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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 04-15-2015, 10:49 PM   #1
taylor192
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Start Here: Convertible common issues

Please keep this thread clean and concise. Please only reply to suggest new topics (with a link to the thread/post) or clarify/update the original post. If you would like to discuss issues, please search for an appropriate thread or post a new thread.

Here are the most common issues with the top listed by symptoms to make them easier to find.

Red light blinking
The red light blinking indicates the CVM (convertible module) has stored a fault code and locked out operation of the stop. Unfortunately the CVM can only be read with BMW software, not OBD or Peake readers.

Hopefully one of the following symptoms will narrow the issue. Otherwise spend the money to have a shop read the fault codes, or make a friend with a local member who has the BMW software. The fault code is very helpful in diagnosing convertible issues.

Clicking under the rear seat
The gears of the motor under the rear seat slip and cause this sound. The motor cover keeps the gears in place, over time the cover comes loose. More detail here. There are a couple ways to fix it:
  • The most common being a hose clamp around the cover to keep pressure on the area where the gear that slips is. Clamp method
  • The best fix (IMHO) is to use a bolt to maintain pressure exactly where the gear is. Bolt method

Top stops a few inches from the windshield
The top may stop a few inches from the windshield while opening or closing. This likely indicates a broken wire. A broken wire may make just enough contact to maintain electrical conductivity, until the roof moves. When the CVM (convertible module) sees an open circuit (broken wire) it assumes a sensor is bad, stops operation and registers a fault code.

Electrically troubleshoot a broken wire

I don't want to repeat this again: visually checking the wires is NOT enough. The wires must be electrically tested. Why?
  • Most of the time an obviously broken wire is found above the drivers seat.
  • Sometimes the break is internal and not visible.
  • Sometimes the break is at a different bend. The lowest bend is the next likely location of a break.
Top will not latch or unlatch from windshield
The windshield latches are prone to breaking.
  • Read here for why and how to check if your latches are close to breaking.
  • Read here for how to access and remove the latches.
  • Read here for how to strengthen or repair the latches.

The top is operating slower than normal
There is a puddle of fluid infront/behind the drivers/passenger rear tire
There is fluid on the storage compartment lid
The headliner is stained on either side of the rear window.

You have a have a hydraulic leak or the pump needs to be rebuilt. Read here for an introduction to the hydraulic system.
  • If there is no leak then it is likely the pump. The pump can be reconditioned by Top Hydraulics and removed by reviewing the Pump DIY.
  • If the leak is infront of the drivers rear tire it is likely Line #23.
  • If the leak is infront of the drivers or passenger rear tire it is likely the Main Lift Cylinders. See Part 1 and Part 2.
  • If the leak is behind the drivers or passenger rear tire it is likely the Storage Lid Cylinders.
  • If the leak is onto the headliner or storage lid it is likely the BowTension Cylinders.
  • To check the fluid level in the pump top must be down. To access the pump review the Pump DIY.
  • Read here for details on the hydraulic fluid. I recommend the Mercedes fluid as it is reasonably priced from the dealership ($20 for 1L), vs the silly expensive BMW fluid.

Headliner torn near rear windows
Headliner fallen down near rear windows

The headliner is pulled tight around the rear windows by 2 "batwings". These batwings can come loose causing the headliner to fall, or can break causing the headliner to tear.

You can prevent this with some super glue, read here.
If the headliner is loose, likely the string behind has snapped or come loose. Read here to replace the string.
If the headliner is torn, the batwings must be replaced (and the headliner repaired or replaced). Read here for the bat wing replacement, and here for headliner replacement.

Tonneau cover (aka storage compartment lid) does not sit flush
Mechanical latches pull the storage compartment lid light using cables connected to the motor under the rear seat. Sometimes the cable ends are not secured properly, or the cable snaps . Read
here and here for more info and how to replace the cable.

Yellow/orange light between convertible buttons
The folding storage compartment is not in the down position, or the sensor that determines the folding storage compartment position is malfunctioning. If the storage compartment is down, try folding it up/down a few times to reset the sensor.

Trunk open light on dash, top will not operate (solid red light when button pushed)
The top will not operate if the trunk is open. Unfortunately the e46 trunk harness is prone to broken wires at the bend going from the body to the trunk. A broken wire may be misinterpreted as the trunk is open (thus the light on the dash). See here for more details.

Those little sliding covers are missing
No-one has a good term for the covers infront of the storage compartment lid, that slide back and forth as the top moves. Sometimes those covers go missing:
  • The spring that controls the cover has come loose and the cover is hidden in the down position.
  • The cover was pushed out of its guides. This is very easy to do if someone leans on them.
See here for:
  • How to install the covers or reconnect the spring.
  • Part numbers for the covers and spring. Check RealOEM for your model year.

Roll over protection warning
Ever wondered what this dash warning light was?

