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-   -   Convertible Top electrical troubleshooting tools (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=854059)

djsilver 06-28-2011 11:21 PM

Convertible Top electrical troubleshooting tools
 
2 Attachment(s)
I just finished repairing a broken wiring harness on my wife's car with help from info found here and other places and would like to put the resources I found in one thread. The mods can even sticky this one if they like.

The BMW TIS/ETK system can be found various places on the web. It will have instructions on how to work on the top and part numbers if needed. Here's just one place I used;
http://spaghetticoder.org/bmw/

Here's the BMW wiring diagram system; (better than the one above)
http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/release/en/index.htm

I've attached a pdf of the CVM pinout diagram, with notes. I've listed the wire colors for the connection to the convertible top harness and noted the device numbers from the top manual where possible.

Here's my advice if the top is not working. Take it to someone that can read the codes, even if you plan on doing the work yourself. Pay the diagnostic fee and be happy. Otherwise you're completely in the dark.

Now for the real work!

1. All the sensors (except for the storage compartment floor/S239) are Hall-effect sensors and will have some resistance on them regardless of position. They have no moving parts and have a low failure rate, so if the software diagnosis is a bad sensor/valve/motor, it's very likely there's a broken wire.

2. Now you or your mechanic will have to remove the back seat and rear left passenger armrest and trim panel to access the CVM. For the next check, unplug the top harness (white connector) from the CVM and check for resistance on matching pairs according to the diagram. Start with the one that was noted bad in the software diagnosis. All the sensors and solenoid valves on this harness should have some resistance on them.

3. If any of them show an open circuit it's time to get serious, as the next step requres you to start taking stuff apart. The next step is to disconnect the questionable device from the harness and test it, and if it's bad, replace it.

4. If the device tested is not open circuit that means a wire is broken in the harness. You'll have to get some extra wire and check continuity on both wires to the pair in question to determine which one is broken. Once you find it, it's up to you if you want to split the harness and look for it. I bought some 18ga black automotive wire and ran a jumper along the length of the harness from the top latch sensor all the way to the CVM connector.

Notes;
1. My experience was with the top harness but similar techniques can be used on the other harnesses connected to the CVM.
2. Remember that the windows and storage compartment cover are controlled by the general module, so when you push the up or down button, control is handed back and forth between the GM and the CVM twice per cycle.
3. Don't let someone sell you new top latches just because there's cracks in the plastic jack-screws. The plastic is cast onto the end of a metal bar. The metal bar has two holes drilled through it so the plastic is cast through the holes and it won't fall off!

If you have or find more tools for troubleshooting the convertible top feel free to add it here. If you find mistakes in my information please point it out.

Thanks,
DJ

mark24 08-26-2011 12:37 PM

Hi i was wondering if you could help i have a 1996 318i convertable and both the motors that operate the roof and the lid that hides the roof when its down are out of sync i need to know how to reset them. Thanks for your time.

Sent from my GT-P1000 using Bimmer

E46-Cabrio 08-27-2011 05:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark24 (Post 13523762)
Hi i was wondering if you could help i have a 1996 318i convertable and both the motors that operate the roof and the lid that hides the roof when its down are out of sync i need to know how to reset them. Thanks for your time.

Sent from my GT-P1000 using Bimmer

Watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boiybaJkMrI

mark24 08-27-2011 05:33 AM

Hi thanks for the link i have tried this already several times but just my luck it doesnt work on my car. Thought my prayers had been answered a few weeks ago when i found the vid. Once again thanks for your time.

Sent from my GT-I9000 using Bimmer

Phoenix330ci 09-13-2011 10:36 PM

Yeah mine broke in that harness and I posted it here to help some of you out. All I know is mine had a broken ground wire and instead of a new harness, the indy shop repaired it with a new wire they ran alonside the harness. (Probably all of $3 worth of material) But let me tell you something, they soaked it to me to find the problem, however I exhausted all that I could test on my own without having the proper diagnostic code reader (not the same as a Peak reader) to locate the fault which they had to ask someone else about. I should have taken it to BMW to have them diagnose which would have been way cheaper in the long run....so much for Indy shops, but like I said, I was really stuck at that point and I love the top down.

vader007 03-18-2012 09:02 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Hi all, new to the forum. I made an account just to thank djsilver for your post. It turns out I had the exact same problem, and a week of research I found the broken wire, patched it together and now the top works perfectly!

For the benefit of others who may have this problem, I'll add my experience. It is best you read over the convertible top manual pdf, as I'll refer to some of the parts using the names in that manual.

I didn't actually take it to the shop to read the CVM codes since I didn't want to shell out the $$ :D. So I decided to just check the wires first.

