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

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
avidan
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Video - top won't go down

I am having trouble with getting my top to open and close.
I have replaced the battery in the car, as many have said that a low battery is a cause.

essentially, i am sitting with the red light flashing, and no ability to bring the top down...here are a few videos of my issue. I hope someone has seen this before. any ideas are appreciated.

-- the gears exposed during the "top close" button press.
-- if i manually unlock the top with the allen key, the top close button will "seal" the top
-- a view of the back trim sitting an inch off the resting spot.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
cityjohn
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I believe the "gap" described in your 3rd video is normal. Regardless of whether the compartment lid gears or header locks are working properly, if the front of the top is tight against the windshield, then the back (under the backlite window) will naturally be pressed down against the seal on the decklid.

Have you tried manually opening the top all the way and then closing using the hydraulics? That may help or provide some clues.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:53 PM   #3
avidan
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What is the method for manually opening the top? I am unable to unlock the top from the visor area by turning the hex key, but how would I open it further?
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:57 PM   #4
avidan
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Also, my stealership wants to replace the top module for 1k. I think id rather bring it home and try to diagnose. It sounds like they have done nothing in the diagnosis arena.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:19 AM   #5
cityjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avidan View Post
I am unable to unlock the top from the visor area by turning the hex key
You need to turn it a lot! I just don't remember which way.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:18 AM   #6
avidan
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That Allen key by the visor will take the top all the way down?!? Maybe I will use a power drill on slow
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
fmzip
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Do NOT use a power drill on low!

The allen key releases the lock and the cable tension so you can the pull the top up and down by hand. Spinning it faster or slower will not make it an auto top feature with the help of a power drill!

If the dealership already diagnosed this as the power top unit then that's the problem. If you are simply guessing at this point, once you get the top open, take a look for a break in a wire in this area:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=790169

Also, if you pressed the top down or top up button down for more than 30 seconds or so, you will likely need to go to the dealer to have then reset the fault code that you created by doing so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cityjohn View Post
You need to turn it a lot! I just don't remember which way.


Counterclockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten.......

righty-tighty, lefty-loosy for the youngsters
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Last edited by fmzip; 04-02-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:01 PM   #8
cityjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmzip View Post
Counterclockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten.......

righty-tighty, lefty-loosy for the youngsters

Good to know. I just remember that, with the number of turns needed, it was hard to tell if you were going the right way. Something like a Sebring would have put a big yellow arrow
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:07 PM   #9
avidan
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Ok. Definitely won't use the power drill
The dealership didn't diagnose it as the module, they actually just said "that would be our guess for next step".
I will ask them to clear the code and then check for a break in the cord.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:13 PM   #10
fmzip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avidan View Post
Ok. Definitely won't use the power drill
The dealership didn't diagnose it as the module, they actually just said "that would be our guess for next step".
I will ask them to clear the code and then check for a break in the cord.

The dealer should be able to know if the code is module related or an "open".

What was the dealer's first step?
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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What is that first video? Your compartment top locking mechanism? It's a very common part to go bad and the sound of gears popping in it is not a good sign.

The gap you are talking about. There can be a slight gap with the interior covering, but the seal for the actual top should have no gap. You need to manually lower the top and see if the locking mechanism works to secure the compartment lid. The instructions are in your owner's manual. You need to disengage the locking compartment lid (button on the black box underneath the rear seat), disengage the cowl lock (which you already know how to do as can be seen in your video). You then have an assistant help you pull the top back, pull the back up, and open the compartment lid. You can then assist the top into the compartment. From that point, pushing the "open" button should begin the final sequence that locks the top compartment. After the top is stowed, if you are able to lift your compartment lid, then the locking mechanism (underneath the rear seat) or its cable adjustment, is most likely the problem.

Ultimately, you need to make your own INPA/GTI system with a cable. They are cheap and it's all over the internet and this board. GT1/ISIS/INPA have dozens of status readouts that can show you within minutes what is wrong with your top and why that red light is blinking. I can guarantee there is a fault code stored in the convertible top module that will start you on your path to not getting hosed for a grand at the dealership. Please do not throw parts at it. They are very expensive!
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Cheat Sheet:

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

Last edited by iansanderson; 04-02-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:24 PM   #12
avidan
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Thanks for the reply. The first video are the gears between the two rear seats. I removed the plastic cover near the black button i was using to disengage the top.
I will research further making that cable you described.
I'm going to the dealership now to chat with these guys.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:18 AM   #13
avidan
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so i went to the dealership and they were not interested in talking with me. so i paid the $150 "get my car out" / diagnostic fee, and i was on my way. before i took it though, i asked them to clear the faults on the car, and i took a screen shot of the faults that were listed....hopefully this adds a little color to what my issue is. (and now i know why my heated seats were only slightly warm).
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:27 AM   #14
cityjohn
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Sounds like you need to repair/replace the lid motor (not hard), and adjust the cables. I can show you how to do it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:28 PM   #15
avidan
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That would be awesome! Please let me know how to do it, and I will get started asap
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:26 PM   #16
avidan
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so john came by to help (THANK YOU!), and we opened the top to see where the issue was. i think john can speak more clearly about what the issue was, but we essentially did a post "emergency close" reset. We disconnected the cowels from the motor, removed the middle gear (see video 1) and then manually opened the top. by pulling the cowel wires, we were able to then lock the top lid, and seal it. once we had the top fully closed, we reattached the cowels at the "loosest" position. once we had that done, we held a long screwdriver over the center gear in the first video, and ran the top close and open sequence.
so the popping sound was actually that center gear popping up and down. the emergency button actually dislodges that gear. therefore, they expect you to go to the dealership to have them put the gear back and reset the top.
unfortunately, my dealership didn't know how to do that....luckily, john did!

(i know the above is very unclear, so hopefully john can chime in....im kind of a scatter brain)
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:15 PM   #17
cityjohn
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^ That's pretty much it, what you said Avidan. The instructions essentially make you kick the gear loose without saying how to put back in. I think the lid locks had been adjusted way too tight and that was causing top-open/lid-close problems too.

The blinking light went out after a few cycles (the top operation checks itself and eventually found no fault--everything back to normal). Also learned exactly how the header latch cover and headliner attach!

Hope this helps anyone else with these issues.
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