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Thread: 1999 E36 Convertible 323ic Tonneau Cover closes on bunched headliner

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2023
    Location
    Bradenton, Florida
    Posts
    4
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 323ic E36

    1999 E36 Convertible 323ic Tonneau Cover closes on bunched headliner

    Hi. I'm new to Bimmerforums. My 1999 BMW 323ic convertible bought new for my wife's 1998 Christmas present. Just started having problems with the fully automatic top. The top is synchronized, the worn out stretch tension straps I've repaired but the tonneau cover is prevented from closing fully because the headliner is not folding out of the way on the way down.

    I did check that the curved metal rod located in the front of the headliner is secure and curved outward in the right position. The two non-stretch tension straps it is attached to though are folded inward in the wrong position as the top down mechanism begins. If left alone on the top down procedure the headliner hangs up on the storage compartment. If I push on the slightly stiff straps they flip into the outward correct folding mode and no hang up of the headliner and all goes well. How do I get the straps along with the curved metal rod get into the correct position for folding on the way down without my help? Thank you if someone can help me figure this one out. Tut Monson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Aberdeen, NC (yes, again)
    Posts
    23,714
    My Cars
    E39M5, E500 4WD
    Welcome to the forum, Tut. Sorry to have to share this with you, but:

    Convertibles suck. Expect a life of misery. If you put it in the "closed" position, and disconnect the switch, at least you'll only have to deal with leaks and water in the floor and flapping noise at speed, and horrible chassis flex. E36 automatic convertible tops are pretty much the worst of the worst.

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, owner of German Motors of Aberdeen
    BMWCCA 274412
    German Motors is hiring ! https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...1#post30831471

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2023
    Location
    Bradenton, Florida
    Posts
    4
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 323ic E36
    Ok bmwdirtracer. I guess we know where you stand on E36, or other model convertibles. The thing is Shirley does not race but she has enjoyed the car for going on 24 years without serious problems except for the end of 2022. Fortunately I have been able to remedy most of the issues. This garaged car looks and drives pretty much like new. I did notice one other problem relating to this particular issue though. After I push the straps up and out and start the top going down properly folding and the top folds down into it's storage with the tonneau cover closed flat I saw that the cover is locked down on the passenger side but not on the drivers side. I guess the locking mechanism needs some adjustment. As a Master Auto Tech maybe you had come across these two issues. Much appreciated if you could add anything here. Thanks, Tut
    Last edited by Tut Monson; 02-22-2023 at 02:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2023
    Location
    Bradenton, Florida
    Posts
    4
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 323ic E36
    Oh by the way. I'm new to this. The thread starter on the prior first page shows: Towed: 1999 E36 BMW 323ic..........etc.

    What does "Towed" mean? Why did they put that there? I did not. At least not intentionally.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    25
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 323iC Orig Ownr
    The problem is the elasticity of the tension strap in that area has failed, so the "bow" portion of the tension strap can't get into the bowed position if the elastic below it doesn't contract like it should. I repaired this using some 1.5" wide elastic I found at a fabric store. I had to glue and staple it in to place (P6000 glue). It took some time, but once the new elastic was in place, the "bow" performed as it should and it pulls the headliner up toward the top, allowing it to clear into the top cover storage area. This weekend (24 years after purchase) I replaced the original tension straps and original top.
    Last edited by Kansas99+323ic; 02-19-2024 at 10:47 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrieta, CA
    Posts
    9,561
    My Cars
    '94 325iC, '08 328i, E93
    Quote Originally Posted by bmwdirtracer View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Tut. Sorry to have to share this with you, but:

    Convertibles suck. Expect a life of misery. If you put it in the "closed" position, and disconnect the switch, at least you'll only have to deal with leaks and water in the floor and flapping noise at speed, and horrible chassis flex. E36 automatic convertible tops are pretty much the worst of the worst.



    It's bad form to tell a guy that has owned a car for 25 years that it sucks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrieta, CA
    Posts
    9,561
    My Cars
    '94 325iC, '08 328i, E93
    This page is for my '94 E36, but yours will be similar. Look up the cross reference to see if it goes to your car (I think it does). You are interested in Item 3. There is a string that is supposed to fold the sides of the top away from the roof structure. You should be able to see the train jumping the tracks here and just fold the material away from the tonneau cover and the roof framing.

    https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/sho...oogle_vignette

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    16,718
    My Cars
    DE-spec E36 328i/M3 cab
    The retracting of the headliner is functions of that metal rod that goes over the full width of the top (above front windows) and the 'fold over center' loops. Also make sure the loops are still attached correctly to the straps.
    1998 BMW M3 3.2 Cabrio • Alpinweiί III on Schwarz • German spec • 1 of 12
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