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If the composite part of the latch is not intact, is there a way to open the top? I have been trying to use the allen key to manually open the top, but no success after many many turns. Any way to open the top?
 

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so today I went to the pick a part to grab a latch motor, and the car was a 04/06 build 325cic. I noticed the latches were in PERFECT shape and I pulled them and took them. It appears they change the design and material on the later builds and they may hold up better. I will post pics soon.
 

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Washing the car this Saturday and I noticed that the roof was not latching on the driver's side. Having read this thread a couple of years ago, I had a pretty good idea what the issue was. Made my shopping list Saturday night, made a lowes run Sunday morning and began the repair at 930am. As noted, hardest part of this DIY is getting the cover off. Not a hard thing to do, but a little bit of a pain. I chose to repair the latches in place versus removing. The passenger side latch had totally separated from the lower drive and the driver side latch was cracked almost through but still working. Repaired with bolts and putty as recommended. Putting everything back together solo was a challenge but I took my time and the latches and soft top are again working well. Total time for the DIY for me by myself was 5 hrs (cure time for the putty I used was 1 hr). Appreciate Taylor for posting this DIY.

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so today I went to the pick a part to grab a latch motor, and the car was a 04/06 build 325cic. I noticed the latches were in PERFECT shape and I pulled them and took them. It appears they change the design and material on the later builds and they may hold up better. I will post pics soon.
Here are some pics from the latches I got from that April of 2006 build 325ci. They look completely different than my latches or any of the other ones I have seen. Even the plastic looks to be diffrent, maybe even is glass fiber reinforced... I installed these today.

Compared to the oem ones from my 2002, and ones from a 2004, these had almost 0 resistance versus the 2002 and 2004 ones having some. You could literally turn the worm in with your pinky on these.

So I wonder if part of the issue is binding causing all the cracking..
 

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here are the pics:


the top one in the pics is the 2006 version, bottom one is the 2002 version.

It's not immediately obvious in the pic but the 2006 version is a different shade of black/grey, and almost seems to be made of a different material.
 

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Good info. Thanks Sev1980. I can add my 2005 has a build date of 3/31/05, so it appears the new design/material arrived very late in the E46 run.
 

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I did this over the past two weekends - the DIY was very helpful. My two quick notes on this (may have been discussed elsewhere in the thread already: the weather stripping can be left on the metal cover - this alleviates the tricky corner pieces. Additionally, the two pieces of weather stripping that run down the drive and passenger sides of the cars have (2) T27's (I think) that need to be removed if you leave the weatherstripping on the metal piece.

My DS latch was completely cracked through, but the PS latch just had small stress cracks. Epoxied both - I'm hopeful they'll hold up long term
 

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2003 BMW 325CI convertible, Oct '02 prod. date, 111K miles
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188 Posts
so today I went to the pick a part to grab a latch motor, and the car was a 04/06 build 325cic. I noticed the latches were in PERFECT shape and I pulled them and took them. It appears they change the design and material on the later builds and they may hold up better. I will post pics soon.
you picked these up used? they do look like a different shape....
 

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I am trying to repair my latches as they are crakded. Can someone tell me how to remove the seal above the front windows? It seems that these are holding the front seal in at the corners and I don't want to tear anything. These seals look like they are held on by some kind of external torx with an 8mm nut around it. I just don't understand how to loosen these up.
 

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2003 BMW 325CI convertible, Oct '02 prod. date, 111K miles
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I am trying to repair my latches as they are crakded. Can someone tell me how to remove the seal above the front windows? It seems that these are holding the front seal in at the corners and I don't want to tear anything. These seals look like they are held on by some kind of external torx with an 8mm nut around it. I just don't understand how to loosen these up.
I followed this video to remove them

 

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Thank you that video was useful especially the part about the screws that hold in the rear of the cover and how to access them from above the headliner. Mine are only starting to crack and so not too bad. I was wondering about just leaving them in place and using some Bondic (UV cured glue) on the cracks. That stuff seems very strong and I suspect that since my cracks are just starting it might be a good approach. Thoughts?
 

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2003 BMW 325CI convertible, Oct '02 prod. date, 111K miles
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Thank you that video was useful especially the part about the screws that hold in the rear of the cover and how to access them from above the headliner. Mine are only starting to crack and so not too bad. I was wondering about just leaving them in place and using some Bondic (UV cured glue) on the cracks. That stuff seems very strong and I suspect that since my cracks are just starting it might be a good approach. Thoughts?
if your all the way there, why not reinforce them?
 

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I just did. On close look the cracks were worse than I thought at first. Drilled, bolted and JB plastic welder. Should be good for a long time now. This thread and all the other diys were invaluable. Thanks to the community.
What makes this project a lot more doable is the information about loosening the screws that hold the headliner to the roof and clamp the cover in place and instructions on how to remove the side window seals. This makes a huge difference in how easy this project is
 

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2002 330 Ci
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Good write up. Was going to do this today. My original latches disintegrated. I found some used on ebay for 120 bucks that said they were 100 percent oem. I was going to reinforce with the bolts, but noticed I would not be able to. The blocks are solid. No gap for the nut.

Did bmw eventually make these blocks solid? It operates very smoothly with a light touch, so I'm not certain if it's one of those aftermarket fix kits.
 

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E46 320ci M54, 2.2 170cv convertible '00
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not a good idea a used one talking about plastic that has 15 years minimum.
take 2 new ones and let someone help you make the reinforcement.
Anyway if you're able to open the front cover, dismantle the latches...you're able to reinforce them too. Take a drill and go. Or at least cover them with epoxy.

Bmw made them in plastic. Rock solid and plastic are not joining well XD
 

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not a good idea a used one talking about plastic that has 15 years minimum.
take 2 new ones and let someone help you make the reinforcement.
Anyway if you're able to open the front cover, dismantle the latches...you're able to reinforce them too. Take a drill and go. Or at least cover them with epoxy.

Bmw made them in plastic. Rock solid and plastic are not joining well XD
There is no reinforcing these. The replacement latches I bought have no cracks but there's no way to drill them. No place for the nut to go because they are solid where the gap should be.

I have some really good epoxy resin that I've already used to coat them with. It's fine for now. I'll buy the pieces I need for the old ones and fix them later.

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