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The issue I found with the ebay ones are the threading in the plastic block are poorly tapped. This make the screw mechanism significantly harder for the motor to turn. I am concerned the additional torques needed by the motor to open the latches will strip the plastic gear in motor drive. My attempted remedy was to use a drill with the screw drive to work it back and forth while spraying lithium grease. After about 10 minutes of this the resistance in the threading was 50% less. I think anyone attempting this should compare the torque needed on the old vs. the new. It would suck to put the whole top back together and blow your gear drive on the motor. Just my 2 cents. This weekends project.
 

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Yes, the tapping of the thread is an issue, but I have encountered another worse issue - I received a pair of units with the relative dimensioning between the threads and the metal bar to be off/defective. When installed (if you can even get them to fit at all), this causes high tension between the metal and threaded rod. The screw will be hard to drive and the gap between the position sensors and the plastic block may be wide enough to keep the sensors from detecting position.

I am the middle of an installation. I have spoken to and am working with the vendor (ASI on eBay) on the issue. He has just inspected and sent out replacement units and wants me to return the bad units for analysis. It's been a long hard job figuring how to disassemble, reassemble the whole shebang without much guidance, and it's not over yet, but I must give the vendor credit for being responsive (They have one guy that handles these particular parts. He is easy to contact, friendly, knowledgeable and proactive). Along the way I've learned a few "tricks" to make this job easier. I'll report on those when I'm done, maybe end of next week.
 

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The issue I found with the ebay ones are the threading in the plastic block are poorly tapped. This make the screw mechanism significantly harder for the motor to turn. I am concerned the additional torques needed by the motor to open the latches will strip the plastic gear in motor drive. My attempted remedy was to use a drill with the screw drive to work it back and forth while spraying lithium grease. After about 10 minutes of this the resistance in the threading was 50% less. I think anyone attempting this should compare the torque needed on the old vs. the new. It would suck to put the whole top back together and blow your gear drive on the motor. Just my 2 cents. This weekends project.
I had the same issue with the ones I got off Ebay. I used a lot of grease and installed an allen key on a Dewalt to drive the latch back and forth on the threaded rod. I did this for 5 to 10 minutes, let it cool and then repeated. It made a huge difference and decreased the resistance a lot.
 

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Have them also check the integrity of the threading as mine where poorly done. I would ask that they re-tap the block so you will not have a binding issue with the screw drive shaft.
 

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As suspected... ebay arms where binding and caused motor to snap out of it mount...best bet is fix the ones you have if they are salvageable. Had to epoxy my old ones and put them back in. Lesson learned; the drive gear on the motor is strong!
 

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Discussion Starter #106
As suspected... ebay arms where binding and caused motor to snap out of it mount...best bet is fix the ones you have if they are salvageable. Had to epoxy my old ones and put them back in. Lesson learned; the drive gear on the motor is strong!
That sucks, sorry to hear the eBay arms aren't a good solution.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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The sound of the motor snapping out of the mount scared the crap out of me...I will be on the phone with ebay vendor " Automotive Scientific" these are the guys that are out of Tennessee. I will see what their solution is. At this point I will take my money back and run...

Looks like other members are / or have had issues with their latch solution from this vendor. If you buy a latch arm from ANY vendor make sure the threading torgue needed to move the new arm is at least equal or SLIGHTLY above what the oem arm requires. Not worth the head ache of doing the job twice and potentially damaging other drive components.
 

