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

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Old 01-15-2014, 08:58 PM   #1
AquilaBMW
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Question Convertible Top In-Op / Error Codes.

Hi -

I recently acquired a 2003 325 Ci - Vert with an inoperative soft top. The PO claims it only stopped working about 2 - 3 weeks ago when someone came to check out the car.

He thinks they tried to open the top with the trunk space saver thing in the UP position. I would think that would render the top inoperative as a fail safe.. :dunno

Anyway... when activated, the top opens and lifts about 2 inches and stops. I hear the motors working, but it doesn't move beyond that.

Today I scanned the car with INPA and here are the codes I got:

18 - Switch Open Permanently Active

19 - Switch Close Permanently Active

23 - Petentiometer Main Column at Ground

100 - Main Column Dosn't Push Tightening Frame Out of Soft Top Box.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:27 AM   #2
taylor192
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Read the electrical troubleshooting sticky at the top of the forum, you have the symptoms and codes of a broken wire.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:52 AM   #3
AquilaBMW
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Read the electrical troubleshooting sticky at the top of the forum, you have the symptoms and codes of a broken wire.

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Thank you ! I have been reading that sticky for the last couple of days. Trying to retain as much as I can in my head before I tackle it!

I was hoping it was not a broken wire - that seems pretty involved . Guess I will just have to tackle it. Would it possibly be the ones in the folding pillars?
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AquilaBMW View Post
Thank you ! I have been reading that sticky for the last couple of days. Trying to retain as much as I can in my head before I tackle it!

I was hoping it was not a broken wire - that seems pretty involved . Guess I will just have to tackle it. Would it possibly be the ones in the folding pillars?
Broken wire is probably the easiest fix of all problems the roof can have. The wires usually break at the bend right above where the driver sits, so they are very accessible and easy to repair.

Don't over think this. Open the roof, cut open the wire harness loom, and the broken wire will probably be obvious. If it is not, then you need to do some electrical troubleshooting, or what I did and patch all the wires since they will all break at some point.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:03 PM   #5
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Do you hear a clicking sound coming from the middle of the back seat?
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:06 PM   #6
AquilaBMW
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Originally Posted by SuperSleeper View Post
Do you hear a clicking sound coming from the middle of the back seat?
I don't think so.... :dunno
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:22 PM   #7
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Oh, you would know it. You will be able to see the broken cable issue simply by pulling out the rear seat. The rear seat pops right out with no screws or bolts, only a leather and plastic lip at the ski pass. Once removed you will seed the cables going into the servo. Without doing anything else, you can test to see if the cables have good tension. You should be able to pinch the cables and not have them move more than a couple millimeters. If they move more than that, you likely have a broken cable. Don't fret though, it's not much more difficult than replacing a bike cable, so don't let anyone tell you it's more than two hours labor.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:34 PM   #8
AquilaBMW
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Originally Posted by SuperSleeper View Post
Oh, you would know it. You will be able to see the broken cable issue simply by pulling out the rear seat. The rear seat pops right out with no screws or bolts, only a leather and plastic lip at the ski pass. Once removed you will seed the cables going into the servo. Without doing anything else, you can test to see if the cables have good tension. You should be able to pinch the cables and not have them move more than a couple millimeters. If they move more than that, you likely have a broken cable. Don't fret though, it's not much more difficult than replacing a bike cable, so don't let anyone tell you it's more than two hours labor.
Cool.... I'll check it this coming week. Maybe check the harness as well while I am at it. Just need to take that back area apart.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
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Cool.... I'll check it this coming week. Maybe check the harness as well while I am at it. Just need to take that back area apart.
No offense to the other member, don't waste your time on this. The codes you read are unrelated to the cables/motor under the rear seat. Once the top throws a code it becomes inoperable, so address the codes first.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:13 PM   #10
AquilaBMW
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I am now at a loss on this issue. I had some free time today, so I decided to tinker around with the top. I was able to open it manually using the Emergency Close procedure in reverse order.

With the top partially opened, I checked the harness at that bend above the driver's seat - the wires looked brand new. I mean, they looked like they were just installed. Nothing frayed or exposed.

Now I am lost and not sure which direction to take next. The top will unlock electronically and will rise up about 2 - 3 inches and stop. It will also lock / close electronically from that position.

The top will not operate fully though. Neither will be close from fully open. I took off the rear seat and check the cables - they seemed fine. I kept the cover open to see the cables operate and when you press either the open or close button, the motor works, the wires retract or operate - but nothing happens other than the trunk top cover is either locked or unlocked depending on the pressed button.

Another member mentioned disconnecting the Trunk Space / Floor CVM sensor. Can anyone tell me where that is located please? It is still functioning it seems as it locked out the top from initiating when it was trunk space flap was raised.

Another odd thing. I scanned the car again and checked on the CVM II module - there were no error codes at all! Does it take some time for it to store error codes? Going back to the initial error codes, is anyone able to decipher the specifics of the codes? Here are the two that stood out:

23 - Petentiometer Main Column at Ground

100 - Main Column Dosn't Push Tightening Frame Out of Soft Top Box.

Could I a bad ground per the error message?

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I wish I had a manual roof / top.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:28 PM   #11
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When the top stops working does the red light beside the button start blinking? If so, then a CVM code has been stored. If not, then keep holding until the red light starts blinking as a timeout will eventually occur.

