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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 09-23-2013, 12:45 AM   #1
hoppyE46
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Another sad day in NorCal - hydraulic mount failure

so I fixed the batwing, SES light has cleared... then 'something' "snapped" when dropping the top on friday before heading home from work...

finally got a round to looking at it today, appears to be a mount for the cylinder installed forward of the first bend and attached to the latch of the first bend on the driver-side...

see attached as well as the 4th picture group of step 2 in the post by taylor192 [http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...lic+cylinders]
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the driver-side cylinder has way more 'fore-aft' play than the passenger side, and significant evidence of binding can be seen on the latch pieces parts: bare metal and galling.

i cannot seem to find any real schematic to determine what I need to pull part to attempt a repair, I assume the entire windscreen latching cover will need to be removed for investigation...

anyone have any ideas, schematics, and/or have a hardtop for sale in norCal?

as always, thank you in advance for any and all advice.

hoppy
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
taylor192
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I assume you're talking about this latch:



That latch is controlled by the latch for the windshield. It is NOT controlled by hydraulics.

I bet the latch for the windshield on the same side is broken. You'll have to remove the plastic cover (a bunch of screws and a couple hidden bolts/nuts) then you'll need to figure out what broke. Worst case you'll have to buy a whole new latch for ~$400.

I would at the very least remove the plastic cover now. If you close the top and the other latch breaks in the process you'll have to cut the plastic cover open to service the latches.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:46 PM   #3
hoppyE46
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so the cylinder is the gas shock referred to... in some tech document that has been posted a few times?

I will rip it apart tonight for investigation... anyone have a nice schematic for the frame?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:04 PM   #4
hoppyE46
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right, so let me start by writing that since I was unable to drop the top this AM, I rolled down all windows, and luck would have it the passenger window makes the ominous grinding on the way down... awesome, window regulator time on that...

read post during the day, so planned for an investigative disassembly in the PM. driving home, more foreshadowing... the old adage, "things happen in threes": something likely broke with driverside latching mech, passenger window regulator failing, what will #3 be?...

get home, dinner, then start disassembly...

used the 'emergency disconnect' to allow manually positioning the top for removal of the windscreen latch plastic cover. that plastic cover is pain, but difficult but time consuming: 8 - 10 screws across the top, 2 nuts, 2 screws under outer edge seals, then 5 more screws under the headliner... whew...

during removal this first bit falls out...
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not a good sign, but not wholly unexpected either.

finally get the cover off, putting the far outer corner seals back one is gonna suck! at first glance, the driverside latching mechanism looks alright.
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that first bit had to come from some where, so...

after manually cycling the latch... not so good... [click on the pic, red boxes should line up]
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well, since it's all apart, I wonder if the passengerside has any unusual or worrisome wear?... that would be an affirmative, looks like the passengerside is about to fail as well, ah, the trifecta is complete! [click on the pic, orange boxes identifying visible fractures in drive-screw-lever arm connector]
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so that's what, ~$400 x2 for the top latches?

Thoughts: repair, or buy a hardtop and forget about repair? the hardtop is gonna be 2x the cost of the repair, but I'm only looking to go for another 18 months, hoping by then a 4 series Gran Coupe will be available... more of a reason to forego the hardtop and stick with the repairs?...

window will have to be repaired regardless...

so sad to see the e46 getting old, just rolled over 125k, to 'low' miles, right?

hoppy
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:16 AM   #5
cityjohn
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You could replace the header latch assembly with the manual version from a semi-auto car. Not sure how it would affect your electronics though.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
fmzip
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Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-CONV...dc00bf&vxp=mtr

Or buy a whole type and resell the pieces you don't need

http://www.ebay.com/itm/02-05-BMW-OE...4aba9b&vxp=mtr
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
taylor192
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I would attempt a repair first before buying new latches. I would glue/epoxy the broken piece back together first, then drill a couple holes through the plastic retainer and metal bar so you can add bolts to strengthen the part.

From other members with the same issue it seems the plastic piece breaks at the metal bar, not at the metal rod/screw. The constant push/pull on the metal bar must be enough to crack the plastic. Adding a couple bolts would hopefully prevent the plastic from cracking.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
fmzip
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I think if the majority of vert owners peeked in there, they'd find theirs cracked too.

I like your idea of preventative maintenance ....