Top not operating, no power at pump
If you've come this far you've likely exhausted all options. Measure the voltage on the pump to see if a relay has gone bad. See here for more information.
Other resources:
  • Convertible manual (find link)
  • BMW software for monitoring top operation (find post)
  • Replace the headliner, canvas and rear window (here)
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:49 PM   #2
taylor192
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Hi all,

Can we keep this thread clean and concise please. Please only reply to suggest new topics (with a link to the thread/post) or clarify/update the original post.

Here are some suggestions I think would be good to include, although I don't know enough about to search for an appropriate thread:
  • Glove box locking issue. Anyone have details and a link?

If you would like to discuss issues, please search for an appropriate thread or post a new thread.

Thanks!
Taylor
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Last edited by taylor192; 04-21-2015 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:49 PM   #3
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:49 PM   #4
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:52 PM   #5
Rob Daman
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Nice info
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:20 PM   #6
andrewse46
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I haven't had any top issues like stated above (thankfully), but there is absolutely no chance that my glove box is opening soon. The lock is broken I believe, because when I lock my car it is supposed to automatically lock inside, but i can rotate the key all of the way right (like normal) and all of the way left (not normal). It is supposed to stop when its tdc.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:10 PM   #7
fannyclapper
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Oooooh. Glove box. The handle will not operate the latch...should I just replace the entire latch and handle combo?
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:13 PM   #8
taylor192
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Hi all,

Can we keep this thread clean and concise please. Please only reply to suggest new topics (with a link to the thread/post) or clarify/update the original post.

If you would like to discuss issues, please search for an appropriate thread or post a new thread.

Thanks!
Taylor
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:43 PM   #9
Cayne23
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Hello. I jad an issue with my glovebox not locking or the lock cylinder sticking when i tried to lock it.
My solution: open the glovebox and tighten the little screws that attach the lock to the glovebox. Done.
I did this last year and have had zero issues since
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:24 PM   #10
stlhacker
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"Bat Wings"

Should the so called "bat wings" that can break and cause damage to the headliner be added to your list of common convertible problems?
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:24 PM   #11
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlhacker View Post
Should the so called "bat wings" that can break and cause damage to the headliner be added to your list of common convertible problems?
Added. Can you find a link for the batwing DIY replacement, I cannot seem to find it.
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:12 AM   #12
Andreati
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Added. Can you find a link for the batwing DIY replacement, I cannot seem to find it.
Here:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=520323
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:59 AM   #13
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bat wings

Search "bat wings" in the general forum.
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Old 01-13-2016, 02:08 PM   #14
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Many Thanks!

... I'll do some work over the next few days and report back. Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:53 PM   #15
andrewse46
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It happened...

Well fellas... I sold my 2001 325ci convertible. Original owner. 208k.

I now am a proud owner of a 2002.5 euro spec m3 coupe.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:25 AM   #16
pearl_iroc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Hi all,

Can we keep this thread clean and concise please. Please only reply to suggest new topics (with a link to the thread/post) or clarify/update the original post.

If you would like to discuss issues, please search for an appropriate thread or post a new thread.

Thanks!
Taylor
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewse46 View Post
Well fellas... I sold my 2001 325ci convertible. Original owner. 208k.

I now am a proud owner of a 2002.5 euro spec m3 coupe.
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:18 PM   #17
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearl_iroc View Post
I know.

Mods, could you please delete a few posts from this thread. Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:27 PM   #18
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2002.5???
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:10 PM   #19
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyonga View Post
Hi pals,
I have a 2002 BMW E46 330ci convertible. With a newly rebuilt engine the car drives like a dream...I borrowed it to a friend who carried a few excited young girls and let the sit on the convertible top compartment lid while the top was down. As a result, the two sliding covers that move out to cover the small holes when the top is dropped, broke and fell inside. To cut long story short, when trying to close the top, it stopped a few inches before completely closing. The red light blinks permanently and when I try to drop the top, nothing happens whatsoever. However, when I press the "close" button, there is a sound coming from the mechanism under the rear seats. Furthermore, there are a few clicking sounds that can be heard from the convertible top storage compartment. I followed some forums here and they suggested the plastic cover might be faulty and that a gear is out of place. Mine seems to behave slightly differently. The last gear at the back with the release button tries to turn but faces great resistance which causes the noise from underneath the rear seats. I believe that I can fix the problem if I can manually drop the top. Does anyone out there know how to drop the top of an E46 manually or any other suggestions what I should look for would be more than appreciated.
Thanks a lot...
What part of "please keep this thread clean" was not clear? I can answer all your concerns, yet won't cause you didn't respect my post. Delete your post and create a new thread and you may get the help you're looking for.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:27 AM   #20
Lyonga
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Hi,
I'm really sorry didn't mean to disrespect your post. I'm new here and have little idea how it works.
I'll take some time to look around and see how I can delete this. I'm sorry once again as I didn't mean to disrespect your post.
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