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

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Old 10-04-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
avneet
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DIY: Repair/Strengthen Convertible Top Windshield Locks

My first DIY. I couldn't find any place with pictures on how to remove the front convertible top to get to the windshield locks and motor.

Back story: Just got my storage lid motor repaired at the stealership. While that happened, the mechanic told me the windshield lock's plastic housing was on the verge of breaking (showed me a picture). Quoted me another $1,500 to fix that. Decided I'd figure out how myself. So here is my DIY.

Step 1:

Allow the top to open just a bit, then shut off the car until it looks like this.



Step 2:

On the bottom of that lip, there are about 9 torx screws. Take all those out. On either end of the lip, there are also 2 caps. Pull those off and remove the 2 nuts.

Bolts under the 2 caps.


Also pull out this waterproofing rubber


Step 3:

Get back inside the car. Both corners have 2 screws that need to come out.





Step 4 (Optional depending):

In my case, the bottom cloth of the hood was screwed on too tightly (normally it looks like you can just pull down on the plastic motor and lock cover from this point). Mine was too tight, so I had to unscrew it all along the lip from the inside. You have to literally reach your hand inside the interior cloth to reach the screws.

First screw behind where my finger is touching


Keep pulling down as you continue at screws


Step 5:

Pull off the plastic housing. It's a PITA. I had to pull hard and use a screw driver to pry at many parts.

Step 6:

Do as you wish to the parts. You can replace them, or do what I did in step 7.

My windshield lock



The cracks on the plastic. Once that fails, the locks don't work.


Step 7:

I used metal epoxy putty to strengthen all the cracks. Stuffed it into the cracks and around it. No idea how long it will hold. Hopefully for a long time because that putty sets hard as rock.



Step 8:

Sleep! It took my 4 hours to do this because I was doing trial and error along the way (no DIY read for me). I put a lot of blood, sweat and a few tears into this. Have bandaids standing by. It's also a lot easier putting it back together with 2 people. Hope this helps people for a long time to come.

I'm still laughing at myself for letting the dealer charge me $1,000 to fix the motor under the rear seat. Something I could have done in 30 minutes. Then I went and did this myself.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:18 PM   #2
CombatWombat
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Thanks for posting! The cover is fun to remove isn't it

I have one addition... I wouldn't use metal epoxy on a plastic part. It doesn't bond very well and the part could still crack.

A product like this would probably work pretty well:

http://www.amazon.com/Plast-aid-Repa...ords=plast-aid
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
avneet
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Thanks for the suggestion! Never used epoxy before so went on blind faith. If I hear rattling in the plastic enclosure in the future, I'll assume the hardened epoxy fell off and do it again with plastic epoxy.
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
Mtype
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ummmm....I F-in' love u???????
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:15 PM   #5
fmzip
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^^^^^ Awesome DIY!

Winter project for me, just need to dial in on the proper epoxy.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
c stockwell
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Some excellent information, Great photos, Tell me how to get my top to open to do this,and ill start tonight...I'm hoping this is whats wrong with my top. Has anyone had a problem opening the top where one side opens but the driver side does not unlock or do much of any thing. will not stop until i have fixed this problem...this web site has been a great help. Thankx
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:35 PM   #7
fmzip
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^^^^
http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...y-vert-t86413/
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:10 PM   #8
taylor192
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Re: DIY: Repair/Strengthen Convertible Top Windshield Locks

After looking at pics of the plastic part and metal bar it looks like the cracks ontop are not nearly as bad as what happens on the bottom. The bottom of the plastic part has a hole and less material than the top, so the bottom cracks first then eventually the top lets go. Fixing the top cracks is just a bandaid, the damage is underneath.

Even after the top/bottom of the plastic part fails, the sides still have a substantial amount of material left. I think bolting the 2 sides through the metal arm is the best way to strengthen the whole assembly. The top could then be strengthened by adding plastic weld ontop. I don't think the bottom can be strengthened, yet it would probably be good to remove it and at least plastic weld any cracks.