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I***8217;ve finished replacement of the convertible roof latch levers in my 2001 330cic. It was a rather a long difficult job considering that 1) the original levers I ordered had to be returned for poor manufacturing tolerances and replaced twice, and 2) even though I had considerable help from reading this forum there were times I was flying blind. Here are some notes that may help others:
- When you remove the rubber seal from the front of the top, take extreme care not to tear it at the corner. The seal has slender molded slots at each corner to accommodate tabs at the outer ends of the roof latch ***8220;cover***8221;. The tabs are ***8220;T***8221; shaped with top of the ***8220;T***8221; parallel with the sides of the car. The top of the T is inserted in the rubber molding and holds it captively. To remove the molding, you must stretch it slightly backwards and out to release it from the back top wing of the T, then slide the molding forward to release it from the front wing.
- When replacing the roof latch levers it is immensely easier to remove the entire roof latch assembly from the car and work on it at your workbench. To do this you should first disconnect the back end of what looks like a shock absorber strut that runs from the outside end of the roof latch assembly back toward the first hinge on the roof. Manually open the roof so that the first segment of the roof is at a 45-90 degree up angle. The rear of the strut is C-clipped to a roof lock lever. Rotate the lock lever so the strut pivot is clear of the big metal roof rails. Remove the C-clip at the pivot. Pop the end of the strut sideways off the pivot. Go back to the front, to the roof latch assembly. Disconnect any electrical connectors on the roof latch assembly. Remove 4 Torx fasteners that attach the roof latch assembly to the roof. Carefully pull the roof latch assembly forward while snaking out the attached strut. You are now ready to comfortably work on the assembly at your workbench.
- Removing the roof latch levers is straight forward. I would advise though, buying a long reach 5 mm hex bit socket that you can chuck in an electric drill. This is very handy for unthreading the drive screws from the latch levers, and you will need this to work the screw drive back and forth on new levers to break them in.
- I bought aftermarket levers from ASI on eBay. They looked durable but the tolerances between the bottom of the metal latch and the screw drive hole were off. I had to return the first set. The second set was marginally better, but workable. Before you install your new levers compare this tolerance to that of your OEM lever that you are replacing. If this tolerance is too far off, the levers will be hard to install in the roof latch assembly and the screw drive turning friction will be way too high.
- Be sure to transfer the metal insert that activates the position sensor, from your old latch lever to your new latch lever. (Note - position sensors exist only on one of the two roof latch assemblies on your vehicle). I had to drill a little recess in the new roof latch (plastic threaded portion) to get the metal insert to fit. Important! ***8211; Drive the roof latch threaded screw until the metal insert is over each of the Hall sensors and make sure the gap is very small (est 1->1.5 mm). If this gap is too large the Hall sensors will not trigger! Once satisfied epoxy in the metal insert.
- Place the roof latch assembly in a vise and drive the threaded screw back and forth with with a long reach 5 mm hex bit socket chucked into your drill. I did this for at least 15 minutes on each roof latch assembly. The threaded screw drive friction goes down as you do this. Continue until the friction seems reasonable, i.e. you can easily manually turn the screw using an allen wrench.
- Lubricate the roof latch assemblies with some white lithium or silicone grease.
- Drive the threaded screw on each roof latch assembly until the metal position insert of the roof latch levers is centered on the ***8220;open***8221; Hall sensor. Only one roof latch assembly will have the Hall sensors. For the one that doesn***8217;t, drive it so the measured position of the latch levers along the threaded screw is the same as for the one the other one.
- Reinstall the roof latch assemblies in the roof in the reverse of the removal, but don***8217;t restore the remainder of the roof until you test operation. Operate the roof using the open, close buttons, but be ready to release them if you notice that the roof latch assemblies do not stop at the Hall sensor open or close position. If all is okay, finish final reassembly.
- If you get into any situation where the hydraulics prevent you from manually moving the roof during the work, look in the owner***8217;s manual for instructions on accessing the emergency hydraulics release button between the back seats.
- If you get into the situation where the control logic is hung up or the rear cover for the roof is locked in place and will not automatically move, reset the logic by holding the open and close buttons simultaneously while turning the key from off to the first ignition position (position 0).
 

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Discussion Starter #109 (Edited)
Good job! and thanks for all the info on the eBay latch repair pieces!

