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

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Old 04-19-2013, 04:21 PM   #41
taylor192
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Originally Posted by raichean View Post
Oh man Taylor.. SO sorry to hear about the new troubles with the top!! Best of luck my friend and while the rest of us will learn from your DIY pain, still just sucks!! Sorry dude.
Thanks! At least there is an end in site before the good weather starts!
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:02 AM   #42
ErdeM3
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taylor any update...
I will wait until you find the best way to replace line # 23.
Thanks
E
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
taylor any update...
I will wait until you find the best way to replace line # 23.
Thanks
E
I will update tomorrow after I try one more thing this week (hopefully tonight). Did you get a photo of the split in your line? Please try to, it will help determine the root cause was the same.

I have started writing the DIY for replacing line #23: http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...07&postcount=5

Last edited by taylor192; 04-22-2013 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:54 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
I will update tomorrow after I try one more thing this week (hopefully tonight). Did you get a photo of the split in your line? Please try to, it will help determine the root cause was the same.

I have started writing the DIY for replacing line #23: http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...07&postcount=5

I was supposed to work on the top on weekend but I couldn`t. I got some other issues with EML and SES that I need to deal first but I will take the pic
That DIY is really helpful. I will also work on it maybe we can come up with an idea how to overcome step 6...


Thanks!

E

Last edited by ErdeM3; 04-23-2013 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:44 PM   #45
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yeap, I did take out the metal cover.Then I was able to see the leak, actually the cut is inside that metal cover . Also, there is a slight damage before the line goes into the that metal cover... I will send you the picture tomorrow...
I missed this post. Does your "slight damage" look like the line was bent around the edge of that metal cover? This is the damage to my line. The crease lines up with the edge of the metal cover.

The red arrow points to where you can see the line splitting.


Last edited by taylor192; 04-23-2013 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:53 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
I missed this post. Does your "slight damage" look like the line was bent around the edge of that metal cover? This is the damage to my line. The crease lines up with the edge of the metal cover.

The red arrow points to where you can see the line splitting.
yeap, exact same thing, first I thought the leak was from this point ... but then I figured that it was coming from inside the metal cover....

Last edited by ErdeM3; 04-23-2013 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:39 AM   #47
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Last edited by taylor192; 04-29-2013 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:51 AM   #48
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Details to come tomorrow. I will also update the DIYs for Line #23 and for the Main Lift Cylinders with more photos.

Overall not too bad. Took under 3 hrs today to run a new line #23, and that included removing the entire top to run a new line #21 as well. Another hour to reinstall the trunk panels and rear interior now that I'm completely done.

After 6 months of having various lines and cylinders disconnected the fluid in the pump looked like Guinness, dark and frothy. The top was struggling to operate even with the correct level of fluid. Thankfully I bought a 1L bottle of hydraulic fluid from the Mercedes dealership ($20 for 1L vs $30 for 250 mL from BMW) as research indicated they are the same fluid (not sure why BMW charges an arm and a leg, hopefully Klaus can chime in). Drained and refilled with all new fluid and she works like a charm!
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:52 AM   #49
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Congrats!! That must feel just incredible to finally have everything back together and working!! WELL DONE!
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:15 AM   #50
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Well Done buddy...I am really glad to hear that..I was waiting for you to complete this so that I can order start working on mine...You just made my day!! Looking for the DIY

Thanks

E

Last edited by ErdeM3; 04-29-2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:40 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Details to come tomorrow. I will also update the DIYs for Line #23 and for the Main Lift Cylinders with more photos.

Overall not too bad. Took under 3 hrs today to run a new line #23, and that included removing the entire top to run a new line #21 as well. Another hour to reinstall the trunk panels and rear interior now that I'm completely done.
taylor192,

congratulations! Looking forward to your DIY - you have really covered a lot of ground. So far, no other forum member may have taken their top off as many times as you have during your discovery journey... Let's clarify: the top normally needs to be taken off only to replace the main lift cylinders, right? Line #23 appears to be a problem for many E46s. What does it take to inspect it?

