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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

I’ve done some readings and watching videos but still unable to find the answer and my car is jacked up outside with coolant drained during rainy season so here I am seeking extra help.

About a month ago, my roof didn’t want to close completely all of a sudden so upon doing some research I decided wiring along the elbow latch might need a repair. The symptom was that the hook latch could get pretty close to the windshield like about an inch but not completely shut then stalling motor whining noise would come before stopping. That time, I was able to push down the roof a bit (I probably shouldn’t have) to fully close. Anyhow, I knew a couple brown/light blue wires in the trunk also needed a repair so I chose to attack the wires in the trunk before getting to the convertible wiring harness. Strangely, and maybe coincidentally, once the trunk wiring was done, the convertible top started working properly and I didn’t end up looking into it further. Since then, I’ve opened and closed numerous times with no issues until today. I’ve tried closing it manually because it’s been raining but it won’t work.

Here are a couple photos I took a month ago when it happened the first time.

Any ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 

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You can open and close the hooks with the key found under the back seat on the flap motor.
Pop out the cover plug on the latch motor up front. Insert the key and turn turn turn turn until the latches are fully open or closed. The two should close in tandem or they won't work. If they are not synced it probably has a stripped or cracked latch arm.
There are instructions in the forum about that.
Good luck,
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can open and close the hooks with the key found under the back seat on the flap motor.
Pop out the cover plug on the latch motor up front. Insert the key and turn turn turn turn until the latches are fully open or closed. The two should close in tandem or they won't work. If they are not synced it probably has a stripped or cracked latch arm.
There are instructions in the forum about that.
Good luck,
Bob
Thanks for your input but the roof won’t even fully close manually. It’d be nice to be able to close it so I can just work on it when I have enough time. I’m currently working on cooling system and once it’s done, gonna try removing the panel to assess the latches and go from there.

Meanwhile, if anyone knows how to close it for the time being, please do let me know! Thanks.
 

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If you don't do the steps for manual opening and closing it may go mostly down or up but it will jammed and may break those rear sliding slot panels that cover the wires (personal experience). The way to manually open is to 1. release the front latches, the will open and keep turning until you feel resistance (opening mid latches) 2. Make sure the cargo latch in trunk(boot) is in the rear position (less trunk space) 3. Then pull back the front of the top until the rear window lifts up.
4. Turn the flap motor under the back seat while pushing button to unlock vert lid
5. Lift the the lid up to clear the window.
6.Then pull the rear window forward until it stops.
7. Then return to the front pulling the whole top assembly back into the compartment.
8. Return to the flap motor and turn to lock it

Personally I would do that first to unjam everything that might be forced

Then to close,
1. unlock the lid at the flap motor
2. Pull it up. Lift up entire top assembly until it stops
3. Drop the lid down
4. Let the rear window fall into place holding the rest of the top.
5. Pull the rest of the top forward (hopefully it will do this because the mid latches are still open)
6. Make sure the latches are both open facing forward.
7a. If they are in sync forward, let the vert front rest (for me 2 in away from closed)
7b. If they are wonky, search repair/replace latches on the vert sticky post. Follow the instructions exactly to use a long 5mm(?) Torx key to move that latch on its own (carefully: stresses very old rubber)
8. Once latches are in sync facing forward turn the middle front latch motor manually to close the top the rest of the way, and then it will set latches and tighten lid. Don't overtighten. Very old abs plastic.
9. Lock the vert lid down at the flap motor.
A recent discovery of my own is that if I put silicone paste on the moving parts of the top, it moves smoother and doesn't jam anymore. Who'd a thunk it.

Hopefully all of these annoying steps will give you a slightly less leaky car. (But it is a convertible)
Bob

Proud owner of a 2001 330ci that I stupidly gifted to my 17yo daughter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you don't do the steps for manual opening and closing it may go mostly down or up but it will jammed and may break those rear sliding slot panels that cover the wires (personal experience). The way to manually open is to 1. release the front latches, the will open and keep turning until you feel resistance (opening mid latches) 2. Make sure the cargo latch in trunk(boot) is in the rear position (less trunk space) 3. Then pull back the front of the top until the rear window lifts up.
4. Turn the flap motor under the back seat while pushing button to unlock vert lid
5. Lift the the lid up to clear the window.
6.Then pull the rear window forward until it stops.
7. Then return to the front pulling the whole top assembly back into the compartment.
8. Return to the flap motor and turn to lock it

Personally I would do that first to unjam everything that might be forced

Then to close,
1. unlock the lid at the flap motor
2. Pull it up. Lift up entire top assembly until it stops
3. Drop the lid down
4. Let the rear window fall into place holding the rest of the top.
5. Pull the rest of the top forward (hopefully it will do this because the mid latches are still open)
6. Make sure the latches are both open facing forward.
7a. If they are in sync forward, let the vert front rest (for me 2 in away from closed)
7b. If they are wonky, search repair/replace latches on the vert sticky post. Follow the instructions exactly to use a long 5mm(?) Torx key to move that latch on its own (carefully: stresses very old rubber)
8. Once latches are in sync facing forward turn the middle front latch motor manually to close the top the rest of the way, and then it will set latches and tighten lid. Don't overtighten. Very old abs plastic.
9. Lock the vert lid down at the flap motor.
A recent discovery of my own is that if I put silicone paste on the moving parts of the top, it moves smoother and doesn't jam anymore. Who'd a thunk it.

