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-   -   E46 Convertible Top Problems - Help (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=640185)

StanJR 01-14-2009 02:20 PM

E46 Convertible Top Problems - Help
Hello to all,
I recently purchased a windscreen for my wifes 2004 325Ci. When I installed it I didnt have the tabs, that go under the rear top flap, properly alligned. When the top flap went to close, I heard a two clicking sounds and the system quit working. It met some resistance. I was receiving a flashing red light on the top "down" control button and the trunk would not open electronically.
I put the top back up manually and took the vehicle to an after market BMW mechanic, since the warranty just expired 3 months ago! The mechanic acted as though he could repair it and when I went to pick it up, he still had no idea what was wrong.
Long story short is I have diagnosed the problem as being the Top Flap Drive Unit located under the rear seat of the vehicle. If I push down on the top of this unit and operate the top, it works like a champ. This also cleared the light and allowed the trunk to operate properly.
I am told that the plastic top to this unit holds the gearing in place and when it meets resistance, the plastic breaks and the gearing pops out. Of course I have been unable to find the plastic piece and I just bought the entire drive motor from BMW (part # 51-25-8-248-308) for $261. I want to make this a DIY project but I wanted to check with the members to know if this is possible or if there is resynchronization that needs to take place, etc.
Your input is much appreciated.

canaryM 01-14-2009 02:45 PM

Not a vert owner but I would disconnect the battery, remove the control unit under the seat, crack it open and take a look.

StanJR 01-14-2009 03:42 PM

Thanks. I have taken the plastic cover off of the motor and there is a gear on the top that pops out of place when I operate the top. The plastic cover fits so that a piece of this cover goes into the center of this gear. That is apparently the piece that breaks when tension is put on the lid. I can hold down on the plastic cover and it works fine.
I have not disconnected the wiring hireness and removed the motor has of yet. Is it recommended that I disconnect the battery prior to removing the harness?

canaryM 01-15-2009 01:40 AM

Search the parting out section of the classifieds for a replacement....check eBay, etc. You should be able to find a replacement. Of course if you go to the stealership, you'll be paying premium for the part. And I cannot stress enough...always, always disconnect the battery (or remove the appropriate fuse) before you do anything electrical related to your E46. 9/10 guys on the forum will agree with me on that.

2002BlueBimmer 05-25-2009 10:43 AM

Hey did you ever figure out the best way to repair your top ? I am having what seems to be the same issue. I am wondering if I screwed something up when I was cleaning it. I pushed on it my hand to get at the rubber gaskets. Now the top won't work. It stopped half way and has not run since.

triksterut 05-25-2009 01:42 PM

Did you guys try a re-synch? I haven't had to fiddle with my E46 top very much but I had a lot of issues like this on my two E36 vert's. Check out this link:



d4cam2000 09-26-2010 09:51 PM


I'm new here. I am having the same problems with my '02 330CiC and today soft top operation stoped in down position before lid plate locks completely and started to make clicking noise. must reset and close manually. Red light is blinking and now it doesn't want to open. Any suggestions will be very appresiated.

GuRPRizZLE 08-21-2011 06:36 PM

Hey guys, firstly I am brand new to the forum an I'll probably post a thread to say hello forbid E46 community when I have access to my home computer.

On to the topic.

I believe I know why E46 convertible tops stop working after a while, and in reference to the first post it is usually the flap cover motor for 90% of situations. However, it's not whole flap cover motor that is the problem. Me and my friend opened up the actual motor part of it and discovered that the actual motor is housed into a plastic gear that turns all of the other gears in a fashion to lock both sides the hinges of the cover. This plastic piece over time gets stripped around the metal part of the motor because of years of tension and the friction it gets from metal on plastic. This piece is probably worth next to nothing, even though it is vital to the whole motor. I will post pictures later tonight to show you exactly what I mean.

Also, my apologies for bumping a year old thread! However its only because I believe it's still important today and in the future.

xx2wickedxx 08-22-2011 02:44 PM

i had this problem a while back that same black box you need to take a clamp and 2 small peices off wood and clamp it down to push force on the cover to keep the gears from popping out...it worked perfect for me...i got it from a thread on here i cant locate it right now...good luck

Phoenix330ci 09-13-2011 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by xx2wickedxx (Post 13508660)
i had this problem a while back that same black box you need to take a clamp and 2 small peices off wood and clamp it down to push force on the cover to keep the gears from popping out...it worked perfect for me...i got it from a thread on here i cant locate it right now...good luck

I was going to say the same thing. I didn't have that problem but when I was researching my top problem I came across that same thread.