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
__________________
Some BMW E46 hydraulic cylinders, pumps, and valves that we rebuild and upgrade at Top Hydraulics:
54347025593
54347025600
54347025599
54348236956
54348243269
5434-8234530 (hydro-unit)
54347025592 (control unit)
54347025598 (improved hoses manufactured at Top Hydraulics)
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/56-bmw-e46
www.tophydraulicsinc.com

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Old 04-29-2013, 10:40 AM   #52
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Thumbs Up about hydraulic fluids for the soft top

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
After 6 months of having various lines and cylinders disconnected the fluid in the pump looked like Guinness, dark and frothy. The top was struggling to operate even with the correct level of fluid. Thankfully I bought a 1L bottle of hydraulic fluid from the Mercedes dealership ($20 for 1L vs $30 for 250 mL from BMW) as research indicated they are the same fluid (not sure why BMW charges an arm and a leg, hopefully Klaus can chime in). Drained and refilled with all new fluid and she works like a charm!
taylor192,

it's good that you got the old fluid out. Your main drive cylinders and tonneau cover cylinders have been upgraded by Top Hydraulics, and that makes them pretty much insensitive to bad hydraulic fluid, but the bow tension cylinders in your car have been replaced before you purchased your car, and they have the OEM seals in them. That means you have to be very careful about the hydraulic fluid.

The parts that are exposed to hydraulic fluid are the hydraulic cylinders, the hydraulic lines, the hydraulic pump, and the valve block with the control valves attached. There are only two major manufacturers of convertible top hydraulic system, and they supply over 20 brands of convertibles. The hydraulic cylinders, lines and pump are modified versions of commonly manufactured parts, made to fit your car with its particular space requirements and level of reliability desired by the manufacturer.

I don't know if BMW has any kind of secret ingredient in their hydraulic fluid, but I know what works for other convertibles with more or less identical components (and mixtures of metals or alloys) in the system.

What are the characteristics of a good hydraulic fluid for convertibles?
1) Low viscosity over a wide temperature range (meaning a thin fluid that is easily pumped through the tiny hydraulic lines and fittings even in cold weather). This requires a fairly refined product.
2) No Emulsifiers in the fluid. Emulsifiers would allow water to reach the seals in the cylinders and accelerate their chemical decay. Polyurethane gets "hydrolized" by water (not the case for Top Hydraulics' seals). Without emulsifiers in the fluid, any water from condensation will simply collect on the bottom of the reservoir without doing much harm, as long as it doesn't get sucked into the system.
3) Lubrication and protection from oxidation.
4) No additives that might attack the seals in the system. What might be a good additive for old-fashioned transmissions, is likely a nightmare for your hydraulic seals.


Here are the two most commonly used hydraulic fluids used in high-pressure convertible top hydraulic systems such as yours:

A) Pentosin CHF-11S. This is a good hydraulic fluid that is used also in some power steering and self-leveling systems. It can be purchased online in many places, or in some good auto parts stores.

B) Another fluid that is approved by Mercedes-Benz for systems with all the same materials in it as your E46s, is FeBi 02615, along with Mercedes' own fluid p/n A 0009899103. It, too, is also used in power steering and self leveling systems. I would recommend this fluid for E46s without reservations. In fact, I recommend it to all of our customers. FeBi02615 is generally a bit cheaper than CHF11S, and the characteristics are practically identical. In Europe, the same fluid is also sold as Aral Vitamol. I suspect that Aral is actually the manufacturer of the three fluids above. It is also sold under the brand name Weyle down under, with p/n 0009899103. These are all called "ZH-M" fluids.

The best price on the online market varies, so my recommendation for places to buy the fluid is not necessarily the best. You need 1 quart. Here is one possibility that is currently listed in Top Hydraulics' DIY page: http://www.rmeuropean.com/Part-Numbe..._D18BD03A.aspx

DO NOT used "Stop-Leak" type fluids or additives, as these will make those seals that haven't failed yet disintegrate all the faster. Stop-Leak makes the polyurethane seals in your OEM cylinders swell up at first, possibly seal the system for a short time, and then lead to catastrophic failure of all seals. If you buy new OEM cylinders from the dealer, their life span will be significantly shortened by the presence of such additives in the system.

DO NOT use brake fluid. Old-fashioned brake fluid attracts water. DOT5 brake fluid, which is silicone based, is theoretically okay, but it shouldn't be used in a system that already had oil in it.

