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

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Old 10-25-2012, 12:30 PM   #1
bimmernut3
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E46 convertible Rear inside trim panel removal help

OK, I'm trying to install the hardtop prep kit on my '05 330Cic & want to remove the L&R inside trim panels to access the connectors. I removed the seat bottom & back & the (2) screws that hold the arm rest but the trim panel is still on very tight. What do I need to do from here to get them off. Does the whole panel come off or do you need to remove the 3 pieces separately?
Is there a link to a web write up on this? I have searched but can't find any good instructions or pictures for the convertible.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:05 PM   #2
taylor192
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Hint: pull.

There are 3 separate panels that need to come off:
1. The middle panel with the arm rest: 2 screws, 1 clip
2. The outside panel around the middle panel: 3 screws, 2 clips
3. The top panel: 1 spring, a bunch of clips

* The above is from recent memory so may not be 100% accurate. I removed the rear interior 3 weeks ago and it took 30 mins. The top panels require the top to be down to remove.

Pull at the edges to get your fingers behind the panels, then pull out and down. It'll feel like you're going to break something, yet keep pulling. The only thing you'll break are the clips which is unavoidable so buy some spares.

Last edited by taylor192; 10-25-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
silber92
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This is all from my shoddy memory, but I think it covers most of it.

The middle panel with the armrest is only held on by one clip once the armrest screws/bolts are removed. The clip is towards the leading edge of the panel (towards the front of the car) a little lower than the armrest and back about an inch or so. Once it's loose, work the panel forward and down, as there are tabs which hold it in along the top and at the back. Disconnect the tweeter and you're done.

This will reveal the three bolts which hold the top piece in place. Make sure you remove the small plug holding the weatherstrip in place and starting from the front, pull the trim piece straight up. You'll need to release the arm that moves the retracting flap thing (no idea what you'd call it...) and that should give you full access to mounting the hardtop kit. There are a row of clips that hold the trim piece in place along the window, but it's pretty self explanatory once removed.

One piece of advice: do a trial fit of the hardtop with the kit installed, but not tightened, and before you put the panels back in. Good way to make sure the top is sitting right where it needs to before it's all buttoned up. There's not a whole lot of adjustment even possible on the mounting brackets, but the bolts are a lot easier to get to now.

Good luck!
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
bimmernut3
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Thanks for the info guys. This will be good information if I have to remove them in the future. I was able to "un clip" the tops of the side panels back at the sliding access part. Then was able to lift up the panel enough to get my hand under it & push the electrical connectors in on both side. I then attached the metal lock blocks. checked out the electrical with meter & all is working. Now to install the top so I can take it to the paint shop to get painted Mistic Blue.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:16 PM   #5
johnrando
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Nice zhp vert. In for pics when done.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:57 AM   #6
bimmernut3
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Guys, I found this video that shows how to do it so thought I'd share for others.
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