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E46 Convertible
The E46 vert forum. Talk about dropping your E46 top here.

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
taylor192
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HELP! Stuck reinstalling convertible top.

My main lift cylinders leaked, and this morning was almost done replacing them except for the gas pressurized spring on the passenger side. It is really stiff and won't compress at all, and I need it to compress 0.25" to seat in the ball socket.

We tried extending the top while out of the vehicle, then with the top installed in the vehicle, and no luck, still 0.25" short and the spring won't compress even with 2 big guys leaning on it.

Any ideas of how to compress it are much appreciated! I hope I don't have to take the top out again to do so. So friggin close to having this repair done!

It is item #7 in this picture, part #54348268979.



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Old 11-11-2012, 06:58 AM   #2
dknightd
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Can you compress the spring if it is not on the car? If you have not tried, remove from car and try.

If you can compress off car (which is likely since you'll have better leverage) you might be able to put a piece of wire around it to hold it shorter. Install, then cut wire.

That spring also might have a self locking mechanism (I don't know). If it does, you might need to first extend it a bit to release lock, then try compressing it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:22 PM   #3
taylor192
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Tried compressing off the top and could not by hand, didn't try with a clamp.

Going to try a ratchet strap to see if it'll compress at all, I don't see how it'd lock and need top be released, yet worth trying first. Thanks.

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Old 11-13-2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Tried compressing off the top and could not by hand, didn't try with a clamp.

Going to try a ratchet strap to see if it'll compress at all, I don't see how it'd lock and need top be released, yet worth trying first. Thanks.

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@ taylor...did you find a solution?
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:44 AM   #5
taylor192
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@ taylor...did you find a solution?
Unfortunately I haven't found a solution online, and since we're into rainy season I'm going to leave it for awhile in hopes someone who has attempted this repair steps up with the solution.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #6
Zenocchio
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have you tried to lube it? sometimes even humidity can glue it open. free one end and turn it few times.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:48 PM   #7
taylor192
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have you tried to lube it? sometimes even humidity can glue it open. free one end and turn it few times.
I'll try that. Going to look at it again this weekend.

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Old 11-30-2012, 07:23 PM   #8
Zenocchio
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Did you fix it?
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:55 PM   #9
taylor192
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Did you fix it?
No :-( been sick.... and have a leaking steering line to fix first. Thanks for asking. :-)

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
cityjohn
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This is a bear to install. I did it and, while I can't remember the exact procedure that ended up working, the fact that I did should give hope. I did it myself with a huge amount of leverage as I recall.

I'm curious to know what the function is, as the top seemed to work fine when it was out of the car. Does it help lift the frame? Does it dampen it when dropping?
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:13 PM   #11
taylor192
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This is a bear to install. I did it and, while I can't remember the exact procedure that ended up working, the fact that I did should give hope. I did it myself with a huge amount of leverage as I recall.
Anything you could remember would be a great help.

Did you install the spring with the top installed? or out of the car?
You did it yourself? no help?
Did you use a clamp? ratchet strap?

Thanks in advance!

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Originally Posted by cityjohn View Post
I'm curious to know what the function is, as the top seemed to work fine when it was out of the car. Does it help lift the frame? Does it dampen it when dropping?
Me too, since I'd like to finish this up even if it means leaving this off.

I suspect its to keep the top tensioned when the car is off. The hydraulics are only pressurized when the car turns on (thus why you can manually move the top with the car off).
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:47 PM   #12
taylor192
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Finally revisited this today and got it installed. Took 2 of us, here's how we did it:

Required:
- > 12" F-clamp (I used a 24" since at that length they are beefier!)
- Hockey puck (every Canadian has one)
- Drill and bits (I think 5/8" bit)



Steps:
- The top must be out of the car and fully extended
- Install the lower pin of the hydraulic cylinder and attach the gas strut.
- Attach the gas strut to the other pin.
- Line up the hydraulic cylinder and shove the pin in. It will be on a horrible angle since the gas strut is too long. Hit it with a mallet to get it started.
- This is where being Canadian helps. The top of the gas strut is rounded, so its hard to get a clamp on it. We drilled a hole in a hockey puck for the top of the gas strut to fit into and give us a better surface to clamp.
- Even with the hockey puck you'll need 2 guys to ensure the clamp doesn't slip.
- Racket the clamp down, at one point the pin will straighten out enough and just slip right in (hopefully in and not out! try to keep pressure on the pin)
- Bam! Done! Get a case of Canadian beer (not American piss) and celebrate!

I wish we took photos, it was hilarious to get this done.

Hints:
- There are 2 bolts on either side that limit the movement of the top. If you crank these down you can get a bit more extension of the top, yet not enough to get the gas strut on.

Last edited by taylor192; 02-17-2013 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
taylor192
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Big thanks to ///MPowerd for the extra set of hands and the idea for a hockey puck.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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Take it off and do it again and take detailed pics so we will know what to do when it happens to us. Come on, take one for the team! LOL, thanks for the info and instructions, I'm sure many us may need this in the future.

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:21 PM   #15
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Happy to hear it is in! Although I still wonder what its purpose is. I actually drove around without it for a few weeks and the performance was no different.



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Take it off and do it again and take detailed pics so we will know what to do when it happens to us...
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:57 AM   #16
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nice work
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