage was apparently already done and the drive gears were barely engaging, and finally slipped.

Good luck; this will save you approximately $450. (USD) from the avoidance of purchasing a new drive unit, with nearly the same amount in labor.

Great info, you just saved my ass! Some pictures to clarify what he is talking about.

The motor in the car, you can see the various cables you need to detach:

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c373/RahgBag/4398a8ea.jpg


The bent part is the part that the motor attaches to:

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c373/RahgBag/323ecb3f.jpg

Here you can see some exposed motor gear due to the steel plate not letting the motor close all the way:

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c373/RahgBag/f9331774.jpg

gatr2000
10-23-2012, 06:30 PM
All thanks for the posts i thought this issue had something to do with the trunk lock but i tried it in both positions and the top is still only going back until the lid needs to pop open which it is not...

what's first? no problems until now.

thanks

doddsr
01-13-2013, 05:12 PM
someone PLEASE help? First, my apologies if I am posting this to an incorrect spot. I have searched the forum for assistance, and it can be a bit overwhelming. I have a 96 328i convertible. Vert top didn't work when I purchased it used last year. Learned how to open it manually when we were replacing the rear shocks and springs. Never did get the tonneau cover to lock again. My thought is that is why I have such horrible noises, squeaks and clunks coming from the backend :-). This morning got tired of the noises, so I manually opened the top, re-engaged the motors, checked all fuses (including by the battery), and performed the motor reset per the Millertime DIY video. The tonneau cover lowered completely and locked, but the top never started the "closing" sequence. Now I can't get the tonneau cover to open so I can close the top manually. I wouldn't mind driving with the top down, except it is January and about 40 degrees here in Vegas. I travel for my job, and have to drive to the airport at 4 am on Tuesday, so I would really like to get this top up. Anyone help?

SixFix
09-02-2013, 01:27 PM
Thanks Palomino, this is a great resource!
Unfortunately, I have a problem I haven't seen mentioned by anyone else on any thread.
My top opens and closes fine(I've done the tension strap fix and replaced tonneau struts), but the rear unseals itself just as the front is latching down and locking into place.
Here's a video that shows what I'm talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXVH3X11hmQ&feature=youtu.be
I appreciate any help or advice that anyone can share :)

emccallum
02-19-2014, 11:28 AM
A big thanks to this thread! I just got a 99 m3. Top is in near perfect condition, but it needed some assistance going up and down. Top banged lid, wouldn't go into compartment all the way, etc. With the help of this thread I was able to reinforce the tension strap with some bungee cord (curious how long this will last) and replaced the lid struts. Works perfect now. All fixed for less than $50!

makeitsnap
05-21-2014, 04:19 PM
Nice tread and a good read so far!

small question for you guys that I haven't been able to solve myself. I have a 94 vert with factory hardtop. Since a few weeks whenever I place the hardtop back on the left red handle to secure the hardtop to the body hasn't been able to close complete to the right position. I think the mount is slightly bent/croocked, is there an easy fix for this? The other red lever closes just fine as does the front mount.

donley
07-04-2014, 01:11 AM
so I have reset and straightened the motors and the plate and now the top went open all the way and first and when it fits to open it to store the top it does nothing. ..Any ideas?

claydogg
11-08-2014, 10:28 AM
Here's a tough one...

After disengaging the full-auto convertible motors in my 323i, and giving my wrist a workout turning the windshield socket with an allen wrench, the soft-top refuses to fold back. Specifically, the right half of the soft-top frame which appears to be stuck in a locked position. The left side is flexible, with the frame hinges properly bent, and the hook that grasps onto the windshield is open. In contrast, the right side is rigid, with the frame hinges locked straight, and the grasping hook is folded closed (as if it were locked into the windshield). Any idea what's keeping the right side locked, and how I can release it?



UPDATE: I figured it out. I'll give a detailed explanation so that anyone stuck in the same situation will hopefully benefit from my experience. I removed the plastic cover from the fully-automatic top motor on my convertible soft-top, and found the problemm... As with all fully-auto 323i convertibles, when the motor inside the soft-top breaks, you have to MANUALLY lock/unlock, and raise/lower the soft-top to and from the windshield. This is done by inserting an allen-wrench into a socket on the motor itself - found under a small panel on the roof were the soft-top meets the windshield - and turning the socket enough times to justify buying an electric screwdriver. Turning the motor's socket left or right will either loosen or tighten a tension cable that runs through the inside of the soft-top, locking or releasing the soft-top's latches from the windshield, as well as locking or releasing the hinges of the soft-top frame (keeping it stiff when up, and flexible when down).

To cut to the chase... while turning the manual socket of the top motor, the tension cable inside the soft-top quietly snapped and tangled inside. The result was the left half of my soft-top frame stuck in the top up and locked position, while the right half was stuck in the top down and unlocked flexible position.

I have 3 options...

1. Salvage a tension cable from another 323i convertible soft-top (BMW doesn't sell just the tension cable alone).

2. Replace the entire soft-top motor system (new is $700-800, according to my mechanic).

3. Find someone to convert the fully-automatic soft-top into a semi-automatic soft-top (by replacing the top motor system with the manual version built for the previous convertible model). I have read enough mixed reviews about this option in these forums to shy away from it.

Anyway, I hope this helps anyboy who finds themselves in the same position.

Benson6102
02-19-2016, 10:14 PM
Hi Steve here I have a 1999e36 and roof won't go down switch has blinking red light and it makes a noise like cogs aren't sinker I looked at motors and the one in 1/4 panel is not in gaged and can't get it to go back in can you help .

DannyBoy909
11-05-2016, 02:28 AM
Hi Steve here I have a 1999e36 and roof won't go down switch has blinking red light and it makes a noise like cogs aren't sinker I looked at motors and the one in 1/4 panel is not in gaged and can't get it to go back in can you help .
Hey dude how did u fix? I think I am having similar probs

Sent from my SM-G360T using Tapatalk

Jimmie Jazz
11-05-2016, 01:28 PM
Hi DannyBoy909,
If you've determined that the motor mounted in the 1/4 panel is disengaged, try pushing it in to engage it. Push in forcefully until it clicks into place. You may need to 'run' the motor a little to get the teeth to line up if it won't engage the first time.

Jimmie Jazz

pat101
03-18-2019, 05:07 PM
Hi, e36 vert 1999, tonneaq and roof motors word. From reset position the toneau comes up, the top comes up until the front motor is supposed to engage and finish closing. But the front M1 motor does not come on. Note: I had to manually close the top previously. And manually open it. I may have manually opened it to some incorrect position and I am not correctly engaging a microswitch?? Please help.

hockeyjerk1
03-27-2019, 12:15 PM
I picked up this beast for $300, I'm not sure I can save it other than the wheels, it has a title problem and no key and had been sitting for 4 years648354

Mikewithcars
05-07-2019, 12:59 PM
Looking for some help. The fully automatic soft top on my E36 does not come down. I bought the car sight unseen and when I lifted the rear seat I saw the emergency lever was already pulled up. I put the top down manually and re-engaged all the motors. I tried the reset procedure with holding the top button down and turning key position to #2 but nothing happened. The lid motor did not grab and shut the lid down. Also I hear some kind of weird noise like its trying to grab on to something but nothing happens.

Please help

drag
01-19-2022, 01:03 AM
Was looking at my hardtop and the contact was broken inside the hardtop that connects to the body and the lights in the hardtop. Does anyone know if there’s any parts available? I tried to look through the parts catalog several times and doesn’t seem to show any diagram. Available with parts for the hard top any help is appreciated

Thanks