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Discussion Starter #1
So a few days ago I went to run across town to run an errand and was annoyed to find that for some reason the top wouldn't go down- the light just lit up when I pressed the button. I was in a hurry so I figured I'd sort it out late, but about a mile from home realized that the majority of the instrument cluster was also not working- the only thing that seemed to be working was the fuel gauge, no speedo, tach, or MPG gauge and a the temp was pegged at full, and a bunch of the lights were on that made no sense (brake light since I was moving and the e-brake was no set, seatbelt light since again- moving and wearing my seatbelt, and a few at the top of the cluster (oil was one I think). I was running enough behind that I didn't have time to turn around and swap vehicles, so I just had to bear with it. Also, the window where the odometer, time, and trip mileage displays was lit but there was nothing showing- the backlight was working, but the display wasn't apparently on.

On my way back, I noticed that the lights at the top of the cluster had gone off and the speedo was moving- but not anywhere near accurate, as it was showing about 30-40% higher speeds than I was going. I did some searching and checked all of the fuses for the cluster- all of them were fine. Since I'd read something about it helping in some cases, I pulled fuse 43 and left it out for 3-4 hours yesterday before taking the car on a short run to grab dinner- it didn't seem to help as everything was still the same. The first picture (actually a screen cap from a video I took showing the tach not moving when the engine revs) was taken last night.
912544

Just now I went out to try and get a clearer picture in the daylight- and when I powered the car on I noticed that the odometer display was working again- but nothing else had changed. Still no tach, MPG, and fuel gauge pegged at full, and (honestly most annoying to me) the top still doesn't want to go down). Picture of it now is below:
912546


WTF is going on here?!?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Voltage at battery & front posts when not running: 12.30v
Voltage when running (at posts): 14.25v
 

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Definitely sounds like a bad cluster, but, I can’t think what in the cluster (Motometer or Bosch) could cause those items to stop working. I’m guessing this is probably a Motometer cluster since the Bosch design would be more unlikely to have this set of problems. What is the production Month/Year of the car?


Sent from my iPhone using E46Fanatics
 

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2000 330Ci Vert
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I had a similar issue about 5 years ago. My problem was the soft top compartment was flooding with water every time it rained and allowed water to pool in the spare wheel well. When the temp went up it caused the water to evaporate and get into the electrical system and stopped the top operation and the cluster behaved in a similar manner to what yours is doing. Not saying that’s the case with you, but you might just want to check in the boot in the spare wheel well and see if water is in there. If it’s gotten into the electrics you are going to have a few more issues than what you have now.... I know I’m still chasing some of mine done to this day
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had a similar issue about 5 years ago. My problem was the soft top compartment was flooding with water every time it rained and allowed water to pool in the spare wheel well. When the temp went up it caused the water to evaporate and get into the electrical system and stopped the top operation and the cluster behaved in a similar manner to what yours is doing. Not saying that’s the case with you, but you might just want to check in the boot in the spare wheel well and see if water is in there. If it’s gotten into the electrics you are going to have a few more issues than what you have now.... I know I’m still chasing some of mine done to this day
I’ll have to check to see if there is water there now, but I know there has been in the past and it did rain the night before it started acting up. I usually keep a tarp over it since the seals at the windshield leak when I rains hard but the tarp doesn’t cover the whole back of the car...

What did you have to do on yours?
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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If you are even suspicious of leaking in the roof compartment, you need to remove the roof assembly, lift it out and clean the drains (under the hinges). It is four bolts each side and a few harness connections - not hard.
 

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If you are even suspicious of leaking in the roof compartment, you need to remove the roof assembly, lift it out and clean the drains (under the hinges). It is four bolts each side and a few harness connections - not hard.
That doesn't sound remotely fun... with it locked in the 'up' position, do I need to unlock the front of it, or is it possible to just unbolt the back to get to the drains? I assume there's something I need to do to be able to move the back of the top since right now it's not budging...
 

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That doesn't sound remotely fun... with it locked in the 'up' position, do I need to unlock the front of it, or is it possible to just unbolt the back to get to the drains? I assume there's something I need to do to be able to move the back of the top since right now it's not budging...
Not that bad. Lift the front edge until the rear edge disengages. Prop the lid against the inclined back of the roof. Then unbolt the three bolts holding the hinge to the carrier.

remove the rear seat side panels and loosen the single bolt the faces forward from the hinge and lift. Drain is under there.
 

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Ok... so I did a couple of things. First up mop up any water in the wheel well. Then I did the up speakable.... I used draino(don’t know what that is in the states, but some from of drain clearing chemicals to flush the blockage) in the roof compartment on both sides to clear the blockage in the drain pipes. Then lots of hot water to ensure that no chemicals left over. You will need to check if your seals for the roof compartment are still good or need replacing. If they have perished, then replace them. I had to “wait” for the water to dry up then everything came good.
The seals you need to check are on the roof compartment. Here is a photo
912670
If

If they have perished then replace them. And it’s a case of waiting for the moisture to leave the cluster for tit to come good. Well that is what I did and my cluster has been good since then. Hope that helps.
 