I hope this helps,

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
__________________
Some BMW E46 hydraulic cylinders, pumps, and valves that we rebuild and upgrade at Top Hydraulics:
54347025593
54347025600
54347025599
54348236956
54348243269
5434-8234530 (hydro-unit)
54347025592 (control unit)
54347025598 (improved hoses manufactured at Top Hydraulics)
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/56-bmw-e46
www.tophydraulicsinc.com

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Old 04-29-2013, 10:43 AM   #53
taylor192
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Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
Well Done buddy...I am really glad to hear that..I was waiting for you to complete this so that I can order start working on mine...You just made my day!! Looking for the DIY

Thanks

E
Thanks! Going to add this step to the DIY so those with this problem can get started:

Step 1: Contact Top Hydraulics to order an extended line #23. The longer line is needed to reroute the line around the tension bar and provide some slack where the line was crushed and split.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:49 AM   #54
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taylor192,

congratulations! Looking forward to your DIY - you have really covered a lot of ground. So far, no other forum member may have taken their top off as many times as you have during your discovery journey...
Thanks again for all your help! I would not have been able to get this done without Top Hydraulics.

Lets hope my posts keep other members from taking out the top that many times too! I think this was time #6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TopHydraulicsInc.com View Post
Let's clarify: the top normally needs to be taken off only to replace the main lift cylinders, right? Line #23 appears to be a problem for many E46s. What does it take to inspect it?

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
I have pictures to explain how to check it without dismantling anything. Will update the DIY this afternoon or tonight. Just got into work, sun was shining, top down!
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:00 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by TopHydraulicsInc.com View Post
B) Another fluid that is approved by Mercedes-Benz for systems with all the same materials in it as your E46s, is FeBi 02615, along with Mercedes' own fluid p/n A 0009899103. It, too, is also used in power steering and self leveling systems. I would recommend this fluid for E46s without reservations. In fact, I recommend it to all of our customers. FeBi02615 is generally a bit cheaper than CHF11S, and the characteristics are practically identical. In Europe, the same fluid is also sold as Aral Vitamol. I suspect that Aral is actually the manufacturer of the three fluids above. It is also sold under the brand name Weyle down under, with p/n 0009899103. These are all called "ZH-M" fluids.
Thanks for confirm what I researched: that all "ZH-M" fluids are good for the e46. I used the longer Mercedes part # (000989910310), so my bottle looks a bit different.

ECS carries it for $12 for 1L, vs $28 for 250 mL for the genuine BMW fluid:
http://www.ecstuning.com/ES1609996/
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-M3-...ible/ES158510/
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:17 AM   #56
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Cool Lots of prices and labels for the same fluid...

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Thanks for confirm what I researched: that all "ZH-M" fluids are good for the e46. I used the longer Mercedes part # (000989910310), so my bottle looks a bit different.

ECS carries it for $12 for 1L, vs $28 for 250 mL for the genuine BMW fluid:
http://www.ecstuning.com/ES1609996/
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-M3-...ible/ES158510/
Thanks for your links and clarification. Aral Vitamol ZH-M as shown in one of your links above as the BMW fluid is indeed the same fluid as FeBi 02615. Thus, no secret ingredient in BMW hydraulic fluid!

The fluid you get when ordering the $9.01 Febi02615 through http://www.rmeuropean.com/Part-Numbe..._D18BD03A.aspx or through autohausaz.com is indeed the one you purchased, as well. Rectangular bottle with suffix 10, thus the part number on the bottle is Mercedes' p/n 000989910310 (same as 0009899103).

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
__________________
Some BMW E46 hydraulic cylinders, pumps, and valves that we rebuild and upgrade at Top Hydraulics:
54347025593
54347025600
54347025599
54348236956
54348243269
5434-8234530 (hydro-unit)
54347025592 (control unit)
54347025598 (improved hoses manufactured at Top Hydraulics)
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/56-bmw-e46
www.tophydraulicsinc.com

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Old 04-29-2013, 04:43 PM   #57
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Updated the sticky!

Perhaps I should add a final step to each DIY to flush the hydraulic fluid. If the system was leaking that means dirt and moisture got in, so it would be good to flush the system.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:22 AM   #58
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Is it possible to detach lines from the valve block without removing the top???

Hey dude,

I see you have done the hard work and replaced the line 23. I will work on it this weekend but I have some questions before hand.
First, I have never worked on a convertible before I am not familiar with it...

