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

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Old 11-15-2016, 10:38 PM   #1
Archbid
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Marin, CA
Posts: 1,209
My Ride: 2003 330cic
DIY: Replace tonneau cover/lid

A quick guide to a remarkably easy DIY that has huge impact.

My 2003 vert was faded beyond belief, and just looked like hell from the sun and dirt. I decided to go from beige to black, and the final step was replacing the rear lid or "tonneau cover". I never found a DIY, so I thought I would write one, though I admit it is so easy it probably isn't necessary.

Remember that if you are replacing the lid, you not only need a replacement lid, but you also need the two folding top flap pieces (L & R), 51178233303 and 51178233304, unless you reuse. They must be the same color as the lid you are installing.

Tools:
1. Drill with socket attachment. There are a lot of nuts. A drill makes it much easier
2. 10mm and 13mm sockets
3. Various torx bits

Before you start, put a blanket over your trunk so you don't scratch it which removing the cover.

1. Press convertible top button until the cover lifts to 45 degrees. Turn off car.
2. Prop cover up and let the actual roof settle into the compartment
3. With a 13mm ratchet, loosen the hinge mount nuts. Remove the top nut on each side, but only loosen the bottom nut. This will prevent the lid from falling on the trunk (see image below). Unplug the antenna.
4. Lift the lid so that the hinge slides off the bottom nut.

5. Lay the lid down and remove the lid striker (13mm ratchet). Be careful to save the spacers that are between the striker and the lid. You will need these to adjust the lid after installation.

6. Remove the 8 exterior perimeter nuts (10mm socket)

7. Remove the 10 interior perimeter nuts and remove the chrome trim and painted flange.

8. Remove the antenna.

9. Pry off the rubber ends of the lid support towers and then unscrew the towers using a torx bit.

10. Remove top flap pieces, torx screwdriver, two screws.


As they say, installation is the reverse of removal, except, like a window, this top has to be aligned.

1. Height at hinge. Install the spacers at the hinges before tightening down. Allow the lid to descend and check height. Move spacers to adjust.
2. Height at latch. Install the lid strikers with the spacers. Close and lock the lid. Determine adjustments, loosen striker bolts, and move spacers until it is right.
3. Spacing. Before fully torquing down the hinge bolts, tighten with your fingers and examine the reveal around the lid. Adjust the front/back and the left/right until it is consistent. Torque down the hinges.
4. The latch striker position should match the location when they were removed. I just made certain that the nuts were torqued down at the same indentations on the striker. YMMV

Hope this helps!
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Last edited by Archbid; 11-18-2016 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:49 PM   #2
taylor192
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: The Best Place on Earth
Posts: 2,421
My Ride: 2003.5 M3
Why did you replace it and not just dye it? Also, how much was it?

Nice DIY!
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Last edited by taylor192; 11-15-2016 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:53 PM   #3
Archbid
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Marin, CA
Posts: 1,209
My Ride: 2003 330cic
Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Why did you replace it and not just dye it? Also, how much was it?

Nice DIY!
I paid $450 for the new part a few years back, and just got around to installing. Honestly, I just want my car to look nice, so I am spending about $3,000 total to completely restore the interior with a mix of new (upholstery, cover, console) and lightly used parts.

It was a $50k car when it was new, and I love it. It is worth $3k to make it look awesome.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:30 PM   #4
Archbid
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Marin, CA
Posts: 1,209
My Ride: 2003 330cic
What I would love to do is get it covered in black leather. That would just be sweet!
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
BIGDAVE339
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Covina CA
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2004 330ci Vert
Removing the upholstered top section?

Hello and thanks for a great DIY! I just want to be sure before I buy a complete cover on Ebay. This DIY is showing me how to remove the upholstered top section of my tonneau cover....correct? Thanks so much for the great pics as well. Nice job!

Dave
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