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Old 10-04-2009, 10:03 PM   #1
Ron-B
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Thumbs down e46 - Lighting problem after removable hard top installation

Hi. Just retrofitted my 2002 330 Ci with a removable hardtop. I bought one that was from an M3. Fits great. Bluish black top on my steel blue metalic car looks great. I was told that the M3 top is basically the same as the one for the 330 - the difference being the trim and color (I hope this is true).

Here's the problem.... The dome light (on the mirror) now does not light when I open the doors. When you turn the ignition key off, it lights for a few seconds, dims, then goes off. The two lights in the hard top have power, but only work when you press the switch on the lights, each individually. Anyone know if they are supposed to light when the door is opened? (I don't know how to test the rear defroster but I live in North Dakota so nature will help me out in the next week or two.)

How I created this problem... I bought the BMW installation kit and put it on. This consists of two brackets and two wires for $200 (BMW must like the number 2 - I was just happy they didn't charge $2000 as I would have had to pay it as these brackets would be tough to duplicate - lol). The one on the drivers side had four wires (matched to the harness) and the one on the passenger side 2wires (which matched the harness on that side so I think I installed it correctly.) What a deal to get to the prewired connector... take out the back seat and then several layers of trim. (If anyone has questions on gaining access, I maybe can answer them.)

About the lights... anyone have any idea? Could it be anything relating to the M3 top on the 330 (if so, any ideas for a fix)?

Thanks.
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Last edited by Ron-B; 10-04-2009 at 10:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:15 PM   #2
iansanderson
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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You need to have the hardtop retrofit programming done to your car. The car's ZKE/Central Coding Key needs changed so it recognizes the presence of a hardtop. This has to be done at a dealership and takes about 5 minutes.. unless you can find an independent with a GT1/Progman system. Call around and find a dealership that will do it for a reasonable price.
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Cheat Sheet:

GT1/ISIS/MoDiC = Factory authorized diagnostic system used by BMW dealerships across the world.

NCS Expert = BMW Factory R&D programming tool available on the internet (not intended for the public and not available to the dealership network)

OEM = Genuine BMW part only available from a franchised BMW dealership.

DME = Engine Management Computer
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:09 AM   #3
Ron-B
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Wow. Thanks so much. Just glad that it didn't involve taking the seat out, inside panels off... to get to the wiring. My nearest dealer is 300 miles away but I'll try some of the local foreign car fix-it places and maybe can get it done more locally. Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:35 PM   #4
Ron-B
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Found out I had the mounting bracket on backwards. Though the hardtop fit just fine, the electric connector only fits one way on the mounting bracket, that caused the problem. The dealer was not aware of any programming for the hardtop to be recongnized. I had to take the seats out and the trim off to get to the wiring... went a lot faster than the first time!
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:52 AM   #5
BobSC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-B View Post
Found out I had the mounting bracket on backwards. Though the hardtop fit just fine, the electric connector only fits one way on the mounting bracket, that caused the problem. The dealer was not aware of any programming for the hardtop to be recongnized. I had to take the seats out and the trim off to get to the wiring... went a lot faster than the first time!
I made this same exact mistake a couple of months ago when I installed my hardtop kit. I installed the electrical connections backwards and then had to uninstall them and do it right. After that, everything worked perfectly. There was no required programing from the dealer involved.

You can really use a hard top where you live!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:42 PM   #6
Gold323Ci
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This is an old thread but I hope you guys can help me.

I just sold my hard top and install kit to a guy near me. He has the top but not the install kit yet. I took the kit off today but now the car won't work without the kit. Why?

I did one side and had the problem. So I put the one side plug back in and the top worked. I then thought I might have to have both removed for the soft top to work but when I did, I was back to the same non-working soft top problem.

Any ideas?
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:05 PM   #7
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold323Ci View Post
This is an old thread but I hope you guys can help me.

I just sold my hard top and install kit to a guy near me. He has the top but not the install kit yet. I took the kit off today but now the car won't work without the kit. Why?

I did one side and had the problem. So I put the one side plug back in and the top worked. I then thought I might have to have both removed for the soft top to work but when I did, I was back to the same non-working soft top problem.

Any ideas?
Reviving an old thread. I am having the same issue, top will not work without the hardtop install kit.

Was the light blinking beside the top buttons on the dash?
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:34 PM   #8
Gold323Ci
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I don't remember what lights were blinking or not.

I had to leave the install kit installed because I couldn't make top work otherwise. I couldn't find a solution on the web.

I sold my hardtop to a guy and then helped pay for his install kit because the original plan was to give him mine.

Sorry.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
taylor192
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Originally Posted by Gold323Ci View Post
I don't remember what lights were blinking or not.

I had to leave the install kit installed because I couldn't make top work otherwise. I couldn't find a solution on the web.

I sold my hardtop to a guy and then helped pay for his install kit because the original plan was to give him mine.

Sorry.
Thanks for responding asap!

The issue is that the passenger side mounting bracket has a switch to indicate if the top is installed. The connector on the passenger side has 4 wires, while the drivers side only has 2. 2 wires for power, 2 wires for the switch.

I'm going to try a resistor to see if I can fool the car into thinking the switch is there.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:35 AM   #10
bf03
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Hard top lighting issues

Hi Ron-B

I know your original issue dates back a few years, but it is exactly the problem I have recently encountered after purchasing a 2003 330cic, which was without a hardtop. I was lucky to find a hardtop in the correct colour (Sapphire Black) locally.

After much discussion with various dealerships, one of which said I should just "put up with it"!, I eventually found a BMW dealership with an old school service manager who remembered a few cars with this problem from the 2003/4 period.

He agreed to take the car in, found it to be a wiring fault on the main loom, and duly repaired it.

Since my car has a BMW service history, he contacted BMW on my behalf, and they in turn agreed to cover the costs as warranty repair.

My faith in BMW is restored.
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