I hear people saying lot of things about the alignment of the top, "don`t take it off, you gonna mess it etc"... I need to clarify some things.
in your DIY, you say...
Quote:
This took me about 2 hrs and did not have to remove the top from the car, nor the outer fabric from the top
-You just removed the inner fabric? if so, how? I made a search but couldn`t find anything! or Do I just need the space around c pillars so that you can see how the line is routed? (step#4 in your DIY)

-if you didn`t remove the top while taking out the line, how did you detach the line #23 from the valve block?
what kind of trick have you done to remove/install those hoses from the valve block. It seems almost impossible to do that without removing the top.

- I already take out the inside side trims rear seats etc.. Now waiting on how to detach the line and remove the inside interior fabric to reroute the line...

Thanks
E
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:48 AM   #59
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Hey dude,

I see you have done the hard work and replaced the line 23. I will work on it this weekend but I have some questions before hand.
First, I have never worked on a convertible before I am not familiar with it...
Hey dude,

I had never owned or worked on a convertible before either. When I first saw the leak I thought I was doomed to pay a specialist $Ks to fix it. Then I got into it and realized the top is fairly simple. The best thing you can do is get a really bright flashlight, a friend, and operate the top manually. Stop it at various positions and peak under the fabric top and headliner, in the storage area, ... to familiarize yourself with it.

Also, read the PDFs I link in the first post of the sticky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
I hear people saying lot of things about the alignment of the top, "don`t take it off, you gonna mess it etc"... I need to clarify some things.
in your DIY, you say...
I cover this in Step 7 of the Main Lift Cylinders. In this photo there are 3 nuts circled in red, and a couple nuts not circled of the same size. The top is anchored to a plate, and the plate is anchored to the car. The position of the plate is set at the factory, so do NOT loosen the nuts NOT circled.



Mark the position of the other nuts so you can line up these up when reinstalling. Truthfully, once you tighten this nut the other 3 nuts fall into place. I didn't want to put that into the DIY since I feel it is important to mark the position of the nuts and some may skip it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
-You just removed the inner fabric? if so, how? I made a search but couldn`t find anything! or Do I just need the space around c pillars so that you can see how the line is routed? (step#4 in your DIY)
I did not remove any fabric. Sorry for not making that clear. I guess I shouldn't say "outer fabric" and say "any fabric" instead.

If you find you need more room at the corner of the tension bar you can remove some #20 torx screws to loosen the headliner. I didn't find I needed the room. Here's one:



I found the strings for the batwings got in the way. Removing the top mounting point for the string will help:



Quote:
Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
-if you didn`t remove the top while taking out the line, how did you detach the line #23 from the valve block?
what kind of trick have you done to remove/install those hoses from the valve block. It seems almost impossible to do that without removing the top.
I cover that in Step 3 of the Line #23 DIY. You need a set of long nose bent pliers (preferrably 90 degree bent):

http://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-3492-11...nt+nose+pliers


I'll add this photo to the DIY. The arrow points to where you will use the pliers to access the line and retaining clips:



As I note in Step 3, doing it this way is easy to remove, difficult to reinstall. To reinstall the line just try to get the end of the fitting in the proper hole first, even if it is on an odd angle. This way you can re-position the pliers to straighten the fitting while applying pressure to keep the fitting in the hole.

The hardest part will be reattaching the black plastic retainer. You may drop the retainer so have something handly to retrieve it. The best way to attach it is on an angle, putting the end that locks against a fitting in first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErdeM3 View Post
- I already take out the inside side trims rear seats etc.. Now waiting on how to detach the line and remove the inside interior fabric to reroute the line...
Sweet, you're half way done. As I said before, no need to remove ANY fabric.

PM me if you get stuck in the middle of this DIY. PMs send me an email to my phone so hopefully I'll respond quickly. Everyone else, please don't flood my PM inbox unless you're truly stuck in the middle of a DIY.

Last edited by taylor192; 05-01-2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:39 PM   #60
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Thanks dude, I really appreciate the DIY
I already ordered the line from TopHydraulics, Klaus was really helpful. I should have the line on Friday and start working on the top on Saturday.
I will keep you guys posted and take pictures while I am working on it. It might me helpful to others.

Thanks
E
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