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Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > E46 Convertible

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

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Old 04-19-2013, 07:10 PM   #21
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Great thread, nice tutorial!
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:25 AM   #22
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Can a moderator please update the title of this sticky to "DIY: Convertible hydraulic cylinders and lines". I'm going to cover replacing some of the lines too. Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:39 PM   #23
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Updates:

- Added a picture of the valve block to Step 9 of the Mian Lift Cylinders DIY.
- Added DIY for line #23
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:19 PM   #24
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Updates:

- Added some detail on line #21. This line is NOT a common problem. I replaced it cause I messed up.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Can a moderator please update the title of this sticky to "DIY: Convertible hydraulic cylinders and lines". I'm going to cover replacing some of the lines too. Thanks!
Done.

Awesome work and great new updates!
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:57 PM   #26
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5 stars!
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:00 PM   #27
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5 stars!
Thanks for your help! ///M Powerd was one of the many people I convinced to hold/lift the top 6 times!
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:59 PM   #28
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Two questions:

1- So the rear interior panels are different from the coupe, in that there's a top and a bottom piece, and the center leather bit needs to come out to access the lower piece? That threw me the first time I saw it.. So even to play with speakers and trim and whatnot I'm going to need to pull that and break some tabs, so I should just order a bunch and keep them handy, right?

2- Do you have more photos like this one with everything removed?


I am hoping to never have to take the covers off, but if you have lots of pictures it can be useful for studying and learning. ESPECIALLY if (if possible) the lines and their numbers are traced over it. Different colored lines maybe? Who knows. Asking a lot, I know.

I haven't tackled this yet, as I've been traveling around and when in town I just use a hockey stick to press the button while I stand at the rear wheel and help the pump along. Lazy, I know. But I'm going to probably combine EVERYTHING with a top to bottom car inspection, my interior trim replacement, and a good thorough leather cleaning after my dog threw up salt water all over my back seat.

(BTW, going back to a comment I made in my thread, I finally picture the bow tension cylinder as what it's called after having watched more closely just how much of an effect it has on everything, and the relationship between the rear glass portion being totally tight and the front roof portion reaching the same status... Pretty cool. It does more than I thought it did.)
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:32 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Two questions:

1- So the rear interior panels are different from the coupe, in that there's a top and a bottom piece, and the center leather bit needs to come out to access the lower piece? That threw me the first time I saw it.. So even to play with speakers and trim and whatnot I'm going to need to pull that and break some tabs, so I should just order a bunch and keep them handy, right?
Short answer: Yes.

If you want the long answer please start another thread. Please don't clutter this sticky with other topics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
2- Do you have more photos like this one with everything removed?
Unfortunately no. I posted a thread already asking if others had photos with the fabric removed from the frame. No luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
I am hoping to never have to take the covers off, but if you have lots of pictures it can be useful for studying and learning. ESPECIALLY if (if possible) the lines and their numbers are traced over it. Different colored lines maybe? Who knows. Asking a lot, I know.
The lines are all visible with the top articulated in various positions. If you would like to take photos and trace the lines I am certain this will help others and be a welcome addition to this thread.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #30
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Updates:

- Clarified some steps in Line #23 DIY
- Added some pictures and tips to Line #23 DIY
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:36 PM   #31
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Updates:

- Added an intro to the first post
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Updates:

- Clarified some steps in Line #23 DIY
- Added some pictures and tips to Line #23 DIY
you are the man...
Thanks,
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:09 PM   #33
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Updates:

- Cutting the zipties in Step 5 of Line #23 DIY is optional
- Emphasized that Line #23 DIY is a 2 person job.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #34
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Update:

Info on the line numbering:

0/1 - pump to valve block
11/14 - pump to passenger storage lid cylinder
12/13 - pump to driver storage lid cylinder
21/22 - valve block to driver main lift cylinder
23/24 - valve block to passenger main lift cylinder
31/34 - valve block to driver bow tension cylinder
32/33 - drivers bow tension cylinder to passenger bow tension cylinder
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:28 PM   #35
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Thumbs Up Options for hydraulic hose replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Update:

Info on the line numbering:

0/1 - pump to valve block
11/14 - pump to passenger storage lid cylinder
12/13 - pump to driver storage lid cylinder
21/22 - valve block to driver main lift cylinder
23/24 - valve block to passenger main lift cylinder
31/34 - valve block to driver bow tension cylinder
32/33 - drivers bow tension cylinder to passenger bow tension cylinder
If any of these lines should be bad, here are your options:

11/14 and 12/13 - They are attached to the cylinders. Fairly easy for Top Hydraulics to replace the lines, but you have to send in the cylinders.

21/22 - Top Hydraulics manufactures them, and they are normally in stock. Cheaper than OEM hoses.

