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

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:23 PM   #1
iansanderson
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convertible owners - dab of super glue could save you $800 headliner replacement

Well, today was the day to replace the infamous "batwings"

for those of you who aren't familiar with them, they are the pieces of plastic that fold around the C pillar near the rear window and apply tension to the headliner while the top closes. It is really an ingenious design that is part of one of the most beautiful soft top interiors on the market... the E46.

well, to follow suit with our waterpump and expansion tank, they are prone to failure around 100K miles. both of mine were beginning to crack in the usual spots. On the left "wing", I elected to dab some super glue in the crack to keep it from breaking and ruining my headliner by poking holes in it (the usual catastrophe). it held up just fine for 6 months but I decided to buy the wings and do the job today. Here is a picture of the un-repaired right wing.



out of curiosity, I took the right one which i had "reinforced" with super glue out of the trash to simulate a break and holy crap! I cannot break this thing AT ALL. It is now freaking indestructible! It is so strong now, I can't even break it intentionally using my foot as an anchor. check the video out. it's very amateur, but you get the picture.



so, here's the fix. first of all, check your batwings for any sort of cracking. If you discover cracking, remember what happens once a batwing fails. When you lower your top, the batwing will not follow the closing sequence, and will bind and tear holes in your headliner. A replacement costs about $800 from BMW...







to apply the fix, lower the top, but pause right before the compartment cover begins to close. From here, you can see the batwings and inspect them. if you discover a crack in the bottom eyelet (very likely) grab some super glue and put a few drops in the crack then leave the top DOWN. With the top down, there is no tension on the wings and the glue can harden in the crack. give it a few hours to set, then reapply some more drops. Let it fully cure for about 24 hours, and you just saved your headliner and/or $160 plus labor on new wings. If yours are not cracked, simply put a few drops of super glue in the little channels to act as a reinforcement and prevent a nasty crack from ever occurring.
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OEM = Genuine BMW part only available from a franchised BMW dealership.

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:25 AM   #2
silber92
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Thanks for the great write up. I keep forgetting to check these things but will definitely add this to my weekend to do list.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:29 AM   #3
00bmw323
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lol at the vid
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:44 AM   #4
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checking batwings for loss of integrity now, batman.

+1 lol
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:32 AM   #5
Bobster
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I have that problem right now and will be getting the passenger side "batwing" replaced as it has broken. Thankfully I discovered it before it did too much damage to the headliner! Not to hijack the thread, but I'm on my iPhone and couldn't figure out how to start a new thread. Any way question is some azzhole flicked a cig butt on my top while I was downtown one night. My insurance will replace the outer skin ( headliner is okay) but I was wondering if an after market top will decrease the value of the car? It is an 02 m3 vert with like 35000 miles on it and the original very good condition top. Glass is the matching tinted BMW glass...blah blah just curious if anyone has any thoughts.... Thanks and sorry about the hijack!
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:45 AM   #6
BavLar
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Good idea. I just repaired my driver side wing last weekend. It's pretty easy if you compare to the strings on a side that is not broken. I was fortunate that the breakage did not tear through the liner even though I had lowered the top a few times while it was broken.

I wish they sold these things per side rather than as a two sided set.

For those about to take on a repair, make sure to use actual fabric glue to stick the liner on the wing. It allows the fabric to be removed from the wing for additional repairs down the road without destroying the edges of the liner.

Bobster, see if it's possible to get OEM top. If OEM, perhaps no loss of value since these things degrade over time. I would love to have a new OEM top since mine is beginning to show it's age at the edges of the folding points.
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Last edited by BavLar; 11-16-2010 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:56 AM   #7
Bobster
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Bav, thanks for the reply, newbie here and using my iPhone so....;o) but yeah the adjuster told me that the mothercorp wants 13,000 for a replacement top.... Just the skin and headliner....????? So of course they replace it with an aftermarket top, for about 1,600 :o/ When I talked to BMW in the first place, they actually directed me to an aftermarket shop in town based on cost factor, and they (the upholstery shop) were pretty reassuring that the replacement top is as good if not better than the factory top. Something about how they seal the rear glass window. The thought occured to me later that $h!t, now it's not "original" if I ever sold or just for sheer MY value! whatever. Any ways I both thank you and apologize to all at the same time for being so long winded and hijacking this thread!
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:41 AM   #8
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thanks for all.

Private video?
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:00 AM   #9
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reup video please
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:11 AM   #10
iansanderson
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fixed the video!
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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 11-30-2010, 06:08 PM   #11
alibusoul
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mine broke recently... i was just thinking of using some jbweld or superglue to glue it back together instead of buying a new one, is that even possible?
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:57 PM   #12
rrgcsfb
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Bumping for vert owners

All vert owners should check this. On my batwings, 4 of the 6 eyelets were broken and bits of plastic missing. Luckily, the rope had not worked its way out.

I reinforced the eyelets with epoxy putty, shaping it to ensure the rope still moves freely.

Big thanks to the OP for this tip. My batwings were on borrowed time!
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
i</3speedbumps.
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Is it possible to buy replacement "batwings"?
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:54 PM   #14
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ACK, thanks for this post, I've got a similar problem. My headliner tension rope has broken... does anyone have a picture or diagram of the correct way to rethread the rope through the headliner and eyelets? I've got a ghetto solution going on right now, and I know it's not correct. BTW I'm using black twine instead of paying the $180 or so for the complete repair kit that the dealer offers... any feedback or advice appreciated!
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:31 AM   #15
BABY
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Headliner tension line repair

Ok, just got this fixed, pic attached. I used black whipping twine from West Marine ($5.60) and this video (start watching at about 2:45) the whole thing took about 5 minutes (only because my thumbs are fat and I kept double checking against the other side). It's easy to push back the spring cover at the bottom to thread the line, took me a minute to realize this... Click on picture for better view. Good luck to the next person who needs this!
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:13 PM   #16
moejoe
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^^ how did you determine the length of the cord? my batwings are intact except for broken strings and two eyelets missing, so i plan to repair rather than order a new kit.
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:52 PM   #17
BABY
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It's about the length of the interior portion of the vert top cover, about 30-32". You want it firm, let the spring work, but not like a guitar string!


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Old 01-10-2014, 04:24 PM   #18
moejoe
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thank you, should be doing this mini project over the weekend - will get the cord/eyelets/grommets from homedepot and sort this out.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:51 PM   #19
78Silvershadow
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Just in time,

All the plastic eyelet brackets on both of mine were all cracked. Fixed with with plastic steel. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #20
Trevor330Ci
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What is this part number? My ****ing batwings broke. The one on the passenger side poked some ugly ass holes that hopefully I can sew up or something
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