Hopefully all of these annoying steps will give you a slightly less leaky car. (But it is a convertible)
Bob

Proud owner of a 2001 330ci that I stupidly gifted to my 17yo daughter.
Thanks for the instruction on how to operate the top manually! After my cooling system job was done, I opened the top and tried to see the windowshied latches current condition but couldn’t tell. And AGAIN, when I tried to close it back down, IT GOT CLOSED but there seems to be metal grinding sound and it did not sound good at all.

I went and bought some bolts and nuts to strengthen the windshield latches then bond the whole plastic part on the latches explained by taylor192. I’m gonna get on it tomorrow and hopefully the problem gets addressed afterwards.

Can you think of other possibility as to why it’s behaving the way it is? Could it be a motor issue? or Hydraulic pump issue?
 

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Hers was $2000usd last yr. 107,000 miles and beautiful exterior.
Major water damage from clogged drains with rust, thick clusters of mold, and a swimming pool in the wheel well.
Took 50hrs of cleaning and electronics work but it all worked out.
Now she owns the best driving car I have ever owned. Brat.
 

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There are 4 places it could grind from. Where in the car is it grinding? Front, backseat trunk or hinges on each side?
To definitely know use a long screwdriver pressed to your ear to pinpoint it.
Cheap stethoscope.
Oh and silicone paste on all the hydraulic lift arms. The fronts were leaky and dry and once I did that the roof opened and closed without nudging.
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There are 4 places it could grind from. Where in the car is it grinding? Front, backseat trunk or hinges on each side?
To definitely know use a long screwdriver pressed to your ear to pinpoint it.
Cheap stethoscope.
Oh and silicone paste on all the hydraulic lift arms. The fronts were leaky and dry and once I did that the roof opened and closed without nudging.
Bob
Grinding was definitely coming from the front. I had a neighbour who owns a Mini saw me working on my car outside and he brought a bmw compatible obd2 scanner and found 3 fault codes on convertible top:

1) 43 CVM Drive cowl fault during unlocking
2) 44 CVM Drive cowl fault during unlocking
3) 53 CVM Relay convertible top drive open circuit

Any guidance, Bob?
 

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Break out your #10 and 15 torx and start dissecting the latch and motor assembly.
There is some old plastic motor gears, a motor that should pull the latches, two screws two bent bars with more aged plastic.
Those are the repairable bars you described.
The plastic cogs are cheap and the made in China ones are serviceable.

FYI the latch bars on Amazon for cheap are threaded wrong and eventually strip.
I bought a whole used latch assembly and used my old repaired latch bars.
If you are made of money, the OEM latches are $500 each. One of the latches has a magnet that you need to transfer over to the replacement to activate the sensor.
So dissect away.
Follow the directions on the vert sticky.
Whatever pieces are breaking off, worn down or spinning when they should be cranking will need to be replaced.
Almost there... or at least until the next sensor in line flips you the bird.
Bob
Oh and fair warning, you are taking car advice from an RN. But nurses fix people so BMWs are easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Break out your #10 and 15 torx and start dissecting the latch and motor assembly.
There is some old plastic motor gears, a motor that should pull the latches, two screws two bent bars with more aged plastic.
Those are the repairable bars you described.
The plastic cogs are cheap and the made in China ones are serviceable.

FYI the latch bars on Amazon for cheap are threaded wrong and eventually strip.
I bought a whole used latch assembly and used my old repaired latch bars.
If you are made of money, the OEM latches are $500 each. One of the latches has a magnet that you need to transfer over to the replacement to activate the sensor.
So dissect away.
Follow the directions on the vert sticky.
Whatever pieces are breaking off, worn down or spinning when they should be cranking will need to be replaced.
Almost there... or at least until the next sensor in line flips you the bird.
Bob
Oh and fair warning, you are taking car advice from an RN. But nurses fix people so BMWs are easy.
So the convertible top is no longer functioning and would not open at all. At this point, I’ve already bought stuff for the latch repair so I’ll try that route first and if that for some reason does not work still, I’ll order new latch parts on eBay.

Supposedly, according to some convertible owners on this forum in the past verified the quality of latch parts in the following link: Roof Lock Latch Parts 54347031361-2 L+R for Opel Astra G BMW E46 Convertible CC | eBay

At this point, I’m hoping the issue will just go away after my repairing attempt. That being said, I won’t be able to work on my car for another few days so I’ll keep things posted then!
 
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