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

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Old 05-07-2011, 02:01 PM   #1
BobInPa
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Washing a 330Ci Black Canvas Top?

Hi,
This is my first post since joining in February. Thanks in advance for any advice.

I owned a 96 Miata for 9 years before purchasing my 2003 330Ci 5 speed convertible in February. I needed a long trip, highway worthy car to stand in for our Passat Wagon which now has over 100K. So I took the opportunity to purchase the car of my dreams, ever since they first came out, a BMW 4 seat convertible. The BMW has a Steel Gray exterior, a Gray interior, a Black top and even now has less than 13,000 miles on it. The Miata was and the BMW is my daily driver. My Miata had the original vinyl top so washing it was no big deal, I just used car washing liquid. As was the case with the Miata, my top is down as long as the temperatures are above 40-50 degrees. The BMW is garage kept and, because I am retired, spends all of it's inactive time in the garage.

What is the best way to wash the top?

I was thinking just rinse it with water, lightly scrub to loosen any dirt, rinse and dry, not using any cleaning agent other than water.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
edco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobInPa View Post
Hi,
This is my first post since joining in February. Thanks in advance for any advice.

I owned a 96 Miata for 9 years before purchasing my 2003 330Ci 5 speed convertible in February. I needed a long trip, highway worthy car to stand in for our Passat Wagon which now has over 100K. So I took the opportunity to purchase the car of my dreams, ever since they first came out, a BMW 4 seat convertible. The BMW has a Steel Gray exterior, a Gray interior, a Black top and even now has less than 13,000 miles on it. The Miata was and the BMW is my daily driver. My Miata had the original vinyl top so washing it was no big deal, I just used car washing liquid. As was the case with the Miata, my top is down as long as the temperatures are above 40-50 degrees. The BMW is garage kept and, because I am retired, spends all of it's inactive time in the garage.

What is the best way to wash the top?

I was thinking just rinse it with water, lightly scrub to loosen any dirt, rinse and dry, not using any cleaning agent other than water.
I also have a black top. Bird-poop is the biggest challenge for me, though I have found that diluted Simple Green (about 50/50) with water works best. I also use RaggTopp as a follow-up after every wash.

I also owned a Miata and although the vert is my wife's daily driver, I try to keep the top down most days that the temps aren't too cold, too hot or of course raining. I'm also retired (though back to work I enjoy). I think you'll enjoy the BMW a LOT more than the Miata, though the Miata was more "rough" while the BMW is more sophisticated...different not better.
Good luck
ed in NJ
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:20 PM   #3
jason330cic
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I have just been using Meguiars Gold Class car soap and water to wash my entire car including the top. RaggTopp cleaner and protectant seems to be the most recommended stuff to use for convertible tops.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:36 PM   #4
The Thomas J
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I have been told baby shampoo is good to use on the top. I have heard from a few people that Rag topp is a good product.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:30 PM   #5
sakumaxp
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i just washed my car today, and used raggtopp, by far the best
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:50 AM   #6
steve330
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I use the Meguire's soft-top cleaner and aerosol protectant and it seems to be OK. 303 is also good, so I've heard.
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:58 AM   #7
love the 325ci
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great product along with a soft brush top will look new

http://www.303products.com/shop303/i...e-top-kits.cfm
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:15 AM   #8
e46mook
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I used 303 on mine yesterday (cleaner and the protectant) and my top looks brand new...I also have a black top.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:42 AM   #9
BavLar
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I've never used anything but water. And here in ATL the springtime pollen gets extremely thick and yellow. It will make you want to use something stronger. Still, after using just water the top looks great.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:05 PM   #10
jimvideopro
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Normally I just rinse with water. 2x a year, use the Raggtop cleaner (make sure you get the right one for cloth tops not vinyl) followed by the Raggtop protectant. IIRC, you can get both for about $25 shipped. Will last three or four applications. Be careful with overspray from the protectant -- cover the exposed parts of the car. Told it's hard to get off paint, etc. when it dries.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
Manza
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I use Autoglym fabric hood set (comes with sponge, cleaner and impregnator), but I hear the BMW original is good too (just a tad more expensive).
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:48 PM   #12
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I use raggtopp every time.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:52 PM   #13
BobInPa
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Thanks for the advice.

I washed the car yesterday using the rinse, lightly scrub with only water, rinse and dry method for the top. It looks great but I did notice that there was no water beading on the horizontal surfaces and only minimal beading on the sides.
So I will be picking up the highly recommended RaggTopp kit tomorrow.

I don't plan on using the cleaner portion of the kit because my top doesn't look like it needs it. I may be wrong.
Will the single can of protectant provided be enough to do the entire top with the recommended 3 coats.

Thanks again, in advance.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:37 PM   #14
sakumaxp
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i had to order my kit, everywhere i called didnt even carry it =[
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:25 AM   #15
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I usually spray it off with plain water, but if it is very dirty, or has embedded junk like pollen, or bird poop, I will bring out the raggtopp cleaner and a soft brush.

Keep in mind there is two different products by raggtopp. There is a cleaner, and a protectant. The protectant needs to be applied to a clean, lint free, dry top. A properly protected top should not require much upkeep. The protectant will make the water bead, and make dirt, and grime easier to spray off with plain water.

Just buy the kit, its like $30 and should last you a little while
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #16
BobInPa
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I picked up the RaggTopp kit late last week. Although I didn't think my top was dirty, I did use the cleaner. I didn't see any difference after the cleaning but maybe it is helpful to the protectant phase. After drying in the sun for a day, I applied the recommended 3 coats of protectant. Incidentally, there seems to be enough protectant left in the can for about one coat. I left the protectant bond for the recommended 48 hours in a shaded, dry place (aka garage). This could have been the worst step since the weather last week was gorgeous, but both days were station wagon away from home days. The way water beads and runs off now is amazing. My timing was perfect, since this week's weather has been one rain storm after another.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:45 AM   #17
elmercc
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Just ordered the 303 kit for my car....looking forward to using it!
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:16 PM   #18
trailmower
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303

The 303 products are terrific. Used them over the weekend and a 5 year top looks brand new. Scuff marks gone and color perfect after applying protectant. Make sure to cover all painted surfaces before applying the protectant. I tapped off the rear glass, slightly opened the top and slipped a tarp between the top and the windshield frame (but over the windows), and put newspaper over trunk deck. When I do this next time, will put the paper on thicker as the protectant started soaking through.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:40 PM   #19
cgj
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I just use water and a soft brush if needed to remove stuff like bird poop for my regular washes. Raggtop clean and protectant twice a year in the fall and spring.

When using the spray protectant I use a big piece of cardboard to protect the car when doing the edges. Much easier than taping and using tarps.

Last edited by cgj; 05-31-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:34 PM   #20
BobInPa
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Whatever method you use to keep protectant from getting on your paint is worth the time.
There was one little spot that I didn't cover and it was a pain to clean off.
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