- When replacing the roof latch levers it is immensely easier to remove the entire roof latch assembly from the car and work on it at your workbench. To do this you should first disconnect the back end of what looks like a shock absorber strut that runs from the outside end of the roof latch assembly back toward the first hinge on the roof. Manually open the roof so that the first segment of the roof is at a 45-90 degree up angle. The rear of the strut is C-clipped to a roof lock lever. Rotate the lock lever so the strut pivot is clear of the big metal roof rails. Remove the C-clip at the pivot. Pop the end of the strut sideways off the pivot. Go back to the front, to the roof latch assembly. Disconnect any electrical connectors on the roof latch assembly. Remove 4 Torx fasteners that attach the roof latch assembly to the roof. Carefully pull the roof latch assembly forward while snaking out the attached strut. You are now ready to comfortably work on the assembly at your workbench.
The instructions include these steps, although many seem determined to do the work without removing the latches. :confused:

- If you get into any situation where the hydraulics prevent you from manually moving the roof during the work, look in the owner's manual for instructions on accessing the emergency hydraulics release button between the back seats.
To clarify:
* The release is for the latches that lock the storage lid.
* The hydraulic system will depressurize after 30 secs of the key turned off.
 

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taylor192:

Thanks for your added notes. Your original instructions were my main guide for this project and I thank you - it would have been overwhelming without them. But I must admit that the photos might have been very helpful (thank you photobucket for wiping them) as I did have some difficult in disassembling the top mechanism.

Anyway the job is done and I feel like I have a brand new car again!
 

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I can attest to the fact that the repair latches made and sold by Valea Auto Parts (Turkey) on Ebay are (or can be) of poor quality. Several ebay sellers are actually pushing these same parts - pay attention to the injection points in the molding to give you a clue who makes the parts (more on this later).
They took my money fast, they processed the order fast, and they shipped the part fast (via DHL) - no complaints there. So far so good, but...the first set that I received didn't have the tight threading problem - instead mine were threaded so poorly and loosely that they were effectively useless from the get-go. :ben: The first time I closed the roof (with the cover off thankfully) the passenger side plastic block jumped teeth at the latch engagement point. :censor: I figured this was going to happen because you could rock the plastic nut (a $hit ton) when threaded on the lead screw. For reference my worn factory blocks also rock on the threaded rod. Also noted that the laser/plasma cut steel bracket portion is thinner than OEM and has more kerf, although I don't think this is a problem strength or fit wise. Maybe they don't have the ability to pattern cut the correct thickness, who knows. It is not yellow zinc plated like the pictures. It appears to be plated but with what I don't know. I'll look closer tonight. The plastic material that they used appears to be the same blend/quality used by the OEM (good) - its plenty strong and abrasion resistant. The recess that holds the sensor metal bit isn't deep enough so I had to trim the metal bit - no big deal just be aware a Dremel or bench grinder will be required. Anyway after I ripped them a nasty gram they did promptly send me a replacement set that has just arrive and appears to be of much better quality (strangely). The injection patterns are different and the part appears to match the ebay listings for the opel astra G which has been touted here as a better part. Overall the whole part looks much more "refined." The threads appear more cleanly cut but its hard to tell until its installed. I'll know more after this weekend and I'll update my post, I'm mulling over whether or not I want to take the top back apart for the 3rd time to test these out. :banghead: Right now I'm back to running with the cracked OEM blocks that still have some life left in them (but not much). I cringe everytime I close the roof. :yikes: Thanks this forum for all the great information! :thumbsup:

Best,

-J
 

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A follow up on the Valea latch repair kit. The second set that they sent me arrived quickly and was clearly better quality. But. I went ahead and took the roof back apart and installed the new brackets. This time I had the thread waaaaay to tight problem. Ran the brackets with a drill until the plastic was getting too hot to proceed. Did this several times with no success in having them loosen up. Had white lithium grease applied. So...I started to investigate much more closely. The mechanical engineer was coming out. Here's the truth and the problem. The OEM lead screws are an interesting part. Square thread form, with filleted thread roots (Not ACME). M11 O.D. M9 I.D. with 1.75mm pitch and 3.5 mm lead. Yep they are a double start form. The Valea parts are a simple metric tap for M10x 1.5mm. Yes the lead screws will engage and run through very tightly but internally they are skipping threads here and there and they are just not right and never will be - period. To the best of my knowledge there is no "hand" tap that exists that would allow the brackets to be tapped correctly, it would have to be done CNC. I would think it would be tricky even then. The OEM parts are probably molded with the correct thread form from the get go. You can tell the Valea parts are thread cut after molding by all the fibrous ragged junk in the thread pitch. Anyway I ended up performing the old reinforce method using bolts, epoxy and custom aluminum brackets to wrap the old plastic blocks. Cant help but think that it would be a nice idea to precut in some nice looking access holes (with covers) just behind the visors just in case needed someday. Would not be nice using a cut wheel in side the car to get in there. Best.
-J
 