SuperSleeper 11-02-2011 08:12 PM

I discovered the same thing, only my gear isn't plastic, it's metal. When I looked at the gear, which slides right off, I could tell that it is stripped. The other gears look ok, which leads me to believe they engineered this gear with a softer metal to strip before the other gears would, and made it a user accessible gear for that purpose. Sort of a safety mechanism. I'm still looking for the replacement part, but I can't imagine this thing costing more than five bucks.

kib 11-04-2011 01:46 PM

i read some where that some one used zip ties to hold the top down and this worked.

bimmer78dave 11-04-2011 01:53 PM

Most plastic housings have air space. So you could go get some hi grade epoxy and try to put it back together (epoxy usually hardens better than the original plastic if done right). The other option is to wrap it in some metal duct sealing tap. This tape is VERY strong, very sticky, will not stretch and I've used it to secure other similar items where the pressure wants to separate two parts. Double or triple layer the tape and run it all the way around the housing. Zip ties is another good option. Good luck!

jimd5757 11-13-2011 11:24 AM

Fixed mine by using clamps from a radiator hose. Take out the small motor and put clamps allaround it!

Also but a metal piece over the plastic lid and it works fine! No need for new motors etc

How stupid of BMW to use a plastic lid on this motor! Indeed.

tmwtf 06-02-2012 07:12 PM

Looking for some help with synching a 2001 325 convertible top
While closing the top one of the dog ears (plastic flaps) was jammed in between the top interior and top framing. As a result, the top did not fully close (2" away from closing). I used the hex wrench and closed the top fully after pressing the button on the control box under the back seat. I then used the hex wrench to pop the button out to its original position and hopefully engage the motor again. Now when I press the top down button on the dash area, I can hear the motor run but the top does not move. Does anyone know what I should do other than take it to the shop? Thank you! tmwtf:banghead:

jimd5757 06-03-2012 10:29 AM

tmwtf:banghead: E-46 Conv problems
Glad to help! DO NOT take it to the shop if you are even a bit handy!! Just remove the back seat, and locate the motor that controls the conv top. Press the button to open or close the roof....do you hear it slipping? Try pressing down on the top of the motor cover...if it grabs, the problem is easy to fix. Issue is a plastic gear, with poor design, as the only thing putting downward pressure is the plastic cover!! Very dumb design!!

Simply use a big radiator clamp (or two hooked together) and clamp a small piece of wood or a large nut on top of the plastic cover, so it applies downward pressure.

There!!! If that worked it just saved you over $500 bucks as the dealer would just replace the motor~ :clap:

I did this to mine over a year ago, and it works great!


rponce44 08-24-2012 04:38 PM

2005 E46 M3 Top problems

Thanks for this thread!!! I was having issues with my top and after reading the threads.....The top is working now!!!

MasterNater 08-28-2012 11:48 AM

Hey, I just started having this same issue, but until last night, when I took my backseat apart, I didn't know it was the same.

How stupid of BMW to make the top out of the plastic that wears out.

After reading this, I'm 99% sure my problem is the same.

Thank heaven for forums!

SuperSleeper 09-16-2012 06:05 PM

I think it's genius actually. Mine didn't have this problem until I didn't close the top properly, and instead of busting a hard to replace mechanical or hydraulic line, it simply messed up the easy to reach gear. Leave it to BMW to find a way to make it easily serviceable. A very smart design, much like fuses, rather than burn up your entire wire harness, why not just replace an easily accessible fuse? I think the real downfall here is the lack of documentation surrounding the part and how to replace it.

handypfb 09-18-2012 05:21 PM

Wow! I'm glad I found this site (by accident). I have been on Bimmerfest since 2010 but could not get an answer for my top.
My 2004 330ci top also won't go down. But. At first the windows would go partially down when the down button is pressed (normal). Red light on steady, but nothing else happened. No sounds other than the engine in idle, but hard to hear if there were "clicking" sounds (electrical solenoids?).
I drove for about 20 min, put car in garage with trickle charge. Next day tried again. This time only the red light on steady with button depressed BUT the windows did NOT move from their full up position.
On Bimmerfest forum a suggestion that the battery may be weak (it is 4+ years), but with the engine running could that affect the top operation?

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