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Thread: Convertible motor gears knocking

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Convertible motor gears knocking

    After resyncing my convertible top motors, neither top nor cover will move. One of the motors (I think the cover motor) sounds like the gears are not connecting. It makes a rapid knocking noise like the gears are close but not engaged. I have seen some posts where the plate the motor mounts on could be bent but I cannot find a DIY description for what to do to get to the plate.

    Any ideas on diagnosis or remedies would be appreciated!

    Ted

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    98 M3 vert, 05 X5
    Quote Originally Posted by stryker14 View Post
    After resyncing my convertible top motors, neither top nor cover will move. One of the motors (I think the cover motor) sounds like the gears are not connecting. It makes a rapid knocking noise like the gears are close but not engaged. I have seen some posts where the plate the motor mounts on could be bent but I cannot find a DIY description for what to do to get to the plate.

    Any ideas on diagnosis or remedies would be appreciated!

    Ted
    The tonneau cover motor is mounted on the left side wall of the trunk, behind the carpeting. When disengaged, the motor plate swings toward you/the trunk. To re-engage, press it firmly back in place so the plate is vertical. You might have to slightly adjust the position of the gear teeth for it to fit cleanly in place. If you haven't already viewed Millertimes' video on resyncing the top, do a search and watch -- it covers everything you need to know.
    Shizzam!

  3. #3
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    I have resynced many times so i am familiar with the process, the motor is making the knocking noise and I have fully seated it after disconnecting it. No gears are showing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    some have removed motor and straighten the plate that the lever the cable is attached to go's to. When you remove you will understand what I am talking about, there are four nuts you have to remove and unplug cable to remove motor. You have to kiinda pry it out and in. Takes about 20 min to remove and re-install. If that doesn't work then a new motor is answer. Mine was motor, it clanked and the plate straighten did not work for me but many have said it work for them, don't know how long it lasted though. Good Luck!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorkymood1 View Post
    some have removed motor and straighten the plate that the lever the cable is attached to go's to. When you remove you will understand what I am talking about, there are four nuts you have to remove and unplug cable to remove motor. You have to kiinda pry it out and in. Takes about 20 min to remove and re-install. If that doesn't work then a new motor is answer. Mine was motor, it clanked and the plate straighten did not work for me but many have said it work for them, don't know how long it lasted though. Good Luck!
    I had good luck straightening out the plate. Once you remove the motor it's obvious if the plate is bent and not allowing the motor gear to completely engage. No idea how long it will last, but I can imagine the plate could be reinforced if it bends back.

  6. #6
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    I have the same issue right now, but I have been driving another vehicle and put my vert in storage but got it out last night. I will re-sync the motors to see if that fixes it. If it does not then I will make another post.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    328IC,Ferrari 308GT4

    Same Clunking for me today..and worse..

    I have done the sync a bunch of times with good results. I noticed my lid not closing fully with the top down,
    so I tried to sync today, and have the clunking noise on the lid motor. Reading the service manual says it has a hall
    sensor which reads the number of revolutions needed to close the lid.....
    But I removed the motor and mounting assemble to run it without connecting
    it to the cables or lid. It ran past the stop point and made grinding noises...
    These motors are expensive. I didn't notice the bent plate but will take it out again and look closely.
    I figured to just get the top up which is when I screwed up the front latching
    mechanism. I cranked the wrong way and unwound the latching drive cables.
    I managed to wind them up and crimp the drive ends back on...but cables do not seem to be available separately...
    Oh well, let me know if you find a solution to the grinding lid issue.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    If it is not the bent plate then it's the motor, I had to buy another motor, (used) and the motor tighten the tonneau cover so tight it would not reopen. I ended up replacing the cvm also. When re-sync it now closes and starts opening, but stops after 6 inches and then continues another 6" and so on. Believe I need cvm programed but it's winter here now, so will go to dealer in spring. Good Luck!

    FOOT NOTE: For the cost of tonneau motor, it might be worth a trip to dealer to have diag done, now that I think about it, it could be cvm not reading hall sensor.
    Good Luck!
    Last edited by dorkymood1; 01-09-2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9
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    Pictures Straightening Drive Motor Mount

    Seeing is believing, this is soft POT metal so I took extra care
    straightening it. Grease makes gears look damaged, but not really so.
    Photo 1:The bend is very obvious when you look at the plate, it has a bend inwards toward the latch. Click on thumbnail to see how severe the bend is.
    Photo 2: I used a steel file to spread pressure evenly across the motor housing as it is plastic and leverage was needed, but not enough to break anything. I used c clamps and did this very gently.
    A little at a time from both sides.
    Photo not shown is using a small plate between the latch and motor to brace and straighten the inside edge.
    Photo 3: Straightened and latched, a big difference.