The latches could be cracking cause once the bottom slider (the oval piece broken in half) fails it gets stuck in the guide. It looks like the slider also serves as a limiter (thus its oval shape) yet the metal guide it slides in already has limits at the ends. If we ignore the limiter feature of the slider it could easily be replaced by a nylon collar and nylon washer.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:13 PM   #9
taylor192
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Re: DIY: Repair/Strengthen Convertible Top Windshield Locks

Quote:
Originally Posted by c stockwell View Post
Some excellent information, Great photos, Tell me how to get my top to open to do this,and ill start tonight...I'm hoping this is whats wrong with my top. Has anyone had a problem opening the top where one side opens but the driver side does not unlock or do much of any thing. will not stop until i have fixed this problem...this web site has been a great help. Thankx
Your latch is cracked abd broken, you'll need to cut the cover to gain access.

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Old 10-07-2013, 08:09 AM   #10
dknightd
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this is great info. Big thanks for documenting the procedure.

One question, in your step 2, once you have got to this point can you completely remove (then replace) the front rubber seal? Mine needs replacing and I'm not sure how long my RTV patch will hold
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:14 PM   #11
c stockwell
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Thank you for the help. I'm starting this job in a few days and ill post progress and results. well see what happens..
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:48 AM   #12
avneet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post
this is great info. Big thanks for documenting the procedure.

One question, in your step 2, once you have got to this point can you completely remove (then replace) the front rubber seal? Mine needs replacing and I'm not sure how long my RTV patch will hold
The edges of the rubber were still attached. I never checked how to fully remove it since I was able to work around it.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:33 AM   #13
dknightd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avneet View Post
The edges of the rubber were still attached. I never checked how to fully remove it since I was able to work around it.
thanks for the followup
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:57 PM   #14
bmwmike325
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Great set of instructions, couldn't have done it without it. mine were totally sheared off both sides, ordered the parts from FCP Groton for around $340 each with their monthly discount, better than the ECS Tuning price. Hopefully the new BMW parts are made better, the brittle synthetic design is certainly not good engineering. Dealer wanted $1800 and the parts added to $1270, so labor was the rest.
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:26 AM   #15
comova
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BMWMike325, do you recall that part number? I'm having a hard time finding it.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:27 PM   #16
shift4inc
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Not pretty but still holding so far ....
Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByBimmerApp1397791579.992137.jpg
Views:	150
Size:	78.2 KB
ID:	554341Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByBimmerApp1397791607.418794.jpg
Views:	143
Size:	61.6 KB
ID:	554342





2004 330Ci Vert
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:47 PM   #17
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift4inc View Post
Not pretty but still holding so far ....
Attachment 554341Attachment 554342

2004 330Ci Vert
Nice job! Thanks for the pics, they'll act as a great guide when I tackle this.

I think everyone should do this as preventative maintenance. Maybe a sticky on typical roof issues and solutions is overdue.

Why such long bolts? Looks like you removed material on the threaded part (weakening it) cause the bolts are so long.



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Old 04-18-2014, 07:15 AM   #18
shift4inc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Nice job! Thanks for the pics, they'll act as a great guide when I tackle this.

I think everyone should do this as preventative maintenance. Maybe a sticky on typical roof issues and solutions is overdue.

Why such long bolts? Looks like you removed material on the threaded part (weakening it) cause the bolts are so long.



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I used the long bolts as they are the ones I had at the time. I originally intended to cut them off after the fact but decided not to. I was concerned that I would further damage the plastic with the cutting tool. The threads never got damaged. It was awkward to drill the holes without removing the lock mechanism hence the odd angles of the bolts. I only tried this repair because in my case the plastic had completely broken and the locks no longer worked. I had no choice in order to get the roof closed. I did coat all broken joints in epoxy before piecing it back together. This was done about a week ago but I'm in the process of troubleshooting a wiring issue with the top so it has open and closed many times and the locks are holding. I'll update if they break again anytime soon but I'm confident it will hold. Quick note about removing the cowl, HAVE PATIENCE there is a step by step somewhere on the net for this which I found after I did the job. It isn't hard but the more careful you are the the better is goes back together.


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Old 04-18-2014, 07:18 AM   #19
shift4inc
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I'm an idiot, "there is a step by step somewhere on the net for this" lol ya in this thread. Scroll back up!



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Old 04-18-2014, 08:47 PM   #20
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift4inc View Post
I'm an idiot, "there is a step by step somewhere on the net for this" lol ya in this thread. Scroll back up!

2004 330Ci Vert
I was just about to point this out. :-)

Why didn't you remove the latches to work on them?


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