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I checked and there isn't any water in the spare well and I don't think there's any left anywhere else since it's not rained for like a week, but things are still not behaving at all. I was curious so I hooked up the laptop and INPA and I can't get it to communicate with the cluster, convertible top module, and a host of other things. I don't want to risk manually putting the top down until I can put the car in the garage and not have to worry about rain/dew getting in while the top is down, so it will be a few days at least (in the process of completely cleaning/re-organizing the garage).
 

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SO, yesterday I finally got the garage cleaned up enough that I can put the convertible in there so before running errands I manually dropped the top so I could enjoy the nice weather. It went easily enough except there's something weird with the passenger side latch that holds down the hatch cover that is over the top when it's down and under the back when it's up that it wasn't popping up properly to engage the cover, but the drivers side was working right so the cover wasn't going to come up- something I'll have to look into. But, after driving around I put the car in the garage and left the top down... and this morning when I pulled it out to run into the office for a bit I realized that the cluster was working fine and after checking found that the top was moving properly as well. So I don't know what happened, but for now it works. I imagine it will pop up again down the line, and I do plan to clear the drains- but I also plan to either have it in the garage or completely covered with a tarp until I can get the seals replaced.
 

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Ok, so an update on this. Saturday I got a text saying that one of the relatively nearby junkyards had just gotten in an E46 convertible, so I burned out there and pulled a bunch of parts that I had been looking for- including the cluster. Now, this was an automatic vs. my stick shift, but when I swapped the junkyard cluster in everything in the car started working normally again. Swapped back to my original cluster- same issues as before. So, it would appear that the problem is with the cluster itself and not anything with the top. Still need to clean out the drains, but that might get put off for a bit since honestly the car is pretty likely to spend most of the winter under a tarp and thus I shouldn't have to worry about it for a bit.
 

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So a few days ago I went to run across town to run an errand and was annoyed to find that for some reason the top wouldn't go down- the light just lit up when I pressed the button. I was in a hurry so I figured I'd sort it out late, but about a mile from home realized that the majority of the instrument cluster was also not working- the only thing that seemed to be working was the fuel gauge, no speedo, tach, or MPG gauge and a the temp was pegged at full, and a bunch of the lights were on that made no sense (brake light since I was moving and the e-brake was no set, seatbelt light since again- moving and wearing my seatbelt, and a few at the top of the cluster (oil was one I think). I was running enough behind that I didn't have time to turn around and swap vehicles, so I just had to bear with it. Also, the window where the odometer, time, and trip mileage displays was lit but there was nothing showing- the backlight was working, but the display wasn't apparently on.

On my way back, I noticed that the lights at the top of the cluster had gone off and the speedo was moving- but not anywhere near accurate, as it was showing about 30-40% higher speeds than I was going. I did some searching and checked all of the fuses for the cluster- all of them were fine. Since I'd read something about it helping in some cases, I pulled fuse 43 and left it out for 3-4 hours yesterday before taking the car on a short run to grab dinner- it didn't seem to help as everything was still the same. The first picture (actually a screen cap from a video I took showing the tach not moving when the engine revs) was taken last night.
View attachment 912544
Just now I went out to try and get a clearer picture in the daylight- and when I powered the car on I noticed that the odometer display was working again- but nothing else had changed. Still no tach, MPG, and fuel gauge pegged at full, and (honestly most annoying to me) the top still doesn't want to go down). Picture of it now is below:
View attachment 912546

WTF is going on here?!?
This has happened to a few other owners:

The Ignition Switch might be the source/root cause of the weird problem that you desribed.

I suggest that you remove, clean, reassemble & reinstall the Ignition Switch.

If necessary, replace the Ignition Switch.

When the contacts inside of the Ignition Switch get either very dirty or worn down, they can't conduct voltage properly; weird problems arise.
 

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If you are even suspicious of leaking in the roof compartment, you need to remove the roof assembly, lift it out and clean the drains (under the hinges). It is four bolts each side and a few harness connections - not hard.
There are many Youtube videos showing ways to clean the convertible storage drains and none of them include removing the assembly. Options include fashioning a small bent tube you can feed weed-whacker trimmer line into and down through the drains. Other options include drain cleaners.
 

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I’ll have to check to see if there is water there now, but I know there has been in the past....
FYI - Never park your Cabriolet outside with the nose pointed UPHILL at any angle. The convertible top storage area will retain water and overflow into the trunk if the nose is pointed UPHILL. Park on a FLAT surface or with the nose DOWNHILL.
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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There are many Youtube videos showing ways to clean the convertible storage drains and none of them include removing the assembly. Options include fashioning a small bent tube you can feed weed-whacker trimmer line into and down through the drains. Other options include drain cleaners.
Yeah, those are great. Two issues I found:

1. When I had to clean them, the blockage was two nuts that had spun off of the storage lid cover. They weren't coming out with weed whacker line or drano
2. It is not hard to do. 4 bolts per side, lift it up, remove the blockage, re-attach. No adjustment needed and you get clear access.

This is like the oil pan videos where people try to do it without removing the subframe. Sure, it is possible, but it just ain't that hard to do it the proper way (*note, I was looking for a better word than "proper" as it is pretty judgmental. I think there are lots of ways to skin this cat!)
 

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I had great success clearing one drain in the windshield with 'Hair & Grease' from Home Depot. I dripped a little into the clogged hole and after it cleared, I thoroughly rinsed it (as in at least a gallon of water). This would be the same technique I would use if the convertible top storage area developed a clog.
 
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