ABSTRACT:

A common failure for e46 convertible tops is the wires inside the top harness breaking from flex. The harness is a bundle of wires inside a nylon casing that runs the length of the top, along the left side of the car. This harness is connects various sensors and motors to the convertible control module, aka CVM, which is located behind the left rear armrest.

SYMPTOMS (for me, at least):
- When I push the button to drop roof, the top will unlatch and raise 1-2 inches, but then stop. The button will keep blinking red. Pushing again does not help.
- Sometimes, pushing the button to drop roof does nothing at all. The button will not even blink after I release it.
- I manually lowered the top into the storage compartment (follow the "emergency lowering" instructions in the manual), then pressed the "close roof" button. The storage lid would unlock, raise, and then the top would come out but then stick halfway.
On both the lowering/raising sequence, it seems that it would stop when the tensioning bow or its related sensors was needed, leading me to believe it was the tensioning bow at first.

** Your symptoms may differ depending on which wire(s) are broken. From my research, it seems the recurring theme here is that the raising/lowering sequence only partially completes, then just hangs there with a blinking red light.

HOW TO DIAGNOSE if you have a broken wire:

1. Study the convertible top manual pdf in one of the above posts. Know how to manually raise/lower the top. Know the raising/lowering procedure as this will help you figure out where in the process it's breaking.

2. Remove the 2 rear left-side panels to access the CVM. (Google it, theres a youtube video showing how to do this on a e46 convertible, it was meant for install new speakers but it shows how to remove the panels.)

3. Look for the white plug on the CVM. Slide off the black lever, then unplug it. You can also remove the white part of the plug, this will make probing the leads easier. There's a tab you can lift on the white part which will allow the black inner part to slide out.

4. Using a multimeter, check for continuity among the pins. This (and the pin pdf in above post) should help.
http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zinfo/E46_PA96B.htm
The plug we are looking at is X13039. Each pair/triplet should have continuity; if it doesn't, you have a broken wire or malfunctioning part.

Pairs to test: (each pair should show continuity)
18 & 9; 17 & 8; 16 & 7; 14 & 13; 4 & 5.
Triplets to test - (any TWO of these three pins should give continuity.):
10 & 11 & 12; 1 & 2 & 3.

BMW has labeled the plug with pin ranges, which you can see if you remove the white hood.
For me, all the pairs/triplets had continuity except between 13 & 14. 13 was green/white, 14 was brown/yellow. This was for the cowl unlocked hall sensor, S145 in the pdf manual.

HOW I FIXED IT:

After I found the open circuit, I figured I could either a) run a jumper wire to the sensor, or b) split the nylon harness and find the break. The problem with a) was that I'd have to take apart the front cowl trim to expose the hall sensor, and I really didn't want to do that.

1. For me, I was pretty damn lucky. After browsing the forums, it seems a recurring place a wire breaks is inside the nylon casing, at the frontmost bend in the top. I decided to take a gamble and cut open the nylon at the front-most bend on the top. (This takes a little wrangling, but you can do it with simple scissors.) LO AND BEHOLD, on my first try, there it was, the green/white wire (leading to pin 13) broken. The brown/yellow wire, coincidentally, was almost broken too, as the strands were exposed and ripping apart.

2. I live right above a RadioShack. I bought some 18 gauge stranded wire and some electrical tape. Then I cut a small 2 inch length, stripped the ends and twisted the each end to the broken wire to connect the two. Then I wrapped it all in electrical tape. Two notes from this: a) this is not the longest-lasting solution as twisting wires is not very durable connection. You might want to try soldering your wires together. b) The strands in 18 gauge are way too thick, and are more likely to break from fatigue during repeated opening/closing - you should use a higher gauge.

3. I started pushing the open/close buttons. It definitely started working more so than it was before. It was having trouble raising the top, seemed like the top storage lid didn't want to unlock. I manually raised and lowered it a few times, and then FINALLY, the top would lower and raise entirely on its own.

4. I tested a few more raising/lowerings, and all works well! Boy was I happy!

RESOURCES:
- Wiring harness part at realoem: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...=61&fg=10&hl=3
- Pictures attached show some of the work during the fix. I live in an apartment above some retail shops. So yes, you can do all this inside a retail parking lot. Just don't mind the occasional stare and people thinking you're leaving and wanting your spot.


Once again, thanks for your post djsilver. Hope this thread helps others in the same situation!

jbs330ci 05-07-2012 10:34 AM

Another new member saved by this forum.

My convertible top stopped part way down. Using the owner's manual I was able to manually close it and get home. The top was totally inoperable - just flashing red lights. After doing some searching, I decided to order the Bavarian Technic's code reader. It worked great except for one problem, the CVM fault code was 165 - undefined error :ben: Now what???? Did a google search and found this thread. Went out and checked continuity of the sensors and discovered 2 sensors were disconnected. Cut into the wire harness as noted in the previous post and found 2 broken wires. 2 pieces of wire and some solder fixed the problem.