    I ran out of daylight so I didn't get to run the sync procedure, but am pretty sure the bent plate had a lot to do with the skipping and crunching.

    I may very well leave some kind of clamp on the motor after sync and just
    remove it if I have to go to emergency manual again.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Nice job! I just used a big adjustable wrench which got the job done, but still left the plate wavy.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I still am considering to put a clamp on it. as it is too expensive to replace,
    and a used one is probably no better than what I have. I think part of my problem was that the release cable was too tight, and after a few sync's
    the motor was popping out when I hit a bump in the road. and sync
    so often seems to put a strain on the pot metal...
    I am in Miami and I will say the top has gone up an down 400 times during the last 18 months.....absolutely great reliability when you think of it.
    I would still like to see someone's solution to the cable latches for the front motor.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    chicago
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    BMW 328i convertible
    thank you for your advice. it's really works! I did exactly what you show in your pics & now it's working.

  13. #13
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    Palomino:
    You might consider sticking these for those that run up to this problem as one method to straighten the plate which seems to bend often.

  14. #14
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    bmw 325is
    I had all the same symptoms, took a c clamp to both sides of the hinge to align the gears and voile it worked. Autotop motor started working and the tounneau cover fired up no issues so far. However one of the cables that keeps the tounneau cover snapped.

  15. #15
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    I think the root cause to this problem is the tonneau [boot] cover has lift shocks that 'assist' the top and when they 'go bad' they cause the motor to have to work too hard for the design of the metal frame, which once the frame is over-torqued, causes the latching area to deform. This creates the 'gap' that allows the gears to skip [resulting in the grinding gear thumping sound].

    I plan to replace my tonneau cover lift shocks and attempting to 'flatten-straighten' the cover motor latch.

  16. #16
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    Do you have a part number or parts fiche for the tonneau cover struts? I am doing a refresh on the convertible top and I want to make sure everything is in good working order.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft9ii View Post
    Do you have a part number or parts fiche for the tonneau cover struts? I am doing a refresh on the convertible top and I want to make sure everything is in good working order.

    Its Part #5 on RealOEM [http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...49&hg=41&fg=55]

    Ive seen them for about 70 bucks a pair on Ebay.

  18. #18
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    Thanks! Just to be sure, is this the same part on all verts? I have the fully automatic top with 1998 M3
    Last edited by shaft9ii; 11-03-2013 at 11:15 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft9ii View Post
    Thanks! Just to be sure, is this the same part on all verts? I have the fully automatic top with 1998 M3
    Im not sure about the automatic tops, however from what I can determine, the main difference in the full vs semi tops is the full latches itself in the front, where the semi- requires the operator to manually unlatch and raise the top to the 'tension' point.

    I believe the parts for the tonneau cover shocks are the same.

  20. #20
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    Gotcha, thanks very much! I need to replace my tonneau motor but I don't want to just have the same thing happen with the previous to the next one.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft9ii View Post
    Gotcha, thanks very much! I need to replace my tonneau motor but I don't want to just have the same thing happen with the previous to the next one.

    Im in the same boat and plan on doing the struts first. (too cold here to lower the top so ... wait til spring I guess).

  22. #22
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    Yeah, I was able to get my hands on a new (to me) tonneau motor for 25 bucks (SCORE!) so I want to make sure all the rest of the system is up to snuff before putting that puppy in. struts are on order from autohausaz for 37 bucks a piece, oem brand, with free shipping.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft9ii View Post
    Yeah, I was able to get my hands on a new (to me) tonneau motor for 25 bucks (SCORE!) so I want to make sure all the rest of the system is up to snuff before putting that puppy in. struts are on order from autohausaz for 37 bucks a piece, oem brand, with free shipping.

    Thats a great price (As far as I know) for the OEM. They want 70 bucks for the chinese ones on Ebay. Im going to autozhauz thanks!

  24. #24
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    Yeah, I practically felt like I was stealing, I got it from PicknPull, which is a self service junk yard if you're not familiar. They even warrantied it for a year! For Autohaus all you need to do is spend 75 bucks total and you get free shipping, I've been pretty happy with them.

  25. #25
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    hey guys,

    so after reading this I'm still a little confused as to how to solve the thumbing knocking sound coming from the gears. Here's a vid of the noise I'm getting...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl-mDyzicVg

    Any ideas what to do to solve it. It was working perfectly just before this vid :-(

    - - - Updated - - -

    ah ok. So I reread the post and I figured out what you're meaning now. lol

    So I disengaged the gears and dropped out the hood lid gear. For those looking to do this, I found it a bit of a pain to get off so practice patience with it. Once off I saw that I too have the bent plate (see attached image).

    I bent this back straight and reengaged the gears and everything works as normal. So hopefully that'll stop the cause of the annoying thudding of the gears trying to lock into place.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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