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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my batwings are still operating but the drivers one is very weak. Last year I reinforced it with a leather patch, so it still works and close but one of the 3 anchor points ripped off.
So I'm planning for maintenance and, possibily, upgrade.

My wires are still ok, but giving the fact I'll dirt my hand I would change it with a brand new one as read there and suggested by theriddle.

but my "real" problem in not the wires, is the plastic "flaps" that are broken. So...why don't try another material?
Here's the response I gave myself:

925232


If I have chance to go and keep the new wire (covid restrictions) this week I'm planning to make an upgrade.

I'd like to test another improvement in wires connections to the "flap"...but I'll update you after I further investigate.

So, my question is: there are any cons to use aluminium sheets, 2mm tickness?

Cheaper, stronger than plastic, still quite flexible, better resistance in thermal excursion through years...
I can't find any cons except being careful to accurately soft botders to avoid that it will cut the inner tissue.
Suggestions?
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
do you think the plastic original one bends somehow opening and closing?
 

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I've seen some one else do this on YouTube with 4mm perspex and it worked so I dont see why 2mm aluminium wouldn't :) i just bought a replacement kit as my drivers side corner cracked right at the anchor mount. im interested to see how this turns out mate :)
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll keep you updated.
I realized that My OEM one broke because the OEM wire is somehow too short, maybe due to regulations of soft top mechanism? I don't know. But After removed the plastic I noticed wire is very tight to the metal rings, there was enough room to sit the plastic that was always "in tension".

Using a new plastic that can break again on those point is not a solution for me. The other side starts to break on the same points.
 

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Sofa-king-what
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2,034 Posts
however, keep in mind that plastic has more shape memory than aluminum which will always tend to lose (and not returning to the original) at every slightest stress/bending

as an architect you should know that well...
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Yes, my choose was not casual.
that's what made me think about it.
Memory shape may be what will save them to broke on anchor point.
As a zero cost attempt, it worth a try.
 

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Sofa-king-what
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Memory shape may be what will save them to broke on anchor point.
As a zero cost attempt, it worth a try.
well.. the real problem is the canvas, batwing can be replaced with the right amount of elbow oil, if this solution amplifies the risk of damaging the lining.... 'nuff said...
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Today was the day!
I understood why the plastic latch broke, think is a thing that needs inspection if batwing is still ok.
There is a point of the tip folding when plastic batwing flexes a d slightly curves. In this point is vital that the 2 wires that connect the plastic batwing can move extremely free, instead there will be a lot of tension on the batwing causing them to broke or the wires to break.
The spring on the lowest wire gave a big resistance to the wire because the plastic cover over it "slipped" and fell over the ring.
This plastic tube is mounted with the bolt that connects the spring with soft top assembly, with time this plastic breaks on this point and "fall down" over the ring of the spring were the wire move.
That cause the wire to remain stuck and not moving freely but with a lot of resistance.
Mt right one batwing was in better condition: the plastic cover of the spring was already attached and didn't fell down completely, the wire could still move. Re fixed it to the upper spring ring, we'll see if it will help last more.

The left batwing was completely rotten: the wire remained completely stuck on the spring due to the plastic cover over it tha fell down and stopped the wire to move.

This batwing is now swapped with aluminum one.

Here's a pic made during the routing of the new wire,2mm after I repaired the spring plastic cover.

To ensure that the springs won't oppose resistance, I completely cleaned them with anti siliconic then lubed with graphite.
Now the original one (right) and the new one (left) wires can move freely. The plastic covers of the springs was reattached correctly to the top of the spring with the bolt and i lubed the inside of those plastics.

I made pics of the entire process of the new batwing, if someone's interested I'll post them.

925987
 

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2005, E46 Convertible, 330CI M Sport, Mystic Blue, 76k Miles
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218 Posts
Please post for future reference. Some of us may need to do the same.
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
here's my little contribution.

due the explanation given before about what causes the plastic and wires to break, I found that a material that was as flexible as plastic BUT slightly resistant to breaking and that could bend more freely, : tried to make it by aluminium. the fact that it can silghtly bend and adapt to tensions will became a "safety" against breaking.

I used a 1,3mm aluminium sheet, quite thinner than plastic one.
926038


made same dimensions and with the "bending" on the side like the original one.

I wrapped then in in leather: this made it same dimension of plastic one and has 2 functions

1) give area for the next step, wire to pass trought the aluminium and come back on the same side
2) give the "softness" of the original sponge under the soft top interior cloth, not present anymore.

926039


926040



here's the assembly. As you can see, made 2 holes. Bigger one is the exact position whre the original plastic batwing meet the wire, the other is for the new wire to be routed on the same side.


926041


here you can see the underside. the cut in the leather between the 2 holes gave "room" to the wire to avoid unaesthetic patches in relief visible from the soft top inner cloth.
Applied a double-sided adehesive as the original one. Tried with a type used ofr moquettes and carpets, very tenacious and reinforced. Hope It'll work. Anyway, it can be easily swapped.

926042


made slight adjutments to wires to reache the proper lenght/tension
...and jere's the result (with carole king on the background 😂 😅 )


I stupidly didn't make pics of the spring assembly to show the theory explained above, but is quite self-explained.
 

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2005, E46 Convertible, 330CI M Sport, Mystic Blue, 76k Miles
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218 Posts
Brilliant and thanks for sharing. Hopefully I never have to do this but have a reference if I do.
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Brilliant and thanks for sharing. Hopefully I never have to do this but have a reference if I do.
a check-up on the springs, even if the batwings are still ok, worth an inspection to preserve them IMHO ;)
 

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Sofa-king-what
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i add an useful hint

all the metal loops (the ones in which the wire runs) must be oriented in the proper way and especially tightened properly.
if you have them loose the wire will NOT run freely on certain positions, even worse if they are tightened in the wrong orientation.

the spring "compensate" the tension, but is not the culprit of the problem, my dirver's side has been overtensioned (my fault) and is now 5mm longer than the other one, but still works.
the lenght of the wire MUST be correct, with that you'll have no risk on the batwing.

Try to look for my post into the convertible section (dont' remember if just replied or if i've opened a specific discussion), all the lenghts are there also for future refereces.

if you've more question you know how to get in touch with me
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
in mine, was the ring on the spring itself that was "blocked" by the plastic envelope that fell down. there was no way for the wire to move.
only thing, I would have find a 1mm tickness wire, but I wasn't able to online or on shops.
 
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