Thanks for saving me at least $1K at the local dealer.

fmzip 05-08-2012 07:42 AM

I asked to have my thread sticky'd awhile back as this seems to be the common theme of why the top stops working.

No need for a code reader, just look at the harness first..............

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=790169

If that isn't it, check to see if the bowden cable snapped under the rear seat. Actually, I do this first:

http://www.gil-galad.com/tmp/bowden-broken.jpg
http://www.gil-galad.com/tmp/bowden-fixed.jpg

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...n+cable&page=2

jimvideopro 05-17-2012 09:18 PM

Wow, impressive thread. Hoping I won't ever have to deal with this on my 06, but glad to know it's here. Thanks to all for posting.

atkinst744 06-12-2012 08:43 PM

Thanks - Found Cut Wire in harness...
 
Thanks for the info. I was able to locate my cut wire in the harness...

Quote:

Originally Posted by vader007 (Post 14199814)
Hi all, new to the forum. I made an account just to thank djsilver for your post. It turns out I had the exact same problem, and a week of research I found the broken wire, patched it together and now the top works perfectly!

For the benefit of others who may have this problem, I'll add my experience. It is best you read over the convertible top manual pdf, as I'll refer to some of the parts using the names in that manual.

I didn't actually take it to the shop to read the CVM codes since I didn't want to shell out the $$ :D. So I decided to just check the wires first.

ABSTRACT:

A common failure for e46 convertible tops is the wires inside the top harness breaking from flex. The harness is a bundle of wires inside a nylon casing that runs the length of the top, along the left side of the car. This harness is connects various sensors and motors to the convertible control module, aka CVM, which is located behind the left rear armrest.

SYMPTOMS (for me, at least):
- When I push the button to drop roof, the top will unlatch and raise 1-2 inches, but then stop. The button will keep blinking red. Pushing again does not help.
- Sometimes, pushing the button to drop roof does nothing at all. The button will not even blink after I release it.
- I manually lowered the top into the storage compartment (follow the "emergency lowering" instructions in the manual), then pressed the "close roof" button. The storage lid would unlock, raise, and then the top would come out but then stick halfway.
On both the lowering/raising sequence, it seems that it would stop when the tensioning bow or its related sensors was needed, leading me to believe it was the tensioning bow at first.

** Your symptoms may differ depending on which wire(s) are broken. From my research, it seems the recurring theme here is that the raising/lowering sequence only partially completes, then just hangs there with a blinking red light.

HOW TO DIAGNOSE if you have a broken wire:

1. Study the convertible top manual pdf in one of the above posts. Know how to manually raise/lower the top. Know the raising/lowering procedure as this will help you figure out where in the process it's breaking.

2. Remove the 2 rear left-side panels to access the CVM. (Google it, theres a youtube video showing how to do this on a e46 convertible, it was meant for install new speakers but it shows how to remove the panels.)

3. Look for the white plug on the CVM. Slide off the black lever, then unplug it. You can also remove the white part of the plug, this will make probing the leads easier. There's a tab you can lift on the white part which will allow the black inner part to slide out.

4. Using a multimeter, check for continuity among the pins. This (and the pin pdf in above post) should help.
http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zinfo/E46_PA96B.htm
The plug we are looking at is X13039. Each pair/triplet should have continuity; if it doesn't, you have a broken wire or malfunctioning part.

Pairs to test: (each pair should show continuity)
18 & 9; 17 & 8; 16 & 7; 14 & 13; 4 & 5.
Triplets to test - (any TWO of these three pins should give continuity.):
10 & 11 & 12; 1 & 2 & 3.

BMW has labeled the plug with pin ranges, which you can see if you remove the white hood.
For me, all the pairs/triplets had continuity except between 13 & 14. 13 was green/white, 14 was brown/yellow. This was for the cowl unlocked hall sensor, S145 in the pdf manual.

HOW I FIXED IT:

After I found the open circuit, I figured I could either a) run a jumper wire to the sensor, or b) split the nylon harness and find the break. The problem with a) was that I'd have to take apart the front cowl trim to expose the hall sensor, and I really didn't want to do that.

1. For me, I was pretty damn lucky. After browsing the forums, it seems a recurring place a wire breaks is inside the nylon casing, at the frontmost bend in the top. I decided to take a gamble and cut open the nylon at the front-most bend on the top. (This takes a little wrangling, but you can do it with simple scissors.) LO AND BEHOLD, on my first try, there it was, the green/white wire (leading to pin 13) broken. The brown/yellow wire, coincidentally, was almost broken too, as the strands were exposed and ripping apart.