Wires can be broken internally even if they appear fine. The broken wire could be at one of the other bends, some have reported failures at the lowest bend near the base of the top. This is why you need to follow the electronic troubleshooting to determine continuity on the pairs of wires at the CVM.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:46 PM   #12
AquilaBMW
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
When the top stops working does the red light beside the button start blinking? If so, then a CVM code has been stored. If not, then keep holding until the red light starts blinking as a timeout will eventually occur.

Wires can be broken internally even if they appear fine. The broken wire could be at one of the other bends, some have reported failures at the lowest bend near the base of the top. This is why you need to follow the electronic troubleshooting to determine continuity on the pairs of wires at the CVM.
Thanks Taylor, I will re-check it. I am no expert on checking continuity though, so I will learning as I go along. I sure hope it's a broken wire.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:38 AM   #13
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Thanks Taylor, I will re-check it. I am no expert on checking continuity though, so I will learning as I go along. I sure hope it's a broken wire.
Find a friend with a multi-meter. Continuity checking is pretty easy, hopefully they can show you how.

Good luck! The top appears complicated and daunting at first, yet after fixing both the hydraulics and electrical system I must admit it is a fairly simple mechanism, don't let it intimidate you.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:46 AM   #14
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Hello Guys, I wanted to piggyback on this same thread since I have experiencing the same issues. The top will not do anything? There's a red blinking light indicating the top is not closed all of the way. When I manually lock the top with the Allen wrench I turn it till the spring spins it back the opposite direction. I was trying to take a look at the wiring harness where the top bends near the driver but the slack is too tight to pull it out to inspect it. I can unlock the top with the wrench but cannot manually pull the top back to loosen the slack on the wires. The top wont budge! In the past I was able to lift the top by hand and the back window portion would pop up so I can open the cover and fold the top in. It seems locked and wont budge at all. I went and also pressed the button on the box in the back seat and didn't do a thing. It just simply wont budge!!

Any advise would be appreciated!

Thanks, have a good one!
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:59 AM   #15
taylor192
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Originally Posted by convoy77 View Post
Hello Guys, I wanted to piggyback on this same thread since I have experiencing the same issues. The top will not do anything? There's a red blinking light indicating the top is not closed all of the way. When I manually lock the top with the Allen wrench I turn it till the spring spins it back the opposite direction. I was trying to take a look at the wiring harness where the top bends near the driver but the slack is too tight to pull it out to inspect it. I can unlock the top with the wrench but cannot manually pull the top back to loosen the slack on the wires. The top wont budge! In the past I was able to lift the top by hand and the back window portion would pop up so I can open the cover and fold the top in. It seems locked and wont budge at all. I went and also pressed the button on the box in the back seat and didn't do a thing. It just simply wont budge!!

Any advise would be appreciated!

Thanks, have a good one!
Read step 2.

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...01&postcount=2

I think this forum needs a sticky for manually manipulating the convertible top. So many people get stuck where you did, myself included until I figured it out.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:41 PM   #16
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Yeah, you need to press the button AND unwind the motor to unlock the rear cover before the top will bend. I have done this plenty of times when I was first trying to figure out why my top would not work. After I gave up they went ahead and ran a ground wire by passing the old one in the harness which happened to be broke. From everyone else indication that is where mine broke too.

Now....... this past weekend mine locked up just like yours. It was almost closed except the latches didn't engage in the windshield. So I have the feeling it is another broken wire in the same area but will check the codes and then test the wires unless I see something major obvious. I just had no time to do it this past weekend.

BTW.....I think it has been 2/3 years since the last repair. I may see how bad it is and then decide if I'll get a new harness or not.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:34 AM   #17
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Yeah, you need to press the button AND unwind the motor to unlock the rear cover before the top will bend. I have done this plenty of times when I was first trying to figure out why my top would not work. After I gave up they went ahead and ran a ground wire by passing the old one in the harness which happened to be broke. From everyone else indication that is where mine broke too.

Now....... this past weekend mine locked up just like yours. It was almost closed except the latches didn't engage in the windshield. So I have the feeling it is another broken wire in the same area but will check the codes and then test the wires unless I see something major obvious. I just had no time to do it this past weekend.

BTW.....I think it has been 2/3 years since the last repair. I may see how bad it is and then decide if I'll get a new harness or not.
If you do replace that harness, please document it.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:27 AM   #18
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Will do. I have been wanting to do it since the first break. I was doing recon the last time and I think the way to get it in there would be to start at the middle and go both directions. Only thing is I don't know if the plug at the CVM end will feed through or not.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:10 PM   #19
taylor192
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Will do. I have been wanting to do it since the first break. I was doing recon the last time and I think the way to get it in there would be to start at the middle and go both directions. Only thing is I don't know if the plug at the CVM end will feed through or not.
Replacing it with the top in the car will be a PITA. The harness routes in a loop near the valve block, access is limited and tight.

I think the harness has the same problem I had with hydraulic line #23. It passes through an area of the top too small for the connector. Maybe the pins could be removed from the plastic connector...

I think you're better off just repairing all the wires at the infamous spot where they break.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:32 PM   #20
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Looks like that maybe the ticket for now until I need a new top. I usually drive a lot with my top down so I'm starting to see some spots of wear on the bends (in corners). So when that gets replaced it would be a good time to do everything else at the same time. You know best, I read that DIY on the hydraulic system and that is a piece of work.
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