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

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Old 07-28-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
DanInAustin
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Child Seat and Install in E46 Convertible

I recently bought a 2002 M3 convertible and am trying to figure out how to get a car seat in the back for my kiddo. Our daughter is 4 1/2, and we'd like to keep her in a forward facing 5-point latch seat for as long as she'll let us.

I've seen some people say that they used Recaro ProSport. I tried to install one this morning and failed utterly. It seemed like if the LATCH strap was another 2 inches longer I could have gotten it to fit, but as it was I couldn't get the connector, my hand, and the Recaro in a spot to snap it in. Tried the seat belt method, but the bottom of the Recaro seemed to move around a LOT - not sure if there's a trick to get the belt tight on there.

Plus, I couldn't find the friggin tether anchors. The manual seemed to say that it was underneath the top cover, but I have no idea how to get into that.

So, any suggestions for seats that will fit, or how to install them? Any YouTube videos out there?

Thanks for any help.

Dan
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:10 PM   #2
ubiquity0
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The tether anchor is under the top cover. You need to open the top part way to access it.

Not sure about getting the LATCH to install. Maybe try it with the top open so you can really put some weight on it?
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #3
DanInAustin
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Wow

Thanks ubiquity. So, part-way through putting the top up I release the button and run the straps under where the top cover goes, and there is a magical hidden anchor there. Then when the top is all the way up/down there are a couple of tether straps that disappear into the top cover?

Strange. That's what it sounded like from reading the manual, but I didn't believe it - thanks for confirming. But still strange. Maybe it's just some BMW mojo thinking that I haven't gotten used to yet. Crazy Germans.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:22 PM   #4
ubiquity0
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Yes- it should be just 1 strap though. It runs under the headrest. The tether point is only a couple of inches behind the headrest but is completely covered by the convertible top cover unless you open the top partially.

I have a Sunshinekids brand seat. It seems more compact than the Recaro that I have in the SUV.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
cramer
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We have the ProSport. I have a tough time making the Latch system work so I just use the seat belt. Either the ProSport is too wide, or the rear seat too narrow... either way, not ideal.

The car seat doesn't move with the stock belt when it's all tight. Make sure you have the base of the ProSport flipped around to fit the contour of the seat.

And yes, it's a strange spot for the rear tether hook.
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:57 AM   #6
Jmjm
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I know I'm reviving an old thread but I recently bought my first bmw (e46 M3 vert) two months ago. This past week I installed my toddlers' car seats in the back, including the latch that attaches to the tether anchors behind the rear seat backs. Though I allowed the strap to be slack when I put the top down, the latch strap prevented the top's deck lid from fully seating. Then I heard a terrible cracking noise from the folding top flap drive. The top of that drive broke and no longer applies enough pressure for the gears to work properly. Thanks to another forum thread, I was able to fix that this past week. But now the question remains, can any car seat fit properly in the rear of an e46 M3 vert? I'd like to use the top tether anchors and not just the lap-shoulder belt.

DanInAustin... Did you settle on a car seat? Ubiquit0... Goes your spear seat use the top tether anchor?

Thanks guys.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:06 AM   #7
DanInAustin
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Jmjm,

Really sorry to hear about that damage to your top mechanism, glad to hear you were able to fix it without too much cost and pain. Do you think the damage was caused by the straps, or could it have just been "time" for the drive?

I ended up going with a booster seat (my kid was nearly 5 when I got the car), so didn't end up using the tether strap. I did see the latch point for the tether under the top cover. But even the booster was apparently the wrong answer. For nearly 2 years I used a Recaro Vivo, until the headrest extension broke. When I contacted Recaro they sent their newer model (Recaro Performance Booster) as a replacement at no cost, even though the old one was way out of warranty.

However, upon installing it I noticed that the back of the child seat didn't sit flush with the sculpted E46 seat. Even though it wasn't mentioned in the child seat manual, this was not an acceptable installation, as confirmed with Recaro via sending photos and discussing on phone calls. Turns out that the Vivo that had been installed for the previous 2 years wasn't acceptable either.

At that point this was just one more frustration with a car that I was constantly putting money into, and seemed like it would continue to be that way. So I no longer have the BMW, and wasn't able to resolve the mystery of the child seat.

In researching this before on the forums, it seemed there were several posts about installation methods that were questionable at best (even some installing the seat on the hump in the middle). In my opinion, if you can't install the seat properly, then you shouldn't have the kid in the car. Not worth risking their life.

Best of luck finding a seat that fits, and with the car overall. It will definitely be a blast, and my daughter loved riding with the top down.
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #8
Jmjm
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Thanks for the reply DanInAustin.

Yes I'm pretty sure the problem was a direct result of the tether strap interference rather than it was just time for that part to go. The design problem seems to be that there is no clearance under the lip of the top deck to allow even a slack tether strap, never undone with tension. It's as though BMW just put the tether anchors to pass state/federal safety regulations rather than making them actually useable.
I'd really love for my twins to be able to enjoy the car with me and so I'm still pretty committed to making something work. So far I've found the Graco Headwise 70 car seats to fit the best. They are small and snug in nicely into the shallow rear seats with the should-lap belt. I'm now considering cutting the lip of the top deck to allow for the rigid tether strap to attach to the top tether anchor behind the rear seat headrest. But before permanently cutting/damaging my top deck, I was hoping to hear if someone smarter than me found a solution.

Sorry to hear your vert was a frustrating experience. Hope you're onto greener BMW pastures.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:58 AM   #9
RidinLow
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Hi all,

New member here, but I wanted to offer a solution to this post.

I picked up an E46 M3 convertible this week. When I went to install my son's front-facing child seat, I came across the same problem listed above: the top tether interferes with the closing of the convertible top lid.

I tried two of my existing seats, and the top tether hooks were all too long. I considered cutting the top lid, like the previous poster mentioned. But then I realized I'd be ruining a $600+ part, so then I started investigating different car seats instead.

Basically, most car seat top tethers have the length adjustment buckle integrated with the tether hook. This results in a solid piece that's about 7" long. The distance from the car's top tether mount to the bottom of the convertible top lid is only 4".

A trip to the local baby store made finding a seat that would fit easy. You'll need a seat where the top tether length adjustment buckle is up on the seat, and not on the buckle end. At the time of this writing, Graco and Chicco do not have this design, but Britax and Peg Perego do.

So, about $200 later, I have a car seat that fits perfectly. (After removing the rear headrest, which lets the back of the car seat fit flush against the back seat.)

Hope this helps someone. It looks like BMW figured nobody would use the car this way, but it is possible.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:29 AM   #10
CarbonZHP
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OP and most likely everyone else in this thread have been inactive for over a year
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:39 AM   #11
RidinLow
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I am aware of that. Just posting it here so that it helps someone in the future.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:44 AM   #12
CarbonZHP
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I do not have kids, but my only thought about a child seat in the back would be that if the top is down, wind buffeting in the rear is horrible. So I dont know about a child in the rear with the top down.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:53 PM   #13
Julian Moore
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My two cents on an old post. I had two car seats in my convertible with no problems. The indents from the season the leather is still visible. Pisses me off. Just a heads up.
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