2. I live right above a RadioShack. I bought some 18 gauge stranded wire and some electrical tape. Then I cut a small 2 inch length, stripped the ends and twisted the each end to the broken wire to connect the two. Then I wrapped it all in electrical tape. Two notes from this: a) this is not the longest-lasting solution as twisting wires is not very durable connection. You might want to try soldering your wires together. b) The strands in 18 gauge are way too thick, and are more likely to break from fatigue during repeated opening/closing - you should use a higher gauge.

3. I started pushing the open/close buttons. It definitely started working more so than it was before. It was having trouble raising the top, seemed like the top storage lid didn't want to unlock. I manually raised and lowered it a few times, and then FINALLY, the top would lower and raise entirely on its own.

4. I tested a few more raising/lowerings, and all works well! Boy was I happy!

RESOURCES:
- Wiring harness part at realoem: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...=61&fg=10&hl=3
- Pictures attached show some of the work during the fix. I live in an apartment above some retail shops. So yes, you can do all this inside a retail parking lot. Just don't mind the occasional stare and people thinking you're leaving and wanting your spot.


Once again, thanks for your post djsilver. Hope this thread helps others in the same situation!


seanman217 06-21-2012 07:43 AM

HI my convertible top hydraulic pump stopped working and i got one from a 05 330cic. My car is an 01 330cic but my mechanic said that the wiring for my car connects to 3 places but the motor for the 05 only has 2 connectors anyone knows what i can do or if there is anyway i can make it work?

jason330cic 06-25-2012 03:04 PM

Has anyone here ever replaced the entire convertible top wire harness? I think it's #3 in the diagram below. I may just install a new one since they all seem to fail over time with broken wires. But I'm not sure how difficult it would be to.

http://realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/z/c/176.png

djsilver 06-28-2012 11:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
That's it! 54 34 8 243 267

I bought one when I was working on my wife's car but haven't installed it yet. I figure it's just a matter of time before another wire breaks and I'll swap out the whole thing then. I've done a bit of electrical work in my time and a roll of string will go a long way. Tie string to the connectors on the old one before you pull it out. Untie it from the old harness, tie it to the new one and pull the connectors home.

Changing this one out will require you to remove the header cover, the rear seat, rear-left arm rest & dress panel.

fmzip 06-29-2012 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jason330cic (Post 14516593)
Has anyone here ever replaced the entire convertible top wire harness? I think it's #3 in the diagram below. I may just install a new one since they all seem to fail over time with broken wires. But I'm not sure how difficult it would be to.

http://realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/z/c/176.png

If you tackle it, please document it! :)

tmoretta 07-23-2012 04:55 PM

I am having a problem with my '04 convert. The driver side cover latch was not working. I removed the rear seat, tightened the cable, was able to get the latch to operate, but now the top will not operate. The flashing red indicator light remains lit, the top does not respond to the close button, and the trunk will not open. All seem to indicate that the electronics are not properly sensing that the top is completely down. Any ideas?

Landlorder 09-03-2012 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fmzip (Post 14528327)
If you tackle it, please document it! :)

Been searching for months for this .... how hard is it to replace that wiring loom

Landlorder 09-03-2012 07:53 PM

Hey mate whats the header cover exactly? the inside of the soft top cover? have you done this job? How are those plugs going through the narrow gaps that this wire feeds through...

Quote:

Originally Posted by djsilver (Post 14527643)
That's it! 54 34 8 243 267

I bought one when I was working on my wife's car but haven't installed it yet. I figure it's just a matter of time before another wire breaks and I'll swap out the whole thing then. I've done a bit of electrical work in my time and a roll of string will go a long way. Tie string to the connectors on the old one before you pull it out. Untie it from the old harness, tie it to the new one and pull the connectors home.

Changing this one out will require you to remove the header cover, the rear seat, rear-left arm rest & dress panel.


Snik 10-20-2012 11:21 PM

in for laters. need to read this bad boy for GP

djsilver 10-25-2012 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Landlorder (Post 14702108)
Hey mate whats the header cover exactly? the inside of the soft top cover? have you done this job? How are those plugs going through the narrow gaps that this wire feeds through...

I have not replaced the harness yet, as the repaired one is still working. The header is a metal cover over the mechanism that latches the top to the windshield frame. I'm sure changing the harness won't be a cake-walk but the key is to tie strings to the old connectors when you pull them out so that you can use the same strings to pull the new ones into place.

wes2952 12-05-2012 11:32 AM

I have a similar problem with my top. Wanted to check out the wiring harness at the first pivot point from the top front. I have to manually unlock the top from the windshield. When I try to manually open the top futher to get a little play in the wiring harness the top is a bit stiff and will not easily pivot up. Worried about what would happen if I try forcing it. Is there an easier way to do this?


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