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Discussion Starter #1
I've been troubleshooting my broken top for a few weeks now and I was wondering if anyone had some insight into what could be the problem.

Top is closed, attempting to open: latches release and the top moves up an inch then times out. INPA shows error 101 tightening frame not completely lifted (also had a 19 switch 'closed' permanently active error but can't recreate that after clearing).

Top is open, attempting to close: Tonneau cover is unlatched but no top movement. Even if I manually raise the cover while someone else is holding the button, no top movement.

I've checked continuity on the CVM connector, everything looks good. I visually inspected the cable at the driver's side head position and no fraying. I can watch real time microswitch and voltages in INPA but I don't have an exact grasp on what switches should be activated when. It looks like they change state, depending on if I'm lowering or raising but not 100% sure what order they should change in. I'm starting to wonder if it's a hydraulic pump issue (could I have damaged it by manually raising and lowering?). Any tips for further toubleshooting?

Press "Open" switch
Windows are lowered
Convertible top is unlocked at scuttle
----- stops working ----------
Tensioning bow is raised
Convertible top compartment lid is unlocked
Convertible top compartment lid is opened
Tensioning bow is lowered
Convertible top is lowered into convertible top compartment
Convertible top compartment lid is closed
Convertible top compartment lid is locked
2 seconds waiting time, the side windows are then closed

Press "Close" switch
Windows are lowered
Convertible top compartment lid is unlocked
------- stops working ---------
Convertible top compartment lid is opened
Convertible top is lifted out of convertible top compartment
Tensioning bow is raised
Convertible top compartment lid is closed
Convertible top compartment lid is locked
Tensioning bow is lowered
Locking mechanism pulls convertible top onto scuttle and locks
2 seconds waiting time, the side windows are then closed
 

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I would guess the pump too. Someone else posted screen shots of the steps the top goes through in INPA. Hopefully you can find it. I replied, so maybe search for my username and INPA.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would guess the pump too. Someone else posted screen shots of the steps the top goes through in INPA. Hopefully you can find it. I replied, so maybe search for my username and INPA.
I searched but couldn't find a thread with the top order. I'll search some more and see if I can find it later. Is there a way to verify the pump is working? I see some hydraulic information in INPA but it's pretty cryptic. Would it be as simple as measuring voltage on the pump to see if it's getting a signal to be activated?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Searched this forum for "INPA" and found it in the first 5 results. Come on man.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpost.php?p=16531886&postcount=5
Haha, I found that thread weeks ago and used it to get the real time sensor values. Very helpful but definitely doesn't tell you the switch sequences during opening/closing of the top. I do have a service manual at home that I'll dust off and see if there's more specifics on troubleshooting the system.
 

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Just so you know, if you remove the ignition key once roof is un-latched or waiting to latch the system will release hydrolic pressure in the system and you'll then able to open/close your softop.

But you will need to start and finish by using the softops contol buttons! OK?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just so you know, if you remove the ignition key once roof is un-latched or waiting to latch the system will release hydrolic pressure in the system and you'll then able to open/close your softop.

But you will need to start and finish by using the softops contol buttons! OK?
Thanks, that's the way I've been working the top for the last few weeks. I didn't know about releasing the pressure at first, I was just releasing the latch motor under the rear seat. Do you think manipulating the top with pressure in the system can damage the hydraulics?
 

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save your money

I won't know that it would or wouldn't damage anything but you've followed BMW instruction which in the event of a problem with the roof you have that option but it's again a BMW way by removing the key to lower or raise the roof by removing the pressure in the hydrolic system!
 

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Haha, I found that thread weeks ago and used it to get the real time sensor values. Very helpful but definitely doesn't tell you the switch sequences during opening/closing of the top. I do have a service manual at home that I'll dust off and see if there's more specifics on troubleshooting the system.
I don't know if those are the correct values for sure as I indicated the sensors may be a little off since at the time I did that I had like half the roof harness out of the car and detached some of the sensors.

I posted that for someone to show that you can gather a lot more data and there were more screens to view.

Anyway, if you have INPA, you can connect it to your car and gather live data as it goes through the top motions. From there you can determine where it stops in sequence and check your values.

INPA also checks the pump too. Fluid temp, I think pressure and status of the pump.

Still don't be fooled it is not a wire. I had one like that where it would stop part way through, I hit the button maybe two or three times and then it would finish the cycle until one day it quit. There is another point where the wire harness breaks and this is down near the base at the first bend. Need to take part of the side cover off to end see the spot but even in my case the wire was not broken in half, broken within the plastic coating on the wire. If jiggled would "arc" and if lucky complete the signal.

I finally had enough of chasing broken wires and went full surgery on a new harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know if those are the correct values for sure as I indicated the sensors may be a little off since at the time I did that I had like half the roof harness out of the car and detached some of the sensors.

I posted that for someone to show that you can gather a lot more data and there were more screens to view.

Anyway, if you have INPA, you can connect it to your car and gather live data as it goes through the top motions. From there you can determine where it stops in sequence and check your values.

INPA also checks the pump too. Fluid temp, I think pressure and status of the pump.

