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-   -   Top hydraulic cylinder leaking (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=946602)

Seb_323ci_2000 09-24-2012 09:06 AM

Top hydraulic cylinder leaking

I'm pretty new here, I have'nt post yet in the new member section but will be soon.

I bought a 323ci 2000 this summer. Everthing was working perfectly since last week. I pushed the button to close the top, I heard the motor working and the top raised about 6 inches and stoped working. I noticed a lot of oil coming from the front of the rear driver wheel.

I went to the dealer and they told me that the top hydraulic cylinder was to be replaced. They were right because the mechanic's tried to close the top and we saw oil coming from the cylinder itselfs.

The cylinder itselfs is listed at 600$ and they told me that they would take about 5-6 hour to replace it. I looked at the other posts here and I will send it to http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com to be rebuild. I have two questions left:

1.) Do you think they're right with their estimation of time, so 5-6 hours to replace the left top hydraulic cylinder? Can I do it myself following the procedure on the web or I'm obligated to go to the dealer to purge the air of the system or for any electronical reprogrammation needed? I have to say that I pushed the emergency button, so the motors are disengaged.

2.) If it ever happened to you, would you replace both left and right?

Thank you very much for you're help and advice.


taylor192 09-24-2012 10:36 AM

There are 6 cylinders, 3 on each side. I assume you're talking about either the main lift cylinder (pushes the entire top up) or the bow cylinder (pushes the top out to the windshield) since the storage top cylinders are in the trunk.

The bow cylinders shouldn't take more than 1-2 hours to replace as they are accessible just by lifting the top up.

The main lift cylinders require removing the entire top from the vehicle, which requires removing the rear interior to get at the last nut and electrical connections.

My drivers side main lift cylinder is leaking, I also noticed a puddle behind my drivers door. I plan on removing the soft top one weekend to pull the cylinders, then reinstalling the soft top while waiting for the cylinders to be rebuilt. I'm going to have both main lift cylinders rebuilt, yet only one is leaking. For $600 you could have all 6 cylinders rebuilt.

taylor192 09-24-2012 10:39 AM

I have a recent post in this form with links that will help in removing the top and replacing the cylinders, as I was collecting info about this very same problem.

Seb_323ci_2000 09-24-2012 10:44 AM

Thanks a lot.

Yeah taylor192 it's the main lift cylinder that needs to be replace.

I'll check your post for these infos. But do you think that after replacing these cylinders that i'll need to go to the dealer to do a reprogramation of something? Or everything can be done at home (bleeding the air)?

Thanks again and have a good day

taylor192 09-24-2012 11:24 AM

Filling the fluid looks easy, yet I have not found a DIY on how to bleed the system other than a few comments that it is very easy and self pressurizes. If you find one please post it.

I don't see why you'd need to go to the dealer unless you're unable to bleed the system. The system self-synchronizes, so I don't see why you'd need any programming. If I have trouble bleeding it I'm going to have an independent garage bleed it and verify the top works before reinstalling the rear interior.

Seb_323ci_2000 09-24-2012 11:39 AM

As you said in your post, you're going to do this job this week end?

Have you bought brand new cylinders or you're sending them to be rebuild?

With the shipping delays, I won't have the choice to use the car. So I will need to re-install everything et remove another time when I will receive the cylinders from the shipping. I hope the top will be able to be close securely without the cylinders in place.

I'm starting to read a lot from here and the web for procedures.

taylor192 09-24-2012 01:00 PM

My car is my DD so I was planning to reinstall the top without the cylinders and manually close it. To reinstall the top is only 8 nuts on the top, and 4 bolts on the storage lid - assuming you leave the rear interior out while waiting for the cylinders to be rebuilt.

To manually close the top you press a button under the rear seat to disengage the hydraulics, so I don't see why the top couldn't be closed manually with the hydraulic cylinders removed.

That said, I also have a motorcycle as my backup plan while the weather is still nice. :)

Seb_323ci_2000 10-01-2012 10:54 AM

Have you started the job Taylor192? How's it going?

I'm planning to start mine at the beginning of november

taylor192 10-01-2012 12:29 PM


Originally Posted by Seb_323ci_2000 (Post 14777364)
Have you started the job Taylor192? How's it going?

I'm planning to start mine at the beginning of november

Haven't started, got lazy since the weather is cooling off and there's less need for top down action.

May tackle it this weekend, otherwise I may wait till the middle of winter since I have a heated garage.

Still haven't found a DIY for bleeding the system.

gbakerkingston 10-03-2012 04:22 AM

I replaced my bow tension cylinder, and was advised that the system does not require bleeding. I simply topped up the fluid, and all is fine.

taylor192 10-03-2012 09:54 AM


Originally Posted by gbakerkingston (Post 14783258)
I replaced my bow tension cylinder, and was advised that the system does not require bleeding. I simply topped up the fluid, and all is fine.

Found this:


The unit is self bleeding.

BMM32005 10-03-2012 11:52 AM

Where is the button located under the rear seat to manually close the top?

Seb_323ci_2000 10-03-2012 01:01 PM

To BMM32005, you have to remove your rear cover for the ski pass. Then you'll see the Allen Key and the button. Push that button, then the motors are disengaged.

After that, you have to remove the rear back seat, the one that you sit on it. Then you'll see, approximately 3 inches in front of the emergency button a place to insert the allen key. Then insert it and turn counterclock wise and the convertible lid will raise.

taylor192 10-08-2012 02:16 PM

Do I took out the rear interior today, only took an hour including reinstalling the rear seat top/bottom since only the side trim needs to be removed to access the connections and nut.

Hint: the top has to be down to remove the side trim since the top part of the trim pulls up and out.

Next step is to remove the entire top. Any ideas how to ensure the hydraulic lines don't leak at the quick disconnects?

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Bimmer App

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