I see a winter DIY in my future. Anyone have a link as to how to access that area and disassemble?
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:17 PM   #9
hoppyE46
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@fmzip: don't know how I didn't find those on fleaBay, but there are extra pic that clearly show fractures in both...

perhaps this is a part that should be replaced with new only?... kind setting oneself up for more maintenance later when using parts in some stag of failure...

thanks thou!

hoppy
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:01 AM   #10
fmzip
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Good catch on the Ebay ones.....

Maybe you can point that out and get them for 1/2 price

As I mentioned, we all are likely driving around with cracked ones and don't even know it. Poor design with a hefty metal threaded rod through plastic

I would ask any of the Ebay sellers for pictures of those areas first. Also check the parting out forums for a convertible and Bavarian Auto recycling.

It's a big expense to replace them. I do think JB weld and some ingenuity might make this a good preventative maintenance bullet proof approach for the vert crowd.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
hoppyE46
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my plan is hardtop for now... if the price is right... then I've got time to repair what I have.

it appears that the composite parts are injected around the lever arm and the drive screw... there are 2 holes through the lever arm from whatever process is used.

as was previously pointed out, the drive screw portion of hte composite material is unaffected, so...

drill/dremel out a sufficient amount of the composite material reassemble with industrial adhesive, I love "Goop", and some hardware... I'm thinking that will do the trick...

hoppy
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:06 PM   #12
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppyE46 View Post
my plan is hardtop for now... if the price is right... then I've got time to repair what I have.

it appears that the composite parts are injected around the lever arm and the drive screw... there are 2 holes through the lever arm from whatever process is used.

as was previously pointed out, the drive screw portion of hte composite material is unaffected, so...

drill/dremel out a sufficient amount of the composite material reassemble with industrial adhesive, I love "Goop", and some hardware... I'm thinking that will do the trick...

hoppy
Can you document whatever you do with some quality close up photos. I didn't realize the lever arm already has 2 holes through it... thus essentially we just need to know where they are, drill through the plastic and put in some bolts.

I'm tempted to try this as I'd like to bullet-proof my top after all the hydraulics work I did.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
fmzip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
I'm tempted to try this as I'd like to bullet-proof my top after all the hydraulics work I did.
If you can tell me how to open the top up to access this area, I will document it this winter.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:04 PM   #14
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmzip View Post
If you can tell me how to open the top up to access this area, I will document it this winter.
Here ya go:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppyE46 View Post
that plastic cover is pain, but difficult but time consuming: 8 - 10 screws across the top, 2 nuts, 2 screws under outer edge seals, then 5 more screws under the headliner... whew...
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:01 AM   #15
hoppyE46
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phone is not playing so no pictures to upload right now... will this weekend. The latch failure was more extensive than was initially understood. Still I think the repair described above may work.

the drivers side has 2 limit switches for the top open and closed, since I have that latch removed, I have a magnet taped to the 'down position' limit switch. '

*******: if your doing a same of similar repair, DO NOT remove the screws from under the headline...

removing those screws is not necessary and a serious PITA! they merely need to be loosened to remove the latch cover, the piece seen from the interior when the top is up. Oh, it's rubber coated metal, not plastic as I had previous mentioned.

I'll post pics this weekend... after i pickup my HARDTOP!!!!

hoppy
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:19 AM   #16
fmzip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Here ya go:
I need to look closer, I didn't see any screws at first glance....
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:26 PM   #17
hoppyE46
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alrighty...

here is an image showing the extent of the failure of the driver side latch:

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the composite piece failed at both ends on the lever arm, as well as on the opposite side of the latch.

I've identified the existing holes in the lever arm, will provide measurements later, and where the limit switches attach and where their trigger magnet is located.

here are some more limit switch images:

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magnet on 'closed' position limit switch

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magent taped on to allow reassembly and prevent inadvertent disconnect

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limit switches tucked away to allow reassembly

hardtop pickup delayed due to the shipping timeframe of the hardtop prep hardware. more to come later
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:37 PM   #18
fmzip
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such a bad design with that phenloic/composite crap material
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:17 AM   #19
taylor192
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Where does the "back slider" piece come from?

Thanks for the color coded photo, that helps a ton understand more about the latch!
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:48 PM   #20
hoppyE46
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Check out hte images from ECS...

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-M3-...Body/ES158597/

Oval composite piece around a square metal part... this is 'facing the roof', i.e. the 'back side'...

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