Still don't be fooled it is not a wire. I had one like that where it would stop part way through, I hit the button maybe two or three times and then it would finish the cycle until one day it quit. There is another point where the wire harness breaks and this is down near the base at the first bend. Need to take part of the side cover off to end see the spot but even in my case the wire was not broken in half, broken within the plastic coating on the wire. If jiggled would "arc" and if lucky complete the signal.

I finally had enough of chasing broken wires and went full surgery on a new harness.
I've manually manipulated the top and watched the sensors and potentiometer change values in INPA. It SEEMS to be hydraulic related just because I can hear the valve solenoid click when it's ready to raise the tensioning bow but no movement. I was hoping that if I lifted the top manually that I could get it to continue raising or lowering which would indicate an individual valve or sensor but that never worked. I also went into the section in INPA where you can activate the valves and hydraulic pump relay and I can hear clicking of the solenoids but still no movement. I'll inspect the wiring section you mentioned, it still could be some strange electrical issue that I'm missing and hopefully there's a frayed wire there. If not, I'll have to find a way to determine if the hydraulic pump is bad (there's some kind of hydraulic pressure test screen in another window but it's in Hexadecimal and I have no idea what the translation would be to get diagnostic values from it). Thanks for the tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just wanted to post a followup for anyone who has a similar problem in the future. The hydraulic pump relay turned out to be bad. I checked the voltage on the pump and nothing. The fuse was good in the glove box and voltage was on the relay. When I attempted to open the top, I could hear and feel the relay clicking but no voltage on the output. I took the relay apart and used a small screwdriver to clean the contacts off, reinstalled the relay and success! Ordered one from ECS anyway. Thanks for everyone's help.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Here's the steps I used to track down the top not fully lowering or raising.

1. Manually manipulated the top lowering and raising while viewing the sensor values in INPA to verify that each one toggled when appropriate.
2. Attempted to activate the hydraulic solenoid and valves in INPA (be very careful, if you activate the wrong solenoid while the top is in the wrong state you could probably break something).
3. Verified the voltage at the hydraulic pump wasn't present while operating the top.
- my symptoms seemed to indicate that the electric motor was operating correctly (window latches released, top moves up an inch).
- INPA also indicated successful sensor function by showing the Relay pump-activation under the valves window going black.

  • verification consisted of removing pump from trunk/driver side and connecting a DMM to black(+) and brown(gnd) terminals on the underside of the unit.
  • close trunk and prop DMM on rear window.
  • operate top, confirm that 12V present/not present.
4. Once voltage was confirmed not present, I checked the fuses in the fuse box to confirm they weren't blown (fuse 46).

5. Then I measured the voltage on the hydraulic pump relay (located next to pump in trunk driver side).

  • connected a DMM between pin 2(red/white +) and pin 4(brown gnd).
  • 12V was present which confirmed the line from fuse to relay was good.
  • connected a DMM between pin 6 (black +) and pin 4(brown gnd).
  • closed the trunk and attempted to open the top.
  • No 12V present. This indicated the relay bad since I could hear it clicking on activation.
  • Just to confirm, I connected a DMM to pin 8(black/red +) and 4(brown gnd).
  • 12V was present which indicated CVM signaling relay but relay not passing 12V to pump.
6. Ordered part# 54347025596 which is the hydraulic pump relay.
7. I was bored at work so I removed the relay, it has a green housing with some tabs on the bottom. You can take a small screwdriver and gently pry the top off (tabs on left and right of green housing).

Once the top is removed you'll see a large copper coil. The contact that needs to be cleaned is on the side of the relay, you can find it by pressing the silver tab (it's the only part that moves when the coil is energized). You can't really see the contacts themselves but a small flat head screwdriver or a pin will work to scrape away where the metal tab makes connection to the other terminal.


Here's the wiring diagram for the hydraulic unit (Convertible top drive M101).
 

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I'm glad you were able to isolate the relay. In our experience, these relays fail quite rarely. If the E46 hydro unit (pump, p/n 54347025595) had a motor with higher current draw, then I would recommend swapping relays every 5-10 years. Based on our experience so far, that is not necessary.

Note that the relay might be getting pitted on the contacts from arcing that is caused by higher current draw from the pump motor. In some cases on verts with larger pump motors, the relays can also spot weld themselves closed, making the pump run until the motor burns out. I am not aware of the latter problem on the E46, but you may want to be alert for a few weeks.

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm glad you were able to isolate the relay. In our experience, these relays fail quite rarely. If the E46 hydro unit (pump, p/n 54347025595) had a motor with higher current draw, then I would recommend swapping relays every 5-10 years. Based on our experience so far, that is not necessary.

Note that the relay might be getting pitted on the contacts from arcing that is caused by higher current draw from the pump motor. In some cases on verts with larger pump motors, the relays can also spot weld themselves closed, making the pump run until the motor burns out. I am not aware of the latter problem on the E46, but you may want to be alert for a few weeks.

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't get shorted out. Lead time on a replacement is 5 weeks so I'll be using this one for a while.
 
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