23/24 - Much discussed in this thread below; Top Hydraulics manufactures them as an extended version that saves you many hours of installation time.
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-23.html
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-24.html
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...3-plus-24.html

31/34 - There are two versions depending on the age of your bow tension cylinders.
1) Early models (2000-~2003) have these two lines crimped into an aluminum block and cannot be separated from the cylinder. These lines have to be replaced at Top Hydraulics - you have to send in your cylinder with the lines attached. I am attaching a photo of an early version cylinder with a replaced line below. Note that BMW will make you buy a pair of cylinders instead...
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...er-00-03-.html
2) Later models (~2003-2006) have these lines detachable from the cylinder. Top Hydraulics can send you replacements. Note that these lines are not available from BMW - they want you to buy a pair of cylinders instead...
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-31.html
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-34.html

Pics of how lines 31 and 34 attached to newer style bow tension cylinders:



Picture of how lines 31 and 34 are attached to the older style bow tension cylinders:


Klaus

http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/56-bmw-e46
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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 06-03-2013, 05:46 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by TopHydraulicsInc.com View Post
31/34 - There are two versions depending on the age of your bow tension cylinders.
1) Early models (2000-~2003) have these two lines crimped into an aluminum block and cannot be separated from the cylinder. These lines have to be replaced at Top Hydraulics - you have to send in your cylinder with the lines attached.
2) Later models (~2003-2006) have these lines detachable from the cylinder. Top Hydraulics can send you replacements. Note that these lines are not available from BMW - they want you to buy a pair of cylinders instead...
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-31.html
http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/b...number-34.html
I notice you offer extended lines 31/34. Do these lines also suffer the same problem of being stretched too tight as the top moves?
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:46 PM   #37
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Thanks!!

Great post. Thanks in advance for all your help. I have an 02 M3 convertible I recently purchased and the top has stopped working. I'll be digging into it tonight and this should be a huge help.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:36 AM   #38
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I will be doing this mod when I get home, thanks!






























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Old 07-17-2013, 10:26 AM   #39
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OK guys, I want to thank Taylor with E46Fanatics, and Klaus with Top Hydraulics for saving me a small fortune. I PM'd Taylor early on when he was doing this repair on his car. I was really intimidated with the prospect of having to remove the top from the car and at one point I considered just paying the dealer to do the work. After I was able to read the highly detailed DYI that Taylor later put together and having Klaus answer a few of my questions, I decided to tackle the project myself.

The dealership wanted 6 hours labor to take everything out and 6 or 7 to put it all back together. I spent about 9 hours slowly taking it all apart which included me scribbling down a lot of notes, taking several short breaks, and about an hour off for lunch. I took about 8 hours reassembling everything, with several small breaks mixed in. After doing this once already, I am pretty sure I could easily do it again in the time the dealership quoted me. This was with simple hand tools as described in the DYI (nothing exotic here) and the only time I needed a second set of hands was to lift out the roof assembly and drop it back in (literally about 30 seconds each time).

If you are on the fence about performing this on your own I would say go for it. The walk through is pretty much fool proof and you will gain a better understanding on the inner workings of your convertible system. The price of the main bow tension cylinder replacement part from BMW for my car would have been over a grand. This is just for ONE cylinder. Even though it is the most expensive one, it is still made with components that will fail over time and have me dealing with the same problem. For half the price of that one cylinder, I was able to have Top Hydraulics rebuild ALL 6 of my cylinders with superior components.
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #40
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failure mechanism on lines 31 and 34

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
I notice you offer extended lines 31/34. Do these lines also suffer the same problem of being stretched too tight as the top moves?
taylor192,

so far, the main problem we have noticed on line 31 and on line 34 is that it is forced to bend when the rear bow (aka tension bar) folds and it splits in the area where it gets stressed. There is a good chance that the line gets pulled or pushed too much while the rear bow moves. I have not seen a failed line 31 or 34 installed in an E46, so I cannot judge whether it is installed too tightly. The best way to install a hydraulic line on a moving frame is to have it run exactly through the pivot point, so that it does not get pushed or pulled when the top moves.

While we use the OEM hose material for lines 23 and 24, we are using a more flexible hose material for lines 31 and 34 on the newer bow tension cylinders, plus we make them a little longer. The added flexibility in the line makes it better suited for an installation where the line moves. The pressure rating of the more flexible lines is several times the maximum pressure in the BMW system. The feedback we have received from shops and Do-It-Yourselfers has been very positive.

The BMW E46 is not the only convertible with hydraulic line problems. We see chemically degrading hose material in many brands including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, VW, Audi, Jaguar, Ferrari, and others. Chemical decay is not a problem with BMW hoses. Incorrect routing or installation such as in the E46 is a common problem and affects many tops on other brands, such as Mercedes or Saab.

Klaus

www.tophydraulicsinc.com
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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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