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

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Old 03-13-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
avneet
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Saratoga, CA
Posts: 72
My Ride: 2001 330ci Vert
Convertible Top Trunk Lid Won't Open

Hi Guys,

I've been having this problem on and off now for 2 years. Sometimes the top works perfectly, other times this problem happens. It randomly fixes over time and works again, but this time it's been months and nothings changed.

I have a 2001 330ci. When I try to open it using the button, it always stops at the part where the trunk lid opens so it can fold into the trunk. It seems that lid never unlocks like it is supposed to. The fix I read most about is that a gear in the trunk led gearbox pops up from the plastic housing being loose. I tested that by holding the gear down and it still doesn't work. It seems my gears have a timing issue which can be seen/heard in my posted video. I know no parts are broken since it always magically starts working again. It actually worked one time before I filmed this, but again stopped once I closed and hood and tried again. Here is the video. It would be great if someone could film their trunk lid gear housing so we can compare if my gear timing sounds or looks off. Thanks for any help.

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Old 03-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
taylor192
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Looks like the motor is out of sync. The latches should be unlocked with the cables fully retracted (the starting point in your vid) and locked when pulled tight (the end point in your vid). I think... if not just reverse all my comments below

The way the motor works is a hall sensor (you can see it , black L-shaped sensor on the biggest gear) detects 2 spots on the gear 180 degrees apart. AFAIK the hall sensor is just an ON/OFF switch, thus the sensor does not tell the CVM (convertible module) whether the latches are locked or unlocked.

The CVM gets this information from the hall sensors on the latches. The sensors at the latches tell the CVM if the lid is down so it knows to lock/unlock the latches based on the sequence.

Since the lid is obviously down, and the CVM is trying to unlock the latches... by locking them... thus I suspect you have a bad sensor. If you had a bad wire the CVM would register the sensor as faulty (open circuit or short to ground) and cease operation (ask me how I know!).

If you stop pressing the top buttons before the motor turns, can you open the lid manually?

Can you get someone to read the fault codes from the CVM while it is doing this? A shop should be able to help for 1/2hr labor and the fault codes from the CVM help a ton!

Last edited by taylor192; 03-13-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
avneet
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My Ride: 2001 330ci Vert
Wow, you were right. My trunk lid was actually unlocked while the convertible top was closed as a roof. When I tried opening it, the cycle switched it to lock when the lid is supposed to open. What I did was press the gear disengage button and used the hex key to switch it back to the right way. Problem is, it still won't work. The timing of the gears is way off. Sometimes it stops half way through a gear cycle at the point where the lid is supposed to open (so it's half pulled between the lock or unlocked position). Other times it returns to the locked position. This makes sense why sometimes it randomly worked because at random times the timing must have reached the unlock cycle. The gear always moves 3 times and stops after the 3rd time like seen in the video (at which point I assume the lid should open). Those 3 stopping points are always different in the gear cycle each time I try. Now the problem comes down to what is causing this.

I can at some point go get the fault codes read. Currently been unemployed for 9 months but I may be getting my first, post graduate job next week (crossing fingers). So until then, I have to stick to any more ideas people can give me to continue testing or trying fixes.

I have one of these for reading my engine problems. Not sure if they can read the CVM faults though. http://www.amazon.com/Autel-MaxiScan...&keywords=obd2
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
taylor192
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I would first make sure the motor is stopping at the correct locations. Turning the gear by hand can you see anything on the big gear that indicates the 2 stopping points? If so, then next time the top works properly see if the gear stopped in the correct place... and that the lid is latched. If not, check the bottom of the unit, there has to be something on the big gear that indicates the 2 stopping points, then mark the top of the gear.

The lid should be latched when the top is up and down, so if it's not being latched when successfully opened or closed that will help narrow what's wrong. If it is latched then something must happen on a failed open or close to get it out if sync. Thus you really need to determine if the system stops in a bad state, or gets into a bad state after successfully opening or closing.

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Old 03-13-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
avneet
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My Ride: 2001 330ci Vert
Hmm, I no longer think it is gear timing. The latch does unlock or lock perfectly each go through. The reason why it seems to switch is because I always have to stop halfway between the top coming off since the lid never opens. When I close the top, the gear doesn't continue to move the other half (like it would if the lid opened and closed). So once I set the timing to start locked with the top up, it would technically end that way if I could go through the full top opening sequence. The sensor itself for opening and closing the lid works perfectly. Something else past the lock and unlock is not engaging the next step to open the lid. I guess this is the part where I need to definitely get the codes read to find which part is broken.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:09 AM   #6
taylor192
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Search and find the pdf that describes how the top works. It describes the sequence to open and close. The next step after unlatching the lid is to engage the hydraulics to lift the lid. At this point does the light start flashing next to the buttons? If so the cvm detected something wrong and stopped operation, storing the fault code. If not, ... well diagnosing the issue is going to suck.

The pdf says the cvm needs to hear from the gm module that the motor has turned 180 degrees to unlock the lid before attempting to lift the lid... so if the motor runs then the lid doesn't lift something is wrong with the hall sensor telling the gm the motor moved 180 degrees, or the gm telling the cvm the operation is complete.

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Old 03-18-2013, 12:24 AM   #7
mmxmby
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: California
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My Ride: 330cic
E46 top not closing

Hi, I had a same problem with my 330ci. I have a attached a document to resolve this problem.
Mike
Attached Files
File Type: pdf bmw1.pdf (51.7 KB, 252 views)
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