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Discussion Starter #113
Here's the truth and the problem. The OEM lead screws are an interesting part. Square thread form, with filleted thread roots (Not ACME). M11 O.D. M9 I.D. with 1.75mm pitch and 3.5 mm lead. Yep they are a double start form. The Valea parts are a simple metric tap for M10x 1.5mm. Yes the lead screws will engage and run through very tightly but internally they are skipping threads here and there and they are just not right and never will be - period. To the best of my knowledge there is no "hand" tap that exists that would allow the brackets to be tapped correctly, it would have to be done CNC. I would think it would be tricky even then. The OEM parts are probably molded with the correct thread form from the get go. You can tell the Valea parts are thread cut after molding by all the fibrous ragged junk in the thread pitch.
Great info!

For anyone wondering what a "double start" is and why the single threaded parts from eBay skip threads:

 

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I***8217;ve finished replacement of the convertible roof latch levers in my 2001 330cic. It was a rather a long difficult job considering that 1) the original levers I ordered had to be returned for poor manufacturing tolerances and replaced twice, and 2) even though I had considerable help from reading this forum there were times I was flying blind. Here are some notes that may help others:
-When you remove the rubber seal from the front of the top, take extreme care not to tear it at the corner. The seal has slender molded slots at each corner to accommodate tabs at the outer ends of the roof latch ***8220;cover***8221;. The tabs are ***8220;T***8221; shaped with top of the ***8220;T***8221; parallel with the sides of the car. The top of the T is inserted in the rubber molding and holds it captively. To remove the molding, you must stretch it slightly backwards and out to release it from the back top wing of the T, then slide the molding forward to release it from the front wing.
-When replacing the roof latch levers it is immensely easier to remove the entire roof latch assembly from the car and work on it at your workbench. To do this you should first disconnect the back end of what looks like a shock absorber strut that runs from the outside end of the roof latch assembly back toward the first hinge on the roof. Manually open the roof so that the first segment of the roof is at a 45-90 degree up angle. The rear of the strut is C-clipped to a roof lock lever. Rotate the lock lever so the strut pivot is clear of the big metal roof rails. Remove the C-clip at the pivot. Pop the end of the strut sideways off the pivot. Go back to the front, to the roof latch assembly. Disconnect any electrical connectors on the roof latch assembly. Remove 4 Torx fasteners that attach the roof latch assembly to the roof. Carefully pull the roof latch assembly forward while snaking out the attached strut. You are now ready to comfortably work on the assembly at your workbench.
-Removing the roof latch levers is straight forward. I would advise though, buying a long reach 5 mm hex bit socket that you can chuck in an electric drill. This is very handy for unthreading the drive screws from the latch levers, and you will need this to work the screw drive back and forth on new levers to break them in.
-I bought aftermarket levers from ASI on eBay. They looked durable but the tolerances between the bottom of the metal latch and the screw drive hole were off. I had to return the first set. The second set was marginally better, but workable. Before you install your new levers compare this tolerance to that of your OEM lever that you are replacing. If this tolerance is too far off, the levers will be hard to install in the roof latch assembly and the screw drive turning friction will be way too high.
-Be sure to transfer the metal insert that activates the position sensor, from your old latch lever to your new latch lever. (Note - position sensors exist only on one of the two roof latch assemblies on your vehicle). I had to drill a little recess in the new roof latch (plastic threaded portion) to get the metal insert to fit. Important! ***8211; Drive the roof latch threaded screw until the metal insert is over each of the Hall sensors and make sure the gap is very small (est 1->1.5 mm). If this gap is too large the Hall sensors will not trigger! Once satisfied epoxy in the metal insert.
-Place the roof latch assembly in a vise and drive the threaded screw back and forth with with a long reach 5 mm hex bit socket chucked into your drill. I did this for at least 15 minutes on each roof latch assembly. The threaded screw drive friction goes down as you do this. Continue until the friction seems reasonable, i.e. you can easily manually turn the screw using an allen wrench.
-Lubricate the roof latch assemblies with some white lithium or silicone grease.
-Drive the threaded screw on each roof latch assembly until the metal position insert of the roof latch levers is centered on the ***8220;open***8221; Hall sensor. Only one roof latch assembly will have the Hall sensors. For the one that doesn***8217;t, drive it so the measured position of the latch levers along the threaded screw is the same as for the one the other one.
-Reinstall the roof latch assemblies in the roof in the reverse of the removal, but don***8217;t restore the remainder of the roof until you test operation. Operate the roof using the open, close buttons, but be ready to release them if you notice that the roof latch assemblies do not stop at the Hall sensor open or close position. If all is okay, finish final reassembly.
-If you get into any situation where the hydraulics prevent you from manually moving the roof during the work, look in the owner***8217;s manual for instructions on accessing the emergency hydraulics release button between the back seats.
-If you get into the situation where the control logic is hung up or the rear cover for the roof is locked in place and will not automatically move, reset the logic by holding the open and close buttons simultaneously while turning the key from off to the first ignition position (position 0).
Is there a time length to hold the buttons turn the key? Or will i see something happen ?

Sent from my SM-G930P using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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In regards to repairing that composite part that tends to break. Using a repair kit that has the rod and other parts which you said has not been a good deal since the threads aren't exactly the same as the OEM, I know it be cheaper to repair the composite part but, wouldnt it be easier to replace the whole mechanism since its all built together as a whole? I know its a lot more money. I like to price that part myself. Just wondering.
 

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windshield latches

Taylor, you were outstanding in these illustrations. Before I began to go this far, I needed the top to close. Remembering those elbow catches you showed, I realized thats why the top isnt closing all the way. I had removed the "C" cotter clips to detach the rod. Pushed back the " catch" and pull forward the pin so the lid actually closed all the way. Then I used a strap to hold it down till I got to the point of trying to fix it. 2 weeks later. Today was the [email protected]!!
OMG!! Tip, when trying to pull the liner away or out, I came to the determination that the screws went through the liner, it was not pulling out. I had to remove the screws ( 6 T20 ) put my hands in between the liners without tearing anything. Best to use a stubby T20 driver than a typical size one. It would of been so much easier. I have a little 1/4 ratchet driver that took a Hex tip or what ever you use, here it was the T20. Not easy, but got it done & off.
After removing the cover plate a couple little black pieces fell out. WTF...Looking at mine, I was thinking I had two parts unlike the picture you have put up. I shortly realized that both of them had sheared apart! Well, atleast I know its not two separate parts..lol.. That composite part, I dont get why it wasnt constructed of steel. Guess its cheaper to make as a production, and a good monopoly for repairs. I wish I can figure out how to do that. I'm brain storming an idea right now. Will get back on that later.
So no repairing those. Order new ones. So, what I did just to close & lock the lid, I pulled the " 2 broken parts" together and clamped them & manually locked it. What a job!
Your tips & illustrations are extremely helpful. I was really trying to figure out how a little crack can start to cause this problem. I just presumed it was " skipping" and the part was not turning. I suppose thats the first symptom.

I think I still want to replace the wiring harness all together. My re-wiring of them all together, looks like crap. I used the shield that melts and then I used a coupler that you use attaching wires together. Not a good idea. What I did was cut all the wires on both sides of the elbow about 5" apart from the elbow to have all new & clean wire there. Maybe not a bad idea, but, my method wasnt very good. :banghead:

I see my pics came in upside down. Dont know how to fix that... IDC...